Bevill State to strengthen instructional programs

Posted 8/11/19

Bevill State Community College has unveiled a plan to improve instructional programs.BSCC President Dr. Kim Ennis met with the Daily Mountain Eagle on Wednesday to discuss the college's QEP (Quality …

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Bevill State to strengthen instructional programs


Bevill State Community College has unveiled a plan to improve instructional programs.

BSCC President Dr. Kim Ennis met with the Daily Mountain Eagle on Wednesday to discuss the college's QEP (Quality Enhancement Plan) named TIPS (Transforming Instructional Programs for Success).

The QEP is a component of Bevill State's Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaccreditation.

"Every college, when they are going through their 10-year reaffirmation, has to write a quality enhancement plan," Ennis said. "It must be a plan for improving student success and ours is known as TIPS, and we will be promoting that."

TIPS is aimed at enhancing instructional strategies, and college officials have identified three methods to accomplish their goal.

Redeveloping student orientation will be key in improving instructional programs.  

"That is such a great place to try to affect student success from the minute that a student steps foot on campus," Ennis said.

Beginning in spring 2020, the college will implement a lesson on study strategies and other topics during orientation courses, and surveys and focus groups will be conducted to determine effectiveness.

"The second strategy implemented will be the development of unit objectives for all of the college’s top 10 enrollment courses to provide clear expectations for students of what they will be able to do (explain, discuss, state, list, etc.), upon completion of each unit covered in the course," according to a statement from Bevill State. "Unit objectives can help students differentiate what to study, which can enhance learning and ultimately yield increased and favorable results in the areas of class attendance, student satisfaction, and course performance."

Ennis said she is particularly excited about the college's third strategy, which will involve instructor-made lecture videos. The 10- to 15-minute videos will cover objectives that students can rewatch anytime to master retention.

"It's self-paced learning. If I miss something that the instructor said in class the other day, I can go back and look at a strategy," Ennis said.

Outside of working toward QEP implementation, the college has made some changes to how students get their textbooks for classes.

Bookstores will no longer be on each of Bevill State's campuses. 

"We've always operated our own bookstores for years. With Amazon and online, students can get their books in so many avenues. That has really had a huge impact on the bookstore and what we really need to have available for students," Ennis said.

The college has selected Follett, a company that will now manage book sells. Ennis explained that there will be a central warehouse for books on the Sumiton campus, and pop-up book sales will occur on all campuses at peak times.

Students also now have the option of ordering their books and college-themed gear online.

"We ultimately believe it will be very helpful for the students," Ennis said, adding that many colleges have now switched to online models for book purchases, in lieu of on-site bookstores.

Ennis also touched on the college's budget. Bevill State recently received $16.5 million from the state — an $800,000 increase. The college also received an additional $122,103, based on performance. Ennis said the college's overall budget is $32 million.

"The other $16 million you have to make up through tuition, fees, different revenue streams," she said. "The increase is great. We're very excited about that, and it will go a long way."

Last year, the college took heat for making necessary budget cuts amid Ennis's discovery that the institution had been deficit spending by dipping into its reserves.

"We have made some really good strides in our budget because we have made several cuts. Every time an employee leaves, we scrutinize whether we're replacing that position or not. We are really running on an efficiency model," she said. "Are we exactly where we need to be yet? No, we're not, but we have moved the needle in the right direction. We're pleased with that, but we've just got to keep working."

Ennis said the college has much to be proud of, such as the announcement that its mine training facility will be updated through legislative funds. In addition, the college is set to soon open a Rapid Response Training Center in Jasper's Industrial Park that will be used for training to meet industry needs.

Bevill State is also seeing an increase in dual enrollment, which allows high school students to take college courses.

Ennis said, without a doubt, that the college's greatest strength is the support from the communities it serves.

"We are so important in the communities where we have a campus located, and we know that," she said. "We know how important partnerships are with our communities, and we have strong partnerships in all of our communities."