More than 100 Island University Faculty and Staff Work to Enhance Student Success

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas –Recent findings from the education consumer insights partnership between Strada Education Network and Gallup revealed that 51 percent of U.S. adults would change at least one aspect of their college experience, including their school or choice of major. To train Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi faculty and staff to better prepare and advise Islander students on selecting a major, college completion and career readiness, The Division of Academic Affairs and The Center for Faculty Excellence hosted a day of Education Impact Workshops on Feb. 19.

“Our mission is to help students find and stay on a path that will lead to rewarding careers and a fulfilling life,” said Dr. Lorenzo Esters, vice president of philanthropy at Strada and workshop presenter. “We do that by providing institutions like A&M-Corpus Christi with current data on what consumers think about their experience with higher education. Based on these data, institutions can discuss policy and practice implications for better preparing students for careers.”

In addition to Esters, the workshops featured presentations by Dr. Randy L. Swing, higher education consultant, Dr. Matthew Soldner, principal researcher for American Institutes for Research and Dr. Jillian Kinzie, senior scholar for the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Institute.

The day began with a breakfast and presentation by Esters on national survey results followed by a lunch presentation by Kinzie on innovative strategies to improve students’ persistence and success based on existing NSSE. The day of workshops ended with a motivating discussion with Swing on best practices, first-year seminar structure and how to adjust seminars to meet students’ needs.

“When we talk about student success at A&M-CC, we are talking about the academic success that leads to graduation and the professional success that comes after. The principles found in 60x30TX, as well as the grant we received from Strada, will help to strengthen these initiatives on campus,” said Dr. Kelly M. Quintanilla, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi president and CEO.

During a professional development session, participants also learned about retention and persistence strategies to support first-year Islanders learning and success. According to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ survey results, 47 percent of students fail at least one course in their first year of college. This failure in a class could shape a students’ view of the whole college experience and is why the Island University is taking such measures to promote career readiness.

“I’m involved in the engineering learning community, which is benefiting from the Strada grant,” shared Rachel Johnson, alumna and professional assistant professor in the Department of Undergraduate Studies at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “These workshops gave me additional knowledge and networking possibilities that will help my students become better engaged with their engineering degree.”

The Education Impact workshops were part of a three-year grant awarded by Strada to the Island University to improve mechanical engineering students’ essential skills such as communication, public speaking and writing.