CLINTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE (NY)

Clinton Community College is a small, rural community college in the North Country of New York. We have taught some version of our current course, Foundations for College Success, utilizing the On Course textbook since 2008. The Criminal Justice Department decided to make Foundations a required course. The Fall 2011 entering class of criminal justice students was the first cohort that was required to take Foundations for College Success, a 3-credit course as part of the degree program.  Following is the course description, “This course is designed to assist the student in obtaining the skills, services and self-awareness needed to reach his/her educational and life objectives.  Topics include self-assessment, CCC student services and resources, goal setting, self-management, cultural awareness, study strategies and, critical thinking.”

In the fall of 2011, the Criminal Justice department only had one degree, an AAS in Criminal Justice.  Beginning in the fall of 2012, a transfer degree was added, an AA in Criminal Justice. The Center for Community College Student Engagement has identified 13 high-impact practices for community colleges, and the premise is that the more of them that are integrated into the college culture, the greater the retention and graduation of students. 

The Criminal Justice programs are unique in that the three fulltime faculty are actively involved in several high-impact areas:  orientation, academic goal setting and planning, and a first-year seminar.  The fulltime faculty members are academic advisors for the vast majority of criminal justice students, carrying approximately 50 advisees each.  This affords the ability to assist students in planning their academic careers while fostering a solid connection with the faculty.  Further since 2006, the Criminal Justice faculty has conducted a program-specific orientation for criminal justice students that is in conjunction with the broader college orientation that is conducted by the Counseling and Advisement Office. And finally, two of the fulltime faculty have been instructors of the Foundation for College Success course every semester since fall of 2011.  A number of these sections have been “criminal justice only” sections.

The above is significant when looking at the data that have been gathered over the past five years of the program requirement.  While the study does not specifically control for other factors, some of the factors, such as orientation, academic goal setting and planning and connection with faculty have remained constant for at least five years prior to the 2011 cohort, and since that time as well. 

We chose to look at only new, first-time, fulltime students in the two criminal justice degree programs for the data on 1-year retention rates and 3-year graduation rates. We compared the incoming cohort beginning in 2011 with the cohorts from the two years before the requirement (2009 and 2010).

The final charts are looking at new, first-time, fulltime students who took Foundations (regardless of major) and comparing that data on retention and graduation rates with those who did not take Foundations.



CJ MAJORS—NEW, FIRST TIME, FULLTIME 1-YEAR RETENTION RATES

Pre-FCS

 

Fall 2009-Fall 2010

43% (33/76)

Fall 2010-Fall 2011

39% (25/66)

Post-FCS

 

Fall 2011-Fall 2012

54% (41/76)

Fall 2012-Fall 2013

53% (39/74)

Fall 2013-Fall 2014

73% (46/63)

Fall 2014-Fall 2015

61% (28/46)

Fall 2015-Fall 2016

63% (24/38)

 

CJ MAJORS—NEW, FIRST TIME, FULLTIME GRADUATION RATES

 

3-YR GRADUATION RATE

 

CJ

College-wide

Pre-FCS

 

 

Beginning Fall 2009

17% (13/76)

Beginning Fall 2010

15% (10/66)

Post-FCS

 

 

Beginning Fall 2011

32% (24/76)

29%

Beginning Fall 2012

27% (20/74)

29%

Beginning Fall 2013

40% (25/63)

32%

Beginning Fall 2014

 

 

 

FCS V. NO FCS, NEW, FIRST TIME, FULLTIME 1-YEAR RETENTION RATES

 

TAKING FCS

*NOT TAKING FCS

Fall 2010-Fall 2011

54% (7/13)

48% (260/542)

Fall 2011-Fall 2012

54% (63/116)

51% (216/420)

Fall 2012-Fall 2013

58% (80/137)

49% (166/336)

Fall 2013-Fall 2014

62% (50/81)

58% (219/294)

Fall 2014-Fall 2015

68% (52/76)

57% (159/277)

Fall 2015-Fall 2016

62% (55/89)

58% (144/248)

*NOTE when looking at the above comparisons, the following information is important. Advisors encourage students to take Foundations if they place into any of the developmental courses, and a large percentage do take the course. Therefore the FCS cohort is more heavily populated with students who historically are not retained at a very high rate. The fact that they are not in the large cohort who did not take Foundations, has the potential to skew the data. Currently, we are gathering data on those in developmental courses, comparing those who took Foundations with those who did not, but that data is not yet available.