Connecticut community college faculty and administrators came to Naugatuck Valley Community College on Sept. 23 to hear Vincent Tinto, Ph.D., a distinguished Syracuse University professor and former chair of the Higher Education Program, share best practices for helping students graduate.
In his most recently published work, “Completing College,” Dr. Tinto offers extensive research in response to the national call for innovative student retention. As described by the book’s publisher (The Chicago Press), Dr. Tinto “points to the classroom as the center of student education and life, and therefore the primary target for institutional action.” According to his model, students succeed best when there are clear and high expectations, adequate support structures, consistent feedback and assessment and engagement within and outside the classroom.
“We're learning about how to help students learn all the time,” said Dr. Tinto. “Students have to feel like their voices matter. The more frequently they make meaningful contact with other students, faculty and staff the more likely they are to succeed.”
Coming off of a highly successful Strategic Plan 2010-2013, NVCC’s graduation rate for first-time, full-time students increased 100%, certificate awards rose 457%, and total awards have reached more than 1,000 two years in a row – a Connecticut Community College record. Student retention also increased 7% for first-time, full-time students and 10% for part-time students during the same time.
While significant improvements have been made, the College is eager to find new ways to grow according to President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D.
“Dr. Tinto’s research speaks so much to the mission of this College and the ways in which we are always creatively working to improve student success,” said President De Filippis. “Dr. Tinto’s visit is our first ‘next step’ toward becoming a nationally competitive community college.”