A “High Touch” Approach to Non-payment Helps Retain CCA Students
Now There’s an App for That! CCA Mobile App Makes Getting Important College Information Easier
Adjunct Faculty Profile
Hip Hip Huzzah
Seen Around Campus
What Does the Fox Say?
Welcome to the first issue of Campus Connection, the new and improved newsletter for CCA faculty and staff. We call this “new” because we have combined the Intercom and Insider newsletters into one to bring you news and events from both campuses in one place. We call it “improved” because the new design will make it easier for you to access news and information quickly. In addition, CCA’s president, Betsy Oudenhoven, will bring a special message each month. We want to share what’s happening in your departments, so please feel free to contact either Mary Meeks at firstname.lastname@example.org or Joe Florkowski at email@example.com with your story ideas!
In the fall of 2015, a committee of enrollment and fiscal affairs staff met to take a look at the Drop for Non-Payment (DFNP) process at CCA. Many students were impacted by the Drop for Non-Payment process, causing them to be at risk for being dropped from class enrollment. “We would drop students two weeks prior to classes,” said Lisa LeFevre, CCA’s controller. “It just seemed brutal, given that students hadn’t started classes yet.” The committee – comprised of the Director of Admissions and Records, the Director of Outreach and Recruitment, the College Controller, and the Director of Fiscal Operations – began reviewing the policy and its impact on students, and found it to be a barrier to enrollment.
So why do we drop students for non-payment? There are several reasons, including to reduce the number of accounts going to collection, to improve cash flow, and to reduce student complaints that they had received a bill when they hadn’t yet attended classes. While the policy had been effective, it was not adding to a positive student experience at CCA.
After analyzing the data, the committee found something interesting. At the time, the DFNP policy had caused the college to lose 475 students, with an additional potential loss of 156 students being dropped, for a total potential loss of 631 students, or about 11 percent of the college’s headcount. There are many reasons students are flagged by the Drop for Non-Payment process: for instance, financial aid can be in process, unexpected emergencies occur, or students are relying on their parents for payment. “We looked at the number of students we were losing to see how we could work with them,” LeFevre said. “Sometimes when students are dropped, they give up and don’t continue their enrollment, so we wanted to intervene. This was an excellent opportunity for us to analyze the data and take action.”
LeFevre and the committee instituted what she calls a “high touch” approach to helping students to avoid being dropped. It started with pre-enrollment activities, including posters, orientation, and personal calls to students who were at risk of being dropped. The collaboration of several departments across the college resulted in a successful high-touch outreach program. The marketing department created posters and text messages geared to students. Student Advising, Student Services staff, and faculty reminded students to “get a plan” so they wouldn’t be dropped, and the phone calls were made to better understand each situation and help students set up a payment plan.
The DFNP policy has not been abolished; instead it has been reworked to provide alternative payment options. “We have moved the deadline for non-payment to the day following major census,” said LeFevre. “This will allow us to better determine which students are being dropped for financial reasons.” The new deadline also allows enrollment, cashier’s office, and financial-aid staff more time to work with students to get their financial aid in order and/or to figure out other payment options.
As a result of implementing these strategies, only 1.3 percent of the student population was dropped from classes in the first quarter of 2016. In addition, says LeFevre, advisors are experiencing less stress, students and parents are more grateful, and the financial aid office has seen fewer urgent visits from students. “We found that students just needed a little extra consideration for their circumstances,” said LeFevre. She believes that by meeting students where they are, we are helping them achieve their educational goals while at the same time improving student-retention goals. CCA will continue to track student data, including enrollment, to determine if the new changes to the DFNP policy are effective in the long term.
Important CCA information is now in the palm of your hand.
CCA has launched CCA Mobile, the college’s first app geared toward students on the go.
Available for both iOS and Android platforms, CCA Mobile can help students when they are away from a laptop or home computer and need to look up their class schedule or find the right contact person to reach at school. But the app can do more than that. CCA Mobile also provides access to grades for past semesters, campus notifications, maps, and more. For students who are taking online courses, Desire2Learn is also available on the app.
Besides school-related content, students can find social media links for CCA—including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube—that can be used within the app. CCA Mobile allows students to visit the CCA website within the app itself, so they don’t have to launch a new browser window.
To use the app, students can simply enter their MyCCA account information into the app; the app allows users to remain logged in even when when they exit it.
MyCCA does not use a lot of storage space on either Android or Apple devices. The initial download of the app is a little less than 9 MB.
CCA Student Jessica Rogan tested the app for a few minutes and liked a lot of what she saw. She was pleased that she could see her grades and that important phone numbers and the weather were included on the app. She said the app would make it easier than trying to pull up CCA information on her phone by using a tiny browser window then trying to zoom in and find the needed information.
“I would definitely use this,” Rogan said. “I would rather use something like this than the Safari browser on my phone.”
Dr. Betsy Oudenhoven
Hello CCA colleagues! I hope you’re having a great spring semester. We sure can’t complain about the weather. It’s been absolutely beautiful and, if you’re like me, you’re ready for springtime in the Rockies. I look forward to the opportunity to share some thoughts with you through this newsletter and want to begin in our inaugural issue by giving you some more information about Inclusive Excellence at CCA.
It’s hard to argue with the power of these words or their importance to us at CCA. Inclusion is one of our college values, along with respect, collaboration, access, diversity, and quality. And what is quality? Quality is excellence. It is the bar we set for ourselves and our students. Our mission includes both of these ideas: “CCA serves our diverse community by providing high-quality instruction and support services to prepare students for transfer and employment.” But as important as these two words are separately, they are even more powerful together. Inclusive Excellence reminds us that we can be both inclusive and excellent.These goals are not mutually exclusive, and the students and employees of this college community deserve no less.
The slogan for CCA’s Inclusive Excellence campaign is “You matter. You are valued. You belong.” This means that “members of our college community will be active, respectful, and mindful of equity, diversity, and inclusion at all levels of engagement.” Try to imagine being a successful student or a fulfilled employee if you were at a college where you didn’t believe these statements applied to you. Why would you stay? Most places, and CCA is probably no exception, do this better with some individuals than others. Our intent at CCA is to be that place for everyone.
Why does it matter? I’ve been asked why we focus so much on race when there are many other kinds of diversity here and everyone needs to be included. That’s true. We want folks to feel welcome here and celebrated for who they are. But we also have to be especially mindful of issues of race, because we have an achievement gap that our data tell us reflects a disparity between the success of our Black and Latino students and their white classmates. So we need to do all of the above – include everyone as well as figure out what is creating our achievement gap, and close it. We aspire to be the college where every student (think inclusion) succeeds (think excellence).
CCA’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council – along with Quill Phillips, Special Assistant to the President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Excellence – has been working hard to provide leadership and take action on these issues. But they need the rest of us to walk along with them. One person, one committee, one department can’t do this work alone. If we strive to be an inclusive institution that achieves equitable outcomes, we all need to figure out how we can both individually and collectively make a difference. I hope you will take some time to consider how you can contributeto creating and sustaining an inclusive environment for your colleagues and for our students.
On Thursday, March 24, we will have a special all-college meeting to talk more about Inclusive Excellence and to share the results of the climate survey we administered last fall. The meeting will take place at 3 p.m. in the Rotunda on the CentreTech campus. I hope that many of you will be able to attend. Our personal and professional lives are enriched by the diversity of our college, and I appreciate all that you do to make CCA a truly inclusive and excellent place to work and learn.
Creative writer Steven Church spoke at CCA on March 1 about his work and the writing process. Church is the recipient of the 2006 Colorado Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. His most recent work, Ultrasonic, is a collection of linked essays that explore how sounds can be used to search for deeper meaning beneath the surface of everyday life. The book features his 2011 Best American Essay, “Auscultation,” a piece now being taught in high schools across the country.
The CCA cast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is putting in long hours in preparation for the show’s premiere on March 17. Show Director Joe Gill (right) has students warm up to loosen up and relax before he starts the rehearsal process.
Did you ever wish you had your very own political analyst to answer your questions about the primary and caucus process? Dr. Bobby Pace, Chair of the Department of Social Sciences, spoke to two international delegations as part of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor’s Program on Feb. 29-March 1. Dr. Pace explained the role federalism, primaries, and caucuses in the U.S. political system. Here Bobby (right) greets one of the delegates on March 1.
Young women from nine different high schools in the Denver-Aurora area were invited to participate in the STEM Day for Girls, hosted by the Science Department at the Lowry campus on Feb. 19. The program, part of CCA’s outreach to high schools, exposes and recruits girls into male-dominated fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math. Formerly known as Math Day for Girls, and made possible through a grant from the National Science Foundation, the program was expanded last year to include STEM-related fields.
CCA Spring Transfer Fair – March 16, 2016 – 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. West Quad Building 112 (Todd Bergren Room)
Camino al Colegio – April 16, 2016 – noon to 2 p.m. West Quad Building 112 (Todd Bergren Room)
Confluence: School of Liberal Arts Student Academic Conference – March 11, 2016 – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fine Arts Building and Classroom Building
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" CCA Theatre Department Production - Opening Night: March 17, 2016 - 7:30 p.m. (Additional performances: March 18, 19, 24, 25 & 26 at 7:30 p.m. and March 19 and 26 at 2 p.m.) Fine Arts Building, Larry D. Carter Theater
"Sherlin Lecture: New Views of Pluto & Its Moons: First Results & Images from the Historic Flyby Visit to These Distant Worlds" – March 18, 2016 – 7 to 9 p.m. Fine Arts Building, The Forum (F100)
CCA Spring Transfer Fair – March 23, 2016 – 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Student Centre, Rotunda (S100)
CCA Education Expo – April 2, 2016 – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CentreTech Campus
9Health Fair – April 10, 2016 – 7 a.m. to noon. Register at www.9healthfair.org for free health screenings, including bone density, blood pressure, lung function, and many others. This event is free and open to the public.
High Line Canal Cleanup – March 12, 2016 – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Volunteer check-in at CentreTech Campus – Student Centre)
Sandy Evans, Adjunct Mathematics Faculty
Q: What classes do you teach at CCA?
A: I just teach one class and it’s called Math 050. It’s for students who did not test into college algebra and so it’s basically a pre-algebra/algebra refresher class.
Q: How long have you been teaching here?
A: Exactly a year.
Q: What is your professional/educational background?
A: I am a math major from the University of Denver. I have a master’s in instructional technology from University of Colorado–Denver. I taught algebra, pre-algebra, and some geometry for 21 years in middle school in the Cherry Creek School District. I am retired now.
Q: Why are you teaching at CCA?
A: It’s a passion; it’s kind of in my blood, I guess. I’d actually like to teach one more class here.
Q: What made you decide to come back to teaching?
A: I had worked for a textbook-publishing company for about a year and ended up traveling and dealing with red tape and business this and that. I really know that I just love feeling that I am being of service to somebody and having personal contact with people who might need my skills, might need what I can provide.
Q: What do you like about teaching entry-level math students?
A: I like the challenge of explaining why to people who have never understood why. To really feel like I’m making a difference in the world. Working with the strugglers makes a lot more sense – and there are so many strugglers in this day and age. A lot of people are not getting the math education they should be in the public schools.
Q: What advice would you give to CCA students who are taking a math class when they have hit a wall or they’re struggling with something? What would you tell them?
A: I would say that there are so many helpful people at this school, whether it be teachers or advisors or tutors. Just reaching out to as many people as you can for suggestions is probably your best bet. Also really try to block out time at home to work; it’s hard for so many people.
Q: Did you ever have a memorable teacher?
A: I guess it would have to be Mrs. Steinmetz. She taught me high-school geometry. She would write a proof on the board, and the rest of the class would go “Ooof” and then she would say, “Look at this beautiful proof!” and I was somebody else who thought it was beautiful but nobody else did.
Q: What do you like to do outside of teaching?
A: I love to be outdoors. I love hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing – but I also love to do Sudoku and knitting and needlepoint. Those are my favorite things.
Mathematics faculty Christopher Juarez received the 2015 Faculty of the Year award from CCA. Christopher joined the Math Department in August 2014. During his short tenure at the college, he has had an incredible impact on his students by ensuring that he is available when they need assistance. For example, Christopher allows students to complete their homework assignments just outside his physical office, so he can help if they get stuck on a problem.
CCA Integrated Communications Administrator Eduardo Peralta received the 2015 Exempt/Administrative Employee of the Year award from CCA. Eduardo was nominated for his tireless work across both the CentreTech and Lowry campuses and works all hours of the morning and night to help staff and faculty complete important information-technology projects.
CCA Academic Program Support Specialist Rebecca Pritchard received the 2015 Classified Employee of the Year award from CCA. Rebecca is known for anticipating and meeting the needs of others, organizing schedules, training new administrative hires, coordinating candidate tours, and many other duties. Her work with the School of Liberal Arts has allowed the school to complete many projects, and she has developed processes to make work more efficient.
CCA Adjunct Faculty Jeff Paganini received the 2015 Brosh Faculty Endowment Award from CCA. Students say Jeff is articulate, thorough and knowledgeable. In addition to his full-time job during the day, Jeff teaches at night and will also work extra nights and days to provide tutoring sessions for his students. Although Jeff is known for creating challenging math tests, his students have high success rates, even after they leave his class and take other math and science courses.
Chris Tombari named Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Chris works as the department chair for English as a Second Language. Chris is passionate about equity and student success.
Congratulations to Staci Shulman, who recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy! Micah Arthur Shulman was born on November 16, 2015, at 3:56 p.m. He was 6 pounds, 10 ounces, and 20 inches long.
Congratulations to Stephanie Lawton, who graduated from the University of Colorado–Denver with her Master of Social Science in December! Her degree has a focus in International Studies, and her thesis is titled “A Girl with a Book: Improving Girls’ Secondary Education in the Developing World.”
Black History Month Live: Rosa Parks
Humanitarian scholar Becky Stone portrayed Rosa Parks, civil rights activist who, in 1955, refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her performance on Feb. 23 was one of the events in CCA’s Black History Month on the CentreTech campus.
TRiO Open House
The TRiO Student Support Services program and Student Success Center Student Leaders celebrated National TRiO Day, Feb. 25—it was a big success! If you missed the event, feel free to stop by the Student Success Center to learn more about their services.
Leadership Meet & Greet
Chris Ward (right), vice president for Institutional Effectiveness, talks with a student during the Leadership Meet & Greet on Feb. 22 at the CTC campus.
The Broncos won the Super Bowl – how did you celebrate?
“I joined my neighbors screaming in the streets.” – Michael Levell, adjunct faculty, English Department
“I cried. I definitely cried. I bought myself a hat and T-shirt, my son a hat and shirt, my husband a shirt, and my father a shirt.” – Gina Brascetta, financial aid scholarship counselor
“I celebrated with my family and friends by going down a homemade luge track in my best friend’s backyard after the game!” – Jennifer Dale, department chair of Behavioral Sciences