The ultimate goal is to get college students to graduate. But first, administrators have to get them to enroll.
That’s why it’s important for community college leaders to work with high school faculty — and to do it on their turf, says Mary Aycock, academy development manager of the central region for the National Academy Foundation (NAF) and former director of Early College Health Science Academy at the Butler Community College (BCC) in Kansas.
“To build a relationship, you have to go to them,” says Aycock, who is known for showing up for informal chats with local high school leaders with lunch in hand. “They’re not going to just show up on your doorstep,” she says of the relationships she’s built at BCC.
So far, Aycock’s approach has worked. After producing just a single graduate from its Early College academy in 2011, BCC is in line to confer 22 general studies associate degrees to participating high school seniors by next spring.
“Although early college programs are widespread in other parts of the United States, in Kansas we’re the Lone Ranger,” says Aycock, who advised other colleges in the state about building similar programs before accepting a new position with NAF. <Read more.>