The fundamentals can teach a thing or two

Faculty want their students to succeed, but sometimes the resources they provide aren’t enough to help everyone.

That won’t stop them from implementing new techniques and discussing methods to change the college environment.

The Student Success Committee announced its eleventh annual Student Success Conference at the Academic Senate Meeting on Nov. 6.

Center of Student Success Director and Co-Chair of the Student Success Committee Crystal Kiekel said the conference is rooted from the Basic Skills Initiative. She said it was a “small pot of money that provided us the opportunity to focus on the needs of students who were placing below transfer level English and math.”

The Basic Skills Initiative was previously implemented to focus on students developing fundamental ESL, English, and math study and learning skills. Since then, there has also been an Equity Project that focuses on groups of students who are underserved. These two initiatives acted as stepping stones to the Student Success Conference.

“The Student Success Conference has evolved to not only strengthen those essential skills, but also to talk about issues on how to decrease equity gaps and create a culture of success and equity on this campus,” Kiekel said.

Kiekel said the Student Success Support Program is a categorical fund at the state level that focuses on strengthening the “onboarding” experience of first year college students.

Kiekel said one goal of the conference is to support students in a way that is beneficial to the start of their college careers.

“A lot of data will demonstrate that if students have a strong first year, students are much more likely to complete their studies,” Kiekel said.

Kiekel said the conference is voluntary, but has seen the numbers of participants grow since its start in 2008.

“We started with 30 people 10 years ago, and now we have 250 in attendance from the last time,” Kiekel said.

Faculty Senate Treasurer Angela Belden said the conference serves as a forum to propel students forward.

“It’s absolutely essential for faculty,” Belden said. “It’s such a good way to put the students first and get together with colleagues and discuss what we can do for our students.”

Belden said she looks forward to the upcoming conference.

“I’m super excited about the Student Success Conference,” Belden said. “I love seeing fellow faculty go. I’ve attended every year since I’ve been here at Pierce, and I have never once been disappointed.”

The Student Success Conference will be on Feb. 2, 2018 at Pierce College.

A second item of discussion involved College Outcomes Coordinator Jennifer Moses.

She said General Education Learning Outcomes(GELOs) should be treated and assessed as programs, also known as Program Learning Outcome for General Education (PLO-GE).

Moses said she thinks conceptual clarity is important.

“We should have a clear understanding of all the things we are suppose to assess and not have this weird ‘other’ category just to recognize that IGETC and all those other transfer programs are in fact programs,” Moses said.