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|Kapiolani Community College Executive Summary||
In August 2011, Joyce Romano, VP for Student Affairs at Valencia College provided a series of workshops for KCC student services staff about sustaining an organizational culture that motivates staff to pilot promising practices on a large scale in order to achieve deep improvements in the way we support and serve students. Her visit motivated the Student Services Division to embark on a transformation from providing traditional student services to offering a “student experience” with a focus on first year student success, as measured by the completion of 20 credits in their first year of college. A reorganization of counseling services was completed by the Chancellor in 2011 partly based on his desire to grow the number of physical centers throughout the campus where counseling and advising support are provided to students. These Centers where students can receive support from student services personnel are the Veterans Center, Ho`okele Center, Kekaulike Information and Service Center, Kahikoluamea Center, and Malama Center. Other student services offices are co-located in the Iliahi Building for students with disabilities, TRIO/SSS students, and single parents/displaced homemakers. The result is that the college becomes a more personal learning environment for new and continuing students many of whom are intimidated or overwhelmed by college. The Centers are designed to provide students with opportunities to develop a personal relationship with counseling staff who can guide them throughout their academic journey.
At the same time, the student services unit adopted a sharper focus on providing financial planning and educational planning. Although extremely important to students, these services were not as well integrated into our counseling and support services offerings. Data provided through the Achieving the Dream Initiative, Hawaii Graduation Initiative, and the Chancellor’s Completion Agenda pointed out the low percentages of students who actually completed degrees or transferred in the prescribed amount of time. Student services personnel engaged in dialogues that based on a student development model to help students create their pathway through the institution. Tools such as STAR and MyPlan are now being adopted in counseling models to help students navigate their journey from admission to degree completion.
In summary, Kapi`olani Community College’s Student Services Program is transforming to meet the needs of our students by providing physical centers throughout the college where students can access services, by using online tools and in-person services to focus students on their degree completion plan from the beginning of their academic journey at the college, and by engaging with colleagues in academic affairs to work collaboratively on large-scale, promising innovations for student success.