IUPUC, Ivy Tech focus on retention, student success

Staff Reports

A new initiative between IUPUC and Ivy Tech Community College is designed to enhance retention and student success in general education courses.

Nearly 40 Ivy Tech and IUPUC faculty, administrators and community leaders gathered at the Columbus Learning Center during a Sept. 29 kickoff event for the Gateway Community of Practice. The initiative focuses on retention and student success in gateway courses, which are general education first-year courses that are prerequisites for degrees and majors.

As part of the initiative, faculty will use best-practice instructional strategies in their gateway courses and then gather and analyze data to assess the impact of the strategies on student engagement and retention. The combined strategies of the instructor-driven and student-delivered approaches will improve retention and increase degree completion at both campuses, according to the universities.

The initiative also promotes the use of supplemental instruction, which provides peer support inside and outside the classroom using trained student leaders, to enhance student engagement.

“The collaboration between these two post-secondary institutions is truly amazing. Through the Gateway Community of Practice, they are sharing more than a campus, they are sharing best practices and expertise to improve student success,” said Kathy Huffman, EcO attainment network manager with the Community Education Coalition in Columbus. “Success in gateway courses is the first step for students on the path to degree completion, which in turn, leads to expanded career opportunities.”

Steven Combs, chancellor of Ivy Tech’s Columbus campus, said the collaboration between both campuses will identify gateway course barriers.

“Ivy Tech Community College has a laser sharp focus to increase college attainment within the EcO region. The Gateway Community of Practice project sharpens that focus even further and identifies the first barriers toward student completion — gateway courses,” Combs said. “After identification of barriers, the teams again work collaboratively to formulate strategies to ensure student success.

“Finally, a sharing of best practices across all disciplines will increase student retention and completion. It is the type of community collaboration that can affect change and develop our workforce,” Combs said.