STC Begins College Reform Partnership with Achieving the Dream
September 10, 2013 - Southeastern Technical College welcomed two representatives from Achieving the Dream (ATD) to the Vidalia campus on Sept. 9, beginning the college’s working relationship with the collegiate reform network.
Larry Calderon and Trudy Bers spoke to the faculty and staff of STC on their functions as leadership and data coaches, respectively, and how those contribute to ATD’s stated goal of “increasing the number of Americans with a college certificate or degree with marketplace value within the next decade.”
Calderon, who has been president and/or vice president of three higher education institutions in California and Florida, will be STC’s leadership coach.
“My role here will be to work with the executive team, try to gain some insights as to what the needs are from the classroom perspective, see how the community is perceiving this college and provide that feedback to the leadership team to see if we can develop some strategies and tactics that will work for you,” said Calderon.
Southeastern Tech’s data coach is Bers, who has published nearly four-dozen articles in professional journals related to community and technical college issues.
“My role as data coach is to help you use data in ways that may perhaps be new to you,” said Bers.
Bers illustrated the value of extensive data analysis with an example from a college that found many of its students consistently arriving late to morning classes and met with a number of those students.
“They learned that a large number of students were dependent on the local bus service for transportation,” said Bers. “And the bus schedule was such that the buses either left too early—while the students handled responsibilities at home like getting their children off to school—or left too late and the students were late to classes.”
STC and ATD hope that this sort of student- and community-focused research will improve the success of the college’s students. However, the ATD coaches were careful to note that no one should expect a cure-all.
“This is hard, hard work,” said Bers. “I’ve been with ATD since the second year, and I don’t know of any college that has found the magic silver bullet, the perfect intervention, the exact way to move the needle so that they really raise the level of student performance.”
The work between Southeastern Tech and ATD has only just begun, but early meetings and reports point to a constructive partnership.
“The fact that you’ve chosen to join Achieving the Dream is a statement about who you all are as professionals and what kind of leadership you have,” Calderon told STC faculty and staff. “I’m excited about the work that we have to do here and the challenges that lay ahead of us.”
For more information on Southeastern Tech, visit www.southeasterntech.edu or call 912-538-3100 or 478-289-2200.