Pierce College was selected to be part of the Online Education Initiative’s (OEI) pilot launch phase, according to Distance Education Coordinator Wendy Bass at the Academic Senate meeting on Monday, Sept. 22, in the Great Hall.
Pierce was one of 24 California community colleges chosen to participate in the program, and was placed in the Tutoring Staging Group. Pierce will submit five online courses to the OEI for consideration to participate in the program, of which three will be chosen.
“For us it’s a big deal because we’ll get free tutoring for those three classes,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll see a higher success rate in those online classes. That’s a goal.”
An updated Student Information System (SIS) was also announced at the meeting. Articulation Officer Elizabeth Atondo said the revamped system will “look different and hopefully will be a lot better.”
Pierce’s current SIS is “homegrown,” she said. The new system “will be an Oracle product.”
She said the all-new SIS will roll out in October, 2015 for incoming fall 2016 students, while continuing students will see the new system in spring 2016.
This year’s GO Days yielded more student-feedback data than in the previous two years combined, according to Director of Career Services Joanna Zimring Towne. She said the school collected data on nearly 900 students who attended the fall registration and orientation workshops, up from 500 last year and 300 two years ago.
Participation at the event also increased significantly over last year. She said the average number of workshops attended per student climbed from one to four.
“We hope to continue to grow, expand, and reach more students,” she said.
Senators also discussed the idea of a spring GO Days, which would be geared for “at risk” students who are either undecided in an academic major, enrolled in non-degree applicable, basic skills classes, or are on academic probation.
The majority of the senate responded positively to the idea, though no concrete plans were made during the meeting.
In financial news, Academic Senate Treasurer Joe Perret said the school is “in really good financial shape this year.”
He said last year it ran a deficit, which might have forced layoffs if it were not for reserve funds the school had accumulated during previous years.
But the campus construction is not in as good of shape. He said he’d invite the construction people to the next senate meeting because he “has no idea what the plans are.”
“We’ve had this master plan that’s been shrunk,” he said.
The next Academic Senate meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 6 at 2:15 p.m. in the Great Hall.