SSI Team and Gaucho 101

SSI Team and Gaucho 101

When the District Office mandated the Student Success Initiatives for all new-to-college, transfer or degree seeking students, each college was given financial support and charged with implementing four requirements for the SSI cohorts of students:

  1. Placement Testing – students must enroll in the English, reading and math courses identified.
  2. Academic Advising
  3. New Student Orientation
  4. Enrollment into a college success course for all students who test into at least one developmental (below 100) course.

At GCC we created the SSI Steering Team and SSI Implementation Team, each made up of faculty and staff focused on creating something special. The team knew that full-time staff would be needed to accomplish the SSI requirements, so using the funds provided by the District Office, the SSI Team was created:

Angie Wisniewski (Center, Coordinator), Mari Licking (Right, Student Services Specialist) and Danny Chavez (Left, Student Services Specialist).



The SSI Team serves as First-Semester Advisors for the SSI Cohort, and along the way, develop strong relationships with students. Working very closely with our SPA Team (Strategy, Planning and Accountability), the group was able to track how well we were doing with meeting the SSI mandates.

Like any good program with a focus on improving results and impact, the SSI Implementation and SSI Team redeveloped their strategies and approach to the program to create Gaucho 101, lead by our SSI Team.

Gaucho 101 is an interactive, self-paced, online advisement workshop.  Students are provided with information to guide them through the enrollment process, empowering students to self-enroll with staff on hand to answer all of their questions and ensure that appropriate courses are selected…it’s like Group Advising on steroids.

Gaucho 101 was implemented Spring 2014 and served approximately 1800 students in the Fall 2014 SSI Cohort, approximately 50% of the cohort.  The SSI Team was able to enroll 96% of their students in the New Student Orientation and 76% into the College Success Course, CPD 150.

Gaucho 101 was temporarily located in a testing room in the Testing & Disability Services (TDS) building.  This made for a smooth transition as students completed their placement test they were immediately handed over to Gaucho 101.

But again, like any good program with a focus on improving results and impact, the SSI Implementation Team was not satisfied with seeing only 50% of the SSI cohort…the goal is at least 90% to experience Gaucho 101!

To accomplish this huge goal, the team worked very closely with our Admissions and Records team to smooth the admissions process, with Testing Services for a smooth hand-off…and most importantly…the SSI Team will be permanently located in the Testing & Disability Services building by the end of May 2015.

With so much emphasis on student success, retention and completion, we cannot forget that student success begins with relationships…connections to faculty and staff, at all levels, so students know that their success is our success.  Gaucho 101 helps to create those relationships with students. I’m confident that Gaucho 101 will continue to evolve and continue to make a positive impact on our students.


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