Fostering student-athlete success in the classroom is paramount to KCC. This semester, student-athletes have another tool in their arsenal to accomplish their academic goals.
A new computer lab was created especially for KCC student-athletes. All student-athletes are required to complete weekly mandatory computer lab time, and this space gives students exclusive access. Previously, lab time was shared with the college’s adult education department.
“While we were grateful to have space for our student-athletes to study, to have access to our own space allows us to keep a closer eye on their academic progress while giving teams an opportunity to bond outside the field or court,” said Julian Springer, academic success coordinator and men’s basketball head coach at the time the lab was developed. “This a great space, one we want the athletes to feel comfortable in.”
The computer lab, complete with new carpet, paint and decor, is located near the athletics department. It is outfitted with 18 computers (10 purchased new; eight collected from other locations on campus), study tables and chairs, a printer, and more.
“We expect our student-athletes to work as hard in the classroom as they do in their respective sports,” said Ted Petersen, KCC athletic director. “We want to give them as many opportunities as possible to achieve because it can be tricky balancing it all. This dedicated space is one more way we can assure we feed their foundation for learning.”
Student-athletes can access licensed software products such as Microsoft Office to complete their assignments. Red Canyon, a software system that keeps track of student lab visits, was installed on all computers.
“The Red Canyon system is a convenient tool that can help us track how much time each student athlete spends in the study center,” said Petersen. “We create reports and monitor how much time students spend working in the lab.”
Student-athletes are required to spend a mandatory of three hours per week of study table time in the lab. They must maintain a grade of C or better in each of their classes. KCC’s athletic programs are open to students enrolled in 12 or more credit hours who meet National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) eligibility requirements.
As coach of the baseball team for 15 seasons, Todd Post is a firm believer that the required student table environment breeds confidence and results for athletes both in the classroom and on the field.
“We (athletics coaches, administration, and faculty) are a united group; we all want every student to do well in the classroom so their efforts culminate in a degree,” said Post.
As an added check for academic progress, faculty complete progress reports for coaches to review on the fourth, eighth, and 12th week of classes.
“We take an active role in assuring our students keep attending classes and keep doing well in those classes, said Post. “The progress reports help us maintain a culture of completion.”
Academic monitoring ensures student-athletes are making advancement towards earning a degree. By monitoring class participation through progress reports, study table time in the computer lab, and other early alert checks, students have proven successful in the classroom, keeping them eligible to play.
“We could not have a successful academic mentoring program without the support of the faculty,” said Springer. “The mission of the athletics department is in line with the school’s mission of focusing on academics first.”
In addition to the computer lab and study table time, students also have access to free tutoring and study skills workshops; services that are available free of charge to all currently enrolled KCC students.
Regular meetings with their coaches and academic success coordinators also keep student-athletes accountable.
“Coaches and mentors help student-athletes develop positive study habits, organizational skills, and academic success strategies,” said Petersen.
Petersen stressed that the culture of achievement for student-athletes starts at the top with KCC president, John Avendano, Ph.D.
“As much as Dr. Avendano enjoys athletics and loves to win, he wants students to win in the classroom first,” said Petersen. “Classroom success results in a stronger program, a stronger athlete and individual, which results in a stronger community.”
Avendano acknowledges each athlete who earns a 3.0 GPA or above with a personally signed letter. He also has a standing offer to take all NCJAA Academic All American recipients to lunch at the local country club.
“Every grade is earned; never given,” said Petersen. “I am grateful for my teachers and coaches pushing me when I was a student-athlete in college, and I will do the same for our students.”
The computer lab was funded by proceeds raised at the 2013 and 2014 Cavaliers Classic Golf Outing, an event co-sponsored with the KCC Foundation. The annual event is held every August. For more information on the golf outing or to make a donation, contact the KCC Foundation at (815) 802-8251.
To follow the success of student-athletes on the field and the court, visit the KCC Athletics website.