TCC Makes Significant Jump in National Graduation Rankings

LEADERSHIP CONTINUITY: Dr. Thomas K. McKeon, left, president and chief executive officer of TCC, has been a successful successor to Dr. Dean VanTrease, who held the post for 15 years. The photo was taken last fall when VanTrease was honored at the TCC Vision Dinner at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center. Also enjoying the evening were Stacey McKeon and Vesta VanTrease.

GTR Newspapers photo

Tulsa Community College jumped to its highest mark ever, ranking 18th in the nation among community colleges in the number of graduates according to an annual poll by Community College Week.

The high graduation production rate reflected in the poll and a report from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) shows TCC has made considerable progress in its efforts to increase college graduates.

Community College Week, a national bi-weekly education publication, measures the number of community college graduates among more than 1,150 colleges — as well as other key areas such as the number of Native American and African-American graduates and similar polls for specific academic disciplines.

TCC continues its ranking as the second highest producer of Native American graduates in the country. TCC gained significantly in its number of African American graduates, climbing from 99th in the previous poll to 80th.

TCC ranked 18th in academic year 2003-2004 climbing from 30th in 2002-2003 and 35th the prior academic year. Community College Week uses data collected from the previous academic year by the Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System at the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Dept. of Education.

There were 2,243 TCC graduates in 2003-2004 (Fall 2003, Spring 2004, Summer 2004) compared to 1,995 TCC graduates during the same period of time in 2002-2003, a 12.4 percent increase in the number of students graduating from 2002-2003 to 2003-2004.

TCC is the only community college in Oklahoma to rank among the top 100 colleges for total associate degrees earned and for the number of African American graduates.

“I cannot tell you how pleased I am with the results of our intensive efforts to communicate the value of an associate degree to our students and to help them with their efforts to succeed in college and graduate,” said Thomas K. McKeon, Ed.D, president and chief executive officer, TCC.

“This has been one of my goals. Every indicator shows that graduation is key to a positive and productive life and it is very fulfilling to see these tremendous gains by our students.”

In addition to its national ranking, TCC has achieved significant goals set by OSRHE for retention and graduation. For colleges meeting OSRHE goals, additional funding is provided by the state to support those institutional programs that yield retention and graduation gains.

TCC received $210,911 in Brain Gain Allocations for Fiscal Year 2006—the third highest Brain Gain funding in the state and only trailing The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

“I like to say that we specialize in the first two critical years of college at TCC,” said McKeon. “Our personalized instruction, small class sizes and very flexible scheduling gives new college students every chance for success and the graduation numbers demonstrate that to be true.” TCC jumped in the number of graduates in several academic areas. TCC ranks 15th in business, management, and marketing degrees compared to 19th the previous year; ranks 26th in the number of education graduates compared to 48th the previous year; and, 50th in the number of liberal arts and sciences degrees compared to no ranking (in the top 50) the previous year.

TCC has initiated a number of programs to encourage students to complete their degree before transferring or seeking employment.

“We strongly believe it is critical that students finish what they started when they embark on an associate’s degree,” said John Kontogianes, Ph. D, executive vice president and chief academic officer.

“Sometimes things happen which could steer a student off course once they leave TCC even if they intend to transfer and we want to make sure they leave with at least one degree in hand.”

Students are informed about the value of attaining a degree through the counseling process; students receive academic updates when they are within a few hours of graduation to encourage completion and students are identified who may have left the college a few hours short and invited to return for completion.

In the data generated by the Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System, community colleges report their associate degree data using a common set of categories developed by Dept. of Education to allow valid comparisons of institutions across the United States.

Updated 07-25-2005

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