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Contact: Ann Hatch

For immediate release — Sept. 10, 2013

(DALLAS) — Every college and university across the country — whether a two- or four-year institution — faces a common challenge: getting students to complete their college degrees or certificates. That challenge has drawn community colleges in Texas together in a concentrated effort called Texas Completes; part of that effort is Commit to Complete Week, Sept. 23-27.

Brookhaven College kicks off activities among the seven colleges of the Dallas County Community College District on Thursday, Sept. 12, with a “Welcome Back” party for students that includes opportunities for them to sign contracts to complete their degrees. Other colleges in the district will observe Commit to Complete Week with a variety of activities designed to increase awareness among students about the importance of finishing what they start — their degrees.

Anna Mays, vice president of student services at Cedar Valley College, has worked on Texas Completes since its statewide inception and also coordinates DCCCD’s systemwide efforts. Providing the tools and support that students need to complete their college education is critical, explained Mays.

“In 2010, our college system joined with four other large Texas college systems to participate in the planning grant called ‘Completion by Design,’ funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Through our participation in that effort, we were able to launch a state action plan for participating colleges, called Texas Completes,” Mays said.

She added, “Those member colleges taking part in the process are determined to find ways to promote student success and to increase the number of those [students] attaining certificates and degrees. We also are committed to contain costs, reduce the time to completion, ensure we provide high-quality programs and place students in the job market with credentials once they have graduated.”

Ways in which the seven colleges in DCCCD’s system are working to achieve these goals include reducing the number of hours students are required to complete in their core curriculum; involving faculty members in continued training on teaching, learning and advising that focuses on student success and completion; and bringing in expertise to assist with changes to the curriculum and professional development. Another effort involves enhanced advising using technology that is focused on completing career pathways that lead to employment.

Commit to Complete events and programs for DCCCD also will include free T-shirts, buttons and incentives that are being provided for each of the seven colleges in the system with the support of the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce ($2,500), Dallas Colleges Online ($1,500 in Follett gift cards) and the DCCCD Foundation Chancellor’s Council ($1,400). Students who participate in the activities also will receive materials from the Phi Theta Kappa C4 toolkit.

DCCCD — along with its Texas Completes partners Alamo, El Paso, Lone Star and South Texas colleges — all have scheduled programs on their campuses for Commit to Complete Week. Students at these community colleges across the state will sign pledges to complete their degrees or certificates — a key component of the event.

The Commit to Complete schedule at each of the colleges in DCCCD’s system is listed below:

Brookhaven College — Sept. 12, 2013 — Welcome Back Party

Activities are scheduled throughout the day with Brookhaven College students to meet Texas Completes initiatives.

Cedar Valley College — Sept. 23-26, 2013 — “I Commit” Activities

“I Commit Day” activities will kick off on Monday, Sept. 23, from 12:30 to 2 p.m.; they will include a signing table for “I Commit” contracts. CVC students, as well as those from two early college high schools (Cedar Hill Collegiate High School and the Kathlyn Jo Gilliam Academy), will sign the C4 student completion pledge card. A book review is scheduled on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 12:30 p.m. as part of “I Commit” programs for the week. Students, faculty, staff and administrators will sport their school colors all day on Wednesday, Sept. 25, and “I Commit” activities conclude with a career fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26.

Eastfield College — Sept. 23-27, 2013 — “I Commit” Week

“I Commit” activities at Eastfield begin on Monday, Sept. 23, with a kickoff event that includes refreshments, giveaways and a signing table for “I Commit” contracts. Each day during the week, instructors will share with students why a college degree is important, and a campuswide poster campaign will be part of the festivities. A service learning fair is scheduled on Tuesday, Sept. 24, and Wednesday (Sept. 24) will feature a “Wear Your School Colors” theme. College recruiters will hold a minifair that day and provide workshops for students about transferring to four-year colleges and universities, learning interview skills and obtaining scholarships. Activities on Thursday, Sept. 26, include “Picture Yourself (as) a Graduate” Day, a signing table for “I Commit” contracts that students can complete, refreshments, information from student services about resources for success and giveaways. Events end on Friday, Sept. 27.

El Centro College — Sept. 21-25, 2013 — Commit to Complete Celebration

El Centro's “Commit to Complete” Celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 25, will be preceded by two events. On Saturday, Sept. 21, during the college’s annual Student Leadership Summit, motivational speakers will share completion messages and information. Pre-celebration activities continue on Monday, Sept. 23, when “College Apparel Day” generates school spirit as students, faculty and staff wear El Centro gear; a poster display will emphasize how a degree leads to professional reward. On Wednesday, Sept. 25, the “Commit to Complete” Celebration will feature a “Commitment” banner signing, contract agreements for students to sign, a success workshop, motivational student speakers, staff members who again will wear college colors, refreshments and giveaways.

Mountain View College — Sept. 23-27, 2013 — C4

C4 — Mountain View’s Community College Completion Corps — will start the week off with Club Day on Monday, Sept. 24. A variety of clubs will host sessions about their organizations (including the Omega Omega chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and CVC’s Student Ambassadors); they also will explore the importance of C4’s commitment efforts. On Tuesday, Sept. 24, the focus is on Faculty Day and college spirit; sessions throughout the day will include an Office of Student Life fellowship activity, academic advising, college spirit, admissions, career advising, business services and other topics. A two-day University Fair starts on Wednesday, Sept. 25, and will focus on College Spirit Day, followed on Thursday with a Fine Arts exhibit. The weeklong C4 program concludes on Friday, Sept. 27, with a daylong community signing event as students commit to complete their degrees.

North Lake College — Sept. 23-27, 2013

North Lake College students will “Commit to Complete” their degrees throughout the week, starting with a kickoff rally on Monday, Sept. 23, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the cafeteria, with music, dancing, banner signing and information about the entire week of activities. Tuesday through Thursday, Sept. 24-26, information tables will be set up in room 200 of the J Building so that students can talk to faculty, staff members and other students about a number of topics: degree audit services, transfer services, career services, academic advising and Commit to Complete; those tables will be staffed on Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. and on Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. A completion presentation is scheduled each day that week from 1 to 2 p.m. (question-and-answer sessions in room 220 of the H Building) so that students can learn more about the services offered at North Lake College that can help them successfully complete their college degree. NLC faculty and staff will dress for the occasion, too, wearing North Lake College T-shirts on Monday and their college alma mater colors on Tuesday and Wednesday (community colleges on Tuesday, four-year colleges and universities on Wednesday and graduate schools on Thursday).

Richland College — Sept. 23-27, 2013

Richland College kicked off its Texas Completes activities on Wednesday, Sept. 5, with a financial seminar entitled “Rich Grad, Poor Grad,” presented by the same company that stages the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” series. The college will host a Completion Week Awareness event on Monday, Sept. 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in El Paso Hall. On Tuesday, Sept. 24, the college will hold a Club Fair in El Paso Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the event will help students understand how important it is to be involved outside the classroom — a factor which contributes to their college success. Richland College Colors Day will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 25; students who wear their college colors can sign up to win a prize in room E040 in El Paso Hall. On Thursday, Sept. 26, students are invited to Dream School Transfer Day activities all day (and also can register in room E040 to win a prize if they wear their favorite college T-shirt). Finally, on Friday, Sept. 27, the college will host an outdoor completion rally in the West Breezeway from 10 a.m. to noon for “I Commit Day.”

For information, contact Ann Hatch in the DCCCD office of public and governmental affairs at (214) 378-1819.

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