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Letter from the Provost

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

The challenges facing Lansing Community College, and indeed all community colleges, are many. While the external pressures related to funding and accountability continue to manifest themselves in ever-increasing ways, our core mission of teaching and learning remains at the heart of our work. As we examine our programs via the Program Quality Improvement Process (PQIP) and investigate ways to make meaningful improvement, I think it is important to keep these things in mind:

One of our most valuable resources for improving the success rate of our students is data on how students are performing in our courses. As an institution, we cannot help students who are not succeeding unless we better understand why. And our most viable method for gathering that data is via the PQIP process. In these first stages of PQIP, it is important that we gather all the data we can in order to establish an appropriate baseline from which to measure improvement. It is not about assigning blame; the data are what they are.

The formula for "student success" is an equation with many variables and many unknowns, but we all have a hand in the success or failure of each student. Last year nearly 4,000 students enrolled in classes at LCC, paid their tuition, and failed to earn a single credit. The reasons for this are likely as diverse as our students. Perhaps they found their classes too difficult to manage in concert with their everyday lives, and were unaware of our academic and other support services. Perhaps they abandoned a long parking queue when they realized they would be late, not understanding how critical it is to attend every class. Perhaps they simply became discouraged with their seeming lack of progress toward a degree or certificate completion, and a timely conversation with a counselor, advisor, faculty member, or administrator would have re-energized them. We as an institution have failed these students, and we must begin to think about doing some things differently if we expect positive change to occur.

As an institution, we have implemented practices that will help more students to be successful. They include mandatory orientation, no late registration, enrollment verification, and educational development plans for new students. While we remain committed to the idea of open access, an outcome of success is equally vital. To achieve this, we must be more purposeful, intentional and sometimes even intrusive with our students. We know that students "don't do optional".

As you engage in dialogue with your colleagues about the levels of student success in your programs, I hope that you will share with each other strategies you find particularly successful, and consider codifying them in course outcomes statements, teaching methodologies or program practices. As faculty, you understand the intersection of instructional content and student learning in ways no one else can. And I know each of you is personally gratified when a student is successful. Let us work together to achieve and share in greater measures of that success. As always, I thank you for your work with our students.

Stephanie Shanblatt

Program Quality Improvement Process

Institutional Effectiveness,  Research & Planning
Washington Court Place
Phone: (517) 483-1975