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Dr. Metcalf Champions Developmental Education

Dr. Shirley MetcalfArticle reprinted from theOregon Community College Association newsletter by permission.

Committed leadership from the top is essential to transforming the way we ensure our students' success. Redesigning the developmental education process and curricula at Central Oregon Community College (COCC) is a top concern for college president Dr. Shirley Metcalf and her staff.

Dr. Metcalf has been involved in the college's redesign efforts in several capacities during her five-year tenure at COCC. During her time as the Interim Vice President for Instruction, she co-chaired the Student Success Committee with COCC's Dean of Students. The committee identified developmental education as a priority area with potential for impacting student success and began planning implementation of the recommendations developed by the statewide Developmental Education Redesign Work Group.

As president, Dr. Metcalf says, "it isn't just the President that counts." She credits her faculty, administrators and board for championing this work. Last fall, COCC faculty and administrators in the college's mathematics department implemented a new developmental sequence for non-STEM students. The COCC Board of Directors regularly discusses campus activities related to student success at each board meeting, and board members attend and present at statewide and national conferences about COCC progress and success.

Dr. Metcalf is optimistic about the future of developmental education at COCC: "I do believe that with continued cooperation between COCC and our local school districts, we can reduce the number of recent high school graduates who are in need of developmental coursework. Additionally, with the work being done by our math and writing faculty, I believe we can become more confident in our placement of students, strengthen our curriculum, streamline the offerings and get students prepared for collegiate level work more quickly, allowing them to achieve their dreams of becoming college graduates.

"It is widely recognized that the number of entering students who must take developmental writing, reading or math is too high, and placement into developmental courses and the number of courses that may be required is quite discouraging. Therefore, this is a barrier to success for many students and one that I believe we can relieve. As a community college, we know many of our students come to us underprepared. While we can work with area high schools to help them better understand collegiate expectations, we will always have a pool of students, including those returning several years after high school, who need developmental education courses. It is up to us to put focus on this area to help students get through these courses successfully and to be prepared for the remainder of their college career."