ICCI clamps down on scholarship students

| 09/07/2014

(CNS): The ICCI boss has said he won’t take “horsing around” from students attending the college courtesy of the public purse. Dr David Marshall, the college president, said that while some students on government scholarships are excelling, others are falling behind. He said the college takes full responsibility, and to improve performance ICCI is requiring mandatory tutoring sessions for all students in academic peril starting in the fall quarter, and government scholarship students are to sign learning contracts and individual learning plans to boost academic performance. He also revealed that the college will be raising its admission standards.

Some of the college’s accountability practices have sparked complaints to the Education Ministry, Marshall revealed, including a requirement that students attend 85% of the classes during the quarter to be eligible for a grade, but that is not deterring the college boss from his path to improve performance.

“This is not a place for people who want to horse around,” said Marshall. "We take attendance every class. Students who are absent from any class will be getting a call from the college to inquire what is going on … Let’s just say, I am not the most popular college president in the world right now.

“Students and their parents are trusting us to do our job preparing students for careers. We can’t let them down. Accountability is key,” Marshall added. “These are the public’s dollars. The Ministry of Education is investing in these students and in ICCI. We haveto be accountable for student performance, otherwise we have no business taking government dollars or students on government scholarships,” he said.

The focus on student achievement is part of the overall plan to strengthen academic quality at the college. In September, Marshall said, policy proposals are going to the Board of Trustees for approval that will raise admissions standards and elevate requirements to graduate.

“We are not going to accept anything less than excellence,” the president stated. “We want employers who hire our graduates to be confident that our graduates are globally competitive.”

Although students on government scholarships are doing better than they were earlier this year, Marshall still sees a lot of room for improvement. During the Spring Quarter (April 7-June 19) 49 government scholarship students were enrolled at ICCI, 33 full-time and sixteen part-time. Forty-two are in undergraduate programmes and seven students in graduate programmes. Of the total number of these students 36 (73%) achieved the required 3.0 GPA, a 7% improvement on the winter quarter.

But, Marshall explained, 13 (or 27%) did not achieve the required GPA, which is a 10% decrease on the earlier quarter, so fewer students are now below what is required but the president is still concerned. He pointed out that some 10 percent of scholarship students would not be eligible for government funds this quarter based on the guidelines from the Scholarship Secretariat and the figures are far below the aspirational metric of 90 percent of government scholarship students achieving 3.0 or above.

“While we are very proud of the government scholarships students who are doing well, we are disappointed that our overall success rate is so low. To my mind, this is not the fault of the government scholarship students, it is the college’s failure for not having systems in place to help these young people achieve and I take direct responsibility for that,” the president said, as he outlined the plans to boost academic performance.

He said some of the mandatory tutoring sessions will be held on weekends and students' learning contracts with the director of student support services, designed to identify problems regarding achievement and those students, will need to work with the “DSSS” on individual learning plans.

Marshall also confirmed that policy proposals are going to the board of trustees in September for approval to raise admissions standards and elevate requirements to graduate.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow…this is quite alarming….I actually liked going to class. I rarey missed classes even when I was dead tired after work and had to go home and deal with my children before going to class. I graduated and now I really miss it….I really hope the students will take their learning experience more seriously and step up and be willing to be held accountable for their actions. Afterall, they are only hurting themselves in the long run….They are there to get what Mr. Marshall has already…remember that.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Make sure the scholarships are going to students with good  grades who do not have the fundng to go to college  – but have the ambiton and grades to match –  not to family members of MLA's and board members

    • Anonymous says:

      As you say I am pretty sure every scholarship goes to a MLA's family, I've had a few as interns and they are always related to a MLA.

      • Anonymous says:

        Isn't everyone related once you are talking about the "sons of the soil"?

    • Anonymous says:

      You have not been in Cayman long have you?  What is the point of being an MLA if your family can't pig out at the trough with you?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Stop the coddling! They either want to further their education and work for it, or they don't! With so much stuff available on the internet these days, there are plenty opportunities to get additional help for many subjects. Either students maintain a certain GPA and if they can't and won't, please give the funding to a person who is willing to go the extra mile to make it work!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Will somebody pwease take care of the wittle college students and help them to be responsible adults. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow. This is a joke compared to overseas colleges. I applaud him for trying, but to make attendance mandatory? The college I went to could care less if you showed up for class. You have to want to go so that you could pass your exams. And if you fail, well that’s your fault for not coming to class or getting any extra help you might need. This is college. Time to grow up. You should not need someone holding your hand. Sink or swim.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is not against the President. This comment has to do with the fact that the president is driven to those measures. And guess what… If you fail while on scholarship you should be forced to pay it back. To me that is incentive enough to make sure you get the grades needed to keep it.

    • Anonymous says:

      What's more, they're old enough to vote, to drive, to become enebriated, and to fornicate. God forbid they be treated as responsible, independent adults. Change the name of the school to Mollycoddle Adult Daycare.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is true that in other institutions in other countries it is sink or  swim and no one cares if u attend or not.  But we are comparing apples and oranges.  The volume of students in other countries and the range of abilities and the fact that most go to university to learn are what makes the difference.  Here in cayman when u have a very small uni population and when such a large majority don't really care about performance but rather the piece of paper at the end u need to try every strategy to channel performance.  I believe Marshall is on the right track.  Imyself have a ringside view to how the majority of our students behave and believe me institutions need to grapple with these issues and to throw everything they can at the problem.

      Let me tell u what is going on — we have a student population that is not willing to give up the luxurious life styles that full time jobs bring but members still want to attend university and to get good grades — while also keeping up a busy social life.  They want it all.

      when u and I went to university we didn't feel we had to have the car, the latest fashions, etc.  these luxuries were not important.  Here in Cayman, they are essential to many of our tertiary level students.

      Complicating the world of our average female student are one or two kids with no father around to help.

      you get the pix? 

      Very often education gets short shrift — but we still want the piece of paper = better job, more money, etc. — but unfortunately with as little effort as possible.

      so local universities are fighting a problem that is widespread in their populations.

      You go Marshall.  we are behind u in this fight.  Good job!

      PS I am Caymanian — and I know the scene very well.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wouldn't care less if they didn't attend and failed IF they were not on a government scholarship and using their own money. This criteria should be for all scholarship recipients, local or overseas. A lot of Caymanians are spoiled and priviledged and do not appreciate the opportunities they have when compared to students in other parts of the world. One may argue that if they don't attend class but still get good grades and pass the course then what is the big deal but do that on your own dime, not on the public purse, you want money from the Government then they are entiteld to tell you what needs to be done to keep your grant and if the local college is on board and doing their bit to accomodate that then I say kudos to Dr. Marshall. For the record I am a Caymanian, just not a spoiled and privileged one. I had to work hard to maintain my GPA to keep my scholarship and also borrow funds to pay for my education so I didn't "horse" around when I was in college.

    • Anonymous says:

      In the US, faculty have been forced to take attendance for about 20 years now because of financial aid.  Colleges and universities are subject to tuiton clawbacks when students grab the money and run.

  6. Anonymous says:

    President Marshall,

    I think you are on the right track with enforcing standards and making students accountable. Keep in mind it is never in the message but the way it is delivered.  Caymanian can and want to succeed, they just haven't been held accountable.  Use the accountability approach with a soft glove nudging them forward and I know they will step up to the plate.  The key is to do this without offfending them as many expats have come in and try to take a wrecking ball to the system.  It won't work, you must use the fine end of a the chisel and do it judiciously.  

    Your message is spot on, no one disagrees, but I would caution (as an expat who encountered the same thing) that you must EARN the Caymanians trust first, then use the fine point chisel.  They are proud (rightly so) people, and will succeed, just make sure your message is heard and you have their trust first.

    • Anonymous says:

      what a load of baloney — set your standards President Marshall and hold to it — and no need to molly coddle.  We Caymanians are not some special breed that you have to handle with kid gloves.  sounds so patronizing.  oh, here is an expat who understands the special breed of quirky people! too kind.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are they rightly so proud?

      • Anonymous says:

        My comment was coddling Caymanians, rather was advising him to not take a potenail patronizing approach to things.  For all the expats who want to do things the way that they are done in their country, the same approach won't always work.

        As an expat myself, I assure you that most Caymanians don't want to be coddled, BUT they do want respect in their own country  Repspect for their local culture, respect of the differences, respect to be treated as an equal.  Too often, Caymanians are looked down upon as "less than" by some groups of expats.

        Caymanians that I have encountred have the raw intellect seen in any country, but let's be honest with ourselves (as expats) and also see that they have issues we (expats) woudn't encounter in your own country.  Just for example, a majority of the police force in NON-CAYMANIAN. Now imagine if your own country (whereever) was not made of of your local people.  I bet you can't find another country in the world were expats makeup the majority of your police force.

        My point was to give Caymanians respect.  Yes, hold them accountable (they want it!), but don't belittle them, or come in with the "well this is the way x,y,z country does it so you must do it!". I have complete empathy for the differences they experience in their own country, maybe a little understanding (accountability doesn't go away with understanding) is in order.


  7. Anonymous says:

    i entirely agree with President Marshall, and I think the students who complain have a lot of nerve.  This is one of the things wrong with this place.  People try to do their job and what do we do but try to bring political pressure to deter them. Too much of this slackness is going on.  

    Further, Students want to get the piece of paper without working for it.  You go Mr. Marshall.  And insist that they come to class.  Attendance has a direct co-relation with mastery.  

    I hope that Bodden at UCCI is taking note.  That institution seems to be more concerned with tuition fees than academic standards.

    And nowadays we Caymanians seem to want to have everything much too easy, a major cultural shift from the Caymanian heritage of hardwork and determination.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good Job President,

    Students need to realise that it is a privilege to be able to attend college and they should all give it their best.  So many the world over would be overjoyed if they had this opportunity. Really, by the time one reaches college all the horsing around should be long gone. Take advantage of this blessing that has come into your lives and do yourselves proud. Stop settling for mediocre.