The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Faculty advising to boost student success

By KennEy KosT and Mario Montalvo

TCC has implemented faculty advising districtwide with student success as its top priority.

The first-year focus is new-to-college students.

“The cohort we are dealing with is the first-time college student,” said NE vice president of academic affairs Gary Smith. “We are really trying to help the people who haven’t had any college experience before because what we have found, and it’s not surprising, is that education speaks in its own code and not everyone knows the code, especially first-time students.”

All first-time students will go through the normal advising process. At that time, academic advisors will identify students who are possible candidates for a faculty mentor, Smith said.

“We are starting with Texas Success Initiative-complete students, meaning they require no developmental work, and they know a general area of interest they want to go into, and we pair them with a faculty member from that area,” he said.

Smith said faculty are currently being trained to advise non-TSI students as well.

He understands faculty advising has always existed to some degree at TCC.

“Almost every TCC faculty member mentors to some degree, and we are saying to continue that, but, in addition, we may give them a new student to mentor and advise that they need to pay particular attention to,” he said.

NE counseling director Condoa Parrent said research has shown that having a mentor, along with academic advising, helps students be more grounded and more successful in their particular field of study.

“When we as counselors advise students, we can talk with them about their degree and admission requirements, but there are some things that are career-specific,” she said. “So if we pair them with someone from their field with real experience there, they may know some classes that are not in the degree plan that may be helpful to take or help guide them to a four-year university more suited to their field.”

Other benefits of having a faculty mentor include contacts for internships and scholarships, Parrent said. Also, after students meet with the mentor a few times, they may find that the field or career they have chosen is not for them. They can then make a change without getting too deep into a certain degree plan.

TR director of counseling Louann Schulze, who served on the original district Achieving the Dream committee with Smith, said the group is dedicated to “implementing appreciative advising models, including faculty advising and case management.”

The main goal is to increase student success by finding more ways for them to interact with faculty and other students, Schulze said.

“If students are connected to at least one faculty member, one staff member and one other student, they are more likely to feel connected to TCC and more likely to be successful,” she said. “They know people — people who can help — and faculty mentors serve in this way.”

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