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Learning-Centered Update March 12, 2012




Greetings all,

As may you know, over the last year or so there has been some debate on the efficacy of the national Completion Agenda – an agenda that has been translated locally by our District Governing Board as increasing the number of degree and certificate completers by 50 percent by the year 2020; as well as by the Arizona Board of Regents in terms of increasing the number of bachelor degree completers to 36,000 from the current 21,000 annually.  At PVCC, we spent two days last spring outlining the local, state, and national needs for qualified, college educated citizens to join the workforce. More importantly, we confirmed that learning centered practices are at the core of any student success or completion agenda. 

For me personally, there has never been the need for debating whether or not increasing completion (course, series of courses, certificate, degree or transfer – however you want to measure it) is important and something that we should strive for. Why? Because the foundation and root cause for a Completion Agenda rests in two compelling institutional characteristics – both of which are very much part of the core of PVCC – 1) a culture of student success (made explicit to students) and 2) our learning centered value that sets the expectation that all students become actively engaged in educationally purposeful activities which is at the core of all teaching and learning.  

Simply stated then we need to be relentless in creating a student success environment by helping students demonstrate the behaviors that lead to student success as we have outlined in “Get a Grip.” 

Then we need to continue to interject into the teaching and learning experience those characteristics and desired behaviors that we know lead to deep and sustainable learning. For example, see what we have learned from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) These two pillars – a culture of student success and an active engaged faculty student learning relationship will naturally lead to high levels of student completion.  

A new framework that captures and measures this aspect of student success is PVCC’s Completion Agenda which can be found at completion_agenda.pdf. Our goals are: 

  1. Completion will be increased through continued enhancement, application of best practices, and learning intensive efforts. Therefore, PVCC will increase the number of courses/experiences that are: “high engagement,” assessment based (significant progress made towards learning outcomes), and embedded with high impact practices (learning communities, service learning, research opportunities, intern and externships, mentoring, etc).

  2. Increase on an annual basis the percent of students who successfully complete AGEC designated courses by 2 percent.

  3. Increase on an annual basis by 6 percent the number of students completing: AGEC certificates, associate degrees, and occupational certificates.

  4. Increase on an annual basis the number of students successfully transferring to a four-year college or university by 6 percent.

I am excited by the fact that over 50 percent of the operational plans submitted for FY13 address our goal of “Empowering All Students to Succeed” thus leading to completion of intended student goals. Over the next several months, we will continue, at the department and division levels conversations to act and execute on our plans to truly reach PVCC’s Completion goals by the year 2020. Please take some time and read the complete PVCC Completion Agenda. Also take some time think through how we can make our student success culture more explicit and real for students. Finally go back and refresh on the CCSSE characteristics and find more ways to make learning come alive for all students.