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About HCC

Equity & Student Success

Strategy #2: Work with the communities we serve to increase equity.

OBJECTIVE 2.1: Increase student success through a holistic approach addressing underrepresented students' academic and life challenges.

Measurable Outcomes

By 2022, the fall-to-fall retention rate for all first-time, degree-seeking students will increase by 4 percentage points.
By 2022, the fall-to-fall retention rate for FTDS adult students will increase by 4 percentage points.
By 2022, the fall-to-fall retention rate for FTDS students of color will increase by 4 percentage points.
By 2022, the retention rate gap (achievement gap) between first-time degree seeking white students and students of color will decrease by 4 percentage points.
By 2022, the fall-to-fall retention rate for FTDS first generation students will increase by 4 percentage points.

DHE Alignment: Boost College Completion Rates, Close the Achievement Gap, Attract and Graduate More Students from Underserved Populations

Action Items

1. Connect to community based organizations to help students remove barriers to educational and career opportunities (e.g., homelessness, food insecurity, mental health, addiction, childcare, transportation etc.) as informed by the Student Experience Workshop and non-cognitive assessments.

  • A) Year Zero: With the support of the HCC Foundation, the City of Holyoke, Holyoke Housing Authority and others, identify new and enhance existing public-private partnerships to address housing needs of HCC students.
  • B) Years 1-3: With the support of the Western Mass Food Bank, the Gandara Center, the PVTA the City of Holyoke and others, develop new and enhance existing public-private partnerships to address food, addiction, and transportation needs of HCC students. Develop and implement effective methods to refer students to resources throughout the community. Assess childcare needs for HCC students and explore programming that serves the educational needs of early childhood education students, provides low cost, quality childcare for HCC students at the times and under the conditions that they need it.
  • Success looks like: HCC students are connected to a network of service providers that assist with removing barriers to success, leading to increased retention among all student populations.

2. Implement a team-based case management approach to onboarding new students that responds to learner needs throughout the student lifecycle.

  • A) Year Zero: Building on best practices of successful programs and services such as Multicultural Academic Services (MAS), STRIVE*, Thrive*, Office for Students with Disabilities and Deaf Services (OSDDS), Transition to College and Careers (TCC), Foundations of Health (FOH), Undecided option, and workforce training, develop student learning outcomes related to the enrollment process; define team members and roles; develop team training and define expectations; identify technology needs for student tracking method; develop standardized communications to students; develop and implement non-cognitive assessment to identify resource needs; develop "meta-majors" (i.e., grouping of programs under broad areas of interest) at point of application for admission.
  • B) Years 1-3: Implement "meta-major"* selection; implement team-based case management approach; implement method to track students through the enrollment process; implement method to document communication with students across team.
  • Success looks like: Students new to HCC are assigned a support team at the point of admission. This team is responsible for assisting assigned students through the student lifecycle, including major and course selection, financial aid, and referral to appropriate support services. Students receive a personalized approach, feel connected and supported. Admit to enroll yield increases and fall-to fall retention increases.

3. Establish intervention protocol for struggling students (e.g., midterm grades of C or lower, withdraw, not attending class; debt after withdrawal).

  • A) Year Zero: Develop protocol for reporting and responding to struggling students; develop training on the protocol for campus-wide engagement; identify partner to provide train-the-trainer training on trauma-informed response.
  • B) Years 1-3: Pilot intervention protocol for all students with grades of D, F, W, I, by midterm and measure for effectiveness; roll out training for campus wide engagement; implement trauma informed response training* across the college.
  • Success looks like: Intervention protocol implemented throughout academic advising; campus employees are better prepared to support students in crisis.

4. Develop a Universal Design (UD) plan that incorporates facilities, services, classroom, and online learning environments.

  • A) Year Zero: Utilizing the ADA committee, deliver college-wide training on the benefits of Universal Design; evaluate campus buildings for modifications; establish a process for reviewing and updating campus buildings; explore UD's impact on services, classrooms, and online learning environments.
  • B) Years 1-3: Provide ongoing professional development on Universal Design; implement UD principles within each of the areas of facilities, services, classroom and online learning environments; include UD in academic program reviews.
  • Success looks like: HCC's commitment to universal access is evident in all facilities, services, classrooms, and online learning environments; DCAMM recommendations are implemented, future audits result in fewer to no recommendations.

5. Establish a welcoming culture that embraces diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

  • A) Year Zero: Identify training resources around cultural humility, cultural responsiveness, and our status as an HSI; utilize the Healing Racism Institute8 as a resource for HCC faculty and staff; establish campus affinity groups; develop strategies that will create space for cross-cultural, ideological, and social differences to be shared and valued.
  • B) Years 1-3: Establish an Equity Collaborative or Institute with an emphasis on social justice on the HCC campus that includes HCC faculty and staff as well as leaders in the broader community; enhance cultural programming and forums; develop and launch opportunities for HCC campus community to have difficult conversations (e.g., race, intersectionality).
  • Success looks like: HCC becomes a centralized resource, think tank, and change agent for Western Massachusetts regarding equity, inclusion, pluralism, social justice, and cultural humility. Through survey methodology, students express positive views on inclusiveness at HCC.

OBJECTIVE 2.2: Improve college readiness by collaborating with new and existing community-based organizations, local school districts and adult education programs.

Measurable Outcomes 

By 2022, first-time, degree-seeking students requiring developmental math will decrease by 4 percentage points.
By 2022, first-time, degree-seeking students requiring developmental English will decrease by 4 percentage points.

DHE Alignment: Boost College Completion Rates

Action Items

1. Expand access to college-level courses using multiple measures for placement.

  • A) Year Zero: Review and develop standard cut scores for common standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, AP, CLEP, DSST, GED, and HiSET. Review existing and develop new placements based on high school GPA and course grade (e.g. HS. algebra II and HS. English IV); explore curriculum alignment with area high schools to improve college readiness; examine co-requisite remediation and other supported remediation models; educate the campus community on the benefits of supported remediation models; identify faculty, programs, and/or departments who are willing to participate in supported remediation; identify support structures necessary for faculty and students to be successful in this model.
  • B) Years 1-3: Implement placement through multiple measures; implement chosen remediation model and associated support for faculty and students.
  • Success looks like: Multiple measures for placement are fully utilized; decrease in developmental course placement; increase in retention and degree completion rates. Increase the percent of those students who placed into developmental math in the Fall who completed a college level math course within 6 years from 24% to 31%. Increase the percent of those students who placed into developmental English in the Fall who completed a college level English course within 6 years from 41% to 46%.

2. Expand current models in partnership with school districts (K-12) to continue pathway development.

  • A) Year Zero: Identify current K-12 partnerships and evaluate associated data; explore additional options for formalized partnerships (i.e., 100 males to college, mathematics and English curriculum alignment with K-12 curriculum); identify increased revenue generating opportunities with K-12 partners.
  • B) Years 1-3: Develop plan to grow successful program enrollment; scale up dual enrollment programs (e.g. MACEI, Gateway to College, Dual Enrollment) and fund appropriately; implement retention (matriculation) plan for each program; implement college-preparation programming with partner districts; implement additional formalized partnerships.
  • Success looks like: 50% increase in the number of students participating in dual enrollment opportunities; increase in retention (matriculation) rates after high school graduation.

*STRIVE is a federally funded TRiO Student Support Services program designed to assist students who are first-generation, low income, and/or have a documented disability.

Thrive is a one-stop financial success center that offers an array of free services for students and community members who need help managing their finances.

Meta-majors allow students to select a grouping of majors at the point of application. With academic program and career guidance through the enrollment process, the student will make an informed major selection prior to registering for first semester courses.

Trauma Informed Care is an organizational structure and treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. Trauma Informed Care also emphasizes physical, psychological and emotional safety for both consumers and providers, and helps survivors rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.

The Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley works with individuals and organizations to overcome the impact of racism and advance our community and the region's diverse population.