Catching Up with the 2021 Beacon Award Winners
Each fall, NWCCU presents the Beacon Award to three institutions for their institutional or programmatic accomplishments in student achievement and success. Award winners must demonstrate distinctive, measurable, and replicable innovations that have resulted in student achievement and success at the institutional or programmatic level, including innovations in advising and mentoring, alternative credentialing, experiential learning, learning communities, or other such efforts. Other winning examples may include new curricula, courses, or educational delivery models. The Beacon Award recognizes innovative approaches that have significantly contributed to measurable improvements in completion and/or graduation rates at the institution.
Below is an update from last year’s winners. Linfield University, Clover Park Technical College, and the College of Southern Nevada share their experiences and provide updates on their award-winning achievements.
Thanks to the funding associated with the award, Linfield was able to use the funds in support of programming for the Linfield First Scholars Program. One of the priority areas for our program is to strengthen relationship-building between students, something the pandemic has greatly impacted. As such, throughout the spring semester we hosted monthly meetings and student meetups, including an end of the year BBQ for first generation students and an induction ceremony for the 2022 class of Alpha Alpha Alpha, Oregon’s only first-generation honor society.
Clover Park Technical College (CPTC) received the prestigious Beacon Award in 2021 for its comprehensive math instruction reform effort. Since then, the college continues to develop and expand its co-requisite math course offerings. We now regularly offer six different co-requisite math classes and are ready to eliminate two remedial math courses. Over the past year, we have also reduced the overall credit hours of the co-requisite math classes, so that they are more affordable for our students. Partnering with the Learning Resource Center, the math department has piloted embedded tutoring in its co-requisite Introduction to Statistics class, and received positive feedback from both faculty and students. We are in the process of formalizing and expanding this approach in other math classes. It is encouraging to see that our one-year college-level math completion rate continues to increase as a result. Additionally, since receiving the award, math faculty and the instructional dean have been invited to discuss CPTC’s math redesign project with several other technical colleges in the state of Washington. We are honored and excited to share our learning with the other colleges, and we hope that our insights can assist them in their pursuit of a more equitable and successful approach in math education.
The College of Southern Nevada has continued our proven student support efforts in our Centers for Academic Success.
Supplemental Instruction and Embedded Tutoring
To begin, we expanded student and faculty access to our supplemental instruction (SI) model in biology and chemistry. Additionally, we are discussing the development of a required SI program for first-semester math courses. Another best practice for which CSN was recognized by NWCCU’s Beacon Award involved our embedded tutoring program. CSN expanded our embedded tutoring initiative into Computer Information Technology courses, an academic program that is completely online.
Additionally, CSN created a Centers for Academic Success (CAS) Symposium last spring. The CAS team invited learning support staff from CSN, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Nevada State College to submit proposals for the CAS Symposium, which was titled Getting Back to Tutoring after COVID-19: A Collaborative Process. The conference was a two-day event that included two keynotes, a variety of breakout sessions, and a poster session.
Finally, using the Beacon Award funding, the CAS team implemented a new initiative called TutorChat. CSN purchased Springshare, the live chat used by the CSN Libraries, to offer online tutoring services. TutorChat is to be launched Fall 2022 and will be accessible in in the First Year Experience online environment and all course shells in Canvas. CAS and the libraries can transfer students to each other for more comprehensive support, and with Zoom and Teams integration, live sessions may occur.
CSN is proud to have been recognized by NWCCU for its work to ensure that CSN’s students and communities are empowered to achieve, succeed, and prosper!