Collins College recently received several significant awards from the Arizona Private School Association (APSA) at its annual conference, including 2012 School of the Year. APSA also honored Collins College with awards for Best Student Services and Best Placement practices.
“Collins College is a great school with a good mission—they give a lot back to their community,” said Fred Lockhart, Executive Director of the APSA. Lockhart also noted that Collins College “excelled” in three out of the 11 award categories.
Collins College has been named APSA School of the Year twice before, in 2005 and 2008. The additional distinctions of the Best Placement Practice and Best Student Service Practice emphasize the outstanding efforts of the Student Services and Career Services departments at Collins College.
“I consider myself very fortunate and feel proud to be a part of the Collins College team. Each day our faculty and staff come in and give their best to our students, and it shows time and time again,” said Christine Murphy, president of Collins College.
APSA has more than 56 member schools across Arizona, making the award of 2012 School of the Year a significant distinction for Collins College. The School of the Year award goes to a college that demonstrates an exceptional commitment to its students across all awards categories.
The recent integration of an Interdisciplinary Project into the curriculum helped distinguish Collins as a worthy candidate for School of the Year. Through the new Interdisciplinary Project, students from diverse degree programs collaborate on a project to help a local agency, usually a non-profit organization. After gaining hands-on professional experience by completing the project, the students then have the opportunity to display their work to employers and other community members through the Student Professional Portfolio Show program. Examples include new brand identity and logo design projects for government agencies and charities.
Student Services’ revamped efforts to improve student retention, satisfaction, and career preparedness were recognized by the Best Student Service Practice award. Collins College achieved its Student Services goals by focusing on four major areas: Student Engagement, Student Recognition, Student Activities, and Professional Development. Some strategies addressing these areas were Student Appreciation Days, the “artWALK” student gallery, skills workshops, and a carpool program.
Collins College’s additional career preparation initiatives were acknowledged by the APSA Best Placement Practice award. This honor highlights the Career Services department’s efforts to prepare students for the future using social media communication, mandating career-focused class presentations and coordinating with community partners to keep students informed and engaged. Besides helping students learn outside the classroom, Career Services has also brought professional training into classrooms by giving presentations on topics including resume development, job search strategies, networking, and portfolio development.