College of the Canyons has been recognized by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors as a 2015-16 Exemplary Program Award Honorable Mention recipient for its “Accelerate Your Dreams to Reality” project, which is credited with helping improve math course completion rates and enhancing student success.
The award was announced Wednesday by California Community Colleges Board of Governors President Geoffrey L. Baum during the board’s monthly meeting in Sacramento. The project was recognized with a statewide award in late 2015 as well; read news release
“These innovative programs exemplify the best in California community colleges,” Baum said. Honorees were selected based on the implementation of programs that demonstrated an ability to “expand student access and engagement, while closing the achievement gap.”
“It’s a tremendous honor for College of the Canyons to be recognized statewide for our work to support student success, and I applaud the efforts of our faculty who initiated this effort,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, who was in Sacramento to receive the award. “The innovation, effort, and focus that led to the development of our acceleration program is emblematic of the commitment shared by our faculty and staff to doing what’s best for students.”
College of the Canyons was selected based on the continued success of its “Accelerate Your Dreams to Reality” project, in which the college implemented two courses – Math 75 and English 96 – that nearly triple students’ chances of completing college-level courses.
Math 75 prepares students who are not majoring in fields related to science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) to take college-level statistics. It replaces a two-course sequence of basic algebra and intermediate algebra. And, English 96 replaces a two-course sequence that prepares students for the transfer-level curriculum in just one course.
The college’s acceleration efforts currently benefit more than 5,000 students per year and have resulted in one of the most robust offerings of accelerated math and English courses across the state of California. To date, students have saved more than 48,000 weeks of remedial instruction and more than $500,000 in tuition costs for remedial courses that do not count toward earning associate degrees.
The initiative was brought about as part of the statewide California Acceleration Project, which has been recognized nationwide for its efforts to improve student success and completion.
Implementing this innovative approach significantly increased success rates for students overall and dramatically for underrepresented groups. Data for Math 75 show that it more than doubles a student’s chances of completing a transfer-level math course. African-American students taking Math 75 saw a six-fold increase in success.
Meanwhile, students who completed the accelerated English course in preparation for freshman composition had almost twice the success rate and eligibility for English 101 than those who completed the traditional two-course English sequence.
The Exemplary Program Award is sponsored annually by the Foundation for California Community Colleges. Nominees must be able to show the overall success of the program; a contribution to faculty engagement; demonstrate a response to the needs of students, faculty and the college; collaborate with other programs on campus or within the community; provide evidence that demonstrates how the program supports the community college mission; and can be used as models for other community colleges.