Letter to Faculty & Staff from Richard Zollinger


August 2014

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back! Summer weeks pass so quickly. Many of you taught during the summer term; some of you were in and out helping with various administrative and advising duties; some had time away from campus, but I hope you all found moments of relaxation and renewal. I am always glad for the start of the academic year. The energy and excitement of starting a new semester is especially keen this fall with a number of initiatives aimed at helping our students succeed! Debbie and I look forward to visiting each campus soon to continue our conversations with you about these initiatives. But let’s begin the conversation now with a brief overview.

Online Student Profile (OSP) Notes/STAR (Success Through Academic Reporting)

The goal of the STAR program is to improve the success of students through enhanced student support and ongoing strategic communication. Beginning this fall, all first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students will receive specialized updates and reminders that are especially pertinent to first-year students. In addition, faculty will submit STAR alerts through OSP for students at two critical points in the semester – within the first three weeks and by the mid-term of 16-week classes – notifying students of their course progress. All CPCC students will receive STAR alerts, but first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students who receive two or more unsatisfactory STAR mid-term alerts will be required to utilize a campus resource recommended specifically for them based on the observations reported in their STAR alerts. Training is available in LearnerWeb. Please register for QEP/STAR: Lighting the Path to Success.

Enhanced Advising/MAP

Beginning fall 2014, the College will start utilizing the MAP (My Academic Plan) student tool in a more robust manner. MAPs will display for students a semester-by-semester course sequence and serve as a roadmap toward completion. These degree program templates create a blueprint for faculty advisors and Counseling and Academic Advising staff to build from when creating a student’s individualized academic plan.

MAP is designed to do the following:

  • Help students stay on track by clearly documenting the required course choices in a student’s program of study so that students enroll in appropriate courses.
  • Help demystify pre-requisites, course sequences, and degree requirements for students.
  • Help both students and their faculty advisors monitor progress along the student’s educational route. A student’s MAP will help ensure that college completion is a goal that he/she can clearly visualize.

Individual MAPS will be initially created for students who are first time in college entering this fall. Students will be able to access their MAP from our Schedule Builder tool.

Faculty, once they have completed the online training module, will also be able to access their advisees’ MAPs. Professional development sessions for faculty on the MAP tool will be offered beginning in August.

Summary of CBD Schools’ Initiatives

A nonprofit research center has recently published a white paper summarizing how five Completion by Design (CBD) schools, including CPCC, organize their efforts to pursue systemic change in student success and completion. The white paper discusses eight factors that make the systemic changes necessary for student success/completion more likely. Let me share just a few of those and my thoughts on our progress:

  • Communication and Engagement: Clear, open communication that flows from leadership to faculty and staff and from faculty and staff to leadership is essential for any initiative to be successful.
      • We’re making good progress, but we can always improve. In fact, this was one of several themes discussed at my retreat this summer with leadership from the Learning Unit. I can assure you that we came away dedicated to clear, open communication. Help us by channeling up the communication!
      • Incentives:  Incentives are a key way to induce individuals to change.
        • Financial incentives are difficult to come by given our current budget. However, stipends have been used, in some instances funded by grants. Additionally, completion-oriented committee assignments have been used to fulfill part of job duties. Ultimately, we want all employees in the Learning Unit to know and understand their part in student success and retention. This provides an incentive to do our best every day. I see this in action as I meet with you and observe across campuses!
      • Professional Development:  Colleges need to provide faculty and staff with opportunities to acquire new skills needed to do their work effectively and confidently.
        • Professional development can also help staff members understand the “whys” as well as the “hows” of new procedures and policies. CPCC has an excellent Professional Development team. Many of you provide training as part of your roles as well. If there is training you need or see a need for, please contact the Professional Development area and make that suggestion.


      Evidence of Student Learning

      Over the past year, faculty have been heavily involved in strengthening processes to show evidence of student learning. As a result of your hard work, we see assignments and assessments more clearly linked to student learning outcomes. In addition, with the new program review process, we are seeing the intentional alignment of assignments, assessments, and courses to program-level student learning outcomes. This progress in our evidence of student learning has come about because of your hard work and is an important part of student success at CPCC.

      Online Courses

      The common course navigational template, which provides a consistent learning environment within the online platform, was rolled out during the 2013-2014 academic year. Data are clear that this kind of consistency offers a foundation for success. Students can focus on course content rather than spending time learning to navigate each new online course. We have established high standards for our courses. In many cases we have common learning outcomes, assignments, and assessments which allow us to better measure student success. I know that CPCC instructors want the best learning experience for their students, and I appreciate everything you do.

      Campus Conversations

      This spring Debbie and I were pleased to get out to all campuses and discuss the many initiatives impacting our students, faculty, and staff. My goal in these conversations is to share as much information as possible with you, the people who most significantly impact student learning. I also wanted your input on how we can make these initiatives work at CPCC. During the campus conversations, it became apparent that there were more questions than we had time to address. Therefore, I have pulled together a few resources that will provide more detail about some of the important initiatives that we are undertaking. I hope that these resources help you better understand some of the forces that are influencing our work with students and the way we hold ourselves accountable. You may visit the Campus Conversations webpage at: http://www.cpcc.edu/learning/featured-updates/campus-conversations.

      As I mentioned in the introduction, Debbie and I plan to be back out at your campus to continue the conversations. Meanwhile, feel free to contact either of us with questions or feedback.

      Remember Hans und Vreneli, the two Swiss frogs from my May 1 newsletter? Because Vreneli stayed calm in a new and somewhat frightening situation, she was able to survive and, I’m glad to tell you, thrive! Let’s all work to thrive with our students this 2014-2015 academic year!

      Debbie and I will see you soon!

      Faculty committees, directors, and deans have done an outstanding job of recruiting and hiring over the past weeks. We are impressed with the enthusiasm the new hires bring to the Learning Unit. Many of the new hires will participate in a number of orientation activities throughout the year to acclimate them to CPCC.

      Hired September 1, 2013 – July 31, 2014

      New Hires

      Position Title Employee's Name Department
      Administrative Assistant I, Dental Assisting DeCora Dean Health Sciences
      Administrative Assistant II Kimberly Amory ACA, English & Humanities
      Associate Dean Michael Hogan STEM
      Coordinator Mia Mallory Workplace Learning
      Corporate Training Advisor Wayne Hall CCE
      Course Management Specialist Quintina Utley Instructional Course Management
      Course Management Specialist Katie Davis Course Management
      Curriculum Coach Stephen Rice Engineering & Information Technology
      Curriculum Coach, Math Elaine Slattum College & Career Readiness
      Curriculum Coach, Reading & Writing Amelia Likin College & Career Readiness
      Customer Service Representative Janelle Young CCE
      Customer Service Representative Kimberly Otto CCE
      Division Director Alan Yamamoto Arts: Visual, Performing & Interior Design
      Events Outreach Coordinator Stacey Harris Arts: Visual, Performing & Interior Design
      Instructional Developer II Carie Whitehead Professiona Development
      Instructional Lab Facilitator, ESL Hoa Nguyen College & Career Readiness
      Instructional Lab Facilitator, ESL Monica Veckruise College & Career Readiness
      Instructional Lab Facilitator, Foundational Denise McCall College & Career Readiness
      Instructional Office Assistant Nikki Johnson Construction Technologies
      Instructional Office Assistant Jeanette Hentze Professional Careers
      Instructional Office Assistant Roslyn Meredith Early Childhood Education
      Instructional Office Assistant Cara Furr Medical Careers & Cosmetology
      Instructor, Advertising & Graphic Design Ellen Ward Applied Technologies
      Instructor, Computer Integrated Machining Tech John Muhlbach Engineering Technologies
      Instructor, Cosmetology Trina Davis Medical Careers & Cosmetology
      Instructor, Cosmetology Brenda France Medical Careers & Cosmetology
      Instructor, Developmental English/Reading Heidi Giffin ACA, English & Humanities
      Instructor, Early Childhood Harriette Dudley Early Childhood Education
      Instructor, Electrical Engineering Technology Adam Harris Engineering Technologies
      Instructor, Mathematics Ryan Bean Mathematics
      Instructor, Medical Assisting Melanie Moore Health Sciences
      Instructor, Nursing Colleen Russell Nursing Education
      Instructor, Nursing Assistant Marilyn Bean Health & Human Services
      Instructor, Nursing Assistant Devon Reeves Health & Human Services
      Instructor, Pharmacy Technology Karen Garner Medical Careers & Cosmetology
      Instructor, Physical Therapist Assistant Kojuanda Carrington Health Sciences
      Librarian Senior Cheryl Coyle Library Services
      Program Assistant Theresa Steinberg Professional Development
      Program Assistant Sharon Green CCE
      Program Coordinator Jennifer Moe CCE
      Program Coordinator Jasmine Hines Construction Technologies
      Program Coordinator Jill Morin College & Career Readiness
      Program Developer Emily Johnson CCE
      STAR Student Success Coach Terrence Strickland QEP

      Employees On The Move

      Position Title Employee's Name Department
      Academic Advisor Sondra Hines College and Career Readiness
      Associate Dean James Fisher-Davis Merancas Campus
      Course Management Supervisor Shannon Utley Instructional Course Management
      Director, Campus Administration Catalina Ramirez Levine Campus
      Division Director James Leary Engineering Technology
      Division Director Rinav Mehta Mathematics
      Division Director Steve Scott Information Technology
      Division Director William Kennedy Public Safety

      Kind regards,

      Richard Zollinger

      Vice President for Learning & Workforce Development
      Central Piedmont Community College