Tashona Jones has been promoted to director of student success and retention at Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo. She will be directing the implementation of Scaling Up Community College Efforts for Student Success, a new initiative developed by research organization MDRC with support from Arnold Ventures and Lumina Foundation aimed at boosting the graduation rates for traditionally underserved students.
Ivy Tech Kokomo is one of three Ivy Tech campuses and six other colleges spread across California, New Jersey, and Ohio that will participate in SUCCESS. The program aims to create financially sustainable programs that dramatically improve graduation rates and that can be brought to scale within institutions and throughout states to increase educational attainment across the United States. Ivy Tech Kokomo will receive a $120,000 grant to support the project.
In her new role, Jones will be working with students throughout Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Service Area, which includes Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties with campuses or instructional sites in Kokomo, Logansport, and Peru. Her mission is to help students connect with resources in the College and the communities it serves to address any barriers in the way of their educational success.
She is starting recruitment efforts to select the first group of 60 students this fall to participate in the SUCCESS program. Participants will be selected based on specific criteria and will have additional support, including working with a “success coach” twice a month.
Under the grant, SUCCESS programs are being built around elements developed over more than 15 years of postsecondary research conducted by MDRC and others. These program components include frequent proactive advising, financial incentives tied to participation, strategies focused on increasing academic momentum (like requiring full-time enrollment), and the use of real-time data to support student progress. States and institutions may focus on specific student populations, such as low-income students, under-represented minorities, or adults. By sharing the results and providing additional technical assistance, MDRC will support the expansion of SUCCESS within and beyond these initial states and colleges.
Jones, a 1997 graduate of Kokomo High School, has served for the last two years as an adjunct instructor at Ivy Tech Kokomo, where she teaches sociology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2006, a master’s degree in Student Development Counseling and Administration from Indiana Wesleyan in 2013, and a Certified Business Professional credential from the International Business Training Association in 2016.
As a life coach at the Excel Center from 2015 to 2019, she served high school students in a non-traditional setting. From 2013 to 2015, as family advocate/parent, family and community engagement manager at the Darrough Chapel Early Learning Center, she worked with preschool children, managing a caseload of 80 Headstart families. Earlier in her career she served as coordinator of campus diversity at Indiana University Kokomo and director of education at City of Refuge Church of God in Christ.