Date of this Version
INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP ABSTRACTS, October, 2019
Equitable student success can be achieved through connections and a sense of belonging created among faculty members and students. Lake Washington Institute of Technology, one of the 34 community and technical colleges in Washington State, implemented the 4 Connections framework based on best practices identified and systemically implemented at Odessa College. Through quantitative and qualitative research, Dr. Don Wood (now Odessa’s VP of Institutional Effectiveness), discovered that all faculty with high in-class retention rates shared “a common thread of connectivity with their students” (Kistner & Henderson, 2014). From this common thread emerged four key practices: 1. Learn and use students’ names 2. Check in regularly 3. Schedule required one-on-one meetings 4. Practice Paradox Once these practices were identified, all faculty at Odessa were asked to implement them. In the first term (fall 2011), Odessa’s inclass retention rate went from 83% to 95%, and that 95% was regardless of age, race, gender, and Pell eligibility. In other words, applying the four practices not only improved success, it did so equitably. Over six years, Odessa maintained a 10% increase in courses success (Kistner & Henderson, 2014).