Very low completion rates at Chicago City Colleges will improve or college presidents will lose their jobs, reports Inside Higher Ed in a look at Chancellor Cheryl Hyman’s “reinvention” campaign.
Measurements of the plan’s goals – more credentials earned, increased transfer rates, improved remediation outcomes and better success numbers for adult students – were written into the presidents’ job descriptions. And the board has required that campus chiefs provide “strong, decisive leadership” toward “dramatically” improved student success.
Faculty also are feeling pressure to improve completion rates, reports Inside Higher Ed.
“We’re the enemy. That’s the way we feel,” said Polly Hoover, president of the district-wide Faculty Council, and a professor of humanities at Wilbur Wright College. “We have been represented as the problem.”
Only 7 percent of full-time, first-time students at Chicago City Colleges complete a certificate or associate degree in three years. But that U.S. Education Department metric excludes nearly two thirds of students. Tracking all degree-seeking students over a longer period doesn’t improve the numbers by much.
When part-time students are included, the graduation rate bumps up a tick to 8 percent. And when time to degree is doubled, to six years, still only 13 percent of City College students make it to graduation.
More than half of degree-seeking students leave City Colleges after six months, and only 16 percent of students transfer to four-year institutions.
Most City College students are graduates of Chicago’s public schools. More than 90 percent need remediation.
Under the reinvention plan, City Colleges have hired more counselors and opened wellness centers. Colleges also are partnering with employers on job training programs.