Queens College to improve academic quality in four-year plan

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Queens College released its Draft Strategic Plan 2015-2019 that details the college’s intention to improve campus experience for students.

The proposal’s four goals are: connect the QC community and the campus, provide support for faculty and staff, ensure academic success for students and improve QC’s infrastructure and operational capacity.

President Felix Matos Rodriguez held two town halls on Sept. 29 and Oct. 1 as part of the plan, first conceived under former President James Muyskens. At the town halls, he received feedback on issues facing students on campus.

In an email to QC students and staff, President Rodriguez thanked people who attended the town halls to help improve the report’s goals.

“Your comments and questions will help us chart a meaningful and collaborative course for the college,” Rodriguez said.

One part of the Draft Strategic Plan focuses on first-year transfer students, whom “require more support than others.” Transfer students actually account for 61 percent of new undergraduates at the college.

“Unfortunately, our transfer students are faring more poorly academically than non-transfer students. These students, who often come from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, accumulate fewer credits per term, and their retention and graduation rates are lower than those rates for non-transfer students,” the report found.

One proposal is a Transfer Student Center to help transfer students with academic advisement. The center would connect students with a mentor and professors.

In addition, the college would coordinate and create agreements with other colleges to make the transfer process more efficient. Students would benefit by losing less credits lost when transferring from schools.

“If better academic outcomes are achieved for this group of students, helping them integrate in QC, we can ensure students success for the majority of our students,” the report found.

Graduate students are another important demographic in the report. There are 3,500 graduate students enrolled at QC, but 85 percent stay for their second year. Retention rates for this group fell over the past three years.

The college would create graduate programs over the next four year, like more night and online classes for students.

“A key factor we will keep in mind is that the majority of these students, 87 percent in recent years, attend QC graduate programs part-time and in the evenings,” the report found.

The college would track retention and graduation rates for transfer and graduate student over the next four years. They hope the graduation rate for transfers would increase from 56 percent to 60 percent. For graduate students, the one-year retention rate is expected to increase to 90 percent.

Anthony Harris, a senior, said he would obtain a master’s degree at QC after completing his undergraduate studies. He liked the efforts the college made accommodating graduate students.

“It is good to see that QC is helping the needs for graduate students. Many other schools have strong alumni [programs] that help current students with different questions about their majors. I hope these changes will create some type of connection between students and professionals and have more QC students in big companies,” Harris said.

The Draft Strategic Plan is found at www.qc.cuny.edu/stratplan.

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