Division created to move students to college level

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 29, 2009

A new emphasis on student retention rates has led Copiah-LincolnCommunity College administrators to engineer a new division thatwill help students bridge the gap between high school and collegecurriculums.

Vice President of Instructional Services Dr. Jane Hulon saidCollege President Dr. Ronnie Nettles has commissionedadministrators to investigate and identify ways to keep studentsencouraged and interested in their studies. Hulon said from thatcharge grew the idea for a Developmental Education Division, whichwould focus on remedial classes for students whose test scores fallin a certain range.

“When we have students that come to us that are not prepared forcollege level work, they’re required to take courses that in thepast we’ve called developmental,” Hulon said, explaining that wouldinclude intermediate or remedial courses.

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“When these students enroll in these classes sometimes theirmotivation is low and they may not stay with the program to make itinto those college level classes,” she continued. “This is oneopportunity for us to create a special dedicated division to thispopulation of students.”

Students in the Developmental Education Division will bereferred to as “transitional students,” Hulon said. The program isbeing put together based on research and information gathered fromother schools and implementing some of the best practices othercolleges were employing.

“We’ve taught these courses forever, but we’re putting a newemphasis on trying to do things that are going to allow thesestudents to excel,” Hulon said. “We’re trying some new things asfar as scheduling and delivery of these classes.”

One example of scheduling differences, Hulon said, is that thecourses will be offered in shorter, more intensive terms so thatstudents taking them can move through them quicker. This puts theminto college-level classes faster, Hulon said, which can be anencouragement since being semesters behind classmates can bedemoralizing.

Many of the classes are also being taught in computer labs,Hulon said, as many students respond better to technology.

“Rather than hearing someone talk about how to work a mathproblem, some students respond better to just being able to sitdown and figure it out,” she said.

Students are enrolled in the classes based on their ACT orCOMPASS test scores. English, reading and math class placement isselected from those test scores when a student registers.

The Developmental Education Division will get in full swing inthe fall of 2009, Hulon said, and faculty should be in place toadvise students and get them in the right classes by time forpreregistration.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to serve our students, andthis was one area where we felt like we needed to do more,” Hulonsaid. “We’re trying some new things like scheduling and software,just to make sure our students are set up for success.”