TCC Smart Start Program Recognized with Innovation Award

Helping incoming students to have a realistic view of the competitive admission process and commitment required to complete one of Tulsa Community College’s Health Sciences programs is the idea behind the Smart Start Orientation.

TCC’s Smart Start Orientation allows prospective students to expand their understanding of each of the 12 Health Sciences programs offered by TCC. All 12 are workforce programs, with students prepared to go into the workforce upon completion of the degree or certificate.

It was recently nominated by TCC for a 2020-2021 Innovation of the Year Award and recognized by The League for Innovation in the Community College, an international nonprofit organization with a mission to cultivate innovation in the community college environment.

“We know the sooner a student gets on a degree path, the more successful they will be. As part of the Pathways initiative, TCC is helping students identify and select a major and degree program within the first semester. This orientation provides critical information to the individual about rigorous academic and professional expectations, so they make the right decision for themselves,” said Dr. Angela Sivadon, TCC senior vice president and chief academic officer.

The Smart Start Orientation has students attend two break-out sessions representing their first and second choice and meet with Health Sciences program directors. Prior to creating this program, TCC students were often unprepared to successfully apply or did not pursue alternate programs if a spot in their first-choice program was not offered to them. Now, students who may have been discouraged by not getting into their first-choice program find another path forward in a related field which may be a better fit for their skills and interests. The response has been positive and students enjoy interacting with program directors in the breakout sessions as well as gaining a clear understanding of what to expect in terms of the application and clinical and professional requirements.

“One critical component of the orientation is the discussion of all the requirements for a Health Sciences major including immunizations, background checks, and drug screenings. We also stress the realities of the profession and weekly demands of these programs including class, clinicals and labs or simulations which could be up to 20 hours a week or more,” said Dr. Jenny Fields, School of Health Sciences dean.

A team of TCC faculty and staff worked to create the Smart Start Orientation. The group was publicly recognized at the TCC Board of Regents meeting on June 17. They are Greg Anderson, director, Academic Advising; Debbie Batson, retired dean, Allied Health; Molly Farley, associate dean, Academic Advising: Jenny Fields, dean, Nursing; Marilyn Goff, coordinator, Academic Advising; Melanie Heffington, assistant professor and program coordinator, Health Sciences; Adrienne Morecraft, education specialist, Health Sciences; and Chelsey Sykes, career development Specialist. Greg Hope, former director, Academic Advising, was recognized posthumously.