TO: Board of Regents
FROM: Willard R. Weaver
Dean, Montana State University – Great Falls College of Technology
RE: Campus Report for the September 2000 Board of Regents’ Meeting
RETENTION EFFORTS: PROMOTION STUDENT SUCCESS
Montana State University—Great Falls College of Technology is committed to promoting students’ persistence in their pursuit of educational goals. This commitment is reflected in the following retention strategies in place at the College:
1. The Med Prep Collaboration. Historically, academically unprepared students have difficulty persisting in the College’s allied health programs. In a pro-active effort to address this problem, the College has collaborated with the Great Falls Public Schools and the Helena Public Schools to increase high school students’ awareness of the desirability and demands of allied health careers and to develop an innovative curriculum preparing students for those demands.
2. Tech Prep. In higher education, time really is money. By identifying high school course work that meets the demands of equivalent technical course work at the College, the “Tech Prep” program offers students the opportunity to complete their postsecondary training in less time and for less money. The College has tech prep articulation agreements with 36 high schools in north-central Montana, as well as the college of technology in Helena and MSU-Northern.
3. Encouraging Student Affiliation with the College. Research indicates that students who are involved in just one “extracurricular” element of campus life are significantly more likely to persist. The College encourages such involvement through its student government, honorary society, and community service programming. However, because many of the College’s students have families and jobs in addition to their academic commitments, cultivating an active campus life is a challenge. The faculty respond to this challenge by using teaching methods that encourage students to make connections with each other in the classroom setting. These connections, too, contribute to student persistence.
4. Identification/Intervention Processes. The College uses the following strategies for identifying and assisting students struggling to persist:
· Support services for special populations
· Pre-assessment and course placement tests
· Crisis intervention counseling
· Pre-requisite enforcement for certain courses
· Telephoning students who miss class
· Identifying high-risk courses and providing special help
· Referral for personal needs
· Emergency fiscal assistance
· Job placement/transfer assistance
· Contacting non-returning students
· Follow-up advising for students on academic probation
· Exit interviews
5. College-wide Emphasis on Academic Advising. Faculty and staff from Student Services collaborate to ensure that academic advising is timely, individualized, and coordinated. Faculty evaluation and professional development emphasize the importance of advising.
6. Academic Support Services. Academic support is a major focus at the College. Developmental classes offer individualized instruction in academic skills. Beginning this fall, our Learning Center provides walk-in assistance and tutoring in all subjects, resources for improving reading/writing/study skills, and computer access and assistance. The Learning Center Coordinator provides a free six-week study skills program, a series of brown-bag sessions on academic success issues, and personal career growth workshops.
7. Student Success Committee. This fall semester the College established a committee charged with overseeing, guiding, and evaluating the College’s retention efforts. The committee is comprised of faculty from each department, the Learning Center Coordinator, and the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs.
Enrollments for Fall Semester 2000 bring good news to MSU—Great Falls College of Technology. One area of continuous growth is our distributed learning program. This fall 342 students are enrolled in 20 courses offered over the Internet. Over one-third (36%) of these students live outside Great Falls in communities such as Ekalaka, Silver Star, Twin Bridges, West Yellowstone, and Glasgow. The College plans to offer courses from all general core categories by Spring 2001. Another growth area is in our Outreach Department.
This fall MSU—Great Falls College of Technology will provide customized training for a consortium of early childhood development agencies, Cendant of Montana, City of Great Falls, Green Thumb, Montana Job Services, and Malmstrom Air Force Base.
Regents are cordially invited to these special events at the MSU—Great Falls Campus this fall:
Sept. 28 Gubernatorial candidates Judy Martz and Mark O’Keefe debate in Heritage Hall.
7:00 p.m. Co-sponsored by MSU – Great Falls College of Technology, Great Falls Tribune, and Montana Economic Development Association
Oct. 5 The second annual Storefront University, a community event organized by the College
5:15 – and sponsored by a variety of Great Falls organizations and businesses. Business owners will
8:30 p.m. offer 75 fun-filled workshops, restaurants will give special discounts, and the Great Falls Trolley will give free rides throughout the evening.
Oct. 12 Montana State University—Great Falls Campus Open House. Join us for the official
5 – 7 p.m. introduction of this unique Campus to the community.
Nov. 3-4 The first annual Tech Fair, co-sponsored by the College and the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Great Falls, Great Falls Public Library, and SoFast. The College will play host for high-tech exhibits, special events, and 35 technology sessions – all free to the general public.