OCtech’s ADN Program Named Bellwether Award Finalist

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College was one of 30 community colleges nationwide vying for a prestigious Bellwether Award at the 26th annual Community College Futures Assembly, held Feb. 2-4 in San Antonio, Texas.

Bellwether Finalists 2020
Pictured are, from left, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College Vice President for Academic Affairs Donna Elmore, Nursing FLEX Program Coordinator Susan Chavis, Dean of Nursing and Health Science Candance Tooley and President Dr. Walt Tobin. The college was recognized as a Bellwether Award finalist at the 2020 Bellwether Award Reception Feb. 4 in San Antonio, Texas.

Ten finalist colleges were competitively chosen in three categories: Instructional Programs and Services, co-sponsored by the National Council of Instructional Administrators; Planning, Governance and Finance, co-sponsored by the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges; and Workforce Development, co-sponsored by the National Council for Continuing Education and Training.

OCtech’s Associate Degree Nursing program was a finalist in the Instructional Programs and Services category for its initiatives to increase the number of minority students accepted into – and graduating from – the college’s competitive healthcare programs, namely the ADN program.

The three-semester ADN FLEX program incorporates classroom capture technology, online learning, course remediation and flexible scheduling to mitigate challenges like work, illness and lack of childcare that many students face as part of program completion. To enroll in the program, students must be a graduate of an accredited program and a licensed practical nurse. They are required to attend classes on campus one day a week and participate in weekend clinicals.

Since its inception in 2015, the ADN program has seen an increase in the number of minority student graduates, from 19 percent in 2015 to 46 percent in 2019. Graduation and licensure rates for ADN FLEX graduates have been equal to or exceeded those of the traditional ADN program.

Because of the program’s success, several other academic areas at OCtech have adopted the FLEX model, including Accounting, Business and Early Childhood Education. Students have the option to attend day, evening or online course sections, depending on their changing circumstances. As a result, these programs have seen increased enrollment and course completion.

All finalists presented at the assembly, and one winner was then selected from each category by a panel of national experts within each category. Presenting on behalf of OCtech was Nursing FLEX Program Coordinator Susan Chavis and Dean of Nursing and Health Science Candance Tooley.

Howard Community College in Columbia, Md., won in the Planning, Governance and Finance category for its program titled “Cloud Migration.” It is the first community college to move its administrative system to a vendor’s cloud-hosting services. This improved the speed of the system, augmented campus technical support staff, reduced technology infrastructure on campus for Colleague, and provides business continuity with disaster recovery and offsite data backup capabilities.

Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz., won in the Instructional Programs and Services category for its program titled “Transform Developmental Education, Transform an Institution,” which provides students struggling to successfully fulfill prerequisite requirements for gateway courses a promising option. Publications report 50 to 70 percent of college students require preparatory coursework in mathematics or English. PCC’s efforts shifted in 2013, when a cross-functional team created a comprehensive redesign plan that significantly increased successful completion of critical gateway courses.

Central Arizona College in Coolidge, Ariz., won in the Workforce Development category for its program titled “Education at the Speed of Industry,” which detailed how Sundt Construction Inc. and CAC formed a Workforce Development partnership to recruit and train skilled workers. Nationwide, it is reported 80 percent of construction firms nationwide have difficulty filling hourly and craft positions.

The Community College Futures Assembly convenes annually as an independent national consortium for award-winning colleges to work as a “think tank” in identifying critical issues facing the future of community colleges, and to recognize Bellwether Finalist colleges as trend-setting institutions.

OCtech is currently enrolling for the summer and fall semesters. To explore the college’s FLEX options, visit octech.edu/flexible.