Pellissippi State answers learning needs with help from TBR grant

Pellissippi State Community College faculty will seek to improve student success through a new course redesign, with the help from Tennessee Board of Regents Course Revitalization Initiative grants.

Two English courses and a math course will pilot the project at Pellissippi State.

In MATH 1530 Elementary Probability and Statistics, faculty will develop an “embedded remediation” component to enhance the class. In other words, students who formerly would have been placed in pre-college-level learning support at Pellissippi State will now take part in a standard, college-level course, but with extra support.

“There’s been a lot of data on success with embedded remediation, which is a type of just-in-time intervention,” said Brittany Mosby, project leader for the MATH 1530 course. Mosby’s team includes Math faculty Sue Ann Dobbyn and Claire Suddeth.

“Students who might have been placed into a learning support course will instead take a college-level class with their peers. As part of the embedded remediation component, these students will have additional classroom time to reinforce the material and be sure they understand the concepts.”

In the English Department, faculty will revitalize two gateway classes, ENGL 1010 Composition I—the only Pellissippi State course that all students are required to take—and its follow-up, ENGL 1020 Composition II. The revamped 1010 course will place more emphasis on regular, consistent writing and on sentence structure and grammar skills.

ENGL 1020, similarly, will be reworked to more appropriately continue skills learned in ENGL 1010, rather than spending the time reteaching or reviewing skills that should have been mastered in 1010. Revitalized 1020 will teach students more refined, advanced and specialized writing skills.

“Our faculty members have some exciting ideas about how to revise these courses to make them more effective,” said Kathryn Byrd, dean of the English Department. “Notably, their approach includes plenty of writing practice, clear communication of academic expectations and an emphasis on the student’s responsibility for his or her own learning.”

English faculty members participating in the pilot project are project leaders Alex Fitzner and Tara Lynn, with Casey Lambert, Teresa Lopez, Kelly Rivers, and Heather Schroeder.

The TBR Course Revitalization Initiative grants, awarded by the TBR Office of Academic Affairs, target high-enrollment gateway classes and encourage faculty to develop creative strategies to engage their students and teach critical thinking skills. TBR is the governing body for Pellissippi State.

“These grants will provide an opportunity for these faculty members to create an innovative class for students to review their prerequisite skills just in time for new college-level content,” said Nancy Pevey, dean of the Mathematics Department.

The pilot revitalized classes at Pellissippi State begin this fall. The effectiveness of those classes will be evaluated, and the pilots may be enlarged to include other classes.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.