2008 Fall Convocation: The Path to Achieving the Dream
September 8, 2008
At this year’s Fall Convocation on August 21, the emphasis centered around NOVA’s strides toward Achieving the Dream (AtD) – for students, faculty and staff. President Robert G. Templin, Jr. gave his fall address and charge to the faculty. In keeping with tradition, the convocation was an opportunity to recognize the exceptional accomplishments of NOVA faculty and staff.
NOVA also welcomed the expertise of Valencia Community College’s Julie Phelps, AtD project director and mathematics professor, and Terry Carles, East Campus Learning in Community (LinC) coordinator and student success professor. Their presentation provided a road map to closing the achievement gap for students. Through data analysis, strategic planning, informed and participatory implementation, Phelps and Carles explained how Valencia has reached new heights in student success. In outlining three of their college’s identifiable gaps in achievement – between under prepared and college-ready students, between racial and ethnic groups and between math course success rates and rates of other disciplines – the pair provided insight as to how they got closer to the “dream.” They gave examples on how Valencia has addressed these challenges. Some of those included having targeted courses, providing supplemental learning (SL) in which trained peer students who have successfully completed a course are paired with students as mentors and providing LinC opportunities, where two courses are combined and students enroll in both classes as faculty collaborate to provide integrated outcomes. They also noted the importance of new student orientation in which deadlines are stressed as “real,” and the concept of “Start Right,” where in students are not allowed to add classes after the first class has met.
It was truly an exceptional day for all who attended, and it inspired NOVA faculty and staff to continue to enrich the lives of students and “achieve the dream” through increased student success.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America’s largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 60,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College’s Web site, www.nvcc.edu.