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Faculty and Staff Win National Innovation Award for Developmental English Redesign



October 27, 2017

In recognition of their work redesigning developmental English programs across the Seattle Colleges District to get incoming students into credit-bearing English courses more quickly and successfully, a team of Academic faculty members and administrative staff from North, Seattle Central and South Seattle College have been honored with the 2017 Innovation of the Year Award by the League for Innovation in the Community College 

The “Redesign of Developmental English Pathways” project, involving more than 25 faculty members and administrators working collaboratively over a three-year period from 2013 to 2016, focused their work on eliminating barriers for students, and streamlining the journey toward college-level English.  

Changes to developmental English programs at all three colleges included new developmental course outlines and programs, multiple measures for placement (including the adoption of the Wonderlic Basic Skills test, use of overall high school grade point averages, and directed self-placement) and the streamlining of developmental and college-level English pathways. The revisions were adopted ahead of Fall quarter 2015 at South and adopted by Central and North one year later.  Since that time, student completion rates in South's developmental English program have increased over 25%.    

“When I started teaching at South there were 11 standalone developmental English classes, now we only have three,” says project co-coordinator and English Instructor Paige Talbot, who led the collaboration and redesign work with South English Instructor Tish Lopez. “The changes have been helpful for faculty, administrators, advisors and more importantly our students. Not only are they reaching college-level English much faster, they are getting more comprehensive reading and writing instruction and building a close-knit community with their classmates.”    

Additional South Seattle College faculty and staff members who worked on this redesign include English faculty members Marc Barrington, Robert Dela-Cruz, Holly Gilman, Tim Walsh, Mike Hickey, Kathy Whitham, Caitlin Carle, Stephanie Hankinson, Sarah Thaller, and Dolores Mirabella, Associate Dean of Academic Programs Laura Kingston, former Title III Director Maureen Shadair, former ANAPISI Program Project Director May Lukens, former Associate Dean of Academic Programs Dan Dillard, former Dean of Academic Programs Joe Shannon, and Interim President and Vice President of Instruction Peter Lortz. 

Congratulations to all on recognition of your hard work, and thank you for helping our students succeed in developmental English!  A special thank you also goes out to South’s Basic & Transitional Studies program, Writing Centers, Placement office, Office of Planning and Research, Advising, Registration, Financial Aid, and Counseling for providing additional expertise during the redesign process.