DSCC begins New First Year Experience program | News
What begins well ends well. During a time of rising college costs and higher expectations of college graduates, the Dyersburg State Community College faculty and staff are taking this old saying to heart through the new Focus program.
Over the past six months, DSCC Associate Professor of English Andrea Franckowiak, Counselor Karen Rutledge, and the DSCC Complete College Academy Team made up of President Karen Bowyer, Vice President Mary Ann Sellars, Assistant Vice President Kay Patterson, Assistant Vice President J. Dan Gullett, Associate Professor of English Linda Weeks, and Mathematics Instructor Devalyn Reynolds, have been researching what it takes to get students entering DSCC off to the best start possible. This past January and again in April, the entire DSCC faculty and staff participated in a review and brainstorming session to review the proposed new student orientation process called FOCUS: The DSCC First Year Experience Program.
“All the data and research over the last 25 years show that a first year experience program can positively impact new students’ success rates and make a difference in retention. DSCC wants to do everything in our power to help our students succeed and cross the stage at graduation,” commented Andrea Franckowiak, the newly appointed Coordinator of New Orientation/Pre-term Skill Builder Program.
There are five major parts to the DSCC FOCUS program: First Things First, Open House, Course Orientation 1010, Unleash Success and Steps toward Success
Students start with First Things First. A Getting Started checklist for those who plan to attend DSCC has been prepared. When new students register for fall classes, they may also register for a summer FOCUS session--orientation sessions that cover information critical to students’ success. “Students will discover the FOCUS session is an informative, anxiety-relieving fun time” points out Dr. Karen Rutledge, coordinator of these sessions. Helpful tips and door prizes will be given during each session.
DSCC Open Houses, held prior to the start of the semester, are the second part of the program. Students will meet instructors, find classrooms, attend helpful workshops, and enjoy music and food while meeting returning students and learn about student life and student organizations. These events are designed to help new students have a stress-free start to college. Currently, Fall Open Houses are scheduled for August 14 on main campus, August 15 at the GCC, and August 16 at the JNC.
A special orientation course for new students is the third part of the program. When freshman Tiana Cohill was asked her thoughts about ORN 1010, a course she just completed, her response was, “It not only helped me with school, but it helped me in my life all together.” Orientation 1010 (ORN 1010) has been developed to help students master the skills needed to succeed in college. Topics that will be covered over the 15-weeksession include goal setting and time management, motivation and attitude, note taking, memory techniques, study and test taking skills, critical and creative thinking along with problem solving and communication skills, technology use, career choices and stress management.
The fourth part of the FOCUS program is for those students who want to prepare for their courses before the fall semester begins. These students are provided with opportunities to unleash their success through a special Summer Skill Building program that offers free access to Grade Results software and tutoring. Once students are shown how to access these resources, they can begin to strengthen their skills at home or in our Writing Centers on main campus or the JNC. In addition, challenge tests that determine course placement in reading, writing and mathematics will be offered in early August, prior to the start of classes.
In addition, traditional summer courses in mathematics and learning communities for reading and writing are being offered in June and July at both the Dyersburg campus and at the DSCC Jimmy Naifeh Center in Tipton County.
Lastly, students will find out the steps they can continue to take toward success once classes begin. They will learn when, how, and whom to ask for help.
Students who participate in FOCUS will receive special handbooks and planners. Information about DSCC FOCUS is available on the college web site, at the DSCC One Stop Center at all locations (the Dyersburg campus Student Center, the main desks at the DSCC Jimmy Naifeh Center at Tipton County and the DSCC Gibson County Center). For more information, please contact Andrea Franckowiak at 731-286-3375 or firstname.lastname@example.org.