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Central Carolina Community College creates a ‘student first’ approach

by Bryan Noreen | October 1, 2018

Central Carolina Community College stresses a “student centered” approach to education, according to President T. Eston Marchant. In their 2015-2019 strategic plan, the top three goals are learning first, student access, and student success.

With the opening of a new Health Sciences and Veterinarian Medical Technician building, the college is creating opportunities for student success. “Community colleges always have to be retooling,” Marchant said. While faculty and staff are excited about the new space, they share just as much enthusiasm about the many programs the college has to create a student-centered approach for students from high school to military veterans.

College counselors in high schools

Community colleges around the state are embedding counselors within their local high schools as a way to promote the college and create opportunities for dual enrollment.“We were actually the first college to actually independently embed counselors into the high schools. With both public funds and privately raised funds, we hired counselors,” said Dr. Marchant.Dual enrollment at the college has increased from 600 to over 2,000 since 2014, according to Marchant. You can hear him speak more on that in the video below.

Addressing trauma and building resilience

Just this year, the college began focusing on adverse childhood experiences(ACEs). The college is one of just a handful of community colleges — and the only community college in North Carolina — involved in a Harvard-led association called the Resilience Consortium. Through the Consortium, the college looks to develop a trauma-informed approach for faculty.“Research has demonstrated that as the number of these traumatic childhood experiences increases, so does their likelihood to experience physical illness, mental illness, and behavior or learning issues throughout his or her life,” said Dr. Linda Scuiletti, vice president of assessment, planning and research at Central Carolina. Every department head at the school has watched documentaries to increase awareness of ACEs and the effects they can have on learning.“CCCC’s initiative is about hope. The research also shows that the damage done may be mitigated or reversed. There are relatively simple ways to counter the toxic stress and help students build resilience so that they can achieve academic success as a foundation for healthy, happy lives.” said Scuiletti.

“The key to our approach is to recognize that every struggling student needs the presence of a stable, caring, non-judgmental adult, and that college faculty and staff can provide this,” Scuiletti added. “Those faculty and staff who themselves have experienced high ACEs can be (and of course already are) beacons of hope for our students and role models of the resilience we want to help them build.”

Since joining the Consortium, Central Carolina has polled faculty and staff, held film screenings, and met with interested community partners. They also have plans to send four faculty and staff members to the Harvard-sponsored Resilience Symposium.

“The ACEs concept is powerfully moving but also emotionally difficult territory for many faculty and staff,” Scuiletti said. “Our initiative will require a profound shift of culture and mindset … from thinking ‘What’s wrong with that kid?’ to ‘What happened to that kid?’ when it comes to our view of many types of challenging students and learning situations.”

Article Source: EDNC