By Dr. Denise Uitto, June 2014
2013-14 was an amazing academic year full of challenges and initiatives supported by teamwork, energy, the inspiration of new ideas, a reallocation of resources & development of new resources with the reminder of who we are at this special place called Wayne College.
Reflecting on the year, it started with conversations with individuals--conversations that led to diagrams about Wayne College and its role as a teaching-learning environment focused on students. We placed a strong emphasis on TECHNOLOGY, focusing on students and their goals and sometimes taking the “course” to them through renovated spaces for distance learning at the Wayne & Holmes campuses. Thanks to the team behind the scenes keeping the technology working effectively and the instructors learning “how to” present their class to distant sites. Instructors are also learning new components of Springboard and the tools to support their teaching practices as we reallocated or created new resources through Design and Development seminars and personalized support.
COLLABORATIVE LEARNING spaces with technology and personnel were also created to support instructors and students learning together and using presentation software. We have a new faculty Springboard site being developed where all instructors can access forms and information. A “Springboard Sandbox” is available to create a place for the necessary components of the revised Student Success Seminar. Each practice and energy from individuals is important to student success and demonstrates our vision and initiatives at Wayne College.
Teamwork supported the initiatives to form a modified schedule to accommodate 8-week sessions, two-day-a-week evening courses linked with a “bridge course,” and Friday-only sections. Teamwork within Wayne College and with the Akron campus drove the addition of the 4-year Social Work program and a Bachelor of Business Administration completion program. ADDITIONAL COURSES for the Criminal Justice program are planned with distance learning to the Holmes Campus to support student success and complement their vision of service to the community. Teamwork also supported the PART-TIME FACULTY RECOGNITION PROGRAM with individuals geared to creating an environment of inclusion.
New ideas came as Wayne College generated FOUR GRANT PROPOSALS with multiple sets of eyes reviewing these proposals. Three 3-D PRINTERS were purchased with a grant and additional funding from an engineering innovator to create opportunities for college students and youth within our K-12 schools. Retention of students is created through our personal connections and communication within classes and across all segments of our campus. Our model of student success and retention holds the primary focus in the classroom, yet relies on the connections from each individual across Wayne College. Our grant for the RETENTION PROPOSAL, focused upon the 75% of our student population who are first-generation students, is currently being reviewed. A commitment to proceed with this initiative was approved regardless of the outcome of the proposal. The KOGNITO TRAINING grant assisted everyone in understanding the needs of students with psychological stress. A grant proposal to the National Education Association for funds to support INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES USING BRAIN-BASED RESEARCH is being reviewed. The importance of these proposals shows the vision, energy, teamwork, and inspiration of individuals within Wayne College who are completing their duties, yet going above and beyond to develop new resources that promote student success.
Our ACCREDITATION through the Higher Learning Commission is important to Wayne College. Our vision and mission defines who we are and the services and programs we provide to our students and community. Teamwork and thinking outside the box (yet within the rules) promoted the initiation of a REVISED STRATEGIC PLAN using the format for creating it this spring. Every individual at Wayne College had an opportunity, including students, to give feedback on the three goals, measurable objectives, strategies and tactics that will drive our vision of commitment to student success in the coming year. Program reviews, data collection, and the Quality Matters initiative will keep us focused on retention, therefore bringing student success with assessment linked to specific learning outcomes. These initiatives will include individuals across this campus to maintain our accreditation and--of greatest importance--student success.
Wayne College engages teamwork through CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES. We are energized by our “Military Friendly School” designation, our dual enrollment and PSEOP programs, and the teamwork found in our community relations, recruitment and admission processes to demonstrate the culture of service to our students. The innovative ORIENTATION PRESENTATION with a video by faculty and the streamlined recruitment, using group visits which complement personalized visits speaks to the energy and initiatives toward student success. Our involvement with the YMCA, events bringing the community to campus such as movie nights and GOBA, or events bringing our students into the community through the student organizations, Roo Crew or internships demonstrates our teamwork, initiatives, and energy, which identifies Wayne College as a special place within the community and The University of Akron.
RESOURCES abound on our campus to support students and instructors. A writing tutor was added to the English Composition Workshop and a mentor was added at MCUC to give individualized feedback to students through specialized teamwork by instructors and a reallocation of resources. This was a unique and innovative idea that students noted was very helpful to their progress. An extensive team of individuals across this campus shows the teamwork and innovation critical for the STUDENT SUCCESS SEMINAR COURSE REVISIONS bringing new topics. Video clips, scavenger hunts, website searches, enhancements to Springboard, and professional development programming are only a few of the changes generated through collaborative “out of the box” thinking to integrate resources for student success.
Let us not forget our commitment to FISCAL STABILITY, STUDENT SAFETY, CUSTOMER SERVICE, and the ENHANCEMENTS TO OUR FACILITIES. The tightening of our College budget for the upcoming year was supported by teamwork and reallocation of resources. Wayne College did not increase its tuition rate and therefore remains an affordable option to students with almost $686,000 additional scholarship funds available to assist students financially. PROMOTING SAFETY through self-defense training, winter safety planning, and tornado drills emphasizes the belief in service within and outside the classroom. Beyond the RENOVATIONS to the science labs, distance learning labs, and office spaces, daily teamwork is needed to support the infrastructure with the mowing, shoveling, and cleaning that may not be noticed but remains critical to bringing our students to campus and keeping Wayne College accessible to all! CUSTOMER SERVICE throughout this campus involves daily teamwork to permit instructors to have the materials they need, activities to be publicized, and snacks to have a home that everyone can enjoy.
Within Wayne College, a COMMITMENT TO LEADERSHIP is shown through the individuals across this campus. We have a vision for student success. We inspire that vision for others within and outside our campus promoting student success. We model commitment, teamwork, the generation of new ideas (outside the box and within the rules). We enable others and support their work through encouragement and praise with relationships, celebrations, and enthusiastic applause.