No Excuses: Together, students, faculty succeed

The Amarillo College General Assembly took place Friday at the Amarillo Civic Center, and it kicked off what is to be the direction AC will take for the foreseeable future.

AC President Dr. Paul Matney, the AC board of regents and even Mayor Paul Harpole took the stage to get faculty and employees pumped up for the No Excuses initiative.

No Excuses refers to the stance taken by AC the past two years in regard to faculty doing all they can to “remove barriers and help students succeed,” Matney said.

“We will move the needle on student success,” Matney said. “We must do so.”

This fall marks the third year of Achieving the Dream College, and student success is the No. 1 institutional priority for the board of regents.

The No Excuses initiative is aimed at raising completion rates and transfer rates as well as fine-tuning gateway and developmental courses.

Tutoring is another big part of the initiative as Student Success Zones have been focused on aiding students who need help with their studies.

The Math Outreach Center, Science Enrichment Lab and Writer’s Corner are areas dedicated to give the time and resources needed to ensure student success.

First Year Seminar will continue a focus on accelerated and contextualized learning through the ACcess Learning Center as the improvement rate is up by 33 percent from last year. There also will be an early warning system to let teachers know when a student is falling behind.

New food pantries have been established on the East and West campuses, and there will be a continuing effort to help poverty-stricken and first-generation college students.

The Career and Employment Center has workforce solution specialists to assist students as well.

“We’re doing well,” Matney said to the faculty and employees with a smile.

Matney said although not all 600-plus employees could be present for the assembly, every morning, every person, on all six campuses are responsible for the state of critical mass that will ensure that AC students achieve a wonderful year.

“How fortunate we are to be in this noble profession,” he said. “And never underestimate the value of your encouragement.”

Matney’s comments led to the rallying cry for this year, “7,000 by 2018,” referring to 7,000 annual degrees or certificates by the five-year completion goal of 2018. “We need a bold and audacious goal,” he said.

After the breakout workshops and lunch, attendees went into indepth explanations of the Honors Program, the math department course redesign and the new Common Reader book, Wine to Water, by Doc Hendley, who will be in Amarillo and on Panhandle PBS in November.

The overall theme was that there are no excuses for anyone not to succeed at AC and that the goal of 7,000 by 2018 is within reach.

Matney enthusiastically said, “Bring it on.”

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