Developmental Education

Committee Co-Chairs:

Theresa Carlton (Math)  &  Jennifer Meresman (English)

Harold Washington College Developmental Education Program


Provide cohesive and comprehensive support to ensure that developmental education students successfully make the transition into college level courses.

Mission Statement and Objectives

It is the mission of the Developmental Education Program at Harold Washington College to prepare students for college-level courses while empowering them to succeed academically, personally, and professionally. We aim to equip students with fundamental competencies and instill in them attitudes which will lead them to become life-long learners.

In order to fulfill this mission, the Developmental Education Program will:

  • Ensure proper placement by assessing each learner’s level of preparedness needed for success in mainstream college courses
  • Encourage students to access multiple resources to aid academic success
  • Increase the retention of students
  • Transition students into college level courses
  • Gather and use assessment information to improve student learning
  • Create an environment that encourages faculty development and incorporation of best pedagogical practices
  • Sustain an environment that promotes optimal learning for all students

Developmental Education Committee Charge[2]

The Developmental Education Committee works towards creating a program which, though decentralized in nature, coordinates the efforts of all faculty, staff and administrators who work with students taking developmental courses so that students experience a seamless, well organized and effective transition into credit-level courses. In order to accomplish this, the committee is led by an administrator as well as a faculty representative from both English and math. This committee oversees the Developmental Education Program and ensures completion of committee goals and addresses the following issues:

Placement procedures: All first-time students entering Harold Washington are tested to ensure proper placement. These placement procedures then are one of the first experiences students have with our institution. Not only does this experience then determine their first impression of HWC, but the results can have long-lasting effects on students’ academic careers. It is thus imperative that we continually work to improve our placement procedures to ensure that students receive the most accurate placement possible.

Faculty: It is our aim to make sure that our faculty is well-equipped to provide the best possible educational experience to our students. In order to do this, it is imperative that our faculty utilize best practices; both those discovered through exposure to current literature and expert opinion, as well as those discovered through classroom experience and collaboration with fellow instructors.

Curriculum Development: A strong program demands continually improving curriculum content and presentation. We aim to provide a developmental course sequence which leads seamlessly into the college-level curriculum, and which effectively utilizes available technological resources.

Students: Students come to Harold Washington College with a variety of expectations, assumptions, habits, and attitudes. In order to best serve all students, we need to make sure that we understand our students and where they come from so that they can be smoothly transitioned into the Developmental Program. Once at Harold Washington, we aim to build on students’ strengths, instill positive attitudes and habits, and celebrate student growth. Students will complete the Developmental Program with a higher degree of confidence, a clear understanding of college expectations, and the skills needed to be successful in their academic and professional endeavors.

Assessment: Finally, a strong Developmental Education Program must have strong forms of assessment. We must be able to gain specific information to see where our students are progressing, and where they are struggling. Having accurate assessment information will afford us confidence that students receiving passing grades are ready for the next course; at the same time, this information will also allow us to better assess how we need to strengthen our program to continue to improve the quality of education we provide.

[1] Both the Vision and Mission Statement come from the Developmental Education Plan, created 6/2008.


[2] This document is a modified version (1/2010) of the Executive Summary of the Developmental Education Program Plan, created 6/2008.