Nashville State Community College (NSCC) is a public, two-year comprehensive community college founded in 1970 in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville State’s initial offering of five Associate’s degree programs has grown to 49 degree programs and 12 certificate programs.
NSCC has a reputation of academic excellence and has won the distinction of “Best Place for Continuing Education” for the past 12 consecutive years (as selected via a reader’s poll in the Nashville Scene). However, we have some challenges as well; first and foremost being student retention. Retention at NSCC is continually in the lowest percentile in the Tennessee Board of Regents System (TBR). These poor retention rates affect the long-term financial planning and progression of the College, do not provide funds needed to build much needed laboratories and other facilities, and are continually reflective of the fact that the majority of students entering NSCC are not achieving their educational goals.
Second, in the current Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), NSCC scored below other comparison means in the area involving student advisement and campus support for learning. The experience of NSCC faculty in advising students on the necessary paths to follow into a four-year degree program is negligible.
Third, although NSCC is seeing unprecedented growth in online academic instruction, we are losing almost 50 percent of students on a course-by-course basis. This is due to three factors: 1) inconsistencies of delivery methods from course to course, 2) readiness of students to take serious academic courses online, and 3) faculty not versed in differences between online course teaching web-based instruction and the classroom.
And finally, the majority of NSCC Students meet one or more at-risk factors: Over 74 percent of NSCC students have taken at least one developmental course. The greater population meets this qualification plus one or more of a combination of other at-risk factors such as: 1) being a full-time working student, 2) financially in need, and 3) having an undeclared major.