MARCH 1, 2005
A strategic conversation was scheduled to be held at 4:00 p.m. at Estrella Mountain Community College in , Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02, notice having been duly given.
Don Campbell, President
Scott Crowley, Secretary
Linda Rosenthal, Member
Jerry Walker, Member
ABSENT: Ed Contreras, Member
Gail Mee for Larry Christiansen
Ernie Lara for Homero Lopez
Todd Simmons for Linda Thor
Sylvia Manlove for Gene Giovannini
Paul Dale for Mary Kay Kickels
Alberto Sanchez for Phil Randolph
Attendance: Approximately 70, not including facilitators, camera staff, and campus staff.
Welcome remarks were made by Student Development Services Director Tonya Drake, who then called upon EMC Vice President of Student Affairs Ernie Lara. Dr. Lara welcomed everyone on behalf of President Homero Lopez who was off campus at another meeting. Board Members present were acknowledged, as well as the Chancellor and members of the Chancellor's Executive Council. Dr. Lara made a brief announcement pertaining to the Sixth Annual Car Raffle being hosted by EMC and members of the West Valley Auto Alliance.
Vice Chancellor Steve Helfgot came forward next to thank everyone for attending the evening's strategic conversation on "Making Student Connections" which is a follow-up to the November strategic conversation titled "What Really Matters." During the November conversation, students expressed that connections and enhanced communications mattered to them. The enhanced communications that were important to them were between students, in and out of the classrooms, one-on-one contacts with faculty and service providers. These connections were important for them to set meaningful and lasting goals, to what they learn, their instruction and applied learning, and to what they know and need to know or don't know what they don't know.
Tonya Drake, District Director of Student Development Services, came forward to explain the process for conducting the conversation. She stated that Brian Tippett, Vice President of Academic Affairs at EMC would conduct a panel interview of five students in which they would be asked to offer comments regarding what students want and need in order to help them remain in school. The following students were part of the student panel:
- Kim Janesky, GateWay Community College
- Robert Williams, South Mountain Community College
- Debbie Craigo, Phoenix College
- Quincy Johnson, Glendale Community College
- Patricia Escalante, Estrella Mountain Community College
The following responses were provided by each student with reference to the questions noted:
1. Describe your interactions both in and out of the classroom with your instructors that enhance your learning.
- Kim responded that she was very scared when she returned to school after being away 26 years. Once in the classroom she felt that the instructor had an open-door policy. She never had a teacher say that and they were offered help with their papers and were never turned away.
- Robert stated that interactions were a combination of both in person and e-mail. They were never given answers but were rather taken through a process figure out answers. He personally liked e-mail because answers were usually provided by last day.
- Debbie indicated that in-person communications work better for her. Instructors greet students by name and make her try harder because teachers seem to care.
- Quincy remarked that instructors make an effort to make sure students understand concepts. It is like having a parent in the classroom.
- Patricia stated that instructors were very patient with her. She not only had to learn the subject but the English language as well. As a result, she made connections with them. She expressed her problem and they helped her resolve it.
2. Do you feel like you belong to the college? When did this occur, and if not, what can the college do to make you feel connected?
- Robert: His first instructors were nice even though they were younger. Everyone interested in the same thing (CCNA). You could work with people and talk to different people. You enjoyed coming to class because the class became like family.
- Debbie: Yes. This occurred during first semester in their intro to Crime & Justice Class. Instructor liked to get people involved in class and let her teach one class because of her experience.
- Quincy: Teachers introduced them to other students. Learning was reinforced through material and conversations. Deepened their understanding through these mediums.
- Patricia: Feels connected. Joe Fraiser helped her get into the Honors Program and told her not to worry about it.
- Kim: Feels very connected. She is a single parent with three kids. When she came to first came to school, other students took her under their wing and taught her many things. They encouraged her to join clubs and she has felt very at home.
3. Describe how facilities would inspire you to learn.
- Debbie: The set up of room is dependent on class discussion. They tutor each other at tables by the library.
- Quincy: One teacher in early morning class where it is easy to fall asleep, set up the class in such a way that no one is in the back. There is early morning and late evening availability of facilities which is good.
- Patricia: Classes are in the library and whenever she stretches her arms, someone is immediately there to help because they think she is asking for assistance. Facilities are open at various hours.
- Kim: At GWC they have a Prosper Program where 160 first generation/financially needy students are registered. They have their own separate labs and tutors, and consequently they have lots of connections in there. Students bond in there. Outside activities are encouraged. There is a smaller family inside larger student base.
- Robert: Overheads and PowerPoint presentations provide meaningful information. Labs are first rate and usually accessible.
4. Describe your experiences with your peers with reference to learning with other students in and out of the classroom.
- Quincy: Feels free to ask fellow students questions they may have.
- Patricia: Has a knack for making friends easily and this helps others learn better.
- Kim: Inside the classroom teachers count off students and enables them to work with different people. They have done many service learning projects and get to know each other better.
- Robert: Learning with peers has been interesting. You understand it one way and others understand it differently. Varied backgrounds provide new ideas. Classes provide information that students have not been exposed to.
- Debbie: Teachers encourage study groups and this helps. Students help each other when they don't understand something.
Questions from the audience:
1. What would students improve?
- Patricia: Parking lot needs a second layer.
- Robert: Not enough equipment during first semester but really can't find a lot to complain about.
- Debbie: Parking, extension of tutoring to other classes besides reading and math.
- Quincy: Timing of classes getting cancelled and then trying to find replacement classes that are still available.
2. How can connections be made better?
- Kim: She is a fulltime student works 20 hours per weeks, so connections are difficult.
- Robert: He is a part-time student taking two courses per week.
- Debbie: As a fulltime student, it is hard to make connections with part-time students because they are not always there.
- Quincy: Is a fulltime student (23 hours) and has a lot to lose. Tries to make connections at enrollment center.
- Patricia: She is a fulltime student and works 50 hours per week. She tries to make school a priority and tries to connect with other students.
3. How can the Internet be used to make connections?
- Patricia: Could be used if schedule was. No experience in this area.
- Quincy: A very positive way to take classes for those who cannot attend in person.
- Robert: If you are online you are by yourself. If you are in there in person, you are motivated to do better.
- Kim: There are different kinds of learners and she is not a computer-based learner. She needs a teacher for personal interaction.
Transition to smaller groups were made by color-coded discussion sheets/topics. Participants self-distributed according to interest. The discussion questions are attached.
Attendees participated in discussions up through the conclusion of the evening's conversation. Report outs were made at the end of the discussion period. Facilitators recorded comments on flipcharts and those comments are attached. (View Attachment - pdf)
The meeting concluded at 7:00 p.m.
Governing Board Secretary