Southwest Tennessee Community College

March 16, 2007

For more information, contact: Kimberly Kreider (901) 333-4023

Southwest’s Developmental Studies Program wins Advanced Certification
Written by: Kimberly Kreider

The Developmental Studies Program at Southwest has received yet another honor for their award winning program. The Department received advanced certification for its program from the National Association for Developmental Education (NADE). The only other college in the state that holds the certification is Middle Tennessee State University. The certification involves collecting five years of data that show the success of the students in the program as they leave the program and enter into regular college-level coursework.

"The process is similar to accreditation where you have to meet national standards," states Janice Van Dyke, Developmental Studies Professor and one of the faculty members that worked heavily on the project. "We saw a trend that the students that go through our program do better in some instances than the students that do not have to go through developmental studies courses." For 10 semesters since the merger, the Department has tracked the success of its students through their college career.

In 2006-2007, just as the department was getting finished with the research, the NADE changed the guidelines for submission. Southwest was the first college to go through this new process. According to officials at the NADE, Southwest will be held as the standard by which others will be judged in the future.

The certification was earned because of the data-driven ways of the department and it's continued strive to meet all of their institutional effectiveness goals. The research that was put into the project was used to also increase the moral and productivity of the faculty in the Department, states Dr. Ada Shotwell, dean of Liberal Studies and Education.

The Department has used the research to improve communication between faculty and adjunct faculty members as well. "We look at the new data every year and make modifications to the program as a whole," said Cheryl Cleaves, department chair for Developmental Studies. "We are always trying to identify areas where more work is needed to make the process better for the students."

The area has 42 full time faculty members and over 100 adjunct faculty. "This (award) shows that our students are learning and that there is consistency in the type of teaching that they are getting," states Shotwell. This certification is a boost for the faculty's motivation and will definitely translate into increased productivity in their classrooms.

The research will be heavily used by the department to comply with TBR's redesign of the department. The redesign will require the Department to use more technology, move students through the program at a faster rate and save resources.