August 2, 2012
FOCUS Early Alert Software provides immediate
intervention to students
At Columbus State, we know that education involves a lot
more than just offering classes and degree programs. It involves
understanding the challenges students face in achieving success,
and finding ways to help them overcome those challenges.
Some challenges that impede student success include non-
attendance or attendance concerns, missing assignments, lack
of class participation, low test/quiz scores, and low GPA.
The Title III - Strengthening Institutions office has introduced a new Starfish Retention Solutions early-alert software system—known to our students as “FOCUS”—which provides a means of monitoring student progress on an individual basis. Students who are identified as “at risk” in a course due to attendance, grade, or participation concerns receive an automatic email telling them to contact their instructor to discuss the issue(s). In addition, instructors may add customized notices to the system to address particular concerns for their individual course or students. Students see any notices not only in their email, but also when they log onto Blackboard.
Additionally, students receive information on support services designed to help them, such as tutoring or advising. Instructors can directly refer students to support services through the FOCUS system. The college has a retention specialist on staff to contact students who have received multiple notices and connect them with college resources that can assist them.
FOCUS is not just for at-risk students, it also allows us to harness the potential of positive reinforcement in student success. Through FOCUS, instructors can send “kudos” to students who do well in their courses. Intervention notices are cleared from the system once the issue is resolved, but kudos are left up throughout the semester, so students are reminded that their good work has been recognized.
Teddi Lewis-Hotopp, Title III director, says, “We are just scratching the surface on the capabilities the Starfish system will provide us. For example, the committee will soon work on identifying predictors for overall student success, such as overall GPA, so that we can correlate notices with a greater number of success factors. This will allow us to intervene on a more comprehensive level, rather than just class by class.”
Piloting of the FOCUS software will continue in the fall, with an expanded group of students and courses included on both the Delaware and Columbus campuses. Targeted for inclusion in the pilot are the new COLS 1100 and 1101 courses, as well as courses taken by the new cohort of Preferred Pathway scholars. In addition, any faculty member may request that their course be added to FOCUS as part of the pilot by contacting Teddi Lewis-Hotopp.
For faculty, tutors, and advising staff interested in training on the FOCUS system, Title III – Strengthening Institutions is offering a symposium on August 10. Registration for the morning or afternoon session can be completed at
The term starts August 29, as compared with September 21 last year, so the start of the semester is creeping up fast. Columbus State would like all faculty, staff and everyone who deals with students, to remind them to get registered on time!
Here’s how you can help:
Make an announcement in your class.
Make an announcement on Blackboard.
Post our fall enrollment page on Twitter or Facebook. Here it is: http://bit.ly/M3we8B
Want to check daily enrollment stats? They’re located here: http://intranet.cscc.edu/stats/. Thanks for your help!
Kim Hachet, call center representative in the Telephone Information Center, was named the Staff Employee of the Month for August, for not only her efficient and friendly work ethic on the phone with students, but also for her helpful training procedures and mentoring style for new employees in the TIC.
Consistently patient and professional from the first call of the day through to the 200th call, Hachet truly enjoys researching all types of material related to higher education, college procedures and student concerns, according to her supervisor, Nina Reese.
She created wiki spaces for the TIC so that her co-workers could have access to information at a moment’s notice, and she keeps them up to date and accurate at all times, greatly improving the operations at the TIC, and assisting new employees with the orientation process.
Cleveland artist and CCAD graduate Olga Ziemska installs her sculpture “Indra” on the south side of the Library last weekend. The sculpture was commissioned by Columbus State and the Ohio Arts Council as part of the Percent for Art program. Watch a video made during the installation, below:
The first annual state conference for the Ohio College Testing Association (OCTA) was held June 15 at Columbus State with 58 attendees representing 31 Ohio colleges. Eight national test vendor companies attended including: ACT, Inc., Nocti Business Solutions, Pearson VUE, The College Board, McGrawHill, Register Blast, Castle World Wide Testing Solutions, and Law School Admission Council (LSAC).
“OCTA was formed to be affiliated with the National College Testing Association to provide professional support and development to professionals working in various forms of testing services in colleges, universities and other institutional-based testing centers in Ohio,” said Jim Kalna, supervisor of the Columbus State Testing & Talent Assessment Center. Kalna is president of the OCTA Governing Board of Officers and will present "Growing Your Test Center's Business and Revenue" at the National College Testing Association’s 13th Annual Conference in Minneapolis this week. He will also receive the NCTA Certified Test Center plaque at the conference. Columbus State is one of only four in the nation and Ohio’s only test center to be certified by the NCTA. Kalna will receive a Service Award as well, for his work on the States and Regional Organizations Committee.
David Foor, left, instructor in Automotive Technology, accepts the 2012 North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT)Education Foundation New Automotive Teacher Award from Fritz Peacock, NACAT Board Member. This award is presented each year to one outstanding high school or postsecondary automotive teacher in North America. Foor was nominated for the award by the faculty and chair of his department and accepted the award at the NACAT Conference held July 16–20 in Tyler, Texas.
Columbus State runners, walkers and music lovers can still get a $10 discount when they sign up for the August 11 Beethoven 5K.
All Columbus State students and employees can receive $10 off the $30 registration fee, but only by turning in their registration form to Vickie Hunter in Marketing and Communications (Franklin 132). The deadline to receive the Columbus State discount has been extended to Tuesday, August 7.
The Westerville road race will begin with the famous opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Volunteers will be stationed about every 400 meters playing the symphony on loudspeakers. Participants who finish before the symphony ends (it’s 31-32 minutes long) will win a ticket to see any Westerville Symphony concert.
Every participant also will receive a colorful Beethoven 5K T-shirt, and WOSU radio is providing additional awards. Earth Fare will provide food and beverages for the participants.
Funds from the race will be used to start a scholarship program.
Click here for the entry form.