Texas Tech's College of Media & Communication is no stranger to being fully devoted to its student population. From providing day one opportunities to designing courses that represent the work professionals do in the real world, CoMC is at the top of its class when it comes to helping students reach their biggest goals on and off campus.
A strong part of students reaching such goals begins in the classroom. Among many other things, the College of Media & Communication prides itself with being dedicated to student success. The award-winning CoMC advising team has gained the expertise of a host of professionals to assist in student retention and students' overall wellbeing while they pursue their degrees.
Sandra Castillo began her role in November with Student Engagement. She was recently appointed to serve as CoMC's student success specialist where a strong part of her job is to build relationships, connect students with the right kinds of resources, and provide support to those while attending Texas Tech.
“A lot of what I do deals with outreach,” said Castillo. “Our main thing is to work with the warning and probation population of students in our college. We are notified of these students by professors who place flags on their accounts. From there, we are responsible for not only reaching out to them but seeing how we can help in ways that show they have someone in their corner.”
Texas Tech and the College of Media & Communication have made names for themselves with their retention efforts. Retaining students both in CoMC and the university system as a whole has led to increased populations and graduation rates across campus.
“Coming to college is a first step of real independence self-discovery for students,”
said Stacy Elliott, retention advisor. “We have to figure out how to retain students at [Texas] Tech
and in the College of Media & Communication if possible. That is always our first
priority. From a holistic part, the individual students that sit in our office and
take steps to reach their own success from what we offer is where the retention process
Each year, the College of Media & Communication increases initiatives to better serve students that enter the university and continue this promise throughout the student's academic career. This alone places CoMC high in the ranks in achieving student success in the college.
“We have to make students feel like they belong and like they are a part of something,” said Julia Heard Witt, senior director of advising and recruiting. “The more a student is motivated, the better they are going to do in their classes. This will increase their retention and graduation rates. Not only should we get students in the door, but we should also get them out as college graduates with a passion in whichever career fields they desire.”
The heart of the college comes from students who faculty, staff, advisors, and others see from day to day. The vibrance and mission of CoMC would not be the same without each individual learner and it is the duty of everyone in the department to show them they are valued.
“One of our main duties is to be a service to each individual student we have,” said Elliott. “With this, we are able to do what is in their best interest and do what's best for them.”
Along with tips for academic success for students, the CoMC advising team also encourages students to utilize resources that are made available to them on campus.
“There are lots of valuable resources that Texas Tech offers for students in need,” said Castillo. “Our campus has the student counseling center, the student mental health community, the Raider Relief program, Red Raider Food Pantry, and so many others. All of these programs are designed to help students who may experience circumstances outside of their control and require additional assistance.”
In relation to the university, the College of Media & Communication continues to stand out in achieving more student success each academic school year.
“As far as data from institutional research shows, CoMC has been significant across campus in retaining its students,” said Witt. “From the numbers collected in the two-year academic retention rates from 2020 to 2022, our college led with the highest rate at Texas Tech with 81.6% of students retained. We are leading in this report and this shows the students that entered in the fall of 2020 were retained even in the fall of 2022.”
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