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Second transition program increases student success

A marbled cheesecake brownie was the sweet ending to two weeks of intensive study for seven future freshmen at Pellissippi State Technical Community College.

Students attended a dessert reception Friday, June 29, upon their completion of Transition to College, a program Pellissippi State hosts to increase college students’ success — beginning when they are still in high school.

“Underrepresented students from designated high schools who have taken the A-C-T and fall into developmental studies are invited to attend,” Leigh Anne Touzeau, Pellissippi State’s director of Admissions and Enrollment Services, said.

Gayle Wood, director of access and diversity and the program’s coordinator, said, “The goals are to improve students’ academic skills, improve the opportunity for them to place in college-level courses, help them develop college survival skills and connect with the college community, and improve their success and retention.”

Students spent five hours a day reviewing math, writing and reading, instructed by Bookie Reynolds, English professor, and Beverly Jolley, Adult Education teacher.

At the end of the two-week program, all participants advanced at least one skill level. Four of the seven advanced to college-level English.

Touzeau presented the Transition to College program at the 2006 National Instruction for Students and Organizational Development conference.

“We got enormous response from people who attended the presentation,” Wood said.

In addition, a lengthy description of the program appeared in Inside Higher Education magazine, she added.

The May 2006 article, entitled “The Value of Intervention,” points out that the program “identifies students about to graduate from high school who plan to enroll at the college and works with them to improve skills in a way that is having a notable impact on retention.”

This year’s Transition to College was the second hosted by PSTCC. The first, in June 2005, was so successful that the program was expanded from one to two weeks.

“This program has allowed us to take students with similar academic backgrounds and work with them in a setting where they can really connect with faculty and each other,” Wood said. “Some of the students said that if they’d had Dr. Reynolds or Ms. Jolley in high school, they would have scored higher on their A-C-T scores.”

Students who want remedial help also can attend placement workshops through the Learning and Testing Center. For additional information, call 865-694-6454.


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