Out with the old

Out with the old

Dealing with change can be tough for people—Whether it’s moving to another town to start school or even to a new country to start a new job, it can be a lot to take.

However, for the Special Services department at Pierce College, the change was not too difficult.

Academic Accommodations Center (AAC) Director Carlos Rosas said the name change was something that had been discussed before COVID-19.

“Since we came back to on-campus services, the name change was discussed once Pierce named its new VP of Student Services (VPSS),” said Rosas.

Rosas stated that with the support of the new VPSS and Dean, the AAC had executed the name change quickly so it can be more inclusive and de-stigmatize the words “special and services.” 

“We wanted to make our Services more welcoming for our campus community,” Rosas said. “Ultimately, all DSPS offices provide Academic Accommodations, so we found it fitting to make the name change.”

Despite the name change now in effect, Rosas said the Academic Accommodations building still has the old sign with the old name.

“We are in discussion about getting new signage for our building to reflect the name change,” Rosas said. “The signage still reads “Special Services.””

Rosas stated that the center is working on having a temporary one for the time being, but he does not know when the new signage will be in effect.

Special Services Assistant Millissa Marks had a positive reaction to the name change.

I was very much on board with the name change,” Marks said. “The name change directly tells the story of what we do here in this department, we offer academic accommodations for students with disabilities. Not to mention the welcoming feeling of having a ‘center’ rather than an office.”

Marks praised Rosas, Dean of Students William Marmolejo and VPSS Jason Cifra for their participation and research in finding a new name for the department while sharing her hopes for the future.

“Our Director, Carlos Rosas, did a lot of research and advocating for this name change and we could not have done it without him and the support of our Dean, William Marmolejo, and our VPSS, Jason Cifra,” Marks said. “The new name is used at many other community colleges and four-year universities which creates a sense of unity.”

Marks hopes that with the name change comes a new and fresh look at the department and the specific student population they serve.

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter Coordinator Cindy Julian was also a fan of the name change.

“Our DSPS office has been called Special Services since the 1970s,” Julian said. “I do like the name change. It clearly describes what our office does, which is provide academic accommodations for students who need them.”

Julian hopes the name change will make students feel more comfortable with seeking assistance for their classes.

“Words like disability, resource, accessibility, and special seem to have a negative connotation for students and discourage them from seeking the assistance that they need to be more successful at college,” Julian said. “I hope that more students will be willing to contact us to check if they qualify to be part of our office.”

Rosas said that it will take some time for students to get used to the name despite the name change receiving critical acclaim from the community.

The Academic Accommodations Center is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays.