2004 Exemplary Program Award

2004 Award Winners

Santa Barbara City College - Running Start

Santa Barbara City College's Running Start program began in 2001 when it recruited high-risk local high school students to participate in a summer bridge program, which participants in the program were introduced to a college curriculum and through increased personalized attention and came to know available student resources that enabled them to proceed with their education. In this full-time, six-week program, these high-risk high school graduates enroll in a College Success course, along with one other regular college course and peer tutorial meetings four times per week. Running Start also offers its participants the critical incentives of a weekly stipend, book grants, and transportation and meal vouchers, thereby eradicating the most commonly cited obstacles to attending summer school. In the past five years, 281 disadvantaged students have taken part in Running Start, 94.3% of whom were ethnically under-represented at SBCC; of these, 257 or 91.5% have enrolled in a subsequent fall semester of college, demonstrating an extraordinary program retention rate. Statistics show that a significant proportion of these students have continued to enroll in ensuing semesters as well, and that they persistently maintain an average GPA over 2.0. Also noteworthy is, according to the data already available, 22 of the 134 participants of Running Start's first three years have already earned degrees and/or certificates; and, although transfer statistics cannot yet be cited, two former participants are known to have earned Bachelor's degrees in 2004. Such numbers indicate the program's commendable effectiveness in extending the benefits of an advanced education to individuals who might otherwise never aspire to more than a high school diploma.

Santa Monica College - Student Enhancement and Educational Research Project

Responding to the increasing number of college students on academic probation and/or progress probation at the end of their first and second semesters, a team of counseling faculty and administrators, in 2001, developed Santa Monica College's Student Enhancement and Educational Research (SEER) Project with three fundamental counseling-based strategies: probationary student re-orientation; intrusive and developmental advising using one-on-one counseling and case management tailored to students' particular levels of preparation; and promotion of English and mathematics skills assessment. Funded by a California Community College Chancellor's Fund for Instructional Improvement grant, SEER project coordinators worked to increase the percentage of probationary students completing both primary assessment tests, and use the results to advise them in taking courses most appropriate for their success. Outcomes for Santa Monica's Fall 2002 probationary students show that of those who attended re-orientation, 50% regained good academic standing the next semester, as opposed to only 18.75% of those who did not attend. The effect of intrusive/developmental advising is similarly positive, with 24% achieving good standing after meeting with a counselor two or more times in Spring 2003, compared to 18% of those who did not. Students completing skills assessment tests share this trend of improvement. Such findings demonstrate that the essential approaches of SEER work - both individually and especially, in conjunction with one another.

Honorable Mention

Coastline College - STAR (Strategic Technology-Assisted Rapid) Program

Coastline College's STAR Program makes a collegiate education more accessible to busy students by allowing them to complete 50 units in one year while imposing minimal time constraints. Participants must attend classes just two days per week, with the remainder of classwork being completed electronically. This schedule is more feasible for those with career and familial obligations, and has made the Program especially attractive to typically under-represented students. STAR is comprised of four course clusters, each containing three to five classes selected to meet general education requirements for California State Universities; the clusters are grouped according to related content that inspires students to make interdisciplinary connections that enhance their overall understanding. Though the Program was controversial when initiated in 1998 because of the rigor of its accelerated pace, characteristic data from the first cohort group of STAR students shows participants to have achieved a median GPA of 3.09 while earning a mean of 19.5 units per semester. Because of such results, Coastline College moved to institutionalize the STAR Program at the conclusion of its Department of Education Grant.

Fullerton College - Transfer Achievement Program

The Transfer Achievement Program (TAP) was created at Fullerton College through a 1995 Title 3 Grant for Hispanic Serving Institutions, aiming to assist students who enter the college at the developmental level. Students are eligible to participate in the program based on their placement in math and English classes. Currently, TAP offers 16 courses in various physical and social sciences in addition to English and math. Participating students enroll in special sections that include involvement in additional supplemental instruction sections. Typically these are hour-long sessions in which student volunteers or facilitators offer support in course-related material under the supervision of the course instructor. The student facilitators, many of whom are previous graduates of the TAP program, monitor the progress of participating students and provide feedback to instructors. Regular evaluation of students progress enables timely response in cases where students are apparently failing in their coursework. In addition to supplementary coursework, TAP offers a Family Event and student orientation to motivate the students and their support network for the tasks ahead. Statistics show that, for courses in which TAP is offered, the success rates for TAP participants is 78%, compared to just 58% for students who do not participate in this program.

Los Angeles City College - Supplemental Instruction/Mentor Academy

The Supplemental Instruction/Mentor Academy (SI/MA) program at Los Angeles City College was established in 2000 to assist students in high-risk general education courses. The program increases students' retention, persistence, and social involvements by establishing study groups, encouraging students to become active learners, and increasing collaboration among students. These goals are achieved with the aid of volunteer mentors, chosen from a pool of qualified full-time students who have demonstrated a mastery of the course as well as strong communication and management skills. The mentors' responsibilities include the organization of study groups, the preparation of study guides, and providing motivational support to students, as well as providing feedback to instructors. The program offers 30 sections in 12 disciplines, and serves about 1,000 students per semester. The responses of students surveyed about the effectiveness of the SI/MA program are overwhelmingly positive, and objective data supports the students' sentiments - the success and retention rates of SI/MA participants are 61% and 81% respectively, compared to just 44% and 63% for non-participating students.

Los Angeles Harbor College - Life Skills Center

The Life Skills Center at Los Angeles Harbor College, established in 2001 with Partnership for Excellence funding, offers cost-effective services for addressing social, psychological, and physical issues that may adversely affect students' academic endeavors. The Life Skills Center's objective is to increase access, retention, and transfer rates for students facing such problems, traditionally under-represented groups, and for students deficient in basic skills. Over the years of operation, the Center has characterized how various major underlying obstacles impede the student population, and it gears its support, outreach, and referral efforts to best confront these issues. A psychologist and a team of volunteer psychology interns offer 120 hours of service per week to students encumbered by problems ranging from family concerns, to depression, to health problems, and myriad anxieties; domestic violence, an especially prominent issue, has been a particular focus of efforts since 2003. In addition to personal counseling services, the Center provides workshops, support groups, publications and referral services to appropriate local agencies. From 2001-2004, a total of 413 students received counseling support from the Life Skills Center, with an additional 850 students participating in Center workshops and other special outreach programs in the last year. About 80% of these students face problems that interfere with their coursework; and, 95% of those seen affirm their satisfaction with Center services.