MHCC’s Phi Theta Kappa Members Work to Increase College Completions

Posted: September 25, 2013

Sule Whitlock

Statistics show the surest way for anyone to land a job in their chosen field is to finish college and earn a degree or certificate.

And that's exactly what students at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) are promising to do –   signing a mass pledge to complete their associate degrees or certificates before leaving community college to transfer to a four-year college or enter the job market. MHCC employees have also been asked to sign the pledge, committing themselves to doing whatever they can to facilitate completion of student credentials.

Students gathered on this first week of fall term on the main mall and by the pond on the Gresham Campus to sign the completion pledge, part of a national community college movement. The event is being hosted by the college’s Rho Theta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Rho Theta members are serving as the student arm of the Community College Completion Challenge, a national education initiative. Learn more at

The next opportunity to pledge will be Sept. 26, 5 - 7 p.m., at the fire pit next to the pond on the Gresham Campus, 26000 Stark St.
In April 2010, leaders of six national organizations representing the nation's 1,200 community colleges signed the Call to Action, a pledge to increase student completion rates by 50 percent over the next decade. Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society was the only student organization asked to participate. Phi Theta Kappa launched the Community College Completion Corps in response to this initiative.

At the 2010 White House Summit for Community Colleges, President Obama called for community colleges to produce an additional five million degrees and certificates in the next 10 years, part of a goal to restore the United States as the world's leader in college graduates. The U.S. is now ranked 16th among industrialized countries in the percentage of citizens holding higher education credentials.

Studies show that students who complete their degrees or certificates will earn an average of $500,000 more over the course of their careers than their peers who did not complete. In addition, individuals with credentials are less likely to become unemployed than their co-workers who did not earn credentials.

According to an Aug. 24, 2011, report from the American Institutes for Research, about 40 percent of students who enter Oregon colleges and universities drop out before earning a degree.

“This is why Rho Theta is committed to helping build retention in students by hosting Signing Days,” says Sule Whitlock, MHCC student and Rho Theta president. “Having students commit to their goals in writing helps motivate the student to take action. Retention is key.

For more information, please contact the Office of College Advancement, 503-491-7204 or

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 Last Modified: 9/25/2013 02:57:28 PM