To make significant strides in closing achievement gaps, West Hills College Lemoore (WHCL) needed a North Star that integrated all efforts at the college around specific student learning and achievement goals. Building on current initiatives, the college’s president led with a vision focused on specific data points: course completion; certificate, degree, or transfer completion; and employment.
What They Did
WHCL built off of the work of Bakersfield College, which customized the four pillars of Guided Pathways to align them more closely with its own values and goals. WHCL’s customized framework of “Get Strong, Start Strong, Stay Strong, Finish Strong” aligns funding and student success initiatives by setting clear objectives tethered to resource allocation and program review. WHCL leaders have created professional development training so all employees see themselves as retention coaches. Classified staff, teaching faculty, counseling faculty, and administrators all have been trained in their responsibilities as retention coaches, including tasks aligned with their specific positions. For example, classified staff refer students to programs and services, while administrators send students nudges about upcoming due dates and events. Similarly, instructional faculty raise early alert flags, while counseling faculty review the flags prior to meetings with students and they communicate important information to students to help them stay on track.
What They Learned
Using a combination of technology tools and in-person communication, WHCL has found a holistic approach to case management includes several key elements:
- Democratizing data: Everyone at the college is trained in how to access and use data to case-manage students.
- Making student retention everyone’s responsibility: When all employees take responsibility, students receive the support they need in each interaction with the college.
- Investing in regular professional development: All college employees have current and relevant information to pass on to students.
West Hills College Lemoore
555 College Ave., Lemoore, CA 93245