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MCC is focused on student success and retention

The issues of student success and retention are something on which all colleges across the United States are focused. The goal of retention is to have students remain enrolled from fall to spring semester and from first year to second year. Retention and student success are campus-wide strategic initiatives at Marshalltown Community College (MCC). MCC invests thousands of dollars to attract and recruit potential students, so losing a student prior to graduation is both costly to the college and detrimental for the student who doesn’t achieve his/her educational goals.

While the ultimate student goal is typically graduation, not all students enrolled at MCC (or any other college) attend for that purpose. Our mission at MCC is to provide students with whatever educational opportunities support their motivation for obtaining college credits.

MCC’s approach to student success and retention requires all parts of the institution to place students’ experiences at the forefront of all processes. In particular, MCC focuses on classroom and co-curricular initiatives to support student success and retention.

One of our key initiatives is on academic advising through a one-stop shop philosophy. Academic advising is when students have the opportunity to interact with an adviser regarding their academic progress. MCC assigns all students to an academic adviser who tracks their academic success and financial aid, as well as assisting with career services. Academic advising provides students with the needed connections to various campus services and supplies the crucial academic connections with those services. Students are comfortable with this process because it allows them to meet with one person who is versed in all areas of the campus.

Focus is also placed departmentally each year on setting goals and standards for the upcoming academic calendar. Checkpoints throughout the semester are evaluated to ensure progress toward retention goals. Identified obstacles that prevent a department from meeting goals are addressed and corrected.

MCC has also implemented an “early alert system” to identify students who are struggling in their classes. The alert is sent to the academic adviser, who follows up with the student. This process has allowed academic advisers to connect with students who are struggling and offer resources to improve the student’s success in the classroom.

These three success and retention initiatives are only a few of the strategies MCC uses to retain students. Our goal at MCC is to provide students with resources and personal connections that cultivate academic success.

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Angie Redmond is Dean of Enrollment & Student Life for Marshalltown Community College.