Classes start today, Jan. 8, at College of the Siskiyous, a week earlier than in previous years. COS interim president Dr. Robert Frost said, “All of the current research indicates that students who start late are up to 40 percent less likely to succeed in their classes. In college, once you fall behind, it is extremely difficult to play catch up so we will do all we can this month to get students enrolled on-time.” For 2014, community colleges have strict financial aid and auditing guidelines as well as new student success measures, all of which require colleges to assess and track students’ progress and engagement in their learning, according to a press release. “We are seeing a host of new requirements, but we are ahead of the game in our implementation,” Frost states in the press release. “When a student comes to COS today, she will first develop an Educational Plan with a counselor. That plan, available electronically, puts the student in the ‘driver’s seat’ to map out, adjust, and track that plan along a clear, defined, pathway to complete a certificate, degree, or short-term work-based goal. Our COS counselors and advisers have the most current technology available for designing and tracking educational plans for our students.” COS says it’s even more important that students can see a counselor or adviser on short notice, often even through a walk-in appointment. “We do everything we can to support student decision-making and engagement with their plan of study,” offered Valerie Roberts, the Associate Dean of Student Success. “When you come to COS, you are #1 on our list of priorities.” New People & Programs In addition to the latest technology, the college says it has updated labs, classrooms and some key staff positions this year. “We just spent over $50,000 this year updating our welding equipment, and we have additional funds in the pipeline for Welding, Fire, Computer Science, Nursing, Law Enforcement and Emergency Medical,” said Dr. Robert Taylor, the college’s Dean of Career & Technical Education. “We are investing heavily right now in new equipment and support for our CTE programs, so now is a great time to enroll at the college.” In addition to filling the CTE Dean position, the college says it refilled the phone receptionist position this year after more than a year of difficult technology and communications challenges. “We kept losing calls, or leaving folks on hold for too long,” said Executive Director of Human Resources Nancy Miller. “This year we are doing everything we can to improve our customer-service. In addition to hiring two advisers last year, we plan to fill additional student support positions this year too.” In recent months the college hired a new researcher who will start in January. COS says it is also working to fill several key IT positions. “There is so much going on right now, I want to encourage the community to come and take a new look at the college,” said Frost. “We will launch several new programs next year, the campus is more beautiful than ever, and the library and learning support areas are all getting tremendous attention right now, so we can provide the very best facilities for our students.” Athletics & Distance Learning Frost said the college is “engaged in discussions right now about adding soccer and expanding our Kinesiology programs as we see great potential through the outstanding faculty and coaches on staff.” COS has expanded offerings by 30 percent is in distance education. Currently, the college offers many online learning opportunities. “People in remote locations, or with kids at home, or who just can’t get to campus can now take many courses online,” said Frost. “Of course, online learning requires a high amount of motivation and some level of academic preparation, but for the right person, it can save lots of drive time.” For more information about attending COS, call the Counseling and Services Department at 530-938‐5353, go online to www.siskiyous.edu or email a request to: CounselorsandAdvisors@siskiyous.edu.