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Student Success Initiatives

achieving the dream logoAn Achieving the Dream Leader College

Achieving the Dream announced on Sept. 22 that Columbus State earned Leader College distinction—a national designation awarded to community colleges that commit to improving student success and closing achievement gaps. Read More

Fifty-three projects aimed at student retention, completion and success are currently underway on campus. The efforts support key elements of the college's 3-part Strategic Plan - Student Success, Civic Engagement and Workforce Development. 

•  Current college projects  pdf icon   

writ ctr team
The Writing Center Project team, from left, Howard Graves,Tutor; Kate Schultz, Tutor; Jessica Callahan, Peer Advocate; Maria Latschar, Connect2Complete Coordinator; Deborah Bertsch, Writing Center Coordinator; Myra Isom, Peer Advocate; Marcus Deloney, Peer Advocate.
Student Success Innovation Fund 

Eighteen Projects Receive Funding

This year eighteen campus initiatives received financial support from the Student Success Innovation Fund. The second year program finances exploratory projects that fit into one of the following categories: Academic Support, Faculty Development, Program Enhancement, Student Development and Civic Engagement. Contact Tracy Little or Desiree Polk-Bland for further information.

1. ALEKS Placement Boot Camp
Contacts: T.J. Duda, Beth Barnett, Julie Hallas, Lauren Jones, Phil McClean
This project will improve student success by offering a new (and we believe better) placement test, customized individual test preparation for each student, and several opportunities for retesting after additional preparation. 
Related to ongoing AtD Project/Previous Innovation Fund Grant: Yes – Related to AtD Math Redesign Project and Boot Camp Project.

2. Improving Success Rates for Repeating Students BIO 0100
Contact: Julie Cronk
The primary objective of this project is to increase the success rate for students who repeat Biology 0100 by including a Supplemental Instruction component. 
Related to ongoing AtD/Innovation Fund Project: No ongoing project but does relate to Success rates and is in alignment with other types of projects in Math and English.

3. Connect2Complete Peer Advocates: Continued Support
Contact: Marisa Vernon
This project will connect students to trained peers who can assist them with removing academic and personal barriers to meeting educational goals. The program will also provide quality peer-based wrap-around support to the COLS 1100/ 1101 courses, as well as mobilize new students for involvement within the campus community.
Related to ongoing AtD or Student Innovation Fund Project: Yes – Second Year Innovation Fund Project

4. Speed Diversity Dialogue Button Project: Taking Diversity Outside the Classroom
Contact: Mary Lewis
This project will provide students with training on a research-based multicultural training tool (Speed Diversity Dialogue; SDD) and assess the impact of the training program on the students’ multicultural competence via a priming procedure, which facilitates the continuation of intergroup dialogues after completing the training. The project will evaluate student awareness of diversity, empathy, social inclusion, value of ethnic and cultural differences, and cultural sensitivity and skills.
Related to ongoing AtD or Student Innovation Fund Project: Yes – Second Year Innovation Funded project

5. Orientation and First Year Mobile App Development
Contacts: Marisa Vernon and Molly Ward
To develop a streamlined first year experience from point of Orientation through completion of the first semester, mobile applications can provide "on time" and easily accessible information in a format many traditional age students are accustomed to utilizing on a daily basis.
Related to ongoing AtD or Innovation Fund project: Yes, Related to AtD Orientation Project

6. Unlocking the Learning Code: Identifying and Implementing Core Learning Strategies
Contacts: Rich James, Ron Elizaga, Mary Lewis
This project will identify empirically-validated teaching and learning strategies, and conduct a pilot test of these strategies within the unique Columbus State student population. The project will conclude by developing training and support systems that encourage Columbus State faculty, students and staff to use and promote the most efficacious teaching and learning techniques.
Related to Ongoing AtD or Student Success Innovation Fund Project: No, but does relate to Successful Progress and Learning Success Strategies

7. Male Summit
Contacts: Lori Billenstein
This project will create a forum where males from various ethnic backgrounds and ages can discuss the importance of education and issues surrounding a successful completion.  We hope to address challenges that may be barriers in obtaining an education, possible solutions and viable options.
Related to Ongoing AtD or Student Success Innovation Fund Project: Yes – related to AtD Cultural Competency Project

8. Mathematics Support for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Students
Contacts: Lee Wayand and Krista Schmid
This project will build support for deaf and hard-of-hearing students to help them succeed in their math classes.  Support will include a tutoring program incorporating American Sign Language (ASL) and using a collaborative, hands-on approach. Digitizing resources will possibly include the development of electronic materials (such as an iBook) as well as videos incorporating ASL and closed captioning as well as meeting other Universal Design standards.
Related to ongoing AtD or Student Innovation Fund Project: No – but does related to Success and Cultural Competency

9. The Scholar Network: Supporting Foster Youth & Former Foster Youth
Contact: Kim Rhyan
The purpose of this project is to help foster youth and former foster youth at Columbus State graduate/transfer by offering a structured network of support, including three core elements; 1) 3-Day “Passport  to Success”(Pre-College Experience)  2)  Launch a fully functioning Scholar Network to provide support with a focus on peer-to peer coaching and accountability (In-person & online) and 3) Establish fall/spring mentorship connections.
Related to Ongoing AtD or Innovation Fund Project: No – but does related to Success and Cultural Competency

10. Transition Specialist
Contact: Lori Billenstein
This project will create a temporary position that can directly support Columbus City School students who are attending Columbus State Community College.
Related to ongoing AtD or Innovation Fund Project: No – but is related to the goal of Successful Progress and Complete of Pre-College level courses and meaningful connection from entrance to completion.

11. Student Support Services First Year Experience
Contact: Lori Billenstein
This first year experience (FYE) program for TRiO Student Support Services students will help facilitate greater social and academic engagement, and will thus increase persistence rates for these low-income and first generation college student.
Related to ongoing AtD or Innovation Fund Project: Yes – Related to Trio Innovation Fund Trio Project

12.  Writing Center for Credit – Year 2: Supporting Students Repeating ENGL 1100
Contact: Deb Bertsch
This project offers intensive tutoring and mentoring for students who are repeating ENGL 1100.
Related to Ongoing AtD or Innovation fund Project: Yes – second year Innovation Fund.

13.  Blueprint Funding the Future 
Contact: Sheri Harrington  
Funding will help expand Blueprint seminars which offer personal enrichment ideas for use in and outside the classroom.

14.  Generation One Trailblazers
Contact: Traci Haynes, Ron Elizaga, Julie Cronk  
This faculty-led team supports first generation college students at the college.

15.  GeoLinks  
Contact: Jeffrey Richardson  
GeoLinks promotes critical thinking about geology.

16.  Learning Communities  
Contact: Joan Petrusky, David Tom  
This project will create student learning communities built around a block schedule to aid in student support, retention, and success.

17.  Moving to Scale with Active Learning  
Contact: Charla Fraley  
Selected faculty will be trained in active learning teaching and implement targeted activities and measures.

18.  Raspberry Pi  
Contact: Debra Dyer  
This effort measures the success of using Raspberry Pi equipment in IT courses.

Check back regularly for updates. If you have questions or would like to get involved with
our success initiatives, please contact: