Owens Community College Joins State Program to Enhance First Time Community College Student Success
Owens Community College has been chosen along with nine other academic institutions in Ohio to help first-time community college students succeed in their academic and career aspirations as part of the new AmeriCorps College Completion Coaches Initiative.
The AmeriCorps College Completion Coaches Initiative is part of a collaborative effort between the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC), the Ohio College Access Network (OCAN) and ServeOhio (Ohio Commision on Service and Volunteerism).
“In this exciting initiative, we are using the leadership skills of recent community college graduates to provide mentoring and coaching to community college students, many of whom are first-generation college students,” said Dr. Ronald Abrams, President of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, which represents the 23 community colleges in Ohio. “These ‘coaches’ will provide their students with the support needed to create their educational completion plan, and then mentor them through challenges they may encounter as they move ahead through their plan.”
More than 20 recent community college graduates will serve as coaches at 10 Ohio community colleges. Each coach will provide assistance to a cohort of 100 students who are first-time community college students, enrolled in developmental education courses and Pell-eligible. The coaches will be responsible for helping their student cohort in completing their developmental courses and then helping them to enroll in college-level credit courses. Additionally, coaches will serve as a support system for the students and assist them in progressing through their completion plan.
Serving as AmeriCorps College Completion Coaches at Owens are Adam Masters of Bowling Green and Tiffany Steele of Bowling Green. Masters recently earned his associate’s degree from Owens, while Steele obtained both her associate’s and bachelor’s degrees from Bowling Green State University. Masters is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in business management at Bowling Green and Steele is enrolled in the University of Toledo’s master’s degree program in recreational administration.
“Owens Community College is honored to be chosen to participate in the new AmeriCorps College Completion Coaches Initiative,” said Karen Shultz, Owens Manager of Testing Services, who will oversee the College’s AmeriCorps College Completion Coaches Initiative. “This program will provide additional student support service to complement advising, career services, tutoring, classroom instruction and other services on campus.”
She added, “Adam and Tiffany will be working with students individually and through workshops on both the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, as well as at the Learning Center at The Source, to help connect them to services on campus to enhance student success. Often new students can find it difficult to navigate different resources to be successful. The coaches will enable students to navigate for success.”
Ohio community colleges participating in the program include Owens Community College, Columbus State Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, Hocking College, Lakeland Community College, North Central State College, Northwest State Community College, Southern State Community College, Terra Community College and Zane State Community College.
The Ohio Association of Community Colleges and the Ohio College Access Network recently entered into a partnership to develop and implement the AmeriCorps College Completion initiative, combining the expertise and mutual goals of both organizations to make an impact on college success in Ohio. The collaboration received a $287,842 grant for the first year of a three-year grant cycle from ServeOhio, Ohio’s Governor-appointed Commission on Service and Volunteerism, which is focused on addressing Ohio’s critical economic challenges by administering AmeriCorps funding in target areas of education, opportunity, healthy futures, veterans, environmental stewardship and disaster services.