Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) to bring updated services to Pierce

Pierce College’s Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) is one step closer to full implementation after its unanimous approval by the Academic Senate on Monday, Sept. 8, at its first meeting of the semester in the Great Hall.

The SSSP is an updated version of the process formerly known as Matriculation, Orientation, assessment, counseling, and other follow-up services are at the heart of the program.

“It’s all about students getting off to a good start,” Pierce’s new Dean of Student Services Kalynda Webber-McLean said. “We provide them with adequate support while they’re here so they can meet their educational objectives.”

Parts of the plan are already in motion at Pierce, according to Webber-McLean. Academic Counseling has changed significantly since new policies and procedures were introduced in the spring.

“Now we have guidelines we go by,” Counseling Department Chair Rudy Dompe said. “Before, we had more time to do counseling, per se. Now we’ve got to move into action right away – educational goals, career goals – we’ve got to do the comprehensive educational plan.”

The plan Dompe referred to is a complete outline of everything a student needs to complete their academic goals. Abbreviated plans that cover one to two semesters are also available.

“The state has said that community colleges need to be a little bit more structured,” Webber-McLean said. “Now the state says that if you do a long-term road map for a student, it has to have every stop along the way.”

Webber-McLean also said that Pierce is in the process of hiring more academic counselors, which is also part of the SSSP.

Year-round assessment, on the other hand, is an SSSP feature that is already underway at Pierce. Before the SSSP, Pierce only offered assessment during certain times of the year, according to Webber-McLean.

But there are more SSSP services in development, she said. They include a comprehensive probation program and the First Year Experience Center.

She said the probation program should “hopefully” roll out later this fall, with a full implementation in the spring. The First Year Experience Center in the Library Learning Crossroads Building has its classrooms open, but a lead counselor/coordinator is still needed before the center is opened, she said.

The SSSP is based off California Senate Bill 1456, also known as the Student Success Act. It was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012.

Last year was a planning year while 2014 is an implementation year, according to Webber-McLean. “We’re right on time with the timeline that’s been established by the state’s Chancellor’s Office,” she said.

Academic Senate President Kathy Oborn said, “We’re trusting our student services professionals to provide the best services for our students.”

The SSSP will be submitted to Pierce’s board in October for final approval.