Dr. Beatty explains goal of increasing student success

HCC Vice Chancellor of Instructional Services Dr. Kimberly Beatty.

HCC Vice Chancellor of Instructional Services Dr. Kimberly Beatty.

Alyssa Foley, Editor in Chief

Houston Community College has the ambitious goal of increasing the rate of students passing their courses with an A, B, or C grade by two percent by May 2017.

The goal is to start “meeting students where they are and doing things differently in the classroom to get them there,” explained HCC Vice Chancellor of Instructional Services Dr. Kimberly Beatty.

She announced the college’s new ‘Wildly Important Goal’ of student course success earlier this year. Since then, steps have been taken toward that goal.

“My philosophy in choosing that Wildly Important Goal was the beginning of getting us—getting the faculty, getting the staff,” Dr. Beatty began, “to start feeling a sense of urgency about what we can do differently to roll up into those higher metrics.”

“I have to engage faculty and the instructional leadership in something that they can own, in something that they can have a piece of, to roll up into those things,” explained Beatty.

One thing that the initiative is not? Grade inflation. “I don’t want it to be interpreted that I’m suggesting that I want you to give A’s, B’s, and C’s to students and that’s going to increase by two percent,” noted Dr. Beatty.

“What do we need to do to meet students where they are to get them from a D or F student, over into an A, B or C student? Because that’s how we measure it,” says Beatty, “my philosophy about this is more holistic.”

The Wildly Important Goal or WIG model is from a book called “The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goal” by Chris McChesney and Sean Covey.

During WIG team sessions, “You have to state your personal commitment of what you’re going to do to move whatever you’ve agreed to do,” explained Dr. Beatty.

“It’s not about grades, except that’s the only metric we have to determine if we’ve reached a goal. But it’s really about how am I going to manage myself, my classroom, the work that we do even here at 3100 [the HCC Administration building], how am I going to manage that differently to have an impact?”

HCC has been a part of the Achieving the Dream network for over 10 years, and has done well with some of the program’s “interventions” such as the college success courses.

However, going forward HCC will be “retooling” its student success agenda and auditing its intervention programs.

The new student experience projects are led by the college presidents. Northwest College President Dr. Zachary Hodges is responsible for streamlining the admissions process; Central College President Dr. William Harmon is responsible for new student orientation; Interim-Southwest President Dr. Madeline Burillo is responsible for career advising; Coleman College President Dr. Phil Nicotera is in charge of early alert; Southeast President Dr. Irene Porcarello is in charge of program adjacency; and Northeast College President Dr. Margaret Ford Fisher is responsible for systemizing learning support.

HCC is also revamping its guided pathways in a collaboration with the University of Houston.

“It started with the idea of the pathways of a student being able to go through a community college and having a clear pathway into a four-year college,” says Dr. Beatty.

Intrusive advising, structured schedules, meta majors, integrated technology, and math alignment will all be, “working together to form pathways so our students can go right into a four-year school,” explained Dr. Beatty.

“Intrusive advising will help guide students, to give them an informed decision,” says Dr. Beatty. Meanwhile, meta majors will help ensure students take courses that align with their degree plan from their first semester at HCC.

Dr. Beatty says that her goal is to make such interventions “inescapable for students.”