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Atlanta Metropolitan State College Campus Plan Update 2014

Campus Plan Updates for 2014

Complete College Georgia is a statewide effort to increase the number Georgians with a high quality certificate or degree. Under the leadership of Governor Nathan Deal, it has continued to build momentum since its launch in 2011. The University System of Georgia (USG) and the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) have advanced highimpact, research-driven strategies aligned with the primary goal of the initiative: to increase student access to, progression through, and successful graduation from institutions of higher education.

The past year has seen a number milestones and accomplishments as institutions across the system integrate the core work areas of CCG into their institutional mission. USG hosted symposia on new learning models and predictive analytics, as well as meetings on transforming remediation, strategies for on-time completion, and reverse transfer of credit for the purpose of awarding degrees. System staff collaborated with institutional representatives on a number of policy initiatives that resulted in new policies and procedures to reduce barriers to student progress and success. The System office was also able to continue to provide short-term funding to support innovative projects at institutions aligned with completion goals that have the potential to be scaled up to be implemented across the system.

To capture the progress of the previous year, each campus provides updates on strategies, processes and outcomes in the enclosed status reports. The updates contain a self-assessment of the progress made to date, any substantial changes from last year’s plan, and reflect on lessons learned throughout the year. This year’s reports were streamlined and focused, with institutions asked to align goals, strategies, and measure of progress and success with their institutional profile and mission. This year’s report also provides a summary of System Office CCG activities. The plans that follow serve to update the campus plans that were first submitted in 2012 as well as to provide an overview of the breadth of work that is underway in Georgia to achieve the ambitious goals of Complete College Georgia.

Institutional Mission and Student Body Profile

Founded in 1974, Atlanta Metropolitan State College (AMSC) is a public, 4-year college governed by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG). AMSC is located on a 67-acre urban campus in the southwest quadrant of Atlanta, Georgia. The College's mission focuses on excellence, where outstanding faculty members and committed staff teach and facilitate the successful academic matriculation and holistic development of students.  The College has a 3,000-student population, 6:4 traditional/non-traditional commuter population ratio, and a student demographic of 92% African-American, 3% Caucasian, 3% Hispanic, and 2% Asian. Typically, 95% of AMSC students are Atlanta residents. AMSC has an open-access admissions policy, with 30% of the student body requiring learning support (or developmental education). Fifty-five percent (55%) of AMSC students are first-generation college students. Seventy percent (70%) of students receive the Pell grant, and 90% receive some form of financial aid.

Though approximately 30% of the College's students require some level of learning support, AMSC ranks above the USG graduation rate average for state colleges, and maintains the highest full-time first-time associate degree, three-year graduation rate for African-American males in the USG.   AMSC's 40 years of experience in providing post-secondary education underscores the institution's mission of offering an affordable liberal arts education that prepares students from diverse urban communities to function in a global society.  In addition, AMSC is the institution of choice for many metropolitan Atlanta region communities because of its high quality programs and services and competitively affordable cost and tuition. Low cost and high quality is a strategic imperative of AMSC. Tuition and fees are approximately $1,600 per semester or $3,200 per year. The cost of an associate's degree is approximately $6,400, and the bachelor's degree cost is $13,000. These costs place a college degree within reach of low-income families and individuals who would otherwise not have the resources to attend college, and positions AMSC as the institution of choice for a large segment of the metropolitan Atlanta area.  Because college cost is a primary barrier for individuals in metropolitan Atlanta communities seeking college degrees, AMSC fully embraces its Complete College Georgia (CCG) Plan as a natural fit with the College's existing mission and provides an opportunity to increase its impact and effectiveness in providing post-secondary education to diverse urban communities.

AMSC engages in strategic partnerships.  These partnerships are listed below and are grouped into three primary categories:  K-12, economic/workforce, and special-focused partnerships. The K-12 partnerships focus on college programs for high school students including Dual Enrollment, Move On When Ready,  Early College, and Joint Enrollment. K-12 partnerships also focus on improving student college-readiness and preparing students for success in freshman gateway courses.  Economic/workforce partnerships focus on preparing students for direct entry into the workforce, internship opportunities, and professional mentoring programs. These partnerships greatly enhance completion of  student workforce certificates and career associate degrees. The emphasis of economic/workforce partnerships is to meet the demands of the local economy and workforce needs.  Special-focused partnerships involve targeted projects that address  specific educational, economic, employment, cultural, and community needs.

K-12 Partnerships

» High schools across the metro Atlanta region: Atlanta Public Schools Fulton County, Clayton County, and DeKalb County School Districts

Economic/Workforce Partnerships

» Grady Hospital Radiological Technology Program, Atlanta Job Corps, Atlanta Workforce,  Year Up Atlanta, Georgia Power, Metro Chamber of Commerce

Special-Focused Partnerships

» 100 Black Men of Atlanta, United Way of Greater Atlanta, Project GRAD Atlanta

Institutional Completion Goals and Strategies

Goal 1:  Shorten time to degree completion through programs that allow students to earn college credit while still in high school

How meeting this goal increases completion

AMSC students who complete college courses while in high school have higher college completion rates than their peers from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. Thus, the College expects that students who earn college credit while in high school will directly lead to improvement in the CCG student completion outcome. The specific strategies associated with Goal #1 involve providing students the academic and social (e.g. motivation, time-management, confidence) skills that ensure their progression – maximizing course completion and pass rates for dual enrollment (DE) students in gateway freshman classes. To achieve this objective, AMSC has provided foolproof academic and support services and monitoring that provide immediate interventions for dual enrollment students who experience problems. These support systems include: (1) hiring a Dual Enrollment Coordinator to manage and monitor the program, (2) creating a dedicated dual enrollment student workspace on campus to provide a focal point on campus for academic and social support for DE student adaption to college life, and (3) incorporating dual enrollment students into the College's academic success monitoring systems, such as ‘Early Alert’ and ‘Intrusive Advising.’  Collectively these strategies increase DE student performance and will lead to the success of completion outcomes.

Needs/Challenges in Achieving this Goal    

Although AMSC's DE program is progressing, there are needs/challenges. Among the challenges are (a) students' lack of funds to purchase text books, (b) insufficient preparation and resources for more high school students to take standardized tests (ACT & SAT) to qualify for ACCEL funding for high school dual enrollment and early college programs, (c) lack of transportation for dual enrollment students to attend on-site campus classes, and (d) disproportionately low number of DE students from low income, underrepresented, underserved families.

Steps AMSC is Taking to Address Needs/Challenges

AMSC is contributing in multiple ways to address student needs: (1) The AMSC Student Government Association has created a book loan program for students who demonstrate need, and allow these students to ‘check-out’ course textbooks on a semester-by-semester basis. While this program is very popular and successful, it does not meet the full need of students campus-wide. (2) The College provides Pre-matriculation courses (Pre-MAT) in English, Math, and Reading, as well as COMPASS Diagnostic Testing for high school students to raise the awareness and preparation of students and parents to increase the number of college-ready students and those who meet DE requirements. Furthermore, AMSC collaborates with high school administrators and teachers on curriculum and intervention strategies to increase the pipeline of college-ready students. For example, AMSC hires high school teachers as instructors in its Pre-MAT program, which increases high school teachers' awareness and improves their ability to prepare students for COMPASS competency requirements.

Goal 2:  Increase the likelihood of degree completion by transforming the way that remediation is accomplished.

How meeting this goal increases completion

The graduation rate of students enrolled in learning support classes is 80-90% lower than the rate of students who do not require learning support (LS) classes. Thus, the strategy to eliminate or reduce the time for students in learning support should increase their completion rate, and contribute significantly to the College's completion outcome. AMSC employs several strategies to eliminate or reduce learning support requirements of students.

First and foremost, the College places emphasis and significant resources on exempting students from learning support. The College's (Pre-MAT) program targets multiple high schools in the metropolitan Atlanta area, and provides intervention classes for students who are not "college ready" in the areas of math, English, and reading to strengthen their academic skills to meet the USG COMPASS admissions requirement. Program participants are referred by teachers or identified based on COMPASS Diagnostic scores. Students identified with academic need are provided an intense four to six week Pre-MAT course preparing them to score high on the COMPASS test.  At the conclusion of the Pre-MAT program, high school students have the ability to either test out of LS courses completely, or reduce time spent in LS courses before entering college-level gateway courses. Exemption of LS courses reduces time to completion for some students by as much as one to two years, and reduces costs by $3000-$3500 for tuition/fees for LS courses.

Second, the strategy for transforming remediation is to increase the pass rates of students who take LS math courses and improve their performance in their subsequent gateway college math course.  Traditional learning support classes and teaching strategies are simply not effective/efficient and do not meet the needs of current college students. Passive learning and the lack of technology in the classroom do not effectively address the needs of LS students. AMSC has addressed this problem by transforming its LS classes from passive learning to active learning, incorporating a computer-based curriculum accessible to students in and out of the classroom. The College has developed a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that targets students with LS math requirements, utilizing a computer-assisted modular approach. This approach is a modified version of the nationally recognized "Emporium Model," which provides students with a self-paced instructional delivery method driven by their individual learning styles and mastery of curriculum content.  The instructor assumes a facilitating teaching role, monitoring student performance and providing real-time intervention strategies as the need arises in the course.

Needs/Challenges in Achieving the Completion goal 

The Pre-MAT program charges a fee of $89.00 per student to cover costs for instructor and course material.  While nominal, this fee is a barrier for some students and poses a challenge for the number of students who can afford to take Pre-MAT classes.

Another challenge is limited resistance to transforming LS courses. Although the larger AMSC community has been exposed to and educated about the College's QEP and LS remediation transformation initiatives, some students and faculty resist change until success is demonstrated and proven.  Because the College is in year two of these LS transformations, data are becoming available to demonstrate LS success of transformed remediation classes when compared to traditional LS courses.  Nonetheless, resistance and hesitancy to change persist.

Steps AMSC is Taking to Address Needs/Challenges

The College provides Pre-MAT class cost waivers for students who demonstrate specific need. Grant funds have also been obtained to help defray Pre-MAT costs and expenses for students. Nonetheless, cost limits the scope and reach of the Pre-MAT program.

To reduce reluctance for some students/faculty to fully embrace remediation transformation, the College has put forth a concerted effort to better inform students, faculty, and staff of LS successes of new LS initiatives.  A QEP Committee has been created, consisting of representation from multiple campus stakeholders, to determine LS polices and procedures, disseminate information, and garner campus-wide buy-in.  The College's QEP Director, who oversees and manages the QEP program, develops and implements strategies (e.g. publications, PowerPoint presentations, QEP webpage) to ensure and increase campus support and participation in remediation transformation initiatives.

Goal 3:  Provide innovative services/activities that motivate and engage students to graduate on time 

How meeting this goal increases completion 

After matriculation, students often lack focus, momentum, and motivation to graduate on time. AMSC has implemented three strategic programs to maintain student momentum and focus toward graduation:  (1) career services, (2) internships, and (3) intrusive advising. The College believes that the achievement of this goal will increase the motivation and focus of students and lead to increased student progression and higher completion rates. Career services and internships are designed to provide students with deeper experiences of the careers associated with their academic majors and experiential activities beyond the academic setting, as well as networking opportunities for students prior to graduation. The literature is replete with examples of how internships motivate students and in many cases provide them an advantage over their peers without internship experiences. The AMSC career services resource will increase student clarity of career pathways, reducing instances of students changing majors (losing credits), selecting the wrong courses, and reduce career indecisiveness that leads to prolonged graduation. 

Intrusive academic advising (IAA) takes a proactive and aggressive approach to identifying and addressing student academic and social needs. Intrusive academic advisors take the initiative to identify and support students who have academic and social needs and provide interventions to get them back on track, rather than waiting on those students to self-identify and come to the College for assistance in addressing challenges that threating their retention, academic progression, and timely graduation. Three high-risk student cohorts have been targeted for this strategy:  (1) students in academic jeopardy (i.e. those facing academic warning or probation), (2) part-time students, and (3) academic high-risk first-time full-time (FTFT) students. The IAA Program for the high-risk FTFT cohort has a dedicated program coordinator, whereas the IAA for part-time students and those on academic jeopardy is implemented by the Center for First Year Experience and Academic Advising.  

Needs/challenges in achieving the completion goal

Intrusive advising activities are time consuming, resource intensive, and require dedicated staff. While AMSC continues to grow its intrusive advising activities, the demand of student needs outpace the current staff capacity and resources, thus limiting the scope of the program. Increases in the College's resources will allow the program to extend to more students in need of these very effective student services.

Steps AMSC is Taking to Address Needs/Challenges

The College provides six credit hours (two courses) of reassigned time for the faculty coordinator of the FTFT Intrusive Advising Program. Faculty members volunteer their time to serve as Intrusive Academic Advisors, and when possible workload assignments are approved to work toward this effort in the Center for First Year Experience and Academic Advising (CFYEAA).

Goal 4:  Increase the number of degrees conferred and graduation rates, targeting adult learners

How meeting this goal increases completion

Because adult learners constitute a large percentage (1,260 students, 42%) of the overall student population (3000 students) at AMSC, achieving this goal will have a significant impact on achieving the completion outcome. Three strategies have been implemented to achieve this goal: (1) expansion of the College's Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Program, where adult learners receive college credit for prior learning, CLEP certified competencies, DSST scores, ACE credit recommendations, and portfolio review, all of which reduce degree completion time, (2) development of technology training opportunities for adult learners to increase their comfort and participation in online classes, and (3) development and implementation of adult learner focused online classes that maintain course quality and rigor, but utilize pedagogical strategies that address the needs of adult learners. The adult learner target population includes students from various backgrounds, including military students, GED students, students requiring job retraining, and adult learners pursuing new career options.

AMSC employs various activities to address the needs of adult learners. An online technology module has been incorporated into the freshman orientation course, required for AMSC students and particularly targeting adult learners, to strengthen their technology skills for success in online courses. The College believes that if adult learners fully engage in online courses, it will provide them additional options for taking courses at times that compliment their family and work schedules, affording them the opportunity for increased course loads, thus reducing time to graduation. Pilot ‘user friendly’ online adult learner courses have been developed and implemented during the spring 2013 and fall 2014 semesters. The pass rates for these courses will be reported in the 2015 CCG Update Report.

Needs/challenges in Achieving the Completion goal

Despite the success of efforts associated with this goal, technology fears remain with many adult learners and others face major challenges with certain academic course disciplines, such as mathematics, primarily because of the time lapsed since last taking math courses.  

For adult learners who wish to achieve credit for prior learning, the cost is a barrier for taking the credit course that trains them how to develop a prior learning credit portfolio, a requirement for requesting prior learning credit. 

Steps AMSC is Taking to Address Needs/Challenges

For students who demonstrate need, the College has allocated institutional funds to cover the cost for the one credit PLA courses designed to train adult learners to the develop a PLA portfolio.

The College has assigned the PLA program to the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, which gives it prominence, high profile, and the emphasis that underscores the College's commitment to success of the program. The AMSC PLA program has maintained a proud membership for several years in the USG PLA Program and Georgia's Opportunities for Adult Learners (GOAL). The resources and support provided through these resources have been invaluable in the success of the AMSC PLA program.

Summary of Goals, High-Impact Strategies, Activities, Targets, and Measures of Success

Goal 1

Shorten time to degree completion

High-Impact Strategies
Formalize a Dual Enrollment Program that integrates dual enrollment into the College's tactical and strategic planning processes with the goal of sustaining the dual enrollment student headcount as fixed percentage of the total student population. These programs include Dual Enrollment, Early College (Maynard Jackson High School), and Move on When Ready. Earning college credits in high school affords students flexibility for earlier internships, study abroad opportunities, and reduces college costs.
Develop academic skills required for students to maintain an academically sound GPA, which eliminates their need to repeat courses, thus shortens degree completion
Develop and implement guided pathways (Program of Study).
Enhance student success strategies in the Academic Support Center.

Summary of Activities/Targets

  1. Hire a full-time Dual Enrollment Coordinator.
  2. Develop a Dual Enrollment Office and dedicated study area for DE students.
  3. Fully integrate Dual Enrollment Program into College's recruitment and outreach strategies.
  4. Enhance First-Year Seminar Course
  5. Provide workshops in the Academic Support Center that address barriers to student progression
Short-Term 3-Year Targets
  1. Increase dual enrollment headcount from the current 5.5% to 10% of the overall student population
  2. ncrease high-risk student's credit hour earn/attempt ratio, 10% annually
Long-Range 6-Year Targets
  1. To develop and sustain a Dual Enrollment Academy with 600 students.
  2. To graduate 25% of dual enrollment students, annually

Interim Measures of Progress

  1. A full-time dual enrollment coordinator was hired fall 2013.
  2. A dedicated office for the enrollment coordinator and a student study area was created in the Student Center.
  3. The Dual Enrollment Office is fully integrated into the Institutions annual and strategic plan.

Measures of Success

The Dual Enrollment headcount increased by 18% for FY2014 from the previous year, an increase from 157 (5.5%) to 192 (6.4%) students, 6.4% of the overall student population.

Note: Measures of short-term metrics will be reported FY15, after completion of the first year of interventions

Goal 2

Increase degree completion by transforming the way that remediation is accomplished

High-Impact Strategy
Adapt learning support classes, policies, and procedures to maximize degree completion.

Summary of Activities/Targets

  1. Convert Learning Support (LS) curriculum to modules so that students can ‘move on’ at self-pace and when ready.
  2. Adopt the USG's Pathway and co-requisite models, moving more LS students out of learning support classes into gateway courses.
  3. Reduce the number of students taking LS classes by scaling up the College Pre-matriculation (‘Pre-MAT’) program to assist more students to exempt LS requirements
  4. Require block scheduling and Pre-MAT classes for recent high school graduates who score in the lowest 50% quartile of the COMPASS scores.
Short-Term 3-Year Target
  1. Decrease the total percentage of LS students to 20% of the overall student population.
Long-Range 8-Year Targets
  1. Reduce the LS population to 10% of the overall student population
  2. Reduce the average time to one semester that 90% of LS students spend in LS courses

Interim Measures of Progress

  1. Modules have been completed for all learning support classes, including those for recent USG Foundation LS classes.
  2. One year pilot classes began summer 2014 for pathway, foundation, and gateway co-requisite classes.
  3. Pre-MAT classes have increased by 50% (from 8 to 20) for FY14.
  4. Block scheduling has been implemented FY13 for recent high school LS Cohorts.
  5. QEP classes have been adapted to modular classes for the newly developed USG LS foundation courses.

Measures of Success

LS Math 0097 Classes Change from 784 students to 543 students (44% decrease);

LS Math 0099 Classes Change from 457 to 535 students (17% increase);

LS English 0099 Classes

Change from 156 to 103 students (34% decrease);

LS Reading 0099 Classes

 Change from 80 to 75 Students (6% decrease) in Reading 0099   

All LS Headcount

Change from total headcount of 1035 to 754 Students (27% decrease and 25% of the total student population)

Time in LS (All Students)

65% of LS students spent one semester in LS classes

Goal 3

Provide innovative services and activities that motivate and engage students to graduate on time 

High-Impact Strategy
Provide career services, internship opportunities, and intrusive advising strategies that assist students in clarifying career choices, engage in experiential leaning activities, and provide support services that increase the completion of high-risk students

Summary of Activities/Targets

  1. Provide intrusive advising for high-risk first-time, full-time (FTFT) students.
  2. Create and implement an institutional Internship Program
  3. Organize and Implement the College's Careers Services Program
Short Term 3-Year Target
  • Engage 20% of students in Career Services activities; provide intrusive advising for 95% high-risk FTFT students and 50% of students in academic jeopardy; and engage 2% students in internship activities, annually
Long Range Target 5-Year Target
  • 90% of students who actively participate in each of the Goal 3 activities will graduate on time

Interim Measures of Progress

  1. A Faculty Coordinator has been designated for FTFT Intrusive Advising, and selected faculty Intrusive Advisors have been designated, trained, and assigned to high-risk students.
  2. The Internship Program has been established, with a campus-wide steering committee to oversee in administration. The day-to-day activities will be managed by the College's Office of Special Programs. 
  3. The Career Services Program has been implemented and is managed by the Office of Counseling Services.
  4. Webpages created for all programs

Measures of Success

  1. Summer 2013, 100% of high-risk FTFT students targeted (15 of 15 students targeted) graduated on time.
  2. 75 (2.5%  of  total population) students participated in the Pilot Career Services activities in FY14

Goal 4

Increase the number of degrees conferred and graduation rates, targeting adult learners

High-Impact Strategy

Develop ‘ adult learner friendly and effective’ programs and services

Summary of Activities/Targets

  1. Create online adult learner ‘friendly’ courses with rigor and quality, that focus pedagogically on adult learners
  2. Implement the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program, including a PLA 3000 course to train adult learners how to create PLA portfolios
  3. Expand the services and communication to Veteran/Military Students to include a one-stop admissions, financial aid, advising, and counseling services.
Short Term 3-Year Target
  1. Increase the number of degrees conferred to adult learners by 6%, with a 2-year moving average increase of 2%
  2. Increase total degrees conferred by 2% annually
Long Range 8-Year Target
  1. The overall CCG goal is to increase graduation and retention rates by 65%, with  2%, 2-year moving average increases


Interim Measures of Progress

  1. Ten online Adult Learner ‘friendly’ courses were created fall 2013 and piloted spring 2014.
  2. During FY14, 200 military students were served in the new military student lounge with admissions and financial aid services.
  3. The first adult learner completed the PLA portfolio requesting college credit for prior learning

Measures of Success

  1. A new military website ( was created to improve services and communication for military students.
  2. Degrees conferred to adult learners increased by 3.5% over the previous year.
  3. The total degrees conferred in FY14 increased over the previous year by 3.3% (296 to 306).
Overall  CCG Metrics:
  • Retention Rate
  • 41.4 to 51.8 (25.1% Increase from previous year)
Graduation Rate
  • 10.9% to 9.3 (17.2% decrease from previous year)



Goals and Strategies that have worked well

The success for achieving the overall CCG goal - increasing the graduation rate and the number of degrees and college credentials conferred - is dependent upon two factors:  (1) increasing the number of students entering college, and (2) increasing the progression and completion of existing and new students. AMSC Goal #1 for shortening the time to earning a degree by expanding the recruitment and matriculation of dual enrollment students addresses both enrollment and graduation CCG strategies. Because dual enrollment students are typically better college-prepared than other high student cohorts, the potential for Goal #1 to positively impact the College's completion outcomes is high, as these students do not have learning support requirement, and have demonstrated high academic performance based on relatively high SAT scores and high GPAs from high school.  The success of Goal #1 has created a new enrollment pipeline of academically stronger AMSC students. In addition, Goal #1 has enormous potential for sustainability because of the large number and percentage of students in the AMSC service area with great potential, who will require minimum intervention to qualify them for the dual enrollment program.

Many students do not participate in dual enrollment because they or their families are not fully aware of its benefits and are unable to navigate through the qualifying process. Other students, with high potential and abilities, do not currently have sufficient GPAs and SAT/ACT scores to qualify for ACCEL funding. We have discovered through CCG activities that if these barriers are addressed early enough with high school students, preferably at the 9th and 10th grade levels, significant success can be achieved in increasing the number of students who qualify for the dual enrollment program. Pre-matriculation has been successful in strengthening the academic preparedness of these students to qualify for dual enrollment.

Goal #4, increasing the number of degrees conferred and graduation rates targeting adult learners has worked very well. Adult learners are generally highly motivated and typically grateful for the opportunity to achieve a post-secondary education. This group has been very supportive, cooperative, and highly participatory in the activities and strategies that the College has afforded them as outlined in this CCG update. The College has discovered that once this cohort is equipped with the proper tools, they soar. For example, since the initiative of equipping adult learners with technology training for online courses, they have become the fastest growing population registering for online courses.

Coordinating campus efforts to increase the number of degrees and college credentials is central to CCG success. Prior to CCG, efforts toward improving graduation rates of students were decentralized across campus into individual units.  To restructure communication, develop strategies and schedule activities and events across multiple units is a slow change but even in the short-term has produced better results.   A broad-based, campus-wide system approach clearly maximizes efficiency and effectiveness.


The challenge with all CCG efforts is balancing time, activities, and college resources between various cohort groups, while ensuring quality education and support for all students. As CCG strategies develop, a primary objective is to identify the greatest impact for the available limited resources.