A new year and a renewed commitment
Tuesday / August 25, 2015
By Dr. Chris Duree
For those of us who work in the field of education, August defines the return of students, faculty and staff. Our parking lots and buildings come alive with the excitement of starting another school year. There is no better time for everyone throughout our college district to renew their commitment to our mission and student success.
Many people ask, “How do you define student success?” A review of the professional literature would result in multiple definitions, each with a different spin on what components actually play a part in helping students attain their educational goals. As a person who attempts to keep things as simple as possible, my definition of student success is that students successfully complete what they start.
True, there are many factors that play into whether or not a student actually does successfully finish what he or she set out to accomplish. The old saying: “It takes a village to raise a child” is really no different when we think about ensuring our students achieve their goals. In other words, we ask that all of our college employees understand and perform the roles they play in student success.
We know that the sooner a student connects and establishes a relationship with another person on our campuses, the sooner he or she is on the path to remaining in college and successfully completing a certificate, diploma or degree. Good old-fashioned, positive human connections can serve as the “anchor” that keeps students in school. This process can start with a plant services worker greeting a student in the parking lot and helping them find their way to the admissions office. It may be a faculty member who welcomes each student at the door of the classroom and learns the student’s first name. Whether the person is a custodian, instructor, advisor, administrator, or any other person in our college, the personal touch of reaching out to help students can make all the difference in the world during the first few weeks of the college experience.
We have asked everyone who works for the Iowa Valley Community College District to renew their commitment to providing quality learning experiences for our students, and doing whatever it takes to ensure they have a successful experience while they are with us. We still believe in the human touch, and we also believe it’s what sets us apart from other colleges where students are only another number in the enrollment.
Dr. Chris Duree is the Chancellor of Iowa Valley Community College District (IVCCD), which operates Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Marshalltown Community College, Iowa Valley Grinnell, and Iowa Valley Continuing Education.