The Florida cadre consists of the eight campuses of Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest and most diverse college in the nation with 174,000 students. The College serves the 2.4 million residents of Miami-Dade County, one of the United States’ lowest per-capita income areas. Students of color predominantly compose enrollment—69% are Hispanic and 19% are Black. Half of all students speak a native language other than English and 29% are resident aliens, refugees or asylum seekers. Sixty-one percent are low-income and 39% live below the federal poverty level. Seventy-two percent work while enrolled, of which 20% have full-time employment. Seventy percent of the County’s high school graduates attending college enroll at MDC. Seventy-four percent of MDC students begin college academically underprepared, and 51% are first-generation college students.
Campuses from Miami Dade College (www.mdc.edu)
- Hialeah Campus
- Homestead Campus
- InterAmerican Campus
- Kendall Campus
- Medical Campus
- North Campus
- MDC West
- Wolfson Campus
What This Work Means for Our Cadre
From Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, President of Miami Dade College (Managing Partner)
“We need to think big and totally out of the box. This grant has the potential to reinvent, re-imagine and drastically improve the delivery of higher education in America, getting the U.S. back to the top position in the world regarding the percentage of college graduates. This is a top priority for President Obama, the Gates Foundation and Miami Dade College.”
Miami Dade College (MDC) considers Completion by Design an integral part of the College’s comprehensive student achievement initiatives. As a part of this effort, the College has undertaken a number of reforms, including an enhanced intake process; curricular changes in developmental education and English language learning; structured course options; a new coaching and mentoring structure; and broad communities of interest to increase engagement opportunities and career counseling opportunities for students.
Students entering MDC directly from high school participated in a comprehensive intake process at all campuses in the summer and fall of 2012. Students took a non-cognitive assessment and met with their assigned advisers to select first-semester classes during mandatory orientations. MDC plans to expand these mandatory orientations in future semesters to other student populations, ultimately requiring it for all incoming students. MDC also implemented placement test boot camps in math, reading and writing for direct entry students with remediation needs.
MDC is developing curricular changes to developmental education and English language learning (English for Academic Purposes, or EAP) courses. Specifically, the college will offer expanded contextualized, accelerated, and modularized course offerings based on additional diagnostic information about individual student skill gaps and needs. The EAP sequence will likely be more focused and streamlined, mapped to the student’s field of interest, and, increasingly in higher levels, run concurrently with college-level courses.
Students will benefit from more structured curriculum pathways at all levels of instruction. Beginning with those disciplines that most students study and transfer into, faculty are reviewing courses and course sequences to align them with junior-status entry requirements at transfer institutions and the College’s learning outcomes. As a result, all students may be required to participate in a revised student success experience, likely customized for their transfer and career goals.
MDC is developing a more intrusive coaching and mentoring structure to support these academic programs. Students who attended orientation last summer met with their assigned advisors this fall to complete academic plans, where student progress was monitored. Students will continue to receive coaching and mentoring each semester—either in person or through online modules— through a partnership of student services and faculty advisors. MDC is evaluating options to improve its student management and academic planning technology systems to support these reforms.
MDC believes that plans to design communities of interest will unify the student experience—increasing student engagement and providing information and mentoring for students with common career interests. Early in their career, students will identify a broad community of interest, and receive targeted orientation and coaching; access to related- academic, extracurricular and career activities; and, lastly, benefit from faculty focused on their success. The College plans to implement communities of interest for business and health-related students, the largest programs of study, in fall 2013.