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Santa Fe Community College

Santa Fe Community College partners with StudentSpace to help students succeed and measures that success! 

Santa Fe community college was granted the Title V grant in 1999 for the second time. This was quite timely since their title III grant was ending and Dr. Albert Reid needed the much-needed funding to complete his ambitious plans for the at-risk college students of SFCC.   

Title V – Helping HSI institutors. 

 The Title V funding is granted to enable to higher educational institutions to improve and expand their provision for Hispanic students and other low-income students for a period of up to 5 years. The need for the grant was very well expressed by the college administrators and therefore they got the funding a second time. 

SFCC had already used StudentSpace’s early warning and student tracking software as part of its Title III and due to its success, they decided to continue to use it under Title V grants. This grant was based upon students being identified and tracked who were at risk of not completing their diploma or certificate programs; therefore by using various modules of the software, staff could intervene to ensure those students have the timely guidance they need to help them complete their courses, and complete their degrees. 

The Challenge faced by Santa Fe community college 

Santa Fe Community College, a two-year community college in Santa Fe where the seeds for the Student Tracking initiative were planted in 2001, when SFCC examined its student success rates and discovered that a significant number of those in developmental coursework were not progressing on to college-level courses and consequently could not complete their programs. This led to poor retention and completion rates.  This was often due to poor or lack of accurate or timely advising of students. 

 As the famous Dr. Tinto says: “Retention starts in the classroom”. Therefore, SFCC needed a tool to quickly catch the student’s falling through the cracks – and they knew mid-term grades, though a good indicator was an indicator “too late in the game’. If students have missing assignments, or are not attending class ( whether due to financial or family issues)  or if students have other special needs  that put them at risk of not completing the course successfully, the system  had a built-in way that would flag the students so school counselors who could help them get back on track.   That’s where the StudentSpace’s Early Alert module greatly assisted the college to help their students succeed.  

The reporting mega-challenge for Title III/V  

StudentSpace was key in providing reports and a multi-perspective view of the institutions data for the President and all other key stake holders. Title V reports for the US department of Education were paramount without which the grant monies would be discontinued.  It was not a simple task to do all the activities and then quickly report upon their success in a regular and timely manner. Since the grant depended upon these reports - StudentSpace gave SFCC IR department a title V in-built reporting module as a subset of the Interactive Reporting module.  

That is where the interactive Reporting module – StudentSpace’s point and run report runner provided the crucial title V reports. These easy to use practical multi-perspective views and graphs which represented different findings and insights which helped satisfy the Title V auditors.  

In fact, the StudentSpace system was shown to many consultants who often added this software into their grant proposals as an optimum way to track and measure success of the grants’ activities.  It was, truly a win-win for all. But the biggest win was for the students – who are at the center of it all and after all, were the most important stakeholders! 

First company with an Intelligent Education Planning and Advising Tool 

StudentSpace’s, was the first company to launch the intelligent online advising tool and this combined with the Early Alert module sitting upon the basic and yet powerful student tracking system helped SFCC identify campus areas for improvement and by using the software achieved goals.

While the overall aim was to track students and improve retention under the leadership of Albert Reed. Under the Dean of Education (Dr. Constance Merindorf) The college developed a five-year strategic plan to improve student retention and completion rates.  

Project Success began as a two-year pilot project in the fall of 2011, and the program is now in its third year. One of the strategies was Project Success, which targets high school students who are beginning their first year at Harper College and who are placed in two or more developmental courses if faculty members note that those.

The StudentSpace Solution 

After receiving the Title III/V grant the college wanted a technology solution to help gather data and share it between faculty and support team members – in essence they wanted a Student Tracking and Retention solution. A committee evaluated the various software tools available on the market. In the end, the college opted for StudentSpace, student tracking system, an early warning, Interactive reporting and log in based dashboards by Student space. 

The first campus in North America to successfully implement Competency Based Learning 

According to Dr. Francis Levine, dean of Education at the college, SFCC selected StudentSpace modules because " it had a competency tracking based module which, like the remaining software was very user friendly, easy and intuitive, and that was very important because we were going to be engaging hundreds of faculty, academic support teams and students  across campus”.

Debra Carden, Teacher Education Head of Department, said StudentSpace gives the college an intuitive and powerful way of collecting student and cohort tracking information, so her department staff could can reach out to students to help them improve their competencies level; the software also let them get develop a plan to keep student’s course and program competencies on track so they can finish their courses successfully and furthermore their program and become skilled teachers.  

The Impact of StudentSpace 

SFCC administrators got point and click reports without having to request and burden the busy IT department. The advising department were independently seeking out crucial data and making decisions based upon student’s data which they could see in a timely manner.  

Competency audits could be printed and shared or emailed to students. This was the first time the students had the power to continually see their audits and share with future employers if they chose to do so. 

For the time the IR department could see cohort-based retention data and start to predict future trends. StudentSpace immensely helped SFCC take a quantum leap into the 21st century and get prepared to embrace and use the technologies which would come and change the education landscape completely. Overall Retention rates and completion rates of developmental students went up by 3.5 % and set the stage for SFCC to grow further and serve the local community in a better way. 

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