GOCC faculty and staff look on to Dr. Downing's consultation.

International consultant shares success strategies with GOCC faculty and staff

Dr. Skip DowningGlen Oaks faculty and staff took on the role of students as the college welcomed Dr. Skip Downing to
campus in mid-May for a special workshop focused on student success and retention. Downing, founder
of On Course, is an international consultant in the field of faculty development and student success
strategies. His textbook, “On Course: Strategies for Creating Success in College and in Life,” is used in
student success courses, First Year Experience programs and college writing courses at more than 500
colleges and universities.

“Both two- and four-year colleges tend to lose a significant population of students each year,” said Sarah
Simmons, chemistry instructor, who has taken a lead role in heading up the focus on student success
and retention at the college. “Most students are perfectly capable of achieving academic success. The
workshop offered strategies to help instructors better engage and empower students. Our overall goal is
to increase retention, persistence and graduation rates.”

“Not unlike community colleges across the nation, greater than half of new students entering Glen Oaks
need additional preparation in order to be successful in college-level reading, writing, and/or math,”
said Tammy Russell, director of institutional effectiveness and research. “Without additional support,
these students are at much greater risk for leaving college without earning a degree. Attributing their
success to the On Course principles, colleges and universities across the country have experienced
double-digit increases in student retention and persistence.”

Downing has dedicated his career to student success. He shared his experiences and best practices
during the workshop. Forty members of the faculty and staff participated in the session in preparation
for a new College and Life Strategies course which will be required this fall for new students whose
placement scores suggest the need for additional support.