Completion Challenge Issued to Walters State Community College

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The Alpha Beta Iota Chapter on December 5 officially kicked off the “Commit to Complete Challenge” at Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tennessee, urging students to not only complete college themselves but to also push each other forward on the path toward attaining a degree or certificate.

From left, Viki Rouse, Alpha Beta Iota Chapter Advisor; Dr. Foster Chason, WSCC Vice President of Student Affairs; Dr. Rod Risley, Phi Theta Kappa Executive Director; Sara Stevers, Alpha Beta Iota Chapter Vice President and Tennessee Regional President; Taylor Ellis, Tennessee Regional Vice President; Jaron McFall, Alpha Beta Iota Chapter President; and Dr. Lisa Eccles, Alpha Beta Iota Chapter Advisor; at the Walters State Commit to Complete Kick-Off.

Phi Theta Kappa Executive Director Dr. Rod A. Risley was the guest speaker at the event, addressing students, college administrators, faculty and staff on the importance of being active advocates for college completion.

“By the time this is all over with, I hope to make you all missionaries on helping other students complete,” he said.

Students, administrators, faculty and staff were invited to sign the Commit to Complete pledge. Those who signed the pledge were eligible for a drawing for an iPad.

“We were thrilled to have Dr. Risley come and talk to students, faculty and staff about the importance of college completion,” said Dr. Viki Rouse, Alpha Beta Iota chapter advisor. “This is a message that we must continually get out to students, to remind current students and to instigate the ‘completion mindset’ in new students.

“Dr. Risley is clear, to the point, and he backs up his claims with hard data.”

Risley pointed to several alarming statistics to stress the importance of completing an education. By 2018, two thirds of all new jobs will require a post-secondary credential, he told students. Right now, there are 600,000 manufacturing jobs and 500,000 health care jobs going unfilled because employers cannot find workers who are qualified for these positions.

“Community colleges must do a better job of talking with students about potential career paths prior to enrollment, rather than simply offering advice on which course sections to take,” Risley said. “More and more students are entering our higher education institutions increasingly underprepared, and projections suggest this number will significantly rise in a few short years.”

He also urged students to complete their associate’s degree before transferring to a four-year institution, as those who do are more likely to receive bachelor’s degrees than those who simply transfer without the degree.

Risley also directed his attention to faculty and staff members, urging them to challenge students and to provide feedback on performance.

“We sit back and wait for them to show up, to come to us,” he said. “But what must happen is that these support systems must be integrated into the classroom, into instruction, where we’re working as instructional teams…that we are intentional and intrusive in providing them that support.”

The Commit to Complete Challenge is part of the Community College Completion Corps’ (C4) efforts to help produce an additional 5 million certificates and associate degrees by 2020. Learn more about the movement and how you can participate by visiting www.cccompletioncorps.org

To see local news coverage of the event, visit www.citizentribune.com.