Although students were not physically on campus during the last half of the spring semester, they remained top of mind for Austin Community College faculty and staff.
To check in on how students were doing with the transition to an online learning environment, the Student Affairs department launched a Student Wellness call-a-thon. During the first week of May, a team of approximately 50 Student Affairs staff reached out to approximately 5,000 students.
The call-a-thon focused on two subsets of students — those residing in low socioeconomic status areas and veteran students — to learn more about how they were doing with the transition to an online learning environment and see if they needed any additional support.
"The responses to our Student Wellness Check-in Call-a-thon were positive overall. While we were happy to find that things were going well for almost 80 percent of those students, it was incumbent on us to ensure the 20 percent of students who were struggling had a successful semester as well," says Dr. Shasta Buchanan, ACC vice president of Student Affairs. "We wanted to know who needed additional support related to technology, finances, academics, and wraparound support services so that the college could connect them with the right resources."
Technology — specifically, fast and consistent internet — was cited as a top concern followed by living expenses and faculty flexibility and communication.
Students in need of resources were connected with their assigned advisor, coach, advocate, or mentor.
The call-a-thon data will be used to inform a Student Affairs workgroup that is exploring ways to better serve our students and will be shared with the Provost Council and President's Cabinet to help improve how the college serves and supports its students.