The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) Peer Conference for Developmental Education, Student Services, Learning Assistance Professionals and Early Childhood Development occurred November 16 and 17 at the Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center in Glen Allen, Virginia.
The Alexandria Counseling Department represented by Dr. Sherri Anna Brown (Associate Dean of Students), Keith Wynn (Academic Success Counselor) and Ty Lane (Academic Success Advisor) presented on the PASS Program which provides support to students on academic probation. The presentation discussed the various methods which students can receive advisement including individual appointments, group advising or virtual options. Aside from advisement, the data management, proactive outreach and overall coordination for this group of students was also shared with the audience.
PASS students from spring 2015 through fall 2016 noted that family matters, employment, transportation, failure to withdraw, lack of study skills and disability were significant factors to their lack of academic success. Adjustments were made to the PASS group advising materials and individual meetings to highlight these areas. In addition, efforts to provide more outreach in SDV occurred to students who do not attend the first class and/or are at risk of failing.
The Counseling Department is currently working with the campus registrar to provide guidance to campus messages to all Alexandria students on withdrawing properly and reminding them of the deadlines. Referrals have been made to the Alexandria MANUP program when appropriate.
Finally, a new program called Gr8 Presentations was launched this semester as a proactive approach to allow Student Services staff the opportunity to visit classrooms for short presentations on relevant topics for student success and transitions. The presentations are included within eight broad topic areas to include: career exploration, transfer, financial planning, enrollment and registration, academic advising, diversity and inclusion, personal development and preparation for employment.
During the current semester, the program is being piloted with Communications Studies and Theatre (CST) and Student Development (SDV) faculty at the Alexandria Campus. Participating students can stay connected by electing to join the Gr8 Online Learning Community.
After the PASS presentation, a roundtable discussion occurred with another colleague Meredith Pollard, Tidewater Community College counselor in Norfolk, Virginia. Various staff from other VCCS schools shared their practices in working with students on academic probation. There was noted interest in learning more about how NOVA’s Alexandria Campus works with students who fail the College Success Skills course, the data entry/coordination in PeopleSoft-SIS and Hobson’s (and how the College will transition using Navigate), working with student veterans, and the impact on the use of technology in instruction.