NJ’s Community Colleges and NJEA Partner to Promote Student Completion at Community Colleges

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Follow NJ C4 on Twitter and Facebook the Week of Oct. 14th using the hashtag #NJC4

TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Council of County Colleges’ (NJCCC) Center for Student Success has partnered with the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) to launch New Jersey’s statewide Phi Theta Kappa’s Community College Completion Corps. (NJ C4).

All 19 community colleges across the state will host a series of campus-based college completion activities during the week of Oct. 14 to 18. The first-ever NJ C4 initiative culminates at the Phi Theta Kappa Middle States Region Honors in Action Conference at Camden County College in Blackwood on Saturday, Oct. 19, where Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Executive Director Dr. Rod Risley will serve as the keynote speaker.

The NJ C4 initiative is an effort to increase the number of community college students completing their associate degrees and certificates so that they have the credentials they need to successfully transfer to four-year colleges and universities to earn their bachelor’s degrees and enter careers that provide family-sustaining wages.

“For the past four years, New Jersey’s community colleges have worked collaboratively to identify policies and strategies to transform ourselves from ‘access’ institutions to ‘access to student success institutions,’” said NJCCC President Dr. Lawrence A. Nespoli. “What better way to advance this cause than to involve our Phi Theta Kappa student leaders, our faculty members and staff members in this effort? We are grateful to partner with the NJEA on this initiative.”

“The NJEA is proud to partner with New Jersey’s 19 community colleges to support this statewide initiative that aims to encourage students to persevere, succeed and ultimately earn the credentials they need to succeed in New Jersey’s workforce,” said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer.

The NJ C4 initiative will include speakers, events and campus activities such as students signing pledges to complete their credentials and/or degrees and agreeing to help one other student complete college.  Students will ask faculty and staff to sign a pledge to serve as “Completion Champions” to aid them in their completion effort. There will be opportunities to engage students in civic engagement programs such as campus tutoring. Other activities include faculty and peer-to-peer advising, résumé building workshops, discussions on career pathways, faculty and staff appreciation programs, degree audits, and social activities.

Phi Theta Kappa student leadership teams at each of the state’s community colleges will head the initiative. Each chapter will design its own campus-based program fitting the needs of its specific college campus. The NJEA is providing operational funding to support these events at all 19 community colleges. In addition, all colleges participating will receive a C4 Toolkit provided by Pearson Higher Education. The toolkits provide student pledge cards, faculty/staff pledge cards, signing banners, student guides, faculty/staff guides, posters, stickers, buttons, and C4 bracelets.

“Phi Theta Kappa is committed to actively promoting completion of a college credential – an associate degree or certificate among college students,” said Dr. Rod Risley, executive director of Phi Theta Kappa. “Throughout this completion week in New Jersey we hope to encourage students to take that pledge and declare that they will, indeed, complete their education.”

The national Community College Completion Initiative began in April 2010 when leaders from the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, the American Association of Community Colleges, the Association of Community College Trustees, the League for Innovation in the Community College, and the Center for Community College Student Engagement signed Democracy’s Colleges: A Call to Action. The Community College Completion Challenge website, www.cccompletionchallenge.org and C4 website www.cccompletioncorps.org showcase the missions, action plans and strategies developed by each organization to involve their constituents to produce 5 million more associate degree and certificate holders by 2020.

Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for community college students. Its mission is to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and provide them with opportunities for individual growth and development through service, leadership, honors, and fellowship programs.

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges is the state association representing New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. As an independent, trustee-headed organization that joins the leadership of trustees and presidents, the Council is the voice of the community college sector before the state legislature and other branches of government. The Council is also the state coordinating organization for all community colleges in New Jersey.

 

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