By David Rojas
Pulse Staff Reporter
Palo Alto College students, faculty and staff have one more reason to be #PACproud. The Community College Survey of Student Engagement gives proof that Palo Alto is one of the best colleges in San Antonio and in the state.
PAC beat all the other community colleges in four out of five categories in the CCSSE. This survey is divided into five categories: student effort, academic challenge, student/faculty interaction, support for learners and collaborative learning.
These five categories assess student engagement at all schools. Each school receives a score for each benchmark. These scores are put together after research is done with participating students in all community colleges. The CCSSE asks students about their college experiences.
George Guajardo, director of Institutional Research at Palo Alto College, said that the CCSSE is a national survey taken by hundreds of thousands of college students across the U.S. The most recent CCSSE was taken by 600,000 students across the country.
The recent survey of Alamo Colleges’ students in 2017 revealed that Palo Alto had the highest scores of the other Alamo Colleges in four of the five categories. PAC scored 55.8 in student effort, 51.6 in academic challenge, 53.0 in student/faculty interaction, 58.2 in support for learners, and 49.4 in active and collaborative learning.
The active and collaborative learning category was the only one that PAC did not score the highest. Northwest Vista had the highest score for that category.
According to CCSSE.org, the scores are equalized around the national mean of 50, then computed by averaging the scores on the associated items.
One example of staff interaction with students is the S.H.A.R.E center at Palo Alto, which helps students with food, clothing, and even free counseling help. The S.H.A.R.E center is one of many reasons for the high results PAC has in the CCSSE.
“These scores are amazing. It’s good to know that we have high scores and also to know that it’s coming from students’ perspectives that PAC is good with engaging and supporting our learning skills. I personally believe these scores are relevant. I love how I can get full support from the staff, and I can engage with my school,” said David Villarreal, an Engineering major at PAC.
The CCSSE is administered every two years. The next survey will be in 2019.
“We like to make sure that our students have the resources that they need to succeed, tutoring or anything else that helps the student with their student life,” said Guajardo.