ANC implementing big changes

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Arkansas Northeastern College will be implementing some big changes this spring in an effort to focus on student success, ANC will add a new advising center to its campus to allow more intensive academic and career counseling to students. Designed to provide professional guidance in the whole process of enrollment, from placement testing to career and goal setting, the new format will offer students a very hands-on approach in their decision-making on the front end. The new ANC Advising Center will utilize data analysis and test scores to direct students toward paths where their interests and aptitude intersect.

Dr. Bridget Shemwell, advising specialist for the Academic and Career Enrichment Advising Center at ANC, discusses career goals with a student. Shemwell is one of three specialists who will be working closely with new students to help them get the appropriate start toward their college and career goals. With open registration, students are encouraged to begin the process now.

"By helping students get started right, we hope to help them be more successful in their endeavors. Our new process will blend an intrusive advising platform with the traditional faculty/mentor approach," said ANC President Dr. James Shemwell.

According to Shemwell, new students will receive the thorough, intrusive management of a professional College and Career Advisor for as long as students need. Once a student is on the right path and feels comfortable with his or her direction, he or she will be transitioned to a faculty advisor. Ideally this will occur following the first semester or first year. This ensures that students will receive additional help in all areas of academic and career readiness.

"These super advisors will take the time to investigate each student's situation--his or her work obligations, placement levels, career goals, and much more. They will have onsite access to tutoring and testing. By the time a student has finished with his initial advisor, he or she should be positioned to achieve his or her educational and career goals," added Shemwell.

Time may seem like the impossible caveat in this procedure, but another major change in the College's practices has eliminated that concern. The registration process will no longer be compressed into a two or three day span of time with long lines. Registration for summer and fall classes began on April 22 and will stay open until just before the start of classes. The idea is to allow students the time to come and meet with the advisors early and begin the process of being properly assessed and prepared to enroll in the appropriate courses.

"It is a very new concept for us and we are excited about it," said Shemwell. "This method of open registration allows more individual attention to be paid to each student and allows the student the opportunity to be better placed in a training program or program of study more fitted to their strengths, thus improving their potential for success. Additionally, it provides more opportunities to garner the financial aid needed."

While students will have more days to register for classes, there will be a cutoff date and absolutely no late registration. According to Shemwell the data shows that students who register late are significantly less likely to succeed. "It makes sense given the amount of planning necessary for becoming a college student. Those who plan for it are more successful than those who just wake up on registration day and decide for whatever reason that they want to go to college."

So, the message is clear, potential students need to plan ahead and prepare for college. ANC is willing to provide the professional assistance they need to help them succeed. As part of that mission, ANC is following the national trend of focusing on student success and will be implementing a more rigorous requirement on placement testing. Students scoring a 15 or above on the ACT test or equivalent on the COMPASS test will have every ANC program of study as an option. Students scoring an 11 -- 14 on the ACT or equivalent on the COMPASS will have a more defined menu of programs available to them as well as tutoring opportunities to increase their scores. ANC is home to an Adult Education Program which offers Skills Tutoring at no cost for individuals interested in College but who score a 10 or below on the ACT or equivalent COMPASS score.

"These new policies, based on years of data, will help us avoid setting a student up for failure. Now, we will have the opportunity to appropriately place students on an attainable path," added Shemwell.

In addition to the new advising center and changes in the registration process, the College has redesigned all of its developmental courses to provide students with the opportunity to progress through these courses more quickly and shorten the time to degree completion. Students who need remediation may also work prior to enrollment to improve their placement scores, with the potential to bypass the developmental courses altogether. A new credit math course, Mathematical Applications, has been developed to provide all career and technical students with only the specific math skills that are necessary for their chosen major. All of these courses are modularized and offered in a technology assisted format.

While the career and technical programs are regularly reviewed to ensure the content is relevant, these programs are being redesigned to identify any nonessential content and develop alternative delivery methods. All of these changes are being made in an attempt to increase student's opportunity for success through technology assisted instruction, reducing seat time whenever possible, and reducing time to completion through the elimination of nonessential coursework.

Students who have skills learned through work or prior training experience may find that they are eligible for college credit for those skills. The College recognizes that much learning takes place outside the walls of the College. Some of this learning is comparable to knowledge gained in the classroom. This type of learning is referred to as "experiential learning" or prior learning assessment (PLA) and will be evaluated for credit. Students who feel they may be eligible for PLA should discuss the possibility with their advisor to determine if credit for prior learning in an option for them.

Each of these changes is being implemented solely for the purpose of increasing student success. "We are no longer as worried about the number of people coming in our doors as we are those going out the doors with some kind of credential," said Shemwell. "We understand that we may have fewer people enrolled in the short run, but we expect to see more people successfully finish, and that is more important."

Students interested in Arkansas Northeastern College and the programs it has available can visit the website at www.anc.edu or call the Admissions Office to get started at 870-838-2948.

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