An institutional focus on student learning and attainment : a case study of Tallahassee Community College
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The overarching goals of this study were twofold: first, to learn how community colleges are preparing students to flourish and contribute to a changing and global economy, and second, how they address those students that do not make it through the community college. Within this context, the researcher elected to perform a case study of Tallahassee Community College (TCC), a college identified as focused on improving student success and empowering students to reach their goals; and, committed to sharing data and information across and throughout the institution. To achieve its ultimate goals, this study had four specific purposes. First, it provided an in-depth account of the development and implementation of the organizational vision and student success (learning and attainment) focus at TCC. Second, the study examined how the use of data provided transparency and redirected the focus of TCC. Third, it examined how TCC’s student learning portal is used by students, faculty, staff, administrators, and the board of trustees. Finally, it considered how the findings may inform policy makers, institutional leaders, and researchers about key factors impacting a student success focus. Taken in concert, the study was designed to provide a contextual framework for implementing an organizational vision focused on improving student success. The study is a qualitative research designed case study informed by quantitative data. The study included TCC serving as the unit of analysis for the entire case, and the student learning portal serving as the unit of analysis for an embedded case study. Qualitative methods employed included documents, archival records, interviews, focus groups, and direct observations. Multiple approaches were used to present the case study including a chronology of key historical events and a categorical or topical format based on an inductive analysis of data. Eight themes emerged as contributing to the work of the student success agenda: 1) leadership style of the president and the board relationship, 2) the vision for student success, 3) transparency and open communications, 4) strategic plan, 5) budget, 6) data and information technology, 7) people and development, and 8) sustainability of the shared vision.