#DreamOCC - Dream 2.0 Solutions

March 3, 2016

As part of #DreamOCC, Onondaga conducted Dream Café 2.0 roundtable conversations. Meaningful dialog inspired participants to think critically and creatively about big ideas to help our students succeed.

Using the pathway ‘Completion By Design’ as a guide, each table explored milestones impacting on a student’s ability to succeed. The comments and suggestions are summarized below.

1. Connection: the connection between high school and community college, from interest to application.

Despite a strong college course curriculum taught at our local high schools, a key element to improving student success is making the most out of all four years students spend in high school, especially senior year.

Suggestions, solutions, ideas

  • Continue to strengthen College Credit Now and align it with high school curriculum's.
  • Students who need to close achievement gaps in 12th grade receive precollege interventions in a variety of formats and delivery modes.
  • College ready assessments performed early in high school.
  • College provides assistance with career counseling, college, and financial aid applications.
  • Checklist for every student to complete prior to starting college.
  • Teach college success courses in the high schools.
  • Summer bridge programs.
  • Branding OCC – bigger marketing presence in high schools.
  • Targeted advertising. Value proposition.
  • Student and alumni ambassadors (OCC students / alumni perform high school outreach).
  • Encourage high schools to use OCC facilities for events, formals, sports, after prom parties to promote familiarity and connection.

Dream Solutions Image 1

2. Entry: the period of enrollment to the completion of the core courses.

Fragmented services and lack of a single point of contact creates a challenge for students to create a sound plan of action. The division of academic advising, personal counseling, career counseling, financial aid, student accounts, etc. is frustrating and confusing to students.

Suggestions, solutions, ideas

  • Expand the “coach” model used in athletics. Every student receives a coach before starting college, followed by support and protection through graduation. Build relationships with students.
  • Students write a personal statement / essay telling their story in application, so we get to know them.
  • Package information: acceptance, estimated bill, financial aid and book prices.
  • Strategic advising system integrated throughout a student’s college career.
    • Faculty advisors assigned on day one.
    • Have advisors housed in each department (point of service or decentralized case management approach).
    • Guided pathway model for advising. Clear direction.
    • Mandatory advising with multiple modes: Chat, Skype, and Facetime.
    • Academic plans.
    • 14-week semester along with 2-3 advising days for students (no classes – everyone participates). Move advising to holistic conversation, more than course selection.
  • Path of entire degree progression. Guided curriculum maps. First year schedule with limited options.
  • Limit course offerings.
  • Provide incentives to students to complete orientation.
  • Mandatory student success orientation.
  • Rename dev ed to “path to success.”
  • Expand opportunities for students to make connections: LBGTQ theme in residence halls, use of learning center to offer more than tutoring.

Dream Solutions Image 2

3. Progress: the time from entry into a program of study to completion of 75% of requirements.

Progress monitoring and support becomes increasingly limited. Communications between advisors and academic departments breaks down; advisors lack critical program information and opportunities to help the students.

Suggestions, solutions, ideas

  • Monitor student progress on academic plan with frequent feedback.
  • Expand retention alert to identify students at risk of failing and initiate timely interventions.
  • Stronger relationships with employers / industry.
  • Better-paid internships, along with academic credit, leading to job placement.
  • Host employers weekly in Gordon to highlight careers and available jobs (beyond recruiting).
  • Strategic advisement: intrusive, walk the halls, “ride” the students.
  • Crisis management resources.
  • Have emergency funds available to students, mini-scholarships towards completion.
  • Decentralized academic support to move students towards completion.
  • Use of open educational resources as opposed to expensive books and software.
  • Instruction: incorporate contextualized study skills into classes (i.e. Gradual Release of Responsibility or GRR).
  • Host alumni seminar series on professional topics: professionalism, public speaking, professional writing and communications.
  • Use second year students to mentor new students; student navigators “go-to” persons.
  • Use technology to support completion.
    • Put block on students who are on Financial Aid warning to facilitate appropriate conversation with advisors.

4. Completion: completion of a credential with value in the labor market.

We have an opportunity to empower students as partners in developing their paths and achieving their educational goals.

Suggestions, solutions, ideas

  • Check in with students by semester, after one year, 2 years, and five years out.
  • Offer clear transfer paths and assistance.
    • Eliminate official transcript charges
  • Advise a minimum of 15 credit semesters.
  • Make sure college credentials align with business and industry.
  • Streamline automatic graduation when students meet the requirements.

5. Culture

The College would benefit from a network that is easily accessible to the campus, provides a consistency in expectations and information, and cultivates a sense of community among all of us.

Suggestions, solutions, ideas

  • “You are always OCC no matter where you go.”
  • Adapt the “Disney” model! Every employee is in the know and can assist.
  • Create a care network (U of Rochester, Gallaudet).
  • Siri OCC: one-stop information resource on where to go for what you need.
  • Universal consistent knowledge base and vocabulary for employees and students.
  • Establish concierge in all buildings.
  • Employee’s job shadow for broader understanding of college functions and operations.
  • President’s Blog.
  • 24/7 library access.
  • 24/7 dining options.
  • Resources for commuter students: microwaves, computers and small items to improve student life.
  • Cultivate the resources we have here.
  • College never cuts ties – welcome to the alumni family!
  • Charge committees with benchmarks and hold them accountable. Treat a committee more like a task force.
  • Involve faculty, students and employees on every committee.
  • Host cafes on specific topics (i.e. alumni services).
  • Tout the success stories throughout the campus and community.
  • Provide more opportunities for the campus community to be heard.

Dream Solutions Image 3


#DreamOCC - Dream Café 2.0: Is There There is a Hole in the Safety Net!

January 15, 2016

As part of #DreamOCC, Onondaga is conducting Dream Café 2.0 roundtable conversations. Meaningful dialog will inspire participants to think critically and creatively about big ideas to help our students succeed.

Milestones impacting on a student’s ability to succeed include:

Connection: the connection between high school and community college, from interest to application.

Entry: the period of enrollment to the completion of the core courses.

Progress: the time from entry into a program of study to completion of 75% of requirements.

Completion: completion of a credential with value in the labor market.

Things that came up at the first Dream Café are listed below. Now, what can we do about them? In the context of the four milestones described above, think of creative and innovative ideas / solutions:

1. College’s Organizational Culture

a. Concerns about a safe environment to share ideas
b. Isolation
c. Exclusiveness
d. Trust
e. Good use / overuse of our talent
f. Too many meetings
g. Need student involvement / engagement
h. Lack of “telling the story”

2. Retention Alert

3. Learning Center

4. Testing Policies and Practices

5. Required Orientation

6. Advising

7. Communications

a. Email
b. Social media
c. F2F
d. Consistency

8. Support Networks & Systems

a. Mentoring
b. Peer to Peer
c. Connections

9. C-Step Model

a. Common Reading
b. Boot Camp versus embedded model

10. Policies

11. Customer Service

12. Overall treatment of students

Every twenty minutes, we will work through each milestone and ask for the most innovative ideas from each table!


#DreamOCC - Fall 2015 Dream Café: There’s a Hole in the Safety Net!

January 14, 2016

As part of #DreamOCC, Onondaga conducted Dream Café roundtable conversations. Five rounds of creative, meaningful dialog inspired participants to think critically and creatively about student success.

Focus areas included:

  • Student-Centered Supports
  • College Readiness
  • Culture of Evidence and Inquiry
  • Equity
  • Students, Faculty & Staff Engagement

148 students, faculty and staff joined in the conversation. It was an overwhelmingly positive experience. We heard great energy and focus, new ideas and possibilities throughout the café discussions.

Crossover themes are listed below:

Student-Centered Supports, Equity and College Readiness

1. Retention Alert
2. Learning Center
3. Testing Policies and Practices
4. Required Orientation
5. Advising
6. Communications

a. Email
b. Social media
c. F2F
d. Consistency

7. Support Networks & Systems

a. Mentoring
b. Peer to Peer
c. Connections

8. C-Step Model

a. Common Reading
b. Boot Camp versus embedded model

9. Policies
10. Customer Service
11. Overall treatment of students

Culture of Evidence

1. Lack of telling the story
2. Need to focus and narrow data
3. Input / buy-in
4. Inconsistencies

Deep Active Engagement

1. Concerns about a safe environment to share ideas
2. Isolation
3. Exclusiveness
4. Trust
5. Good use / overuse of our talent
6. Too many meetings
7. Need student involvement / engagement

Selected Comments from the recorded café discussions

SMILE! Smile

Conversation is a very powerful tool. The kinds of conversation happening now are very important and need to happen more.

I hope we adopt the “common reading” concept. If we deliberate, interdisciplinary and thoughtful, this could be amazing.

Students don’t do optional – do we?

Current state…not much state…struggle navigating the system…no contact person

Lots of good ideas…Committees, so many, time commitments, kind of cluttered…does it water down ultimate success?

More genuine collaboration and mutual appreciation for all of our strengths would go a long way

It will help us to unify and pull the students deeper into the conversation about what we are doing and how we are growing on campus

Follow-up after the meeting/session, what happens after we discuss all these ideas? Let us know – we want to know!

Where do we go from here?

Team table hosts! The message is clear! We need to keep the conversation motor running!

Please review the summary and comments and send us your suggestions for next steps. We want to hear from you.


#DreamOCC - 2.0

February 5, 2016

Recently, we have had extensive conversations with our students, faculty and staff about the educational experience at OCC. Though OCC excels in areas, we all agree there are holes in our pipeline to success that we cannot ignore.

Dream 2.0 continues to provoke further exploration and possible solutions. Please join us for a second round-table discussion on Friday, February 5, 2016, 1:30 -3:30 p.m., in the Gordon Student Center Great Room. Please note you did not have to attend the first round-table to attend 2.0.

Look for an e-invitation in your mailbox soon!


#DreamOCC - Part 1

October 23, 2015

Dr. Smith
Dr. Laura Smith

Special thanks to the more than 280 members of the OCC community, including 50 students, who attended #DreamOCC,” the kick-off event to celebrate the beginning of the College’s participation with the Achieving the Dream Success Network (ATD). ATD Kickoff Video. Attendees were motivated by engaging talks provided by Dr. Steven Murray, Chancellor Emeritus of Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, and Dr. Laura Smith, Chief Student Affairs Officer at Jefferson Community College in Louisville, KY. Dr. Murray and Dr. Smith shared their experiences as successful ATD schools and discussed strategies at their institutions that had been successful. Following lunch, nearly 150 attendees – students, faculty and staff – participated in the Dream Cafe, providing participants with an opportunity to reflect on actual data on student success and persistence from OCC and to offer their thoughts on various factors affecting student success. Nearly 1,000 unique comments were captured, which are currently being organized to share with the campus community.

As part of #DreamOCC, Onondaga conducted Dream Café roundtable conversations, facilitated by volunteer table hosts. Five rounds of creative, meaningful dialog inspired participants to think critically and creatively about student success. Focus areas included:

CheckmarkStudent-Centered Supports

CheckmarkCollege Readiness

CheckmarkCulture of Evidence and Inquiry

CheckmarkEquity

CheckmarkStudents, Faculty & Staff Engagement

148 students, faculty and staff joined in the conversation. It was an overwhelmingly positive experience, with great energy and focus, new ideas and possibilities throughout the café discussions. Look for a “storybook” within the next few weeks to bring the results of this work to a larger audience.

ATD kickoff - Casey speaks
Image by Roger Mirabito.

Special thanks to our table hosts: Sophia Marku, Jessie Root, Jerry Farnett, Yvette Jenkins, Naomi Stewart, Shannon Patrie, Larry Weiskirch, Tim Stedman, Kelly Venturini, Mike Kaminski, Glenda Gross, Mike O’Connor, Marcus Watts, Sheriah Dixon, Anne DeLand, Jeanine Eckenrode, Kristen Costello, Cathy Dotterer, Russ Corbin, Mike Metzgar, and Alex Cole.