May 2, 2013
Northwest Vista College News
History Discipline Identifies Opportunities for Improvement
The leaders of the History discipline recently reported on student success data including retention, success, and cross the curriculum measures for student learning outcomes such as writing and critical thinking skills. The presentation to the NVC Executive Team is part of the College wide commitment to examining results, celebrating successes, and developing steps to address gaps.
History discipline success rates compare favorably with the NVC overall student success rates at 73% in fall 2011 compared to 76.1% for all NVC students. Spring success rates are also aligned with the NVC overall student success rate of 74.7% vs. the history rate of 74.0%. To keep success rates strong, the discipline has implemented mentoring of adjunct instructors on a consistent basis and workshops to share effective instructional strategies. Internet and hybrid course success rates are below 50% and are the subject of improvement efforts. These include new distance learning curriculum templates and online class evaluations. History retention rates also closely mirror the rates for the college: 90.8% for NVC in fall 2011 vs. 91.0% for History; spring follow a similar pattern with NVC overall retention at 89.9% and history at 89.0%.
The discipline has focused on cross the curriculum learning outcomes since the outset of the College. History courses include a minimum of five essays that require students to construct arguments using information drawn from primary sources. In addition, History classes typically have five to eight critical thinking assignments that use a collaborative process during classtime. At the end of the semester the discipline reviews and analyzes writing assessments to determine if students are using critical thinking methods, effective writing approaches and reflecting social and personal responsibility learning outcomes. Recent years have shown a steady upward trend in student performance in the cross the curriculum topics.
NVC Earth Day 2013
To support and enhance the natural environment of the NVC campus NVC has hosted an Earth Day celebration for more than ten years. At the opening ceremony for this year’s celebration, NVC announced plans to attain Tree Campus USA designation. This national program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and administered locally by the Texas Forest Service. The program recognizes campuses that effectively manage their trees, develop connectivity with the community to foster healthy urban forests and strive to engage students in service-learning forestry projects. The goal is to become one of the few college campuses in Texas that meets the program standards. Future campus initiatives to support this program will involve faculty, staff and students.
Several other initiatives were announced at the opening day ceremony:
• Recycling rechargeable batteries – Six locations throughout the campus have become sites at which students and employees can recycle rechargeable batteries that no longer hold a charge. This program is free for the participating organization thanks to a fee paid by the battery manufacturers. The program supports reuse and avoids unnecessary environmental contamination.
• Water bottle filling station – A new personal water bottle filling station has been installed in Huisache Hall as part of a regular water drinking fountain. Students and employees can fill a reusable water bottle with cold filtered water instead of purchasing bottled water. It is estimated by the Container Recycling Institute that more than 29.8 billion plastic water bottles are purchased annually, 80% of which end up in the landfill rather than being recycled. If this filling station operates well, NVC will install others on campus. The goal is to help reduce the number of plastic water bottles purchased on our campus.
Following the opening ceremony, the annual Earth Day planting had students, faculty and staff working side by side to beautify the campus. This year we planted a Redbud tree near Palmetto Hall and worked on gardens next to Live Oak Hall. Other events included nature walks, booths by area recycling, gardening and sustainability organizations, and a presentation of an environmental movie.
back to weekly news homepage