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AACC honored for Partnership and Student Success Initiative

5/13/2014, 6 a.m.
Part of the team working on Anne Arundel Community College’s Student Success Initiative are, from left, Tracey L. Lloyd, chair of health technologies; Lorraine Girandola, student success coach; and Claire L. Smith, Ed.D., dean of the School of Health Professions, Wellness and Physical Education. (Courtesy Photo)

Anne Arundel Community College received two top honors at the 2014 Career and Technology Education Awards of Excellence presented by the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Career and College Readiness on April 22, 2014 in Baltimore.

AACC was honored for Outstanding Business Partnerships – Postsecondary through its role as the lead college in the National STEM Consortium and its partnership with Rockwell Collins/ARINC. The National STEM Consortium is an alliance of 10 community colleges in nine states that developed one-year certificate programs in high-demand, STEM-related technologies, including cyber technology, mechatronics, environmental technology, composites and electric vehicle technology. The partners worked together to develop the Cyber Technology program and a STEM Bridge course, both of which are used throughout the STEM consortium.

AACC took the lead for the National STEM Consortium on both the Cyber Technology and the Mechatronics certificates. Both are 30-credit compressed programs that take people with no prior experience and prepare them for entry-level jobs. Graduates of the Cyber Technology certificate are approved for jobs in customer service and technical support. Mechatronics graduates receive hands-on training in electronics, mechanics and computers enabling them to work in a variety of industrial and manufacturing fields.

“The partnership between the National STEM Consortium (NSC) and Rockwell Collins has resulted in the development of innovative, realistic and contextualized workplace activities that are designed to allow students to practice essential workplace skills during their training,” said Susan Gallagher, NSC project director. “The company’s contributions to the cyber curriculum and the STEM Readiness course ensure that the programs are not only responsive to the needs of business, but also reflect workplace realities and provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet employer demands.”

The college also was recognized as the Outstanding Change Agent— Postsecondary for the Student Success Initiative implemented by the School of Health Professions, Wellness and Physical Education to increase graduation rates and improve student retention. Tracey L. Lloyd, chair of health technologies, worked with Lorraine Girandola, student success coach to develop a multi-pronged approach that included individual and group tutoring, study and test-taking strategy classes and peer mentoring and advising. At this point, 465 students have used the services of the Student Success Mentor since 2011, resulting in the increased retention from 80 to 100 percent of the Medical Assisting students; from 62 to 77 percent increased retention for Medical Laboratory Technician degree students; from 76 to 85 percent increased retention for Nursing students and from 85 to 89 percent increase in retention for Physician Assistant students.

“The Student Success Initiative has been instrumental in helping health professions students reach their goals,” Lloyd said. “The student coach has become a part of the Health Professions culture and fostering a team approach to student success and program completion!”