The Ohio cadre, led by managing partner Sinclair Community College and joined by Lorain County Community College and Stark State College, is undertaking substantive change. Building on past successes and complementary strengths, these colleges are working to significantly increase completion rates through systemic and transformational change. Together, the Ohio cadre enrolls nearly 54,000 each year (26% of the entire community college enrollment in Ohio). Like many community colleges across the nation, the Ohio cadre faces many similar challenges that impact completion. On average for the three institutions, 64% of students receive Pell funding and 88% are referred to developmental education.
Colleges from the Ohio Cadre
Sinclair Community College, Dayton and Courseview Campuses (Dayton and Mason, Ohio)—Managing Partner
Lorain County Community College (Elyria, Ohio)
Stark State College (North Canton, Ohio)
What This Work Means for Our Cadre
From Dr. Steven Johnson, President and CEO of Sinclair College (Managing Partner)
"Our year of planning with Completion by Design has allowed us to identify a number of areas of improvement for student completion. Through a full review of institutional policies and practices, we hope to remove barriers to student access, progression and completion. Our cadre is well on its way in implementing key elements of our plan, and we are optimistic and encouraged about the possibilities of creating clearer pathways for our students."
The Ohio cadre is developing new tools, policies, and processes to promote student progression into and through programs of study. The colleges plan to redesign each institution through four overarching strategies: redesigning academic programs of study, accelerating students through the pathway, integrating student services throughout the pathway, and implementing policies to increase persistence and completion. Faculty members are redesigning curriculum and classroom experiences to ensure that students are ready for a career with a livable wage and/or transfer to a four-year institution with minimal loss of credit. The result of this collaborative work will be better defined on-ramps to streamlined programs of study that allow students to finish more quickly in significantly higher numbers at a sustainable cost to our institutions.
First, faculty members are revising academic programs of study to create clearer sequences and increase opportunities for contextualized learning. Faculty will begin by reviewing the top five enrolled programs to add structure, reduce excess credits, and align course sequences with employers and transfer institution needs. Students will complete academic plans, which will inform them about required course sequences and options, and will enable faculty and staff to monitor their progress. Students will also receive program-specific support and career-oriented opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, through increased experiential learning and employer connections, such as internships, co-ops, service learning, and job shadowing.
Second, the cadre plans to help students become college ready more quickly. To reduce the need for developmental education, the colleges will continue to collaborate with local high schools so that juniors take college placement tests and, if needed, receive developmental education at the high school during the senior year. Additionally, all three colleges plan to expand their suite of accelerated and contextualized developmental education classes.
Third, the cadre will integrate student services throughout the pathway. Colleges will train and support faculty to better advise and/or mentor students, and to work more closely with staff to intervene proactively when needed. All students will participate in regular support services, beginning with a mandatory orientation session and continuing with regular academic and career advising. Advisers will check in with students regularly and utilize improved technology to help students stay on track and move efficiently toward a credential.
Finally, the cadre will also work with other stakeholders on several institutional and state policy changes, including monetary and non-monetary incentives for students as they meet certain performance benchmarks. Other policies aim to increase credential attainment among students close to completion, such as automatic graduation and “reverse transfer,” which would be facilitated by the Ohio Board of Regents. The cadre is also investigating statewide policies that would incentivize earning a credential before transferring.
For more information, contact:
Kathleen Cleary, Ph.D.
Associate Provost & Director, Completion by Design