New Horizons 2017: A Focus on Student Success

New Horizons 2017 Featured Art

While every New Horizons has its share of laughter and tears, 2017 proved to be an extra special year. As budgets shrink and the pressure to do more with less weighs upon all of us, this post will share some takeaways, challenges and triumphs that emerged as the VCCS came together for the largest event of the year.

Student Success is Key

From the plenary sessions on student success competing for the “Excellence in Education” award to sessions on pedagogical innovation, the resounding theme was clear: we must help students complete a credential. The big winners were Patrick Henry CC, Eastern Shore CC and Paul D Camp CC. Each of these colleges made a substantial business process change and/or leveraged technology to better meet the needs of their students.  To learn more about these initiatives and the Virginia Integrated Program of Planning and Advising for Student Success (VIP-PASS), please visit The Resource Center.

Learning Management Systems Show Us the Future 

As a part of the learning management system (LMS) needs assessment, Blackboard, D2L, Instructure Canvas and Schoology provided hands on demonstration sessions and presented to system leadership about their visions for how the LMS supports student success. 30% of New Horizon attendees participated in 9 sessions over 2 days.

OER and Course Material Affordability Remain a Priority

More than 10 concurrent sessions focused on open educational resources, open education or strategic ways to lower the cost of college for students. Priorities for the system for the next year will include making long-term repository plans, increasing collaboration among colleges when creating and adopting open materials and focusing on both degree pathways and high-enrolled courses to create the biggest impact for students.

Passionate Instructors Brought Us to Tears

Whether it was Isi Kessel from Thomas Nelson Community College accepting his Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence or Erin Gruwell discussing her time as a high school English teacher and her novel Freedom Writers, there was not a dry eye in the audience.

Professional Development Continues 

For those looking to continue conversations about teaching and learning, another mini professional development course, Pondering Pedagogy: Hybrid v. Flipped begins June 12, 2017. Registration is open until June 5th. Click here for a course description and online registration. The Office of Professional Development also offers programs and opportunities year round.

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