Dec 7th, 2022
Jackson State Community College (JSCC) is in the process of implementing a pilot plan for Reimagining the Community College Experience – a Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) initiative to improve student success through extensive career exploration, career advising and a workforce-focused certificate in a student’s first semester.
Colleges across the TBR system were invited to design and submit proposals showcasing how the institution would implement key elements of the initiative outlined in a concept paper drafted by TBR’s Office of Policy and Strategy. Eleven colleges submitted proposals and JSCC was named a pilot school along with Pellissippi State, Southwest Tennessee, and Walters State.
“The four proposals selected were bold, comprehensive and best captured the ideas and pillars presented in the concept paper, and each had a thorough and robust approach to implementing the main elements,” TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings said.
During the current academic year, JSCC is refining details and planning for implementation of their pilot before rolling them out to students in the Fall 2023 semester. The college will then have three years to demonstrate success at improving student outcomes before evaluation by the Board of Regents to consider broader implementation. TBR is awarding the 11 colleges a total of $2.2 million in grants to assist in implementing their plans.
“Thinking outside-of-the-box is something I encourage daily here at Jackson State,” JSCC President Dr. George Pimentel said. “Every idea has potential to make progress and I can say that there have been some intriguing ideas presented over the years to take the college to the next level. This funding will allow us to explore those ideas, put them into practice, and make an impact in the lives and careers of our students.”
The framework of JSCC’s pilot plan includes partnering with American Job Center on pre-college career interests; front-load courses in the first semester/year into “career clusters” that lead to a workforce-focused certificate for all first-time freshmen; and redesigning the first-year experience course.
“Knowing the students and the community we serve as a college, we went back to the drawing board asking ourselves ‘how can we better serve every student that walks through our doors?’ which set the foundation of developing our plan,” Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Jennifer Lopes said. “This plan gives students the ability to excel during and after their college career. We want them to enjoy the program they’re going into sooner, rather than later, and ultimately, reinforce their classes with certificates so they can work right away.”
Learn more about the Reimagining the Community College Experience including the concept paper and the key elements in the initiative, are available on the TBR website.