Got a question for Pierce administration? Well, you don’t have to shake your Magic 8-Ball to find the answer.
If Earic Dixon-Peters has his way your emails won’t go unresponded and your phone calls won’t go unanswered.
Dixon-Peters, who is the vice president of student services, plans to submit a petition to Pierce College President Kathleen Burke to take to the Mall for an hour each month the entire fall semester to answer questions.
Dixon-Peters said he felt the need to designate time after noticing that he would hear the end result of complaints from students. He decided to take it upon himself to speak with students and listen to any possible concerns or issues they might have.
He also said he hopes this will allow students to become more familiar with him and the matters that he is in charge of so that students feel more welcome to engage with him.
“My hope is that they will put a face to the name of an administrator, and that they know who we are, at least who I am, and to give a time to share whatever they want to share with me directly. Happy, frustrated, sad, disappointed, excited, this will be a time when we can have that conversation. It’s for me to gage what’s happening,” Dixon-Peters said.
He also said he plans to communicate with the ASO to receive feedback about areas of student concern. His plan is to find out what students are saying about the campus and to assess problems that the school can quickly find solutions to and how they can solve issues that may take more time. One such issue is wanting to improve the turnaround time for student petitions that are currently taking months to be processed.
Students can benefit from this monthly event because it will help connect more students and faculty members with him, Dixon-Peters said. If students have someone who has experienced similar situations who they can talk to and look up to, they tend to improve their studies, he said.
“When people are connected to someone, they typically perform better in school and are more successful, whether it’s a faculty member they connect to or a counselor or another student. Oftentimes, people in my position, because of all the work we do, don’t connect with our students,” Dixon-Peters said.
Dixon-Peters worked full-time on a graveyard shift to help support his family while playing basketball for Santa Monica College on a scholarship. He said he wants to share his story with students hoping that it will motivate and encourage them in their studies.
“The hope is that when they talk to me, they also get motivated that I once lived in the inner city, South L.A., single mom, working hard graveyard shift, two-job janitor and they can see and say “Oh, if you can do it, I can do it too,”” Dixon-Peters said.
Corey Wright, business management major, said he thinks Dixon-Peters making himself available will also provide comfort to minority students that have issues.
“I think it’s powerful. I feel like he could give a lot of kids, no matter the race, anybody who feels like they’re a minority, the opportunity to speak about something if they feel like they’re treated unfairly, or if it’s educational purposes that they want to expand on,” Wright said. “That’s good that Dixon-Peters will be there to help address that issue and try to act upon it.”
Dean of Student Engagement Juan Carlos Astorga said that he thinks that what Dixon-Peters will be doing next semester is a great idea because it will help bring students and faculty closer together and reassure them that their voices are heard.
“I think that is an amazing idea. It really allows for students to know that we’re approachable and that we are interested in being responsive to our students,” Astorga said.
Although most students on campus are unfamiliar with the vice president of student services, Jonathan Bui, civil engineering major, plans on attending the monthly event and thinks that it’s a good way for students to express their ideas and feelings to help improve the campus.
“I think it’s a good idea so other students can share their ideas with him so he can have a plan to do something about the improvements that this campus needs,” Bui said.
Dixon-Peters said that if the turnout of students this fall semester is high, he will continue doing the event for semesters to come.
“If this works out and it’s wonderful, I will do it as long as I’m here,” Dixon-peters said.
As of yet, other administrators have not joined the event. No date and time has been set.