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New faculty contract and educational partnership boosts RCBC’s student success focus

Travis Diller

The Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) Board of Trustees approved a new faculty contract and a partnership with the Education Advisory Board (EAB), each of which will lead to improved graduation rates for students.

“We welcomed many more new students this semester because of our partnerships with Rowan University and Virtua. The next step is to do everything possible to help current students succeed until graduation,” RCBC President Paul Drayton said. “Relationships between faculty members and students are very strong and I’m very grateful that our educators have agreed to take a leadership role in this effort.”

Burlington County Freeholder Mary Ann O’Brien congratulated the faculty and administration for a successful negotiation.

“Everyone has a special educator in their life – mine was an RCBC faculty member who inspired me to push myself further and become a lawyer,” O’Brien said. “Rowan College at Burlington County has many outstanding faculty members and our whole county will benefit with them as a key part of the college’s continuous improvements.”

The two-year contract calls for enhancements in faculty advising that will better serve students to complete their academic paths.

“Faculty members transform lives every day in the classroom at Rowan College at Burlington County,” Senior Vice President and Provost Dr. David Spang said. “We look forward to them achieving similar transformations as they fulfill a critical role in our effort to improve academic advising.”

William Whitfield, President of the Faculty Association, pointed to a number of initiatives the college has implemented that give faculty a greater role in the college’s governance such as the creation of Department Chairs and a Faculty Excellence Coordinator. These positions, filled by existing faculty members, will improve professional development and innovation in the classroom.

"Rowan College at Burlington County’s Faculty and Administration are committed to the college's mission and to doing what is best for our students,” said Whitfield, an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Chair of Mathematics and Professional Studies. “President Drayton has been a true partner with both students and faculty and we look forward to doing all we can to help our students successfully complete college."

The partnership also includes an agreement in the contract that allows faculty members to apply for tenure earlier in their careers.

Separately, the board also approved an agreement with the Education Advisory Board (EAB), which will provide a comprehensive system that will improve the communication flow with students and provide a number of resources to enhance student success.

“There are two key ways to control the costs of college: tuition and the time it takes to complete a degree,” said Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success Mike Cioce. “We are the most affordable college in New Jersey and our 3+1 path to Rowan University may be the most affordable bachelor’s degree in the country. Our partnership with EAB and commitment from our faculty colleagues will help improve our ability to keep students on the path to success from admissions to graduation.”

The system will utilize advanced analytics to monitor students’ progress and trigger alerts to staff if students experience a troubling situation so that advisors can reach out before a problem becomes insurmountable.

“The board is pleased to see a new approach that combines the best practices of the 21st century and personalized attention that will increase the graduation rates for students at Rowan College at Burlington County,” Board Chair George Nyikita said. “Many students will benefit from this improved approach and dedication from all of our faculty and staff.”