Fostering A Culture Of Success Requires An Overhaul
Career College Central summary:
Ensuring a college is serving its students well while meeting the demands of an exponentially changing landscape requires leadership able to articulate a strong vision and implement organizational redesign. Cheryl Roberts, president of Chemeketa Community College in Oregon, is working on creating a leadership environment and structuring a planning process conducive to making bold moves to change the culture. She is among three leaders realigning their colleges to meet the imperatives outlined in the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) 21st-Century Commission report who will describe their work at the AACC Annual Convention April 5-8 in Washington, D.C.
Roberts sees her effort at CCC as part of a larger statewide initiative enacted by the legislature and adopted by the entire education community known as the “40-40-20 plan,” which establishes a series of goals for 2025: At least 40 percent of adults in Oregon will have a earned an associate degree or postsecondary credential; at least 40 percent will have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher; and the remaining 20 percent will have earned a high school diploma.
Chemeketa Community College's strategy to contribute to the goal focuses on making the student experience "predictable," meaning simplifying the student aid process and business practices so attending college is as seamless for students as possible. It started by improving its communications with students to ensure they get their financial aid packages well before the deadline to enroll. That gives staff more time to talk to students about their options, and as a result, the number of students applying for financial aid has increased by about 25 percent. The college is also using the same approach to improve registration and advising procedures, which often frustrates students and in turn affects completion rates.
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