Governing Board Address 10/25/22

No Tricks, All Treats: Faculty and Enrollment Support

Good evening President Sullivan, Governing Board members, Chancellor Gonzales, colleagues, guests, and in particular to Glendale’s new interim President, Dr. Ernie Lara.  Dr. Lara, the faculty appreciate your service and look forward to working with you!

Tonight, I would like to take the opportunity to discuss the vital topic of enrollment and retention. We are all aware of the challenges we face with respect to bringing students back after the pandemic. Our colleges and District have been working on efforts designed to recruit and support students, and the work has appropriately focused resources and prioritized efforts in the offices of enrollment services, advising, and marketing.  However, these offices are not alone in their efforts. In addition to offering instructional excellence and quality curriculum in the classroom, faculty are working to support enrollment through outreach and retention efforts on campus and with our community partners in many disciplines and programs. 

Through outreach, faculty help to introduce students to the opportunities that are available to them in the Maricopa Community Colleges. For example, this fall at Paradise Valley, faculty in the fine and performing arts–music, dance, and theatre–are actively recruiting through work at their local high schools.  PVCC Music faculty are visiting feeder high school music programs weekly, Theatre faculty are inviting high school students to college events such as the 1st Annual PVCC Theatre Day, and faculty are jointly hosting performances and competitions such as the Quarterfinals of Alice Cooper’s “Proof Is in the Pudding” Music and Dance Competition. Additionally, PVCC faculty are working with their community partners to attract potential students to healthcare programs. In September, Nursing faculty and members of the PVCC Student Nurses Association represented PVCC at the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences career fair for high school students.   Nursing students collaborated with Mayo educators to demonstrate nursing skills, answer questions, and provide brochures for EMT, Paramedicine, CNA, and Registered Nurse programs for the estimated 500 high school attendees. 

We know that enrollment efforts should not ONLY focus on recruiting new students but should also include work to support student retention, which aligns to our goals of increasing student completion and success.  Faculty across MCCCD employ unique strategies to support student retention and completion both in and out of the classroom:

  • At SCC, service learning coordinators offer the “SCC – Social Cause Connection.” This new event has been designed to connect students to what they are learning in the classroom, to their peers across disciplines, to social issues that impact our communities, and to ways they can get involved. In its fall 2022 debut, hundreds of students attended the event. Nearly every student volunteered to participate in one of SCC’s on-site service learning sessions, where, for example, they could pack seeds to fight hunger, write letters to isolated senior citizens, or learn how to dispose of waste. The only suggestion for improvement was that students want more, as the sessions became “standing room only” events. SCC Service Learning coordinators intend to oblige.
  • At Mesa Community College, Biology faculty have piloted two new support programs to support retention. 
    • In spring 2021, Biology faculty added Embedded peer tutors to 3 key BIO classes. The Embedded tutors offer tailored support options to students, such as extended office hours and weekly discussion boards with recorded videos addressing the “tough topic of the week.” 
    • In Fall 2022, faculty developed new Biology Boot Camps for BIO 181 and BIO 201 students. Faculty acted on data that revealed students struggle with basic time management skills, poor study techniques, and high levels of anxiety.  The goal of the Biology Boot camps is a focus on these topics to support student persistence and success.
  • Finally, at Estrella Mountain, faculty are engaging in research to ask students what they need in order to succeed and then to align those responses to interventions  Over 1000 students were surveyed and over 50 students participated in focus groups conducted by EMCC’s Student Engagement Research Team. The research results led to the current phase of MCLI Horizon Grant funded interventions that focus on increasing engagement, increasing sense of belonging, and supporting more effective dissemination of campus resource information to all students. 

While tonight I have focused on specific colleges and programs, faculty across all of our colleges contribute to similar efforts. Faculty show their commitment to the promise of education every day through their work in and out of the classroom.  We are proud to be partners in the work to support enrollment and retention for the sake of our students, our institution, and our communities.

Thank you for your time.  

(And because it’s the end of October, we’ve brought treats.  Happy Halloween!)