Patrick Henry Community College
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Leveraging Online Tutoring Helps Community College Meet Accreditation Standards
Offering Smarthinking tutoring to all students helps to renew accreditation status and ensure student success.
Writing, Mathematics, Science, Business
Founded in 1962, Patrick Henry became part of the Virginia Community College System on July 1, 1971. The college currently serves more than 3,000 students a year and offers 29 associate’s degree programs, 13 certificate programs and 38 career studies certificate programs.Download PDF
Patrick Henry Community College is a comprehensive two-year institution committed to both the success of its students and a vision to be recognized nationally as an exemplary learning college. In the early 2000’s, PHCC established a goal to reaffirm its Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS) accreditation by 2008. At the time PHCC was seeking accreditation, SACS added a new standard that required all schools with dual enrollment locations to make tutoring support services available and accessible to each and every student. Face-to-face tutoring was available on PHCC’s main campus, but with annual course enrollments of 7,420 online and 4,920 at off-campus sites whose students who could not easily access the support, PHCC would not meet the new SACS accreditation standard. PHCC needed to implement a tutoring service that worked for students at all levels of learning, and could be accessible to each of its three thousand students, including those attending online and at off-campus locations.
PHCC looked to Smarthinking as a comprehensive solution to the challenge of reaching each member of its diverse student body, and ultimately achieving SACS accreditation for its online and degree program courses. The institution integrated Smarthinking into its learning management system, through a single-sign-on feature, in 2004. To announce the new service to students both on and off campus, PHCC worked with Smarthinking to strategically place posters across campus, include log-in information on all course syllabi, and require all developmental education instructors to frequently promote and demonstrate Smarthinking in their classrooms.
PHCC administrators found management of Smarthinking simple and easy. To ensure a seamless integration within all departments, free training sessions and orientations were offered to both students and faculty through ongoing webinars hosted by Smarthinking Implementation Specialists. PHCC continues to update the service and provide new offerings and disciplines, such as Reading and Computers & Technology.
With the implementation of Smarthinking across the entire student body, PHCC was granted accreditation by SACS in 2008. Students at PHCC consistently report high satisfaction rates with Smarthinking’s tutoring services—equally as high, or higher, compared to PHCC’s previous in-house tutoring options. Of the students who have taken advantage of Smarthinking, 95.2 percent said they would recommend the service to a friend. As of 2012, PHCC has used Smarthinking to host over 8,500 tutoring sessions with over 2,400 distinct students.
"Smarthinking has become an integral part of the student success culture on our campus. I can’t imagine how we could reach distance learners, dually-enrolled students, and even traditional face-to-face students without the services provided by Smarthinking."
Greg Hodges, Dean of Developmental Education and Transitional Programs
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