Durham College staff member wins outstanding research award

Michelle Cole, administrative assistant to the vice-president, Student Affairs, is being recognized by the Ontario College Administrative Staff Association for her thesis on how faculty members influence student levels of persistence in the classroom.

March 29, 2011

Durham College administrative staff member Michelle Cole, recently won the third-annual Ontario College Administrative Staff Association (OCASA) Outstanding Research Award for her thesis titled Student Perceptions of Faculty Classroom Practices that Influence Student Persistence.

“The issue of student persistence is at the forefront of the college’s Strategic Enrolment Management committee, so my research was certainly timely,” said Cole. “I owe a great deal of the success of the paper to the student participants. Their willingness to participate and candid responses made the focus groups truly enjoyable and their feedback made the entire research study possible.”

The Central Michigan University (CMU)-OCASA award recognizes the high quality of research being conducted in Ontario by CMU graduate students to impact the development of colleges. It is presented to an Ontario student in CMU’s Master of Arts in Education program with a community college concentration for research specifically related to community colleges in Ontario. Nominees are chosen by CMU faculty with a review panel from OCASA choosing the final award recipient.

Cole, currently completing her Master of Arts in Education degree from CMU as part of a group of post-graduate scholars from Durham and Loyalist colleges, is also executive assistant to Margaret Greenley, vice president, Student Affairs, and previously administrative assistant to Don Lovisa, president of Durham College. Before coming to the college, she spent two years as an administrator for a member of parliament.

“Cole is a student affairs professional who is committed to enhancing student success,” said Greenley. “Her OCASA Outstanding Research Award demonstrates her commitment to student retention and her exceptional research and writing abilities. Once again, she makes a difference at Durham College.”

An active member of the campus community, including being a member of the 2010-2011 Accessibility Working Group, Cole will receive her award on Tuesday, June 21 at the OCASA conference being held at Blue Mountain in Collingwood, Ont. She will also lead a seminar at the conference.

“I am happy to share the results of my research with other colleges to promote the benefits of active teaching and learning,” said Cole.