Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Creative Retention: Changing Lives

One of the toughest parts of my job is seeing students who your gut tells you have the ability to succeed and then somehow life gets in the way or circumstances change and make success seem impossible - whether it be in the short term, for a course, or long term.

I had a student in my 8 week accelerated online course come visit me today to discuss their situation, it was grim. In order for them to just pass by the skin of their teeth they would need to score an 86.15 or better on every assignment and the final exam - not impossible, but not an easy task. Further, their hope is to transfer the class and to do so most often requires a C or better, an impossibility even if they were to score a perfect grade on each assignment.

In running through the possibilities and discussing the accelerated course versus the full semester course that I am teaching and amidst the discussion, the student asked if it were at all possible for them to transfer out of the 8 week accelerated section and into the 15 week full semester course.

I had to stop and think for a good few seconds to process this idea, I verbalized out loud how it would completely change this student's possibilities for success and then mentioned that it relies mostly on whether or not in week 5 of the semester the registrar would allow this and since it is way past add/the drop period, they may charge the student for another course. the student was willing to pay this high price - their reaction to this spoke volumes as to their commitment and desire to do better and I went to bat...

I told the student that if the registrar would agree and you agreed to the registrar's decisions, I would allow them to switch sections. I had the student come downstairs to me and the registrar employees on my campus were not able to make a decision on this situation, but I told the student to hang on, went in the back, and called the registrar to explain the situation - to my joy, he agreed to allow the swap with no financial penalty to the student.

We had to fill out a little paperwork but it got done. The student came in feeling defeated and off course, they left smiling, with a renewed sense of purpose and hope and grateful.

These are the moments at work that fill the soul.

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