Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

MCC board OKs student aid platform


July 6, 2022

The Mesalands Community College board of trustees approved the college’s use of an online platform it hopes will improve enrollment, student retention and satisfaction.

The board approved Mesalands President Gregg Busch’s request of authorizing the first payment of about $47,000 in a three-year deal with the Navigate student-success platform owned by EAB, which has offices in Washington, D.C.; Birmingham, Alabama; Richmond, Virginia; and Minneapolis. EAB formerly was known as Education Advisory Board, but it changed its name to EAB in 2014.

Matt Logan of EAB gave board members a brief overview of Navigate via videoconference of the during a special meeting Wednesday. He said 550 colleges and universities use Navigate to track the progress of students.

Logan said each student contributes to his or her profile, and their data is accessible to faculty and staff.

Busch said one notable feature of Navigate is it measures a student’s “concern level” and alerts staff if a student is falling behind on courses or in danger of dropping out of school.

He also said the platform also assesses a college’s effectiveness in intervening with at-risk students.

Logan said he was amenable to Busch negotiating down Mesalands’ price for Navigate because the college likely will prove to be a model for other higher-education institutions. Student retention has become a high priority at Mesalands in the last few years.

Board member Tom Sidwell asked about privacy concerns. Logan responded that Navigate undergoes a rigorous audit and is updated annually. He also said sensitive data such as Social Security numbers, finances and healthcare history of students are not in the program.

Duane Brooks, chief of staff and assistant to Busch, said the previous college where he worked used Navigate, and he anticipated it would be useful for Mesalands.

In other business:

• Board members approved an addition to the personnel handbook that adds a probationary period for each new employee at the college. The new policy is effective immediately, and new hires can be terminated without cause during their first 90 days.

• The board voted to update signature cards at Wells Fargo bank, as requested by the college’s auditor.

• The board went into a closed executive session with Busch’s executive staff for nearly 90 minutes. No action was taken when open session resumed.


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