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Access to College Excellence (ACE): A Learning Community/Seminar Hybrid. Ann Ching Renita Cole. Kapi‘olani Community College (KCC). Commuter campus in Honolulu, Hawai ‘ i 7,200 students 38% full-time students Majority of new students place into developmental Math or English classes.

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Access to College Excellence (ACE): A Learning Community/Seminar Hybrid

Ann Ching

Renita Cole


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Kapi‘olani Community College (KCC) Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Commuter campus in Honolulu, Hawai‘i

  • 7,200 students

  • 38% full-time students

  • Majority of new students place into developmental Math or English classes


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Kapi‘olani Community College (KCC) Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • 60% Liberal Arts majors

  • Technical, Occupational and Professional programs: Business, Culinary Arts, Hospitality, Nursing, Health Sciences, and Legal Assistant programs

  • Attrition Rate 1st semester students: 33%


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KCC Student Diversity Community/Seminar Hybrid


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Evolution of FYE at KCC Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Faculty-driven

  • FYE task force established in 2000

  • Mandatory New Student Orientation (NSO) since Fall 2006

  • Full-time FYE Coordinator hired in Fall 2006


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FYE Programs at KCC Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • New Student Orientation

  • ACE

  • IS 103: Introduction to College

  • Learning Communities


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History of the ACE Program Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Established in 1995 to increase persistence and retention of first-semester students

  • 1995-2006

    • Over 800 students participated

    • Over 50 faculty members served as co-leaders

    • 16 different types of clusters offered


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Goals of the ACE Program Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Overall Goal: To increase access & opportunities for first year students

    • Guarantee enrollment in a cluster of courses

    • Assist ACE students through informative weekly seminar

    • Provide an informal, out-of-class environment among ACE students and faculty


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Professional/Major-Based Community/Seminar Hybrid

Culinary Arts, Hospitality, Pre-Health, Pre-Education, Pre-Art, Exercise & Sport Science

Underrepresented Student Groups

ESL, Single Parents, Neighbor Islands, Developmental, Filipino, Native Hawai‘ian

2 Categories of ACE Clusters


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Unique Aspects of ACE Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Learning community model

    (2-3 shared classes + weekly seminar)

  • Shared classes comprised of ACE & non-ACE students

  • Voluntary participation

  • 10 students, 2 faculty co-leaders per cluster


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The ACE Seminar Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Weekly, one-hour meetings,16 weeks

  • No-credit

  • Co-led by instructional & counseling faculty

  • No standard curriculum: Tailored to meet needs and interests of each cluster population

  • Allows for flexibility & diversity


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Varied Activities of the Seminar Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Orientation: campus, financial aid, library& computer resources

  • Academic Support: tutoring, study skills workshops, class-related activities

  • Academic Advising: campus policies, major requirements, registration preparation

  • Career Explorations: guest speakers, field trips

  • Counseling: personal & transitional issues

  • Social: Cluster and program functions


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Bilingual Immigrant Community/Seminar Hybrid

ESOL 94: Advanced ESOL

SP 151: Personal & Public Speech

ACE Seminar

Culinary Arts

FSHE 102: Intro to Culinary Arts

FSHE 103: Safety & Sanitation

ACE Seminar

Sample ACE Clusters


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Marketing Strategies Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Academic advising sessions

  • Print advertising

    • Brochures

    • Inserts in Schedule of Classes

  • Online promotion

    • Class Availability website

    • Online New Student Orientation - videoclip

  • Classroom visits


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Incentives for Students Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Reserved spaces in core classes during high-demand times

  • Early registration for the following semester

  • Peer group network & friendships


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Incentives for Community/Seminar HybridFaculty Co-Leaders

  • Seminar curriculum encourages innovation & experimentation

  • Team-teach w/another faculty member

  • Develop closer relationships with students outside of the classroom

  • Service recognized as equivalent to a major committee assignment


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Program Evaluation Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Quantitative Data

    • Student Success Measures

    • Pre- and Post-Surveys (Community College Survey of Student Engagement: CCSSE)


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Success Measures Community/Seminar Hybrid


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Pre-Survey Community/Seminar Hybrid


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Post-Survey (1A) Community/Seminar Hybrid


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Post-Survey (2) Community/Seminar Hybrid w/ CCSSE items


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Highest Scores: Pre & Post Community/Seminar Hybrid


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Largest Gains: Pre vs. Post Community/Seminar Hybrid


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CCSSE Comparison: Community/Seminar HybridHighest & Lowest Figures


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Program Evaluation Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Qualitative Data

    • Faculty Comments

    • Student Comments


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Faculty Comments Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • “[ACE] provides the unique flexibility…to address the specific needs of our student ACE participants. If students are struggling to balance their academic, personal and job responsibilities, we are able to devote one or more sessions to discuss these important issues and feelings.”

  • “ACE makes establishing and cultivating relationships with students much easier.”


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Post-Survey Open-Ended Questions Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • What helped you most in your first semester at KCC?

  • What do you wish you had during your first semester at KCC?

  • What did you like best about your ACE cluster?

  • How could the ACE program be improved?

  • Would you recommend an ACE cluster to other new students? Please explain.


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What did students like best about ACE? Community/Seminar Hybrid


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What did students like best? Community/Seminar HybridRelationships w/peers & faculty (47.4%)

  • “the people who are in my cluster. I feel I’ve made good friends.”

  • “Someone / people to talk to about my concerns and thoughts”

  • “the friendships I made and having people to help me with class”


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What did students like best? Community/Seminar HybridCluster Activities (18.5%)

  • “I could ask questions that I couldn’t ask in class. Also, ACE party was fun!”

  • “Meeting different speakers every week. Able to discuss various topics.”

  • “The presentations helped a lot too. We were able to learn about the art fields.”


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What did students like best? Community/Seminar HybridExtra Help Received (14.1%)

  • “Teachers were good and we can help each other in the class.”

  • “I like the good explanation for my English course from the ACE cluster.”

  • “I could react with accidents that new to the school and I could get help with things that I had hard time with.”


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What did students like best? Community/Seminar HybridLearning Useful Information (8.1%)

  • “[Co-leaders] give us a good information. I’m sure ACE program help us to success our first semester.”

  • “The instructors had really great info as well as the speakers.”

  • “The career information we got from all the speakers about the fitness field.”


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What did students like best? Community/Seminar HybridAffective Reasons(7.4%)

  • “It was a very fun and interesting seminar.”

  • “I felt relax and had so much fun to meet with the ACE students.”

  • “My ACE clusters are nice and helpful”


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What did students like best? Community/Seminar HybridOther Comments (4.4%)

  • “It disciplined me to participate”

  • “I liked it that we were able to register early”

  • “The opportunities given to us is what I liked best about the ACE cluster”



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Would your recommend ACE? Community/Seminar HybridStudent Quotes

  • “Yes. Because being a first semester student, especially out of high school, I was kind of nervous and lost when I entered college. The ACE group made me feel a little less lost and more at ease.”


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Would your recommend ACE? Community/Seminar HybridStudent Quotes

  • “I think that these programs build relationships and provide help & support for future achievement.”

  • “Yes, it’s very effective for students who are confused/lost about college. It helped me learn more quickly about KCC, college, major, art, and people.”


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Summary of Where We Are… Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Success on a small scale

    • Qualitative feedback is overwhelmingly positive

    • Quantitative data seems to support ACE effectiveness

    • Faculty support is strong, yet limited to a small number of faculty


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Current Challenges Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Unfamiliar concept to new students

  • Inconsistent enrollment patterns

  • Administrative resistance

  • Need for greater faculty support

  • Online registration


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Immediate Responses Community/Seminar Hybridto Current Challenges

  • Work w/ new FYE Coordinator and peer mentors to fill the offered ACE clusters

  • Communicate results of program assessment to administration, faculty, & students

  • Create more opportunities for professional development among faculty co-leaders

  • Continue & refine program assessment


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Responding to Current Challenges: Future Considerations Community/Seminar Hybrid

  • Offer ACE seminar for credit?

  • Involve peer mentors in ACE?

  • Design a more structured ACE seminar?


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Contact Information Community/Seminar Hybrid

Ann Ching Renita Cole

[email protected] [email protected]

(808) 734-9324 (808) 734-9326

Kapi‘olani Community College

4303 Diamond Head Road

Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96816


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