Central to student success is the integrated work of campus communities to transform policies and practices that ensure every student is provided with a high-value learning experience and the support needed to remove barriers to success. This is especially critical for students from historically underrepresented, disenfranchised, and minoritized communities. We often think of college infrastructure as related to the physical plant and maintenance of the physical plant. While that is partially correct, Adrianna Kezar defines infrastructure as “the core features (policies, human resources, physical resources, technology resources, financial resources) of an institution that facilitate daily functions and operations.” We couldn’t agree more and recognize that truly supporting students means providing supports at multiple levels.
Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) is a great example of providing support to students holistically. Hispanic and Native American support is nothing new for CNM. In 2014-2015, these students earned 3,617 associate degrees and certificates, and placed CNM as the No. 1 ranked college in the nation for graduation awards earned by Hispanics and Native Americans. This focus hasn’t stopped and continues to be supported by implementing a student-friendly structure: the schedule.
On a college campus, each individual school often conducts business differently. Understanding this hindering student support, CNM adopted a more centralized approach to assist departmental scheduling practices, increasing campus efficiency. Previously, course scheduling was done in isolation. Now, it’s a more central, collaborative effort. When the goal is increasing degree attainment, structural pieces must be in place to aid students, which is where centralized scheduling comes into play.
This shift to a one-time published schedule has been coined “annualized scheduling,” and largely impacts students. Previously, students were completely altering their lives to accommodate semester-by-semester course schedules. Now, a schedule is set for a year. This new model not only helps traditional students; post-traditional students like Maria Zambrano see the benefits too.
“CNM gives Hispanic mothers the opportunity to continue their careers in business. CNM has been a great support for me because it’s allowed me to continue my studies, to make a career. I’ve had great support from instructors, from the coaches, and all of the staff. It’s an excellent opportunity to enter the workforce,” Zambrano commented.
By students knowing schedules a full year in advance, students that struggle with hectic life schedules can make accommodations. This halts the continuous semester-by-semester life, work, and childcare scheduling shifts, and supports students holistically – especially students from historically underrepresented, disenfranchised, or minoritized communities.
Learn how you can put this support into practice. Visit our equity examples page.