Equity and Accessibility
Proving Success Is Possible for All
As RCC’s Assistant Dean of Athletics, some of the greatest victories I’ve seen have involved watching student-athletes achieve their academic goals, and then go on to become engaged and empowered members of their communities. One of the most rewarding aspects of working in higher education is getting to witness the profound impact our programs have on our student’s individual growth and continued success.
Though our mission statements vary, all community colleges have the same goal: we want everyone who wants a college education to succeed at our institutions. Regardless of their position, community college employees work to ensure that all students are successful.
We’re committed to providing every student with the financial, academic and personal support needed to succeed, inside and outside of the classroom. We firmly believe that every student is capable of achieving their goals and that all people are deserving of the opportunity to enrich their lives through education. While community colleges cannot cure all societal ills, we can ensure that everyone who walks through our doors knows that we are here to support their success.
RCC provides a nurturing environment, where all are welcome, regardless of past education. RCC is an open-enrollment institution, which means that anyone with a high school diploma or GED can enroll in classes. As a result, RCC students begin their collegiate experience with different educational backgrounds and different needs. We meet the challenge of developing academic supports that address these varying needs through innovative, nationally recognized approaches.
For example, RCC’s Co-Requisite program allows students to enter college-level math courses, regardless of placement test scores. Students who score lower on the placement exam receive extra hours of in-classroom instruction in math, at no additional cost. Since implementing this program, we’ve seen the completion rates for college-level math courses skyrocket, with over 60 % of students now passing College-level math, regardless of test score. When students who struggle in math can complete the college-level course, they gain the confidence needed for future academic success.
Additionally, all RCC students have access to one-on-one tutoring and personalized academic advising. The library staff takes pride in providing on-demand support to our students, whether a student needs help identifying research materials or a quick tutorial on Microsoft 365. And faculty members are always available for office hours, so students receive expert support outside of the classroom.
Providing superb academic support is only one component of ensuring student success. Providing students with the resources needed to address personal concerns is another critical component, especially at community colleges. At RCC, the median student age is 31, and 70% of our students are enrolled part-time. Our students are, by-and-large, adults with families and professional responsibilities; to complete their studies, these students need support addressing off-campus concerns.
Programs like Project Access connect students with free resources and services that address non-academic concerns like:
- Employment and job security
- Financial health, debt counseling, and tax preparation
- Mental health and wellness
- Food insecurity
- Domestic violence, trauma, and family counseling
- Housing instability or homelessness
Connecting students with these resources decreases the amount of time spent addressing personal matters, creating more time for study.
We put students first – and understand the impact that we can have through simple acts of encouragement and kindness. Every office has an open-door policy, and faculty and staff members look forward to student visits. We have student clubs and events that encourage students and RCC staff to socialize, to learn outside of the classroom and to develop personal support systems. Knowing that there’s always someone at RCC who cares about them, reinforces for students that RCC is truly committed to each student’s success.
“Some of the greatest victories I’ve seen have involved watching student-athletes achieve their academic goals, and go on to become engaged and empowered members of their communities.”
A Lifelong Commitment
At RCC, students remain valued members of our community well after graduation. Once you’re a part of the RCC community, you are always family. Our graduates regularly return to campus to participate in job fairs, conduct mock interviews, and assist with program development. Graduates also return regularly on informal visits, to catch-up with their former professors and advisors, and to share their success stories with current students. Our graduates believe in providing the next generation of leaders with the support they received, reinforcing that all students are capable of reaching their goals.