Students are excelling and completing their classes at a very high rate at Terra State Community College. Terra State attained a 91% Course Success Rate for the 2016 fall semester. That is up 16% from the 2007 fall semester. This number is quite important to Terra State because it means more money for the institution and that it is providing the right environment for student success.
According to Terra State Assistant Vice President for Student and Enrollment Services Heath Martin, “At one time, funding was based on how many students were in the seats. Community colleges are now funded based on success rates. The state of Ohio defines success as students earning an A, B, C, D or S in a class.”
The 91% Course Success Rate was achieved through many different variables at Terra State. Of course, hard work in the classroom by the students is the main driver. However, many steps have been taken by the staff and administration to help in accomplishing the lofty number.
“First, we have to recognize Terra State’s highly qualified instructors,” Martin continues. “We do not settle for second best. Our instructors know their subject material and present it to our students in a way that is easy for them to understand, grasp and retain.”
Several other factors have come into play, too. In the past, Terra State allowed students to register for a course after it had begun, up to two weeks after the first day. This had a negative impact on the success rate. Statistics showed that students who joined the class late did not fare well in the course. Now, Terra State has a policy that students cannot get into a class after day one without instructor permission. This simple change is setting up our students for success.
Terra State received a Title III Grant and has put the funding to great use. Kristen Lindsay, Terra State’s Director of Advising and Student Success, explains the importance of the grant. “The Title III Grants focus on integration of academic and career advising. Terra State has used those funds to expand our academic advising staff, bring on new and part-time faculty career advisors, provide additional training and have the advisors instruct the first year seminar class. All of these additions allow the student to stay on track to their degree.”
Terra State also has taken steps to help students stay focused during class time. Success coaches are available at any time. Students can schedule an appointment or just stop by the Academic Service Center to speak to one of the coaches. Math and writing labs offer free tutoring or assistance on particular lessons and projects. There is also a food pantry to ensure students who are in need can have access to nutrition.
There has also been an influx College Credit Plus (CCP) program students. CCP allows students in grades seven through twelve to take college courses while receiving high school and college credit simultaneously. In any given semester, CCP students are at a 93% to 96% course completion rate. Lindsay adds, “These students are a little bit more motivated than other students.”
“Terra State will continue to focus on our course completion rates,” Martin states. “This will benefit both the college and students. Our goal is to have students graduate and to enter the workforce fully prepared for their chosen profession. Of course, Terra State’s goal is a 100% course completion rate and we will do everything possible to assist our students in achieving this.”