Creating a collegiate campus culture and ensuring a superior learning environment for students is a high priority at LSC-Tomball. To advance these values, during 2011 – 2012 LSC-Tomball participated in the following initiatives and activities for the purpose of creating an organizational structure and culture that is dedicated to connectedness and learning for all.
- Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year
- Texas Completes
- 2012 – 2015 LSC – Tomball Strategic Plan
- Entering Student Success Institute (ESSI) Short Term Action Plan
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- Best Start – Quality Enhancement Plan
- Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes for Institutional Effectiveness. (Visit our Planning and Assessment page for more information.)
It may be helpful to view our Connection Initiatives Matrix in which we compare the missions of each of these initiatives with the purpose of gaining a better understanding where our goals overlap and where our efforts might be pooled for maximum benefit.
Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year
First-time-in-college (FTIC) students account for approximately one-third of the enrollment at LSC-Tomball each fall semester. Providing a purposeful and intentional experience for this group of new students is central to the mission of LSC - Tomball. During this past year, LSC-Tomball students, faculty, staff and participated in Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year – a voluntary, comprehensive internal review process for the purpose of identifying a broad vision for the new student experience. The self-study focused on nine aspirational objectives that are the foundation of the first year experience: philosophy, organization, learning, campus culture, transitions, all students, diversity, roles and purposes, and improvement.
Resulting from this year-long study is plan of action that is a culmination of over 120 items identified in the process, of which thirty-seven (37) were identified as high priority by the dimension committees. In the end, four major initiatives will be implemented for the 2012 – 2013 academic year: (1) provide more comprehensive, intrusive and detailed advising for each new student; (2) create a culture that openly discusses and promotes the value of each class and the importance of a college degree; (3) continue to develop study skills courses to aid students in completing their higher education goals; and (4) offer professional development opportunities to aid faculty and staff in the focus on FTIC students.
Historically, community colleges’ have focused primarily on open access – or “college for all,” which will always be a key component of the mission. However, the focus must broaden to include an emphasis on completion of an associate’s degree or certificate or successful transfer to a university. Impacting significant higher education policy, procedural and cultural changes on a national scale is the goal of Texas Completes. Lone Star College System is leading a cadre of Texas colleges to design a model pathway to completion using proven practices and data-based evidence.
Students choose to attend (and choose to leave) community colleges for many different reasons. This past year, LSC-Tomball faculty and staff participated as members of the working team to identify how our students connect to LSCS, enter into a course or program of study, progress through their chosen field, and complete their chosen degree or certificate. To create clear pathways along the “Connect – Enter – Progress – Complete” framework is an ultimate outcome of the Texas Completes initiative. Five major priorities will be incorporated into these pathways across all of the LSCS campuses and centers:
- Clearly defined programs of study that are aligned with workforce, career and transfer pathways;
- Comprehensive student advising and management systems to provide better student advisement, tracking, and interventions;
- Enhanced engagement strategies with students, parents, faculty and staff that will encourage an increased focus on completion as well as incentivize completion of a credential;
- Curriculum alignment and coordination;
- Automatic graduation process and reverse transfer from a four-year institution.