The Students Connecting with Mentors for Success (SCMS) program at Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) continues to thrive. SCMS recently won the Association of Community College Trustees’ (ACCT) Charles Kennedy Equity Award for the western region. This is the third national award for the program, recognizing the efforts to close the gap underserved student populations experience in higher education.
“I am honored that the Association of Community College Trustees has recognized that Oklahoma City Community College is genuinely committed to giving all students equitable access to quality educationâ€”including those who have historically been marginalized,â€ said Bryon Dickens, SCMS director. “I commend President Steward and the OCCC Board of Regents for their unwavering dedication to serving all students regardless of their race, background or ZIP code.â€
The ACCT Charles Kennedy Equity Award recognizes exemplary commitment by an ACCT member to achieve equity in education programs and services and in the administration and delivery of those programs and services. The criteria for this award includes demonstrable evidence of leadership in setting policies that promote and enhance opportunities for institutional diversity, inclusion and equity for women, persons of color, LGBTQs or members of any other underrepresented or underserved population that has occurred within the last five (5) years.
In keeping with OCCC’s mission to ultimately change lives, the purpose of SCMS is to improve academic achievement, retention and graduation rates for underserved student populations. The goal is to prepare them for successful entry into the workforce or transfer to a four-year academic institution. This is achieved by furnishing mentors who provide supportive relationships that facilitate academic program completion for every student.
“In two years, the SCMS program has demonstrated success in helping to close the achievement gaps which many of our students currently face,â€ said OCCC President Jerry Steward. “Participation in the program is the foundation for a student’s educational and professional success. This not only improves the lives of the students and their families, but also increases their positive involvement in the community and contributes to the economic growth of Oklahoma.â€
The SCMS program also won the 2016 Insight into Diversity Giving Back Award, the 2017 Oklahoma Bar Association Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Diversity Award, and the 2017 American Association of Community Colleges Advancing Diversity Award of Excellence.
OCCC enrolls more than 20,000 students annually. The college is currently the largest adult basic education provider in the state. OCCC offers a full range of associate degree programs that prepare students to transfer to baccalaureate institutions while other degree and certificate programs prepare students for immediate employment. At OCCC, students receive a quality education with small class sizes, dedicated professors and leadership opportunities. Students can choose from more than 60 major fields of study and participate in any of the 40+ clubs and organizations. For more information about OCCC, visit www.occc.edu.