Enhancement of Accessibility and Support to Students
Goal # 2 – Support new students in their transition to Dawson
Faculty and staff who were consulted about student success for the development of the current Student Success Plan expressed a desire to see a more coordinated approach to providing services to students, especially first-year students. Such an approach will emphasize the timely and appropriate delivery of information, orientation, support and guidance, and encourage students to see the inter-connectedness of attitudes, actions and learning.
Analysis of the performance indicators for students who are admitted to a program and already have a college record (cohort B) has shown that in some pre-university and technical programs the retention rates and course success rates in the first semester are below those of new students (cohort A). Students with Secondary V averages under 70%, whether Cohort A or B, have generally had lower course success rates and retention rates. There may be additional reasons that new students have difficulty in their first year.
For indigenous students, retention and graduation rates have been only half of the College average. The new Journeys (Springboard) Program, in combination with the First Peoples Centre’, aims to ease the transition of Indigenous students to Dawson through an adapted curriculum and coordinated support services.
Owing to the College’s space constraints, many new students start by taking Continuing Education courses before transferring to day programs; 70% of Continuing Education students are enrolled in a Springboard to a DEC program. These students may have difficulty in being successful at the beginning of their studies.
About two-thirds of students in Attestation d’études collégiales (AEC) programs were born outside Quebec and about half of them have neither English nor French as a mother tongue. Moreover, about 30% of AEC students begin their programs after not having taken academic courses for six years or more. The overall graduation rate for AEC programs has been comparable to or above the rates for the technical sector.
- Develop a coordinated and integrated approach for delivering services to all new students.
- Examine students’ difficulties in the first year and take measures to help them be successful.
- Enhance the support for students with particular needs.
- Consolidate the support for the First Peoples Centre and its associated initiatives as part of the College’s regular operations.
We will know we have achieved Goal 2 if, by 2021:
- The College has developed a coordinated and integrated approach for delivering services to new students.
- There is an improvement in the success rates of first-year students identified as having difficulties transitioning to the College.
- There is an improvement in retention and graduation rates for students with particular needs.
- The support for the First Peoples’ Centre and its associated initiatives has been consolidated as part of the College’s regular operations.
Goal # 3 – Provide coordinated and accessible services to students
The College recognizes that student success is a shared responsibility and requires collaboration among all members of the community. This shared approach has been a mainstay of the College’s student success plans since 2000. There has also been a substantial increase in the use of services by Regular Day students during the last five years, making a coordinated approach all the more challenging. Enrolments in the credit side of Continuing Education have more than doubled over the past decade, with most students currently taking courses in the Springboard; services to these students have not kept pace with the increase in enrolment.
During the last five years, there was a small increase in the percentage of students using the Academic Skills Centre (11.2%) and the Counselling and Career Development Centre (8%). There was a large increase (58%) in the percentage of students who registered with and used the services of the AccessAbility Centre, from 750 students to 1185 students. There was a 200% increase in the number of exams that require invigilation for students with disabilities. There are many students who also require services but have not been formally assessed and are consequently not eligible for government funding. Among the challenges facing the College is whether or not the numbers of students with disabilities – including physical and learning disabilities and mental health issues – have stabilized or will continue to increase during the next five years and what will be needed to provide appropriate services for students with disabilities whether or not they are officially registered with the Centre.
Regular Day and Continuing Education students who were surveyed during the consultation period for the development of the plan generally appreciated the various services offered by the College, but they also expressed a desire to have greater access to services such as the library, the Academic Skills Centre, counselling, the AccessAbility Centre and advising.
- Promote effective coordination and collaboration among services to students.
- Increase access to services, especially for Continuing Education students.
- Ensure that the services delivered to Continuing Education students are tailored to their needs.
- Leverage the use of technology to improve the effectiveness and accessibility of services.
- Evaluate the services and resources available to students with disabilities and make improvements as appropriate.
We will know we have achieved Goal 3 if, by 2021:
- There is demonstrated coordination and collaboration among services to students.
- There is a high level of student satisfaction with the quality and accessibility of services to students.
- An evaluation of services and resources available to students with disabilities has been completed and an action plan has been developed and implemented to address recommendations from the evaluation.