Title of the proposal
Boutiquing – Designing Tailored-Fitted Retention Programs for the Student Body
Mava Craig, Vice President for Student Affairs and Michael Hutmaker, Dean for Student Affairs
Bio for Marva Craig
Dr. Marva Craig is currently the Vice President for Student Affairs at Borough of Manhattan Community College. She is active in diverse areas of higher education; she has been an administrator, taught communication and presented at national conferences.
She ensures that students spend time learning outside of the classroom and participating in enriching activities. Committed to extra-curricular experiences, she has fostered partnerships and developed programs for students to be fiscally responsible. A proponent of learning while serving, she has created and instituted the Co-Curricular Transcript at BMCC where students who are engaged in service can document their experiences.
Bio for Michael Hutmaker
Michael Hutmaker is Dean for Student Affairs at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). Over his 20 years of working with college students, he has distinguished himself as an energetic, visionary administrator and student advocate. He works closely with the Vice President of Student Affairs to provide leadership for 32 areas/departments, including developing new programs such as Freshman Learning Academies (along with Academic Affairs), Single Stop, LGBTQ services, Veteran Services, Co-Curricular Transcript, Leadership Programs, and other programs that enhance the college experience. Dr. Hutmaker holds a BA from Rutgers University, MEd from Clemson University, and EdD from St. John’s University.
General description of the initiative or project
Whether students are enrolled in a large or small institution, in different ways, each student should know that he/she matters. At Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), we have begun to use technology to ensure that students are aware that we know who they are; notice when there is a change in their academic record; devise ways for college personnel to connect to them; listen to their stories one student at a time, and provide customized guidance that will ultimately lead to students’ retention as a whole.
In higher education, for some students, size matters. We recognize that some students prefer the “small college feel,” while others favor a large college, but they still need to know that the college cares about their individuality. Regardless of the size of the college, many of them continue to provide traditional services that have been institutionalized over the years in higher education. They include areas such as peer mentoring, tutoring, counseling and career development. These services are necessary, but they do not give students the feeling that their individuality and uniqueness are valued, which many of them want. As educators, too often we continue to use the approach of one-size-fits-all in providing services. This does not put the student in the center. Instead, the focus is shifted to the service itself. Some colleges have tried to change the silo-structured service approach by creating a one-stop shop. However, there are no changes to the services and the ways in which they are provided. The change is in the location; the services are located in a central space in the institution.
At BMCC, technology is utilized to help identify the needs of students, and programming is designed accordingly. BMCC is a large institution, enrolling over 27,000 students. The college is moving away from the “build it and they will come” model of providing services for students. Rather, we are creating programs to best meet the needs of our diverse and changing student body, using approaches that are based on assessment and observation of students enrolled at the college. These tailored programs are then supplemented with wraparound services to ensure that obstacles to students’ education are minimized and the holistic needs of students are addressed. We are thereby designing customized retention-focused programs in a large college to fit the needs of the student body. We call it “Boutiquing.” We “open” boutiques as the need arises and we use technology to identify the population for outreach.
Some of our programs include CARES, RISE, MoneyWorks, Save for Success, Work Study, PASS, Petrie, Dream and Achievers. Brief program descriptions for the boutique experience are as follows:
Comprehensive Assistance and Retention Empowerment Services (CARES)– This program provides a guided pathway for students who are or have been in the foster care system by strengthening their sense of community and relationship to the college and to one another. They receive special outreach from assigned BMCC staff.
Retention-Inspired Student Engagement (RISE) –This is an outreach program for students in good standing with a precipitous drop in their GPA. We mine the data then meet with the students to determine the causes of the drop in GPA and to learn about intervening factors with the goal of guiding students back to their previous level of academic achievement.
Save for Success – This is a financial literacy and academic support program for Pell-eligible students who are willing to work directly with a financial counselor to build the skills needed to save for the cost of a single course; successful savers receive a tuition waiver and transportation assistance for a second course.
Plan and Appeal for Success (PASS) – A summer program targeting students on academic probation and dismissal who need to file an appeal to restore their Title IV (otherwise known as federal education) funding. The program teaches students about college policy around academic standing and how the GPA system works. It also assists students with the appeal process while encouraging them to set meaningful yet realistic academic goals for the upcoming semester.
Petrie – A program providing emergency funding, support and wraparound services to students facing short-term financial emergencies that threaten to negatively impact academic progress.
Work-Study Enrichment– We have expanded the existing model for our federal Work-Study program to include a professional development component. Work-Study eligible students attend career development seminars and also attend a Work-Study career fair to interview for prospective positions.
Dreamers – students interested in applying for TheDream.US scholarship receive on-campus guidance and support, including access to computer labs and advisors to help answer questions. In addition, we work closely with scholarship recipients to encourage extracurricular involvement and student leadership along with academic excellence.
MoneyWorks –Certified Financial Planners (CFP™) from the Financial Planning Association of New York (FPANY) has partnered with BMCC to provide a series of free financial literacy seminars covering a broad range of financial topics. To help provide both financial aid to students in need and help them manage their finances, selected students receive a scholarship, attend financial seminars and are connected to a mentor from the FPANY.
Achievers –BMCC recognizes those students with 12 or more credits who have maintained a 4.0 GPA at the end of the spring semester. The Achievers program is designed to promote greater student engagement and leadership among top achieving students.