Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s New Academic And Career Advising Centers Improve Student Success


SALISBURY, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has made great strides to improving the success of its students. The college’s Academic and Career Advising (ACA) Centers were recognized for their outstanding work over the first year of the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grant that funded the startup of the centers.

In September 2011, the college was awarded $1.8 million from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) grants. Only one of two colleges in North Carolina to receive this Title III funding, Rowan-Cabarrus hopes to ultimately improve student persistence, retention and graduation rates.

Rowan-Cabarrus used the grant to establish Academic and Career Advising (ACA) Centers on both the North Campus in Rowan County and the South Campus in Cabarrus County.

With program services just beginning in summer 2012, Academic and Career Advising Center activities are already well underway.

“Students feel positively about the various programmatic offerings, indicating that they are helpful and that they would refer their friends,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president. “In fact, 99 percent of the students that visited the ACA Centers stated that they would refer the services to a friend or another student.”

The ACA Centers opened their doors on June 1, 2012. In three short months, the center hoped to serve 10 percent of the student population, or just over 600 students. Instead, the center served over 1,700 individual students!

“You can’t improve what is already great,” said Damion Boomer after his visit to the Academic and Career Advising Center.

“The ACA Centers’ mission is to improve student persistence, retention and graduation rates through intentional advising and academic interventions,” said Marcia Miller, director of the Academic and Career Advising Center. “Our advisors are committed to helping students plan their educational paths and navigate their way forward.”

All students have access to the services provided under the grant, though it will initially focus on undecided students and developmental students, with further expansion to transfer students in future years.

The college’s commitment to this effort is part of a unified commitment by community colleges across the country to increase the rate of postsecondary completion.

“Rowan-Cabarrus is committed to the ‘Completion Agenda’ and securing this grant is part of the college’s work toward achieving the national goal for America to lead the world in college graduates by 2020,” said Spalding.

The grant provided 100 percent of the funding for the projects in the first year and will phase the remaining funds over the course of five years in order to build capacity for the college to sustain the activities implemented through the grant. For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu.

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