Broward is taking steps forward to ensure students success despite recent budget cuts
Online and Podcast Editor
Broward College is moving forward from their recent budget cuts this past June by implementing a plethora of programs to better serve the majority of the student population.
BC has recently made significant budget cuts that included the closure of the Athletic Department, the Early Childhood Laboratory School, the suspension of operations at Bailey Hall, OMNI and the Planetarium, according to an email from Broward College President, Gregory Haile.
However, one thing is certain– Broward College is continuously seeking ways to add value to not only their students academically– but also socially, physically, emotionally and mentally.
“Students are at the heart of everything we do. Always have been. Always will be.” As per broward.edu/about
The mission statement supports the idea of constantly adding value to their students’ lives as stated On BC’s website, “Our mission at Broward College is transforming students’ lives and enriching our diverse community through academic excellence, innovation, and meaningful career opportunities.”
If you look at the history of Broward College, there is a repetitive theme of innovation and how to serve the surrounded community best.
The college is investing in their students’ lives to ensure academic excellence, innovation, and meaningful career opportunities through the action of implementing the following programs in accordance with President Haile’s email.
Expanding the academic advising department.
There are 63,000 students who call Broward College home. To provide visual context, that means that every single student who attends BC could fill the University of North Carolina’s football stadium at full capacity.
According to Vice Provost Janice Stubbs, the college has added 27 additional academic advisors to better serve the students and their needs.
Advising contributes significantly as students plan their academic future. As students are preparing to transfer, requesting transcripts, planning their courses in advance while investing in their education options and future career, there is an urgent role to serve the students as they move forward to accomplishing their degree.
The academic advising tab on Broward Colleges website states, “The Advising office helps students establish and fulfill their educational and career goals through career research and educational planning.”
Adding embedded tutoring within designated courses.
In efforts to continue to improve the Broward College community, courses with the highest failing rates will have a tutor embedded within the course.
“In terms of embedded tutoring, what we’re going to be doing is having a tutor who will actually be participating in the class so they will attend many of the class sessions, will have specific assignments that they’ll conduct in the class…” VP Stubbs stated.
The infused tutor will not take the role of the professor but will be an appropriate BC faculty that will add value, support and assistance to students within the classroom setting, VP Stubbs described.
According to an email sent by President Gregory Haile, this decision would impact approximately 9,750 students. VP Stubbs explained that the number of sections that will include tutors embedded within specific courses is still being decided.
However, there are hopes that this system will be up and running at the start of the fall semester of session 3, according to VP Stubbs.
“The idea is that they are actually in the classroom so they understand what has been taught, where they are in terms of the progression of the course, [and] the instructors approach…” VP Stubbs specified.
Dr. Marielena DeSanctis, College Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Services, suggests the idea that depending on the class, “each one (tutor experience) will take on its own flavor as the faculty member works with the tutor”.
“The tutors will be credentialed faculty, so they will be primarily our part- time adjunct faculty,” Dr. DeSanctis explained.
In addition to providing students with the extra opportunity for reinforcement and support, Dr. DeSanctis introduced the idea of this being a “mentoring opportunity there for our full-time faculty and our part time faculty, so that together they will probably be giving each other some feedback and just overall improving the quality of the courses and of course the feedback to students.”
Reduce the number of obstacles for student equity, race, ethnicity, income, and age.
In an email sent by President Haile, he states that BC will “Engage in evidence-based work to eliminate barriers to student equity, specifically looking at outcomes by race, ethnicity, income and age.”
The action of providing “enhanced training, tools, and regional collaborations” are being discussed and researched to “improve graduation rates, transfer and job placement for all students,” according to President Haile’s email.
Dr. DeSanctis added onto this idea stating that “…there are a number of targeted approaches that the college has already been working on over the years.”
She explained that “a number of groups within the college that are looking at diversity, equity and inclusion…”
A few examples that Dr. DeSanctis stated that the college includes is the Minority Male Initiative, Summer Seahawk Academy, Peer Mentoring and Leadership Program. While also recognizing that some of the targeted initiatives have had “one-time funding” in the past.
“It’s really hard to build a program with some depth and breath to it, if every year come March you are wondering if you are going to have funding next July,” Dr. DeSanctis emphasized.
“What we were able to do in this Budget prioritization and what we call the Greater Impact Budget is put aside recurring money so that we can continue to fund things that we know that are working, do our homework, look outside of ourselves to other institutions that have made progress in these areas and have the money set aside to do it instead of trying to scramble and piece something together.” Dr. DeSanctis explained
The college is taking the necessary efforts to build these programs on a firm foundation so that they are able to be sustained.
Dr. DeSanctis suggested that Broward is making it a priority to compensate for the money that is needed to ensure that these programs are able to thrive within the community while also looking at the best practices to be successful in this area.
“The idea is really looking at best practices as it relates to even working with some of these populations of students so that we can provide the appropriate support needed in order for them to really be successful, for them to complete the terms successfully and for them to graduate and move on,” VP Stubbs said.
She went on to reiterate the idea that other colleges have seen that specific strategies work better for some students and populations, but that Broward College is committed to performing research on how to be successful and adapt to the strategies that will best suit the population of Broward students.
On campus food pantries.
VP Stubbs gave insight to the addition of food pantries saying, “It’s a foundational year, really, for the food pantry, because we are still securing spaces on the campuses…”
She also said how the college is in the midst of preparing a grant with Florida Blue of about $80-90,000, as well as partnering with Single Stop, Feeding South Florida and Life for Connection.
Dr. DeSanctis would describe the outreach of adding food pantries to each campus as an “expansion of the comfort closet.” The comfort closet– being an idea that students can go to a designated area on campus to gather hygiene products that are needed.
This is a way to ensure that students are not only successful in the classroom setting but that they are able to function at full capacity without being hungry. This outreach opportunity will assist students in another way so that they do not have to worry.
Although there is no set date of when the food pantries will be established on campus, Dr. DeSanctis made sure to reiterate that Broward is still providing students with the opportunity to get “goody” bags filled with hygiene products and snacks that were donated by the Institute of Public Safety and the Social behavioral pathway.
The drive-by opportunities for students will continue during the fall of 2020. More information to come on how/when this option will be in full effect at Broward College campuses.