2015-16 Award Winners
Las Positas College
The Early Childhood Development (ECD) – Math Learning Community at Las Positas College is a unique collaboration of faculty from various disciplines and outside organizations with the common goal of furthering the success of ECD students in sequenced math courses. Traditionally, ECD students have struggled to complete math requirements to obtain an Associate of Arts Degree, a teaching permit, and/or transfer to a four-year institution. The Las Positas Early Childhood Development and Math departments worked collaboratively to create a contextualized math series that incorporates materials and assignments relevant to ECD students. With funding from First Five Alameda County, the Math Learning Community not only provides ECD students with access to specialized courses and a supportive learning environment, but also textbooks, materials and flexible tutoring hours. The program has proven to be very successful; retention and success rates for ECD students in sequenced math courses have increased significantly since the program started in 2012.
Pasadena City College
Pasadena City College’s Biology 11: General Biology hybrid course was completely redesigned by full- and part-time faculty in an effort to improve student engagement in the sciences and close the achievement gap among Hispanic, African American and Native American students. The new curriculum features an interactive and contextualized learning design based on four scaffolded projects of increasing complexity where students work in groups to solve real-world problems. The early projects focus on improving skills vital to student success, such as reading, writing, research, teamwork, presentations, critical thinking, and problem solving. By the final project, students are able to work independently in their teams to solve a multifaceted five-week mock crime scene investigation and present their results in the form of a jury trial. As a result of this program, Pasadena City College has experienced a significant increase in enrollment, retention, and success rates among underrepresented minority students, as well as a reduction in the achievement gap.
2015-16 Honorable Mentions
City College of San Francisco
The City College of San Francisco’s (CCSF) Project SURVIVE is a prevention program that strives to end sexual assault and intimate partner violence through peer education, while also supporting survivors of sexual violence as they heal and grow as scholars. Peer educators complete relevant Women’s Studies courses, Politics of Sexual Violence and Ending Sexual Violence: Peer Education, and receive specialized training in preparation to lead presentations on sexual violence prevention, affirmative consent, and healthy relationships. These presentations reach CCSF students across a wide array of disciplines, as well as every 9th grade health class in the San Francisco Unified School District. Project SURVIVE excels at contextualizing teaching and learning through students’ real-life experiences with sexual violence. Data shows that the program has successfully served thousands of students, trained hundreds of Project SURVIVE peer educators, and helped peer educators achieve long-term academic and career goals.
College of the Canyons
In an effort to combat barriers to student success in foundational coursework, faculty and staff at the College of the Canyons worked collaboratively to reframe two-course sequences in math and English into single-course, accelerated pathways that embrace a “growth mindset.” Students in the accelerated courses are encouraged to see failure as a challenge for improvement rather than an indicator of intelligence. This mindset encourages students to persist to transfer-level courses and enables them to experience a higher level of success sooner than those in traditional developmental courses. There is also evidence that the accelerated pathways demonstrate improvements in addressing disproportionate impacts among minority student groups. The accelerated programs incorporate contextualized learning and assessment of applied skills, and serve as an excellent model for other disciplines and colleges.
Reedley College’s Mechanized Agriculture program underwent significant modifications when faculty identified the need to improve the number of students completing and succeeding in their courses. In collaboration with industry partner, Caterpillar, the robust program provides students with high-tech and hands-on experience, and incorporates eight best practices to increase student success including: integrated program design, cohort enrollment, block scheduling, compressed classroom instruction, embedded remediation, increased transparency, accountability and labor market relevance, and transformational technology. Faculty also partnered with student services to provide Mechanic Ag students with an innovative and contextualized counseling and tutoring system that plays an integral role in the success of the program. Because the program’s classroom is far away from the campus’ formal student services centers, CTE counselors and peer tutors are stationed on-site to assist students in need. In just a few years, student retention and program completion rates increased, and the average time to complete the program decreased.