Athletic department shares GradesFirst with campus
With the NCAA continuing to raise its minimum GPA requirements, the City College athletic department is ahead of the curve with GradesFirst.
In January, City College became the first California community college to pioneer an all-in-one early alert, advising and tutor management platform online for its student athletes. The platform is now being implemented in EOPS, Honors, ESP and STEM programs with a goal to spread campus wide by spring 2013.
“I think it really worked,” said head football coach Craig Moropoulos. “We had a lot of guys who didn’t really do well the first semester, and after we implemented this program 80 percent of those guys made serious improvements in their grades.”
Our timing could not be better. In August, theNCAA announced it would raise the minimum GPA for eligibility from 2.0 to 2.5 for transfer students.
“The standards are really high,” said Athletic Director Ryan Byrne. “Student athletes are held to a much higher academic requirement if they have any hope in transferring to an NCAA program.”
City College signed a three-year contract for the software worth $88,000. It replaces the old paper progress reports that were notorious for being slow and ineffective.
“The progress report system across campus has driven me crazy,” Byrne said. “You have every different department sending out hand carried progress reports and faculty being inundated with different pieces of paper from different departments.”
Byrne reported a 30 percent increase in report response rates from faculty during the trial period last semester.
GradesFirst centralizes student grade documentation, allows advisors to track their at-risk students, and offers online tutor and counselor appointment scheduling.
“If a guy doesn’t make it to study hall I can see it and text him immediately,” Moropoulos said. “If a professor gives me a report, I can see it and we can give the student the proper tutors and resources to get him back on track.”
GradesFirst is used at some four-year schools but primarily in athletic departments.
“It hasn’t been used like we are starting to use it,” said Dean of Student Development Dr. Ben Partee. “We are spreading the love. I truly believe that this is one of those initiatives that our college takes that gets us recognized as a top ten community college.”
Nearly one-third of all City College student-athletes are on the honor roll with over a 3.0 GPA. The athletic department reports they are twice as likely as non-athletes to be transfer ready after two years.
“I view athletics as an academic success program,” Byrne said. “I was looking for something that would allow us to monitor out student-athletes and ultimately put them in a situation to be successful.”