Redesigning First-Year Experiences to Bolster Student Success

Posted by Association of American Colleges and Universities on August 14, 2017

A Tale of Three Grants: Redesigning First-Year Experiences to Bolster Student Success

After struggling for years with low completion rates, administrators at Chattanooga State Community College (ChSCC) decided to try something new.

In 2010, when the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools asked ChSCC to create a quality enhancement plan (QEP) as a part of the reaccreditation process, administrators interviewed community stakeholders—local businesses, students, faculty, and academic advisory boards—to explore reasons why students weren’t completing.

“We kept getting data that was really linked to soft skills or work ethic, basic grit,” said Amanda Hyberger, professor of music and director of the QEP and eportfolio. “So we fashioned a list of attributes we felt we wanted to target: teamwork, integrity, professionalism, and productivity.“

From 2010 to 2011, the QEP action committee refined the plan, “W.E. Succeed—Work Ethic First,” and integrated the attributes into pilot courses. The next year, they integrated work ethic into general education courses and developed a new student eportfolio system.

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