Substantive change requires steadfast focus, a commitment to bold and decisive action, and a spirit of fortitude when addressing challenges.
When I wrote this statement for the Lake Land College Strategic Plan in 2018, I had no idea how it would resonate as we entered the third year of the plan. Not only has it served as a guide to implement college-wide change, it has anchored all of us in our commitment to serving students during the pandemic.
I am proud to say that despite the numerous challenges brought forth by the pandemic, a recent update to the Lake Land College Board of Trustees shows we are making significant progress in the goals set forth by the strategic plan. Most importantly, the data indicates that our initiatives are helping students succeed.
During the past few years, faculty and staff have concentrated efforts to improve retention and assist students in completing their goals in a timely manner. We continue to see a positive trend in our student outcomes due to their work.
According to data from the National Student Clearinghouse, Lake Land College continues to excel in key areas of student success. The College's retention rate for first-time, full-time community college students increased by more than 2% and exceeds the national average by 6% when examining data for fall 2014 through fall 2017 cohorts. First-time, full-time degree seekers at Lake Land are completing their degrees at nearly a 2 to 1 ratio when compared to their peers throughout the nation. And, retention and success rates for first-time, part-time Lake Land students increased 16% and 14% respectively. I invite you to review our latest Strategic Plan Bi-Annual Report that details numerous metrics we closely monitor to ensure our strategies support student success over the long term. The report may be viewed at: www.lakelandcollege.edu/creating-our-future/.
We have also seen significant progress in building a college-wide foundation in two key focus areas: 1. Implementing Guided Pathways to Success (GPS), while expanding K-12 and university partnerships, to provide a clear pathway to meaningful educational or career outcomes and 2. Implementing data analytics in support of GPS and furthering our commitment to becoming a data-informed institution. College staff reported positive outcomes on 18 strategies in support of these two key focus areas, while simultaneously supporting the three primary College goals: 1. Advance student success, 2. Fulfill evolving and emerging education and training needs, and 3. Commit to quality, access and affordability.
In addition to reporting these positive trends to you, in the final year of a normal planning cycle I would be reaching out to community partners throughout the district, asking for your assistance in creating our next strategic plan. However, due to the limitations of the pandemic, we are extending the current strategic planning cycle through 2022. We will remain steadfast in our mission to help every student succeed and truly look forward to the time when we can meet in person for a visioning session and work together to build a new roadmap for the future of Lake Land College. Until that time, I wish you a safe and enjoyable fall!