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Planning for Student Success
By David M. Gipp, United Tribes Technical College President
7 October 2011

      Welcome to another successful year and thank you for being part of the United Tribes campus community. As we open the 2011-12 academic year, itís important to rededicate ourselves, both as students and employees, to the goal of achieving a high quality learning experience. Itís important that we are working together on this.

United Tribes President David M. Gipp presented his guiding principles to an all-campus assembly August 31 in the James Henry Community Gymnasium. DENNIS J. NEUMANN United Tribes News

      Thatís why I want to describe a way to organize our thoughts and actions. Youíve heard the United Tribes slogan: "Student Success is Everyoneís Responsibility." Iíd like build on that with four guiding principles. As tribal people, the number four is culturally significant. It symbolizes the four directions from which we draw strength to maintain balance in our lives. Like the four main pillars of an earth lodge, the following principles represent a solid framework that will help everyone keep student success uppermost in mind.

  1. Recruitment and Retention
  2. Quality Learning Experience
  3. Graduation and Completion
  4. Placement and Career Development

      I have often asked incoming students to envision what it will be like on the last day you are here. Where do you want your life to be on that day? What is it you will do when you leave United Tribes? What kind of job will you be headed for and in what place?

      Everyone on campus Ė students, faculty and staff Ė should think about and know their roles and responsibilities, both as individuals and in groups, in ensuring that students are successful in answering those questions. Some of you already focus on these as part of your daily work.

      How do we work cooperatively to increase recruitment and retention? Students and staff members are our best recruiters.

      Sustaining and improving the quality learning experience is also a challenge for everyone. We all contribute to the overall quality of the learning experience. We are all challenged to come together as teams of workers in departments across the campus to understand our roles and responsibilities in supporting the environment for learning.

      How do we work cooperatively to increase graduation? Ideally we want every student to graduate. Are you, as students, concentrating and focusing on being in place in class to follow the instruction and complete the assignments that lead to graduation? If you donít do the work, you canít be successful. Itís that simple.

      How do our different departments work together cooperatively to increase the placement rate and pursue goals in the area of career development?

      Recently I received a phone call from a student who graduated in Practical Nursing about 10 years ago, who later earned a four-year degree and went into the working world and is now moving up the ladder into a new and better job. Itís all part of the process that began here. The point to remember is that down the road your work here will come back to you in a good way, like it has for this former student, especially if you concentrate on your program of study. The lesson for students is that placement doesnít end just because you get your first job.

      The four principles I have describe are not just ours. They are touchstones for all of higher education across the country. How these are addressed is a concern to all colleges, universities and technical training institutions. Government agencies, employers, businesses, and civic leaders are keenly interested in how well students are trained for the workplace.

      I ask you to keep this framework uppermost in your thinking. I ask this of students, teachers, and members of the college staff, no matter what your job may be. How do you contribute in these areas to the quality of this institution? Each of us owns a piece of what leads to success here at United Tribes.

      These areas are not anything new. Weíve been working on them, refining them and building them, for over 40 years. The important part now is to have everyone aware of these guiding principles, to know what their responsibilities are in relation to them, to gain the benefit of our collective creative thinking on how to do better, and to make the most of all the hard work we do by staying focused and being in step.

      Iím asking that these be incorporated into your planning and routines. Iím asking that you work on action plans in the appropriate settings for how these will be implemented by students, faculty and staff.

      Our mission is to assure student success. The way to do that is to be working together in all the things we do.

      Pilamayayelo! Thank You!


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