Students need path to succeed, research associate says

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Faculty discussed student responsibility during Q&A session.

By Katherine Garcia

krgarcia203@student.alamo.edu

Encouraging responsibility and improving student study habits were discussed at a question-and-answer session with Dr. Davis Jenkins, senior research associate at Community College Research Center, Aug. 18 in McAllister Fine Arts Center.

Jenkins offered student success tips as the keynote speaker at district convocation. He explained the importance of giving students guidance whereas the process at most colleges is that students are commonly left to figure it out on their own.

Jenkins studies student persistence and transfer at the CCRC at Columbia University, which works with colleges to improve student success and institutional performance.

Ten teachers and faculty at this college attended the session.

“What happened to student responsibility?” asked Liz Ann Baez Aguilar, adding, “You’re (the student is) a grown man or woman. There’s a certain level of responsibility now.”

“I assume that every student is not college-ready,” Jenkins said.

Psychology Professor Joseph Sullivan suggested high school students should be more prepared for college.

“They teach them how to get through high school,” he said, adding that students need to be challenged in high school as well as college courses.

Jenkins said most students may accidentally be taking courses on three to five different curriculum tracks at once instead of following one plan, he said. When students are led back on track, they still may not know what they are doing.

He said programs like MyMap were helpful to students because it gave them a clear path to follow their academic and career goals.

Jenkins said counselors need to focus on improving student persistence and not just academic performance so students complete a degree or transfer.

Denise Stallins, English professor at Northeast Lakeview College, pointed out that successful students study in groups rather than by themselves.

Jenkins agreed with her suggestion, saying that students who study on their own are more likely to drop out of a class they do not understand.

He said it’s important to make it clear what students are responsible for, and he suggested students’ attendance be monitored in the first three weeks.

This is the No. 1 predictor of student success in high school as well as college, Jenkins said.

Stallins said the cost to earn an Associate of Arts degree at the Alamo Colleges in 1983 was $450 to $500, a little more than the current cost of $336 for up to six credits.

She said hardships students face are an increase in cost, For example, young Latino males have to support their family and drop out of college as a consequence.

In an interview with The Ranger after the session, Jenkins said colleges rely heavily on adjunct faculty, and it only hinders students when adjunct faculty are not given the proper resources they need, such as materials or help from advisers.

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