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Student success through a first-year seminar

Published on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 ~ 4:55pm


The JSCC QEP Steering Committee began meeting regularly in January of 2007 to develop a plan to select a topic.  After many campus-wide focus groups and committee meetings and much research, the QEP focus, mission, and goals were established.

JSCC QEP Focus:  Student success through a first-year seminar

JSCC QEP Mission:  The mission of the QEP is to instill students with knowledge, resources and opportunities for academic and personal success.

Goal 1:  Improve students’ academic and personal skills to enhance student success.
1.  Redesign ACA 115.
2.  Require all students seeking an Associate Degree to enroll in ACA 115(R)
     their first 15 hours.

Goal 2:  Engage students in the first-year experience to enhance student success.

1.  Provide orientation for new students.
2.  Require students to attend seminars and workshops.
3.  Develop learning communities within programs of study for ACA 115(R).

Goal 3:  Develop training opportunities for faculty and staff to improve their ability to enhance student success in the first year.

1.  Require “Teaching Experience Seminar” for all ACA 115(R) instructors.
2.  Educate faculty and staff on the importance of ACA 115(R) and provide annual review updates.
3.  Require ACA 115(R) instructors to participate in ongoing professional development.

The Course Development Committee reviewed textbooks and course syllabi from community colleges prior to establishing the Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) for the new course. The Committee recommended and the Steering Committee approved the following for ACA 115(R):
1.  Distinguish between the student’s personal responsibilities for learning
     and those of the college.
2.  Determine the student’s personal learning style and identify ways the  
    student can become a more effective student.
3.  Locate and use a variety of campus resources and services, including
    Academic Support Center, Library, Business Office, Financial Aid Office,
    and Counseling Center.
4.  Identify short- and long-term goals and objectives, including college major
    and career path.
5.  Solve a problem using critical thinking and support the decision.
6.  Develop learning enhancement skills including:
     A)  Test-taking Strategies
     B)  Listening and Note-taking Skills
     C)  Reading Strategies
     D)  Memory Techniques
     E)  Stress Management
     F)  Time Management Skills
7.  Describe and develop a portfolio.
8.  Demonstrate global awareness.

The Steering Committee agreed on the following recommendations regarding the new ACA 115(R) course:

1.  The course will be REQUIRED of all JSCC associate degree students beginning fall 2009. Section enrollment average will be 20, with no section having more than 22 students.

2.  The revised course will be offered in the form of two pilot groups in the fall of 2008.  The pilot groups will consist of two groups of students with similar backgrounds based on placement test scores and program of study.

3.  The class will be offered fall and spring semesters.

4.  The class will include a portfolio project.

5.  ACA 115(R) will be linked to other college courses as a learning community.

6.  Students will be required to take the course within their first 15 semester hours.

7.  Faculty teaching ACA 115(R) will be trained by completing the Teaching Experience Seminar.

8.  All new full-time students must enroll in ACA 115(R).  All other full-time students are required to enroll in and successfully complete ACA 115(R) unless they have:

•Successfully completed ACA 115 at JSCC or
•Successfully completed a course equivalent to ACA 115 at another regionally accredited college.  Course must be documented on a college transcript or
•Been accepted into the ADN program with transferred credit.


Each ACA 115 instructor is required to complete the Teaching Experience Seminar, 32 hours of training that covers the course materials and collaborative and active learning techniques.  The course has been offered the past two summers with 20 instructors completing the course.  Each completer is asked to answer a survey on a five point scale.  Results have been:
•My knowledge and understanding of first year students has increased – 4.83
•The seminar provided me with the skills and knowledge to successfully teach ACA 115 – 4.83
•I would recommend this course to other faculty – 4.67
•Overall rating for all statements was 4.68

Students taking ACA 115 are asked to complete a Learning Gains Inventory.  Students rate statements:  No Gain (1), Little Gain (2), Moderate Gain (3), Good Gain(4), Great Gain (5).  Results have been:
•Your personal responsibilities for learning - 4.07
•Your learning style and how to apply it -4.02
•Study and test taking skills - 4.12
•Use of a portfolio for learning - 3.77

Innovation contact:

Jeffery Myers

Innovation contact email:


  • Success

Issues addressed:

  • Accreditation
  • Instructional Design & Course Development
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