International Director Addresses Eta Gamma Members
August 15, 2012
Dr. Risley visits with members of the Eta Gamma Chapter.
Officers and members of the Eta Gamma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Coffeyville Community College had the opportunity to meet with the Society’s international Executive Director, Dr. Rod Risley on August 12.
Dr. Risley who is headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, shared with the CCC students information regarding the College Completion Corp to address the United States failing education situation. “The United States used to lead the world in education through such program as the G.I. Bill and the community college system,” said Risley. “In 2012, the U.S. is ranked sixteenth in college education, slipping from number twelve in 2011. The U.S. is twenty-fifth in math skills. Over 600,000 jobs are available in manufacturing as many jobs are returning to the U.S. but the jobs coming back are not the same ones that left; these are high tech jobs and our people aren’t trained. Companies such as Microsoft and Burlington Railroad can’t fill the jobs available because our workers lack the training. How are we going to compete in a global economy if we lack the skills? Currently, 60% of Americans are chasing jobs that only 40% have the skills to fill.”
Dr. Risley also shared with the Eta Gamma members that by 2018, 75% of all jobs will require higher education credentials. Over one-half million more will be earned by a highly trained and educated person with credentials during their lifetime. Research shows that students who transfer from a community college to a four-year university without first receiving their associate’s degree also risk not completing their bachelor’s degree. Dr. Risley believes that time and money are the two leading barriers to college completion. Many community college students are the first from their family to attend college and may require extra tutoring and mentoring. Risley shared the example of a community college student in California who had completed 100 credit hours and still did not have an associate’s degree. Legislators in several states are now promoting performance based funding where a college will receive funding on how well students perform in reaching educational goals.
To address the concern of students not completing their associate’s degree Phi Theta Kappa has developed a college completion program that includes Phi Theta Kappa chapters on two year college campuses taking a completion pledge that is also extended to all campus organizations as well. Faculty members are also encouraged to support the program. College presidents in Nebraska and New Jersey have promoted the college completion program state wide. Dr. Risley shared with the Eta Gamma members that 60% of college students take developmental classes but if a student takes as many as three development courses, they are much less likely to graduate. College readiness is extremely important. College readiness tests are not indicative if the student is really college ready. Dr. Risley also stated that only 30% of college students darken the door of an advisor and that creates a situation of a 700 to 1 student/advisor ratio. Faculty will be encouraged to discuss career pathways with students and what that career pathway will mean. Now certificate programs will be stackable with a bachelor’s degree. Also colleges will be judged on backend results – funding for college will come from what the students have accomplished. Support to students has to be intentional and intrusive; many of the old practices will have to change.
To be an active part of the college completion initiative, members of the local CCC Chapter plan to discuss with area high school students the importance of high school and college completion, provide a mentorship program for incoming students, and have a college completion pledge event for students campus wide. The chapter also hopes to involve faculty and conduct research on local college completion rates.
Attending the meeting with Dr. Risley were Eta Gamma members Kyle Darnell, Caitlin Shepard, Bryn Reid, Evelyne N’Gouan, Notch Diata, Dalton Lockwood, and Aaron Neely.
Caption: Dr. Risley visits with members of the Eta Gamma Chapter.