Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9

 

The institution provides appropriate academic support services. (Academic Support Services)

 

COMPLIANCE

 

Narrative:

 

Vernon College provides a wide variety of academic support services that align with the institutions vision to “promote a culture of success for our students and communities through learner centered quality instructional program and exemplary services.”  The College strives to ensure that the needs of students, faculty and staff are met and reviews these needs annually to guarantee their effectiveness and validity.  The College also endeavors to make sure that these support services are continually updated with advancements in technology as well as the expansion of our physical campuses.

 

Vernon College Academic Support Services that target our students include:

 

New Student Group Advising – Every new student is required to attend a New Student Group Advising Session (NSGA). NSGA is a comprehensive orientation program that outlines a student’s responsibilities and opportunities from the student’s initial interest in attending college to completing their education goals. NSGA sessions are presented by a College counselor or the Director of Student Relations. Students are provided printed materials as well as an oral and visual presentation. Sessions are offered at a variety of times. Students unable to attend a session due to physical distance restrictions are provided materials via mail and provided an opportunity to visit with a counselor on the phone or through email. Every student attending NSGA is asked to complete a survey. Survey results are tabulated at the completion of each major registration period and presented to the Dean of Student Services. The NSGA program is reviewed yearly by the College’s counseling staff to update all materials in order to accurately reflect the current programs and publications of Vernon College.

 

Academic AdvisingVernon College offers advising services to all students. Students who are not Texas Success Initiative (TSI) clear according to state guidelines are directed to see one of four Vernon College counselors. Each student who is not TSI clear is provided an Individual Developmental Plan so that they clearly understand the minimum standards of college readiness set by Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Students who are considered TSI clear or students working on a specific technical program may see either a College counselor or a College academic advisor. Vernon College faculty advising fosters a close relationship between students and faculty members who have specific, in depth knowledge of their field.

 

Special Services AccommodationsVernon College offers reasonable accommodations in accordance with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to any qualified student at the Vernon campus and any of the College’s Learning Centers. Documentation of applicable physical, mental or emotional disabilities must be provided to the Director of Special Services. Vernon College also strives to maintain barrier free campuses.

 

PASS CentersVernon College offers Proactive Assistance for Student Success (PASS) Centers to offer free academic support to all of its students. This support may include tutoring, study and time management techniques as well as test taking strategies.

 

Computer Labs Computer facilities are available at all major instructional locations during posted hours.  In addition all libraries and resource centers offer computers with internet access.  Internet connection is also provided for students residing in the student residence centers on the Vernon campus.

 

Academic Progress CorrespondenceVernon College instructors can request that a letter generated from the College’s Counseling Office be sent to a student noting the College’s concern regarding a student’s absenteeism. Instructors can complete and submit midterm semester grades which the Office of Admissions/Registrar uses to generate letters to students notifying them if they are doing poorly in a class and outlining the choices a student has regarding continuation in class.

 

Personal CounselingVernon College Counseling Staff offer brief personal counseling to all students. Counseling staff have been trained to identify mental health issues which cannot be handled in a brief therapy environment and appropriate referrals are made for more intensive intervention. All counselors have access to and have been trained to use a Suicide Risk Assessment, Violent Behavior Assessment and a Community Resource list. The College’s Director of Counseling updates all of these referral tools on a yearly basis and conducts training regarding these issues for all College personnel.

 

Career Counseling Career Counseling helps students learn more about themselves through interest and personality inventories enabling students to clarify and evaluate both career and educational goals. Current job market information is available to help students develop a reasonable strategy for success in reaching both career and educational goals.

 

Employment Opportunity Centers – Students are encouraged to take advantage of the Employment Opportunity Centers which exist for the purpose of helping students obtain employment both while attending Vernon College and after completion of a certificate or degree. The Employment Opportunity Centers are located in the Student Services Offices at all College locations. The Counselors also host a yearly job fair dedicated to helping students and graduates connect with area employers.

 

Testing Centers – Vernon College Testing Centers are located on the Vernon Campus and the Century City Campus in Wichita Falls and are managed by the Testing Coordinator. Testing Centers offer Texas Success Initiative (TSI) approved computerized placement testing using the Accuplacer test. The Testing Centers also offer computerized CLEP, NET, GAP, TEAS testing as well as the GED test. The Testing Centers maintain student friendly flexible hours and testing is by appointment.  The Testing Center also maintains an informative website to answer student questions.

 

Instructional Testing Centers: The Vernon College Instructional Testing Centers provide testing support services for students enrolled in Internet or Hybrid courses offered by the College. The Center’s are designed with the intent to champion instructors in maintaining student integrity in online courses.

 

Library Services: Vernon College has excellent library services that are open to students and to the community. In addition to books, periodicals, and reference materials, the library has public computers available for Internet research. The library web pages include general information regarding policies, hours of operation, and interlibrary loan. Links to a variety of online databases are also included.

 

Distance Learning Website and Support Mechanisms: Distance learning enables students who are geographically remote from Vernon College to take classes without traveling to a College location. Students who live close to a campus but are unable to fit classroom attendance into their schedules also benefit from the College’s Distance Learning Program. The distance learning website provides details to students about the opportunity to take classes via the Internet and through ITV classrooms.

 

Developmental Education: Vernon College offers college preparatory courses in English, Reading, and Mathematics for those students who do not have the skills sets necessary to be successful in college level studies. Students are placed in developmental coursework when standardized placement tests indicate a deficit in one or more areas. There are three levels of instruction offered in each basic skills area in order to meet the student’s current level of functioning and improve his/her skills from that point. The developmental courses provide a firm foundation on which college level skills can be built.

 

Auxiliary Enterprises: Auxiliary enterprises for Academic Support Services at Vernon College include the Residence Halls, Bookstores, Food Services, Student Organizations, Health Clinic, Student Activities, and Security. These services exist for the purpose of providing a comfortable and safe environment to help enrich the academic progress of students.

 

Accessibility of Faculty: Full-time faculty members are required to be on campus a minimum of ten hours per week for conference periods in addition to teaching their scheduled classes. At least two hours of conference time shall be scheduled each day (Monday through Friday) for a total of ten hours per week. Conference hours will be determined by semester teaching assignments and should be scheduled to maximize accessibility for students, with a minimum of ten conference hours posted Monday through Friday. Adjunct faculty are available to their students before and after class or by appointment.

 

Vernon College Academic Support Services that target our faculty and staff include:

 

Adjunct Faculty Orientations: Each fall the institution provides an adjunct orientation session specifically to train adjunct faculty in college policy and procedure. This event helps the adjunct instructor to develop a sense of community with the institution and provides a forum for any questions. During this session, each adjunct faculty member receives a copy of the Vernon College Instructor Handbook. If an adjunct faculty member is hired mid-year, he/she will have a one-on-one session with the appropriate division chair and receive a copy of the handbook for reference.

 

Staff Development: Annually, all Vernon College employees attend and participate in a college wide staff development program that gives our college community the opportunity to address needed training and planning objectives. These staff development opportunities include an address from the College President and Deans as well as covering topics such as campus safety, technology advances, employment and benefit changes, and announcement and explanation of the creation of new programs.

 

Departmental Staff Development: Each Vernon College Dean is charged with departmental staff development as needed. Deans make this an annual event creating an opportunity for departmental specific training on topics such as implementation of new state and federal legislation, new technology, re-examination of the division of duties and student centered support.

 

Off Campus Professional Development Opportunities: Vernon College budgets for and tries to equitably distribute funding for faculty and staff to attend local, state, and national conferences. These travel opportunities ensure that Vernon College does not become stagnant in its approach to not only direct student learning but overall student interaction.

 

College Communications: Vernon College produces a daily email to all employees. These emails remind employees of campus events for students, faculty, and staff. These emails also serve as way to publicly encourage excellence and recognize faculty and staff accomplishments. The College views itself as a member of the larger North Texas community. This daily email also promotes and acknowledges our charitable efforts within the larger Vernon/Wichita Falls community. Vernon College also electronically publishes the Vernon College Insight Newsletter which highlights the efforts of Vernon College’s faculty and staff. The newsletter is mailed to Board Members, donors, and known alumni.

 

Vernon College offers the above listed services with the main goal of a positive student outcome. Appropriateness of resources is determined via measurement and analysis of student responses to surveys and evaluation of changing trends in Vernon College Programs. Evaluations are conducted college wide using the following instruments:

 

·         CCSSE (Community College Survey of Student Engagement)

·         SSI - Student Survey of Instruction

·         New Student Group Advising Survey

·         Academic Progress Correspondence logs

·         Vernon College Housing Survey

·         Vernon College Food Services Survey

 

Documentation

 

1.    Vernon College Student Services Homepage

2.    Vernon College New Student Group Advising Website

3.    New Student Group Advising Booklet

4.    New Student Group Advising Survey results

5.    Texas Success Initiative Information

6.    Individual Developmental Plan

7.    Academic Advisor List

8.    Special Services Accommodations

9.    Proactive Assistance for Student Success (PASS) Centers

10. PASS Services

11. Computer facilities

12. New Beginnings Program

13. Academic Progress Letter

14. Mid-Term Progress Letter

15. Counseling Services

16. Vernon College Library Services

17. Distance Learning website

18. Food Services

19. Vernon College Student Residence Center Homepage

20. Vernon College Security

21. Health Clinic

22. Student Organizations

23. Student Activities

24. Vernon College Instructor Handbook

25. Staff Development

26. Insight Newsletter

27. Vernon College General Catalog

28. Vernon College Student Handbook

29. Vernon College website