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Student success relies greatly on student engagement

By Chris Brees

Chris Brees

Chris Brees

Marshalltown Community College (MCC) recognizes the impact of students’ broader experiences, not restricted to those shaped by curriculum only. It is through these experiences that encouragement of interaction between fellow students, faculty and staff begins. MCC understands the direct relationship between a positive student experience and retention.

Iowa Valley Community College District Chancellor Dr. Chris Duree has stated, “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.”

Due to the impact of social media, we are living in a culture in which face-to-face interaction has become less and less, making it necessary to identify where and when engagement happens. The Office of Student Engagement at MCC recognizes that a considerable amount of engagement opportunities present themselves outside the classroom on a daily basis, requiring educational professionals to adapt to this new learning style.

When people come together for a common purpose, partnership and teamwork become tools for success. MCC is committed to student learning in all its forms, facilitating student development, and embracing opportunities for meaningful engagement. By participating in programs and services, students are challenged to explore their leadership potential through student-focused programming. Student engagement promotes opportunities for personal growth, leadership development, co-curricular involvement, and the valuing of human differences.

Engagement opportunities allow students to develop their own sense of leadership while committing to their educational experience, learning how to communicate more effectively, creating lasting partnerships/friendships, recognizing success of their accomplishments, and experiencing personal growth.

The concept of student engagement encourages connections within the MCC community and community at large. It allows for connections between all students, regardless of their level of involvement on campus. Avenues for engagement at MCC are made through campus clubs and organizations, residence halls, athletic teams, service learning, student leadership opportunities, work-study jobs and classroom experiences. Each of these programs offers unique opportunities for students to express themselves physically, emotionally and intellectually with a sense of safety in a judgment-free environment.

Strengthening student engagement programs allows our students to take ownership of their education and to feel part of something. Studies show that individuals who feel as if they belong succeed at a higher rate and continue working to complete their educational goals. MCC’s commitment to student success and engagement is reflected in a 12% increase in retention from Fall 2014 to Fall 2015.

With a focus on student success and engagement, MCC works diligently to provide an exceptional educational experience.

Christopher Brees is the Director of Student Engagement & Residence Life at Marshalltown Community College.

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