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HCC CIRCLE Program underway, part of reaffirmation process
Informational event planned for Sept. 23

With a review for reaffirmation of Halifax Community Collegeís (HCC) accreditation this year by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, HCC has undergone a self-assessment and goal-setting process in order to improve the quality of its programs and services and meet standards for accreditation.

Part of this process involves assisting students through a quality enhancement plan (QEP), which has been named the HCC Classroom Innovations Result in Creative Learning Environments (CIRCLE) Program. This is a five-year plan of action that will result in measurable improvements in student learning.

In order to educate the campus community about the plan, the CIRCLE Program and many student organizations will host QEP Day from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23 in The Centre. Information about the CIRCLE Program, student services and organizations will be distributed and students can participate in various activities.

The CIRCLE Programís main goal is "developing self-regulated learners and problem-solvers through Learning Communities (LC)." A learning community consists of a group of students who actively learn together in two or more linked classes. The CIRCLE Program will use two different sets of student learning groups in order to develop problem solvers and self-regulated learners, or those students who understand what is needed for success in the classroom and make adjustments for improved academic performance. As a result, student success skills such as goal, time and stress management, problem solving, and academic self-efficacy, or the belief in oneís ability to learn and show that learning has taken place, will be enhanced. Target groups for the program are first-year developmental students.

These students will be invited to enroll in one of two tier-one LCs, which include "Steps to Math Success" and "Steps to Reading and Writing Success." The original tier-one groups will then be encouraged to enroll in the next level of courses, or tier-two LCs the next semester. The number of LC sections will increase until full implementation is achieved during academic year 2013-2014. Beginning fall 2011, two additional tier-two LCs will be offered for students who placed out of developmental courses.

Program implementation is planned to start in spring 2011. A total of 1,460 new students are expected to be impacted during the five-year program. The projected total percentage of new students impacted will be 42 percent.

HCC began the QEP process in 2008. Psychology Department Head/Instructor Dr. Julie P. Dilday was selected as the coordinator and a team was chosen to assist in the process. Informational meetings and focus groups were held, and the campus was surveyed. Community members and employers were also surveyed during the process.