Back See this section in context: Criterion 3 Core Component 3C
3C.5: Learning Environments Support Underprepared Students
As an open enrollment college, Sauk recognizes that an important part of its Mission is to help community members to become prepared for a college education. These efforts reach out into the community, serve the enrolling population of students, and continue through various support services available to all students. In conjunction with state regulations and grant funding, the college provides services to those for whom the educational system has failed or been inaccessible:
- Literacy service: For almost 25 years, Sauk has hosted Project VITAL, a state grant-funded literacy program that recruits and trains tutors to provide free one-on-one tutoring services to adults who are unable to read at a 9th-grade level. In FY10, Project VITAL had 82 tutors working with 115 students more than 690 hours per month in 60 towns within the 1,625 square mile college district.
- Adult Education: The Adult Education Department utilizes a combination of four state and federal grants to provide Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, and English as a Second Language. The programs strive to make students more employable, more productive community members, and to transition to vocational training or higher education. Over 21% of Sauk's district population over the age of 25 do not have a GED or high school diploma and 6.9% are in need of ESL services, according to the most current data. The Adult Education Department served an average of 340 students per year, with an average of 42% of those receiving ESL services.
- Developmental courses: Sauk applies the term “developmental” to a set of pre-college level courses in which a student may enroll for developmental, rather than college credit. These are clearly designated in the catalog and schedule with a course number lower than 100. Students are placed in these courses in accordance with Sauk’s placement policy. Developmental students often include non-traditional students who need a refresher after years away from the classroom and traditional students who satisfied high school graduation requirements but are not prepared for college-level expectations.
- Academic Development Department: A new Academic Development unit began operating in FY08, which placed a single director over the combined areas of adult education, AmeriCorps, developmental education, Learning Assistance Center (LAC), and Student Needs to provide more coordination among these areas in support of developmental students. The Director of Academic Development has worked with the cross-institutional Developmental Education Committee to undertake improvements in placement policy and tutor training, revise the exit testing from developmental courses, and establish the Testing Center. As the self-study is concluding, an administrative reorganization has re-focused the unit on Project Vital, adult education, the LAC, and coordinating the developmental course curriculum. Data on the effectiveness of the revisions will flow through operational planning processes starting this year.