TOMBALL, Texas – Today, nearly half of all students who begin college do not graduate within six years, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, but the percentage of minority students failing to graduate from college is even higher. That’s why LSC-Tomball has implemented two unique programs specifically designed to increase student success–and it’s working.
“I was the first person in my family to graduate from college, so I know from experience that having a program in place to help students work through obstacles and provide encouragement when life happens, goes a long way,” said Emmit Carter, who heads LSC-Tomball’s Student Success Institute, which is one of the two newly implemented programs.
The second initiative geared toward increasing student success is the Center for Leadership, Academic and Student Success (CLASS), which is headed by Magdalena Mendoza, who is also the first person in her family to attend and graduate from college. Today, Mendoza and Carter both enjoy successful careers. That’s why as leaders of their respective programs, they’re doing everything they can to help other first-time-in-college students do the same.
Carter, who is currently in pursuit of his doctoral degree, explained that the Lone Star College Student Success Institute (SSI) is a system-wide initiative and was created based upon a review of completion rates among diverse student populations. Many of the services that SSI provides are based upon a review of completion data relating to first-time-in-college African American students. However, the services are not limited to this population. All students are welcome to participate in the program.
According to Carter, the mission of SSI, which currently has 36 students enrolled at LSC-Tomball, is to build a culture of excellence that encourages academic and personal growth, to strengthen career preparation, and to support successful academic progress through community building and mentorship. The program’s goals are to raise completion rates for students, prepare students for successful careers, and encourage personal growth through its mentorship program.
The mentorship component empowers students with a mentor, usually Lone Star College faculty and staff, to help guide them towards their academic and professional goals. Mentors help students develop good personal, professional and academic growth behaviors such as consistent studying, test preparation, and the utilization of campus resources.
“We’re already seeing success,” said Carter.
Mendoza, who will start working on her doctoral degree in January, said LSC-Tomball’s CLASS is a result of a five-year, $2 million grant from the Department of Education to expand educational opportunities for Hispanic and other underrepresented student populations.
“Having a program like this in place is very important to student success,” Mendoza stressed. “We anticipate having 100 or more students participating in the program by August 2018.”
Mendoza went on to point out that the program will work to improve the academic attainment of Hispanic and underrepresented students. “CLASS is committed to providing uniquely tailored services and experiences that expand opportunities for all students,” she noted. The goal is that large numbers of Hispanic and other low-income students complete postsecondary degrees.
The addition of LSC-Tomball’s Student Success Institute and CLASS programs could prove to have perfect timing, according to a study released in April by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. The study revealed that the average Caucasian and Asian students earn a college-level credential at a rate about 20 percentage points higher than Hispanic and African American students do. Caucasian and Asian students completed their programs at similar rates -- 62 percent and 63.2 percent, respectively -- while Hispanic and African American students graduated at rates of 45.8 percent and 38 percent, respectively.
By 2020, an estimated two-thirds of job openings will require postsecondary education or training, something that LSC-Tomball administrators say their newly implemented student success programs will ensure that students are ready for.
“LSC-Tomball is working toward increasing Hispanic student enrollment,” said Dr. Lee Ann Nutt, LSC-Tomball president. “Our focus is to decrease the rate at which first time in college students repeat the lowest levels of developmental education courses. We will accomplish this by increasing training opportunities for faculty and staff with strategic engagement involving community leaders.”
For more information about the SSI, please visit: LoneStar.edu/StudentSuccessInstitute.
For more information about CLASS, please visit: LoneStar.edu/CLASS-Tomball.
Lone Star College-Tomball is located at 30555 Tomball Parkway, at the intersection of SH 249 and Zion Road. For more information about the college, call 281.351.3300 or visit LoneStar.edu/Tomball.
Known for its leadership, innovation and steadfast commitment to student success, Lone Star College provides high-quality academic transfer and workforce education/career training programs to more than 83,000 credit students each semester, and a total enrollment of 95,000 students. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to promote student success and economic prosperity. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., is the chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, which consists of six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.