Students picked up PACE with pizza

Students at Pierce College ate free pizza Wednesday while learning how the Project for Accelerated College Education (PACE) program offers them more flexibility in achieving educational goals at an informational event.

According to PACE Director Joleen Voss-Rodriguez, the program helps ensure that students are able to graduate from Pierce in under two years.

“PACE is a way for you to fast track your education and earn your degree quickly and transfer,” Voss-Rodriguez said. “Our classes are eight weeks in length and hybrid or online.”

The hybrid classes meet one evening per week and every other Saturday with partial online requirements.

Voss-Rodriguez explained that the PACE classes can be completed in half the time of full semester classes.

“What we’ve done is we’ve taken that long, 16 weeks semester and we’ve chopped it into eight week quarters,” Voss-Rodriguez said. “What’s really great is students can take two classes in the first eight weeks, two classes the second eight weeks and they’ve completed four classes.”

PACE Student Services Assistant Lupita Narkevicius explained that this event was held to entice students to come in and learn about what the program has to offer to help them reach their academic goals, even when classes are in high demand.

“It’s one of the best-kept secrets on campus,” Lupita said. It’s just another avenue for them to get the classes that they need because classes on campus close fast, but our classes have a higher limit.”

According to Voss-Rodriguez, PACE classes are more open to students trying to add than regular semester classes, even when they are full.

“We try not to turn you away when you’re going to crash classes,” Voss-Rodriguez said. “So the students love that because we try to say yes. We try to help you get out of here.”

Pierce College Student Nastaran Lashgarnevis, who is considering enrolling in PACE in Summer, said that she decided to attend the event because she was interested in learning more about how she can complete her general education classes faster.

“I’m just wondering how I can finish my English, which takes a lot of time, and I heard that we can just come here and finish our English earlier,” Lashgarnevis said.

According to Voss-Rodriguez, the program gives more access to students who rely on flexibility to achieve their educational goals.  

“PACE was originally set up for working adults, people that have busy schedules who don’t have as much time to come to campus,” Voss-Rodriguez said. “You can mix and match. You don’t have to take them. PACE isn’t this thing that you join and you have to follow the structure. PACE is just a way for you to access additional classes.”

In addition to the hybrid courses, PACE also offers fully online courses downtown at the LAUSD headquarters.

Voss-Rodriguez explained that another part of the program is designed exclusively for LAUSD bus drivers.

“The bus driver learning cohort is at the Van Nuys bus lot,” Voss-Rodriguez said. “They take classes during their split shift.”