September 4, 2013
North Central Missouri College in Trenton has been recognized nationally in the latest community college rankings by the Washington Monthly, a not-for-profit publication produced in Washington, D.C. NCMC is ranked 10th in their America’s Best Community Colleges of 2013.
The Washington Monthly’s ranking is based on two sources of information: the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and U.S. Department of Education measures of student retention and completion.
The CCSSE survey is managed by a nonprofit organization of the same name housed at the University of Texas at Austin. The survey instrument is given to a representative sample of students at community colleges that choose to administer the survey. More than two-thirds of all community colleges—roughly 700 institutions—were included in the analysis.
The CCSSE survey is comprised of more than 100 questions on a range of topics including teaching practices, student workload, interaction with faculty, and student support. The CCSSE combines the results of those questions into aggregate “benchmark” scores in five categories: “Active and Collaborative Learning,” “Student Effort,” “Academic Challenge,” “Student-Faculty Interaction,” and “Support for Learners.” The benchmark scores are standardized to range from 0 to 100 with an average score of 50.
NCMC Dean of Student Services Kristen Alley said, “These ratings are unique in the fact that they do not recognize institutions for the number of holdings in their library or their allocated research dollars. Rather, these ratings recognize those institutions that tend to enroll students with a wide variety of abilities and background, particularly first-generation students, and assist those students in completing their college degree without incurring large amounts of debt. It’s an honor to be recognized, but our faculty and staff are motivated by the difference they make in students’ lives, not rankings. However, it’s great to see our College family acknowledged for the many things they do each day in the classroom, in conversations with students, and by simply caring.
“It’s been said that to choose a college is to choose a future. We believe that NCMC embodies the social and economic opportunities that are available to students when they take advantage of a college education. We have a culture of progressiveness, rigor, flexibility, and concern for the individual. We are confident that our graduates are prepared to enter a career or a university-setting after completing their degree with us. Statistics support that, as well as the rankings.
“Our focus on student learning helps lead them to degree completion and success in future endeavors while maintaining educational affordability. We have excellent support to accomplish this, including the continuance of the A+ program, as well as the support from our legislators, surrounding communities and the region. Our P-12 partners are also instrumental in establishing a good educational foundation, which has allowed us to expand on the learning that has already taken place to continue to promote a culture of life-long learning and growth.”
NCMC President Neil Nuttall remarked, “Higher education is facing severe budget cuts in the upcoming year; however, we at NCMC have worked very hard to make the most of our allocations and this ranking illustrates it. We have re-organized parts of campus and looked at various cost-saving measures while increasing our level of funding for scholarships and placing a high priority on the institutional mission, creating lifelong learners. In light of these obstacles and barriers to education, NCMC has not sacrificed quality. I am very proud of our faculty who maintain high expectations of all of our students, though each student brings to the classroom varying degrees of knowledge. I am equally as proud of our staff, who work long hours behind the scenes to assist students who have high levels of anxiety created by just stepping onto campus and indicating a willingness to (re)start their academic journey.”