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Paving The Road to Student Success

Seven New Advisors, More Offerings at Community College Of Philadelphia to  Support And Enrich The Learning Experience

Front Row, l-r: Erika Vega, Sherice Chevannes, Madeline DeBot.  Back Row, l-r: Stephanie Graves, Kimberly Harris, Kathryn Birster, Jason RoscoeAs new students enter the College for the 2016-2017 academic year, they will be welcomed by new academic advisors whose sole job is to guide them toward their educational  goals.

The advisors are one of several new programs and initiatives Community College of Philadelphia has implemented this fall to strengthen student success and enrich the learning experience.

President Donald Guy Generals, upon taking the helm of the College in 2014, saw the need for full-time faculty dedicated to help students with prudent course selection, planning and, when needed, interventions to get them back on track.


These seven new full-time advisors are in a new department, dedicated exclusively to student retention, persistence and success. They will work with first year-students enrolled in the larger curriculum majors such as Liberal Arts.

"Faculty academic advisors are a critical link for Community College of Philadelphia students," said Dr. Joan L. Bush, dean of Educational Support Services. "The relationship between a faculty academic advisor and a student involves assisting them in exploring, questioning, planning and implementing strategies to achieve their academic and career goals."

Prior to this year, part-time and full-time faculty handled advising on a drop-in basis. This year, each advisor will have a dedicated student caseload, Dr. Bush said. "They'll be able to get to know the student, follow them, track them and intervene so it will be a very proactive approach," she said.

The new advisors are already at work, preparing for the arrival of students. They are:

Kathryn Birster – Birster spent the last decade working with students in the College's Gateway to College program, which offers an educational option for youth who left high school but now want a second chance. Previously, she served as a secondary school guidance counselor in Philadelphia. She graduated from The College of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She also has a Master of Science in Education in Psychological Services from the University of Pennsylvania.  

Sherice Chevannes – Chevannes comes to the College from Temple University, where she served as an academic advisor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Westfield (Mass.) State University. She also has a Master of Education in Student Personnel Administration from Springfield College (Mass.). Chevannes also previously served as a first year student academic advisor at Nichols College (Mass.).

Madeleine DeBot – DeBot worked as an academic advisor at the College of Education at Temple University as well as an academic mentor at the University of Michigan. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, Computer Applications from the University of Notre Dame (Ind.) She also holds a Master of Arts in Higher Education from the University of Michigan.

Stephanie Graves – Graves served as an academic advisor in the Fox School of Business at Temple University, and at the University of Akron, within the learning and advising centers for Student-Athlete Academic Services. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education – Sports Studies and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from the University of Akron (Ohio).

Kimberly Harris – Harris was an academic advisor at Anne Arundel Community College, Prince George's Community College (Md.), Peirce College, and John Tyler Community College (Va.). She also served as student disabilities coordinator while at Peirce College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Master of Education in Specialization in Guidance and Counseling from Virginia State University.

Jason Roscoe – Roscoe served as an academic advisor at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, University of the Sciences, and Lehigh Carbon Community College (Pa.). He also worked as coordinator of minority mentoring/interim director of TRiO Student Support Services at Mansfield. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and holds a Master of Science in Education from Mansfield. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Higher Education.

Erika Vega – Vega, who is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Administration at Northeastern University, previously worked as a student development specialist /coordinator of instructional support at Ramapo College of New Jersey's Educational Opportunity Fund Program. She also served as a coordinator for the City University of New York (CUNY) Brooklyn College-Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies from City University of New York-Hunter College, and a Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania.

In addition to the new, fulltime advisors, this fall the College is unveiling initiatives designed to accelerate the journey from high school to college, and provide state-of-the-art training connecting students with advanced manufacturing, a target, high-growth industry.  New programs include:

  • MC2 Dual Enrollment Program  This partnership between MaST Community Charter School and the College will allow students to graduate high school with a diploma and an associate's degree in Business. A total of 12 MaSt students will be taking college-level classes at the Northeast Regional Center, six of whom are juniors returning for a second year of college-level classes and six who are beginning the dual enrollment program. Participating students take their high school classes at MaST and are transported by bus to the regional center for their college studies. "Joining this program was one of the greatest decisions I've ever made," said Sabrina Fiocca, a returning student. "Even though it is lots of hard work, we're learning at the college level. I feel as though the most important benefits are the ones that come in the end, when we will graduate with an associate's degree in business."
  • Advanced Manufacturing Program The College will offer three technical skills training programs Welding Technology, CNC Precision Machining Technology and Electro-Mechanical/Mechatronics Technology  that will prepare student for various advanced manufacturing career pathways. This job training initiative provides skills to help people advance in robust economic sector. Classes will be held evenings and on Saturdays at Benjamin Franklin High School.
  • First Year Experience Course First-year students will be introduced to ideas and strategies required for college-level success, including critical thinking, cultural competence and institutional knowledge. Students create an appropriate academic plan, financial plan and career/transfer plan in the course of the semester.

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Community College of Philadelphia is the largest public institution of higher education in Philadelphia and the sixth largest in Pennsylvania. The College enrolls approximately 31,000 students annually and offers day, evening and weekend classes, as well as classes online. Visit the College at www.ccp.edu. Follow us on Twitter.com/CCP.edu. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccp.edu