Enrollment going in the right direction

Enrollment going in the right direction

Headcount remained a hot topic at the Academic Senate meeting on Monday via Zoom.

Interim president Ara Aguiar said that Pierce is down 17% in actual headcount, but the college is working on it.

“Our enrollment is on an upward trend compared to two years,” Aguiar added. “We’re beginning to slowly but surely close the gap.” 

Aguiar also announced that Pierce was awarded a $3,000,000 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) grant which is to last for five years.

“We have to thank Donna Mae, the VPs, our researcher, everyone worked on it. But especially Mark Crocker. He has been kind enough to come in and work with us,” Aguiar said.

Aguiar also said that thanks to Crocker’s expertise and guidance, he has brought $5,500,000 to Pierce in the last eight months.

The ASO Concert recital was mentioned by Aguiar last Thursday and she thanked Korean-American pianist Jiwon Lee and Music Department Chair Wendy Mazon for putting the show together.

Aguiar also acknowledged the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Open Forum on Sept. 21 and thanked Center for Academic Success (CAS) Director Crystal Kiekel and Transfer Center Director Sunday Salter who were part of the few Pierce representatives who participated along with everyone who came.

However, certain events taking place on campus also sparked interest in most of the members of the Academic Senate.

ASO President Qais Azizi did not attend today’s meeting but he announced that they celebrated Latinx Heritage Month last Thursday.

“We passed out snacks to students. We played games and had great engagement,” Azizi said in a chat message sent by Academic Senate President and Communication Studies professor Barbara Anderson.

Azizi did not have any further updates at the time.

The meeting soon hit a suspenseful note due to some events that took place within the last week.

Academic Senate Treasurer Alex Villalta said he sent an email asking for members and teachers to start paying for Senator Academic fees.

“We’re all super busy. I understand that,” Villalta said. “In fact, I waited until this time [the meeting] to start collecting just because we haven’t gotten our paychecks yet.”

Villalta said that 27 students receive checks from the Academic Senate, so it is crucial that members start paying for their Senate fees as the prices will go up after Halloween.

Aguiar also announced that the Kinesiology department reported to the Dean of Student Services on the situation with the pool malfunction last Monday on behalf of Athletic Director Susan Armenta.

Distance Education Coordinator and Psychology professor Wendy Bass said that there had been issues with SpeedGrader and with discussions in Canvas.

“There have been some problems with SpeedGrader and glitches with discussions in Canvas,” Bass said. “I will let you know as soon as I hear if it’s fixed but don’t drop students because it looks like they’re not participating.” 

Bass said that it is paramount for teachers to drop students from their classes if they do not plan on continuing them because if they had financial aid and they didn’t drop them, then Pierce owes the money back, which puts a strain on the budget.

On a positive note, Transfer Center Director Sunday Salter announced a few things that happened at the Transfer Center, such as a Faculty and Staff and Tutor training that was rescheduled from Friday.

“Our representative from UCLA was very sick, so unfortunately, we had to reschedule that,” Salter said. “But we will be sending something out about that.” 

Salter also announced that Transfer Day is set to take place on Nov. 3, where all colleges across the country will come to Pierce from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in person to connect with transfer students and offer one-on-one support with them.

Music professor Gavineh Avakian announced that there will be a concert sponsored by ASO and Armenian Students Association (ASA) in honor of Armenian Heritage Month on Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. in the Performing Arts Building (PAB).

Physics and Planetary Sciences Dept. Chair and Astronomy professor Dale Fields also announced that the Astronomy department is making a comeback with telescope nights and planetarium shows for the first time since COVID-19 began.

Anderson said she wants to treat any members who would like to go with their loved ones to see Clue for free via a promo code provided by Performing Arts Dept. Chair Michael Sande.

The next Academic Senate meeting is set to take place on Oct. 17 at 2:15 p.m. via Zoom.