Friday, August 31, 2012

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to HCCC!

The Fall 2012 semester started August 23 with College Service Day, where faculty and staff were invited to hear addresses on the states of various aspects of the College, beginning with an address from College President Dr. Glen Gabert.

Classes began Wednesday, August 29, 2012, although the College has been awash with students coming to register and get their books and materials for the past couple of weeks.

With the beginning of the new semester have come several changes, some good and some alarming. One notable difference involves changes to student financial aid due to new Pell Grant policies. Some of the eligibility requirements have changed, and the amount of grant assistance has been limited.

On the other hand, there have been some excellent program changes and new student services initiatives, many in Academic Foundations.

In Academic Foundations English we have made changes to the assessment process for our students. Until this semester, students' ability to move on to another level or exit the Academic Foundations program depended entirely on their performance on two exit exams given as final exams for the courses. Under the new system, student work over the course of the semester will take on a much larger role in determining student progress. They will keep a portfolio of work completed throughout the semester. This portfolio will be graded by the professor and will count for 50% of the student's final placement at the end of the semester. Students will still take exit exams, one in reading and one in writing, each of which will be worth 25% of the final placement score.

The new system will allow students to reflect on their learning and progress over the course of the semester and will take into account the expertise and more extensive understanding of their abilities by their professors.

Students in Academic Foundations Math will enjoy full use of their beautiful learning space in 162 Sip Ave. Equipped with computers, moveable tables, and a SMART board, this learning space allows students to work closely with each other and tutors in a variety of learning scenarios.

In addition, there is the implementation of a new SI (Supplemental Instruction) program. Supplemental Instructors are specially trained to work with basic math and algebra courses and students to offer them the extra support many of them need. The training, for Supplemental Instructors, created and implemented by AFM Director Constance Calandrino, is extensive--beginning with 2 full days of sessions and workshops before the start of classes. Both the instructors and the students will benefit greatly from this new program.

It looks like the beginning of a great year at HCCC.