Since the implementation of guided pathways in 2016, ACC Student Services has expanded its programs and resources to help students succeed from application to graduation, transfer, and successful entry into the workforce. Over the course of three years, 19 new programs have been created and another 11 programs have expanded or been redesigned to better meet the needs of students and more closely align with the college’s strategic goals to increase access, persistence, and completion/transfer and successful entry into the workplace.
“This level of transformation is only possible when a team is deeply committed to helping students achieve their goals,” says Dr. Virginia Fraire, vice president of student services. “When we take a proactive stance driven by data, we’re helping to level the playing field and ensure that all students get the support they need to achieve their academic and career goals.”
Below are highlights provided by Student Services of some of the expanded, redesigned, and new initiatives.
ACADEMIC ADVISING | ACC advising has been redesigned to move from a walk-in style of service to one that supports the college’s structured guided pathways. This includes Area of Study (AoS) information sessions, accelerated developmental education through holistic advising, intensive case management and coaching, and expanded access to advisors via email, phone, or online chat. Data show students who attend one advising session see an 11.4 percentage point lift in persistence and 15.2 percentage point lift for students who attended two or more sessions.
ENGAGEMENT & ANALYTICS | Launched in 2017, the Student Engagement and Analytics team provides increased use of real-time data analytics to increase student retention, persistence, and completion leading to a credential and/or transfer. Since its launch, the college has conducted 20 impact analysis of expanded and new services to determine if the transformational work is making a difference in student persistence. Data show increased efforts are showing growth in student persistence for fall-to-spring. In some areas, the growth is in the double digits.
STUDENT EMERGENCY FUND | The college created a unified application for emergency support services and funds. Departments involved in this work include Financial Aid, ACC Foundation, and Support Center. During the 2017/18 academic year, more than $130,000 was granted to over 200 students (approximately $650 per student). Fall-to-spring persistence was 16 percent higher among students who received this aid.
STUDENT LIFE | Student engagement outside of the classroom has long been lauded for helping students succeed. During the fall 2017 semester, Student Life served 7,031 students in 25,594 interactions, representing a 44 percent increase from fall 2016. A total of 15,167 of these students participated in Riverbat annual programs, a 30 percent increase from fall 2016. Across all demographics, we see a 12 percentage point, or greater, lift in persistence for students who engage with Student Life.
ENROLLMENT ADVISING & THE COLLEGE DESTINATION CENTER | The onboarding process has been redesigned with technology and individualized outreach to interested and incoming students. Timely communication is shared via the CRM platform, which allows Enrollment Advisors to provide personal outreach by phone and email. A central location dedicated to enrollment was created in the College Destination Center. As a result, ACC's First-Time-in-College (FTIC) enrollments have grown dramatically, with fall FTIC showing more than a seven percent increase from the prior year.
STUDENT MONEY MANAGEMENT | Through a Title III grant, the Office of Money Management provides financial literacy to students through one-on-one visits, class presentations, workshops, peer mentoring, and student texting. Additionally, a web page was established to provide students access to resources for budgeting, planning for paying for college, connecting with financial coaches, and community resources.
NEW COUNSELING STRUCTURE | In fall 2018, counseling was re-structured to better address the psychosocial needs and overall well-being of students; thus, positively influencing their academic growth, program completion, and career mobility. Counseling was organized into three specialized areas including clinical, completion, and career.
ON THE HORIZON
NEW CHILD CARE OPTIONS
The college will partner with the YMCA of Austin to offer drop-in care for children (ages 3-12 years) beginning January 2019. The Child Watch Drop-in Center will open at ACC Highland Campus. The pilot program will serve ACC students. Students pay $4 per hour for a maximum of three hours per day or 12 hours per week.
DISTANCE ADVISING & TELECOUNSELING
With busy schedules and other life demands, it can sometimes be difficult for students to get the support they need. Student services has implemented advising via phone or Webex video chat. Soon, clinical counseling will follow suit. Thus, eliminating the need to visit a campus to receive critical assistance.
In the coming year, Student Services also will explore a new divisional name that best describes its shared mission and purpose — to help students succeed.