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Monday, November 21

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Governance Takes Up Dr. Pollard's Challenge to Focus on Student Success

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Governance Takes Up Dr. Pollard's Challenge to Focus on Student Success

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Category: Governance

Published: 2016-11-21 00:00:01.000

Student success has been at the heart of governance activities and goal-setting this fall, as councils explore ways to meet a challenge set forth by Dr. Pollard at the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year. "Consider spending 50 percent of your time focusing on the perspective your council can bring to student success," she said.

Councils are looking with intention at how they can support student success from their own unique vantage point in the College--whether it be creating a new initiative, spreading the word about a program that already exists, advocating for changes in current practices or sharing feedback on developing issues.

"The work of governance has impacted and thoughtfully considered student success in different ways over the years," said Maria Adams, chair of the Student Services and Success Council. "This year there is an intentional emphasis."

Most councils include student representatives, and hearing and addressing concerns students bring to governance is one important way councils contribute to student success.

"Having students at the table with faculty, staff, and administrators allows students to have a voice to bring concerns forward and to make recommendations," Adams said. "Students provide valuable input and perspective."

Even councils whose constituencies do not include students or those that have a more non-academic focus are actively seeking ways to engage more with students and to look at the role they play in helping students succeed.

"Many Staff Council members already work directly with students in their day-to-day jobs," said David Anthony, chair of the Staff Council and vice chair of the College Council. However, governance affords additional opportunities for council members to exchange knowledge and ideas between students and staff.

"When governance works, students are the ultimate beneficiaries," Anthony said. "Even addressing seemingly simple concerns like inadequate lighting on a sidewalk ultimately benefits student success."

Here is a look at just some of the ways councils are focusing on student success so far this fall:<ul><li> The Staff Council and the Employee Services Council are partnering with Student Life to develop a job-shadowing program for students. Details are currently being worked out, but it is hoped the program will be implemented in the spring.</li><li> The Student Council has met with the senior vice president of Academic Affairs twice to discuss issues of concern to students, such as the impact of course cancellations and on-time registration on students, how decisions about what courses are offered on each campus are made, how faculty evaluations are used, and the cost of books and course materials. The council also continues to advocate for more and less costly student transportation options.</li><li> The Faculty Council met with the bookstore's district manager to discuss concerns that arose about textbook pricing, availability, and edition changes at the beginning of the fall semester in an effort to learn how faculty and the bookstore can work together to ensure more savings for students and a smoother process for faculty in the future.</li><li> The Administrator Council is considering the possibility of a recommendation that the College provide 24-hour computer access to students in one building on each campus.</li><li> The Student Services and Success Council met with one of the service-learning coordinators to learn more about the benefits of service learning and opportunities for MC students and ways the council could support service learning. </li><li> The Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus Council is working with Student Life to plan and participate in activities where council members can have conversations with students about what they say they need to succeed.</li><li> The Germantown Campus Council is working closely with the Germantown Student Senate to foster collaboration between the student body and the council to better support student initiatives.</li><li> The Workforce Development & Continuing Education Council plans to investigate how collegewide services designed for credit students, such as the bookstore and advising, impact noncredit students who attempt to utilize the services.</li><li> The Rockville Campus Council has been looking into safety and security issues related to the opening of the new parking garage.</li> <li>The Operational Services Council is working to address concerns about the campus shuttle service and safety and security issues.</li><li> The Academic Services Council has approved a goal to better define the role of the council in supporting student success and has created a committee to guide the process.</li></ul>

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