MHCC Launches Mandatory Class to Help At-risk Students Succeed

Posted: December 5, 2013

Because students sometimes need extra help learning how to manage their studies, Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) is committed to providing the tools they need to succeed.

One such tool will be offered winter term 2014, which begins Jan. 6. MHCC will launch a new, two-credit course, College Success (HD100B), to support students who go on academic probation due to low grades. This offering is part of MHCC’s overall student retention plan, designed to support students through their struggles, and get them back on the track to success.

This new class is for probationary MHCC students who are early in their college career, with 45 or fewer credits earned. Students will be required to take this class in order to register for future classes at the college.

“In this new class, students will gain knowledge and have experiences that are in alignment with national best practices,” says Sharon Juenemann, manager of the Learning Success Center.

Course topics will include time management, financial literacy and budgeting, emotional intelligence, finding motivation to succeed, educational planning and goal-setting, understanding college expectations and designing habits for academic success.

In addition, the class includes high engagement strategies from the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Center. Students will not only learn college success skills, but will make connections with their peers and their instructor through collaborative and inquiry-based learning.

“Research shows that making connections with faculty and peers is key for struggling students,” says Lauren Smith, AVID Center coordinator.

‘Optional’ Doesn’t Always Work for At-risk Students
Currently, the college informs students by letter that they are on probation, and offers them the opportunity to meet with an adviser. However, as Malcolm McCord, faculty counselor and one of the designers of the new class, points out, “Research shows that at-risk students do not respond well to optional measures. Mandatory courses like ours are a national best practice for at-risk students.”

McCord adds that a random sample of probationary students from fall 2012 indicates that none of the students in the sample got off probation the following term, leading them to academic suspension.

“Faculty and other employees from across MHCC’s three campuses are enthusiastic about this opportunity to reach out to struggling students, and offer them the support that they need,” Juenemann says.

“Everyone needs help in life; none of us can do it alone,” adds Celia Carlson, English instructor. “An intervention like this that is thoughtful and positive could be a godsend to some student who perhaps could succeed with a bit of structured assistance and support.”

For more information, please contact Nancy Fisser at

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 Last Modified: 12/5/2013 03:12:56 PM