Glen Oaks is the recipient of a $200,000 grant to increase college completion for adult students. The college is one of 12 Michigan community colleges to receive grant funding from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Sixty by 30, Global Detroit and Michigan College Access Network.
“We recognize that our adult students (age 21+) face a unique set of challenges as they pursue their education,” said Tonya Howden, VP of student services. “Many of their challenges stem from family and work obligations, limited finances and lack of time. Often, they are unaware of resources and services that are available to them.”
“Aim to Complete” is an adult degree completion program that provides a more holistic, student-centered, approach to advising. Termed ‘appreciative advising,’ it includes academic planning and support, career services, student financial health, and assistance in meeting basic needs. The advising process involves the practice of asking generative open-ended questions to help students optimize their educational experiences in achieving their goals and potential.
Through comprehensive and ongoing training, GOCC advisors will adopt the ‘Aim to Complete’ framework and become certified to administer and interpret career assessment inventories to help identify a student’s personal style, strengths, and weaknesses and connect them to a career path.
“Appreciative advising techniques help to build relationships, eliminate barriers and provide resources,” said Howden. “Ultimately, the student and advisor will work together to create a concise education and career plan.”
“The grant includes student incentive funds for those who attend and actively engage in career workshops, work with their advisors, and meet certain requirements,” said Howden. “Funding also includes stipends for staff attending the 4-day Appreciative Advising Institute, completing the Appreciative Advising certification, and other professional training requirements as outlined in the grant.”
The grant was written by Howden and Dr. Tammy Russell, executive director of institutional planning, assessment, and research.
Overall, the state awarded $1.5 million in two categories, the Student Success Grant and the Immigration Student Success Grant – both designed to support completion efforts at Michigan Community and Tribal Colleges. The goal is to equip 60% of Michigan’s workforce with a degree or credential by the year 2030.