March 16, 2007
For more information, contact: Kimberly Kreider (901) 333-4023
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
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
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.