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CNM Sets New Records for Number of Graduates and Graduation Awards

Aug. 31, 2017 -- The numbers are in for the 2016-17 academic year, and CNM has surged to all-time records for number of graduates and graduation awards in an academic year. CNM awarded 13,778 graduation awards (associate degrees and certificates) to 9,075 students, both of which eclipsed previous CNM records.

In 2014-15, CNM ranked No. 2 among 1,100-plus community colleges nationwide for the number of associate degrees and certificates awarded with 8,299 (CNM was No. 1 in the country for number of awards earned by Hispanics and Native Americans). CNM’s previous all-time high for total associate degrees and certificates awarded was 9,431 in 2012-13.

“This is awesome news for our faculty and staff, our students, our community, and our entire state,” said CNM President Kathie Winograd. “Every time a student becomes a college graduate, it’s a life-changing moment that not only benefits the graduate, but also their family, our community and  our economy. Our faculty and staff are so committed to the cause of increasing the number of students who reach graduation because we all know how important it is to the fabric of our community. I want to thank the amazing CNM community for always striving to find new ways to help our students persevere and graduate.”

Here are some of the recent efforts that have helped more students earn degrees and certificates at CNM:

More Efficient Class Scheduling
CNM has significantly improved class scheduling in ways that help students get the classes they need to graduate at the time they need them. Class scheduling used to be done in isolation for each of the six schools at CNM. Now, it’s a much more centralized process. For the past three years, CNM has been using specialized scheduling software analytics to determine what classes students need in specific majors to progress toward graduation. CNM uses this information each term to determine the Schedule of Classes and to provide the classes students need to reach graduation in the most expedient manner.

Eliminating Credit Creep
In recent years, CNM has been evaluating every major to try to “right-size” the credit requirements. For associate degrees, CNM has been shedding unnecessary course requirements to keep associate degree credit requirements to 60 credit hours whenever possible. Due to accreditation requirements, some programs require more than 60. If there are not accreditation requirements beyond the 60 hours, CNM has been reducing the credit requirement to 60.

Monitoring Student Records to Notify Students When They’ve Earned Graduation Status
CNM has also instituted a practice of monitoring student progress. When a student has completed enough credits to earn an associate degree or certificate, the student is notified of their graduation status. When they’ve earned their degree or certificate, they are automatically awarded. Students are also notified when they are within a few classes of graduating to help keep them motivated.

Early Notification Program
CNM has instituted an early notification program called “Faculty Feedback.” When faculty members notice that a student is struggling, there is a system in place for faculty to connect students with college services and resources that can help the student get back on track and get the support they need to persevere and graduate.

One-stop Hub for Student Support
In 2011, CNM established an innovative student-support model called Connect Services that has been emulated at other community colleges around the country. Connect Services provides students with a one-stop location at every campus to access all kinds of services, including Academic Coaches, financial coaching and workshops, on-site access to public benefits screenings, access to scholarship applications, stress management and study skills workshops, and referrals to services in the community for things like childcare and housing. The easy-access to services help students stay in school and graduate.

Creation of More Specific Associate Degrees that Transfer to Universities
CNM has debuted more associate degrees in specific areas of study to accommodate students with specific interests. In recent years, CNM has created associate degrees in fields like Psychology, Pre-Law, Physics, Chemistry and Geology, that didn’t exist before. Providing more specific associate degree options helps to better engage students interested in those specific fields. The degrees are also designed to transfer to universities.

More Associate Degrees Transferrable to Universities
In 2011, CNM had 11 student transfer agreements. Today, CNM has 46 student transfer agreements with 10 different four-year institutions, including the University of New Mexico, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Highlands University, Eastern New Mexico University and Western New Mexico University. The 46 transfer agreements provide transfer pathways for 87 associate degree programs at CNM.

CNM Eliminated Late Enrollment, Which Has Had Positive Effects
Four years ago, CNM eliminated late enrollment. Now, students have to be enrolled in classes by the first day the class meets. Previously, students could enroll and begin a class up to six business days after a class had started. CNM studies showed that students enrolling late in classes did not perform as well as students who were in the class from the first day, which prompted the change.

Gains in graduation numbers and the implementation of the innovative Connect Services model led to CNM winning the national Student Success Award from the American Association of Community Colleges in 2013. The AACC represents more than 1,100 two-year colleges. 

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