Monday, March 4, 2024
The RP Group
Student Support (Re)defined: Ventura College

Ventura College (VC) “Beacons of Success” initiative utilized the six success factors to help make adjustments to its institutional culture, with the goal of creating a more trusting, collegial, non-judgmental, transparent, and supportive environment among college faculty, staff, and administrators. The college’s common goal: Improve its workplace, and ultimately, better equip itself to support student success.  

Beacons of Success became one of VC’s key initiatives in its ACCJC Quality Focus Essay Institutional Self-Evaluation Report, and a main focus of both its Achieving the Dream Implementation Plan and its Institutional Effectiveness Partnership (IEPI) Peer Review Team Plan. 

To kick off Beacons of Success, VC held an all-employee retreat in April 2016. Nearly 100 participants from across the college attended this event, featuring Dr. Darla Cooper, who emphasized the application of the six success factors not only to student, but also practitioner success, stating, “These success factors have the potential to assist in practitioners’ personal and professional growth, empowering them to support student success and improving their relationships with their colleagues, as well as the institution as a whole.” VC took this guidance to heart, recognizing that when the college is successful in its goal to improve communication, trust, and collegiality, it is better equipped to support students towards successful completion of their goals.

In October 2016, VC held a second college-wide planning retreat, again drawing approximately 100 colleagues from across the college. The day engaged participants in breakout activities on Beacons of Success, including a scavenger hunt where faculty, staff, and administrators took pictures of themselves representing the six success factors. Attendees additionally analyzed student success and equity data, and began setting targets six-year targets. The session also included a panel discussion with 16 students who provided candid and moving personal stories about their VC experiences, discussing the college’s strengths and areas of potential improvement. 

Review a November 2016 CCLC presentation on VC’s second planning retreat

In spring 2017, VC’s Classified Senate held a retreat for classified staff, also focused on the six success factors. Attendees participated in a variety of presentations and opportunities to brainstorm how they can affirm the six factors in their own work. The retreat engaged participants in an exercise designed to underscore the classified staff role in the development of VC students and the campus community, and participants were deputized as Agents of Student Success. During one of the keynotes, a VC vice president provided an activity, highlighting the services classified staff bring to real scenarios on campus. A candid conversation followed this presentation, exploring the role of classified staff in embodying the six factors in their interactions with students and with each other.

In fall 2017, VC’s All-College Day (i.e., Flex Day) included a “Name That Success” activity. Six volunteers sat on stage and each held a sign with one of the six success factors. Selected employees described an upcoming initiative for the year, and audience members yelled out which of the success factors aligned with the initiative. If a volunteer heard their factor yelled out, they stood up and explained how that factor aligned with the initiative. 

Read an article on the effort in IEPI’s April 2017 Spotlights

For more information, contact Dr. Kim Hoffmans, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Learning.