Print

Print


At 12:16 PM 11/9/98 -0600, you wrote:
>As is frequently an issue on many college campuses, our college is
>experiencing the need to significantly cut expenses.  Once again, I need
>to justify the role of our center and justify the cost of keeping it
>open.  We have been an AA degree granting private college, but we have
>added, and plan to add more, BA programs.
>
>I need your help to address the critical assumption made by one key
>individual, who opposes our continuance.  He stated that most colleges
>are closing their learning centers.  He maintains that "good colleges"
>don't need learning centers because they have only good students.  While
>he may be accurate, this isn't my perception.
>
>If you are at a BA degree granting institution, I would like to get a
>few pieces of information from you:
>
>Name of your college:
>Columbia College
>How many years has your center been open:
15-20>
>Is there a movement to close it?  If yes, why?
>Absolutely not!  Most institutions see the effectiveness of learning
centers in maintaining student retention.  Our school just recently
increased admissions standards; I was behind it and pushing this move 100%.
 We haven't seen fewer students at our Center just because we are
recruiting better students.  We are seeing fewer students who have little
hope of making it beyond a few semesters.  We are seeing more students now
than ever.  We focus on every student's needs.  Almost every student will
suffer in one class or area.  We help students do their best.  Most of our
students do better than the class average, and many of our students are
scholarship students and on the Dean's list each semester.  Maybe you could
change your focus.
>Approximately how many students do you serve, in terms of any units of
>measure you use?
In the study skills area, we see about 75 students per semester, with about
425 total contact hours.  The writing tutor sees about the same number of
students, with about half the contact hours.  The math center sees about
three times as many students.  Students from the large university across
town come to our school to take Algebra because, in part, they know they
have such great support at the learning center.  We attract people here and
keep them here.
>
>Do you include tutoring services?
>Yes--study skills and content tutoring for many gen. ed. classes that most
freshmen take; lower level math; writing.  We have tried to move from the
remedial word tutoring to study sessions.  This gets rid of the shame that
some students used to feel about coming here.  This emphasis could help you.
>What differences do you see occurring in terms of usage over the past
>3-5 years?
Dramatic increases, despite higher admissions standards.
>
>What are the other questions I should be asking?
>
>What are other trends of which I should be aware?
Retention is the big word across the US.  Your administration should be
aware of the cost benefits to increasing retention rather than spending
more money on recruiting people who will leave and/or drop out.
>
>Thank you so very much.
>
>Paulette Church
>Waldorf College
>Forest City, IA  50436
>