Tyler Connections: Making the First Year Count
John Tyler Community College’s vision statement is, “A success story for every student.” For John Tyler students to live our vision, they must persist and finish their personal academic story.
A success story is written when a student gains the knowledge and confidence necessary for pursuing his/her own academic and career goals. Like our students, we have goals, so we made sure our Quality Enhancement Plan reflects not only the vision of the College, but also links to several of our stated goals:
- to enhance and promote excellence in teaching and learning,
- to provide access to educational opportunities for persons from all segments of society,
- to provide a comprehensive program of student development services, and
- to administer integrated and transformative institutional assessment and planning processes.
Tyler Connections: Making the First Year Countwas developed through planning over a multi-year period. The process began in 2010, with a broad collection of topics; a College-wide survey; and an analysis of course grades, multi-year retention and engagement data.
This QEP focuses on engagement, student learning, and the College’s critical role of supporting first-year students. Tyler Connections melds with the mission of John Tyler, providing quality educational opportunities that inspire student success. The plan seeks to increase student learning, maximize educational opportunities for our diverse student body, integrate learning with student development, and build upon the College’s ongoing planning and assessment processes. Tyler Connections consists of a comprehensive communications strategy, including student orientation, an informative welcome packet, and a web site designed to help students navigate their first year at Tyler. The College will also begin a professional development program specifically aimed at improving classroom experiences through active learning in first-year courses. First-year students in SDV 100 will be required to meet with their faculty academic advisor. Faculty will also receive additional advising training to ensure a deep understanding of the first-year student’s advising needs.
Tyler Connections is an improvement plan with a sound budget, a realistic timeline, and a relevant organizational chart. The five-year plan includes a gradual rollout of professional development in the area of active learning, beginning with gatekeeper courses and including both full-time and adjunct faculty over several years. A first year coordinator position will be created. Faculty, staff, and students will be trained to be orientation facilitators. Most of the components for Tyler Connections will be in place by the second year, including the implementation of orientation sessions, the new faculty advisor letter template, and the launch of the first-year web site.
The budget for this QEP includes all aspects of its implementation, including assessment, staffing, professional development, marketing and the orientation program. This five-year budget is realistic.
Tyler Connections will use a variety of tools to assess the effectiveness of the program. Data will be collected at the institutional, plan component, and student level. This data will be used to focus our efforts on continuous improvement.
Institutional-level assessments will be incorporated in to the College’s strategic plan. The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and the Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE) will provide a longitudinal view of the QEP’s impact on student learning. Additionally, the College will use retention and graduation rates to measure progress toward the plan’s goals.
Tyler Connections: Making the First Year Count is part of the comprehensive planning, assessment, and improvement process at John Tyler Community College. John Tyler students come from diverse backgrounds and many need added support for success. The comprehensive communication plan for first-year students will help give students the tools they need to succeed. In addition, the increased engagement strategies in gatekeeper courses will help first-year—and all—students gain the confidence and knowledge they need to achieve their educational goals. By making the first year count, John Tyler Community College can help all our students find and realize their own success story.
Information Maintained by:
QEP Steering Committee
Dr. Julie Ranson, QEP Director