APRIL 5, 2005
A strategic conversation was scheduled to be held at 4:00 p.m. at Red Mountain Community College in Mesa, Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02, notice having been duly given.
Don Campbell, President
Ed Contreras, Member
Linda Rosenthal, Member
Jerry Walker, Member
ABSENT: Scott Crowley, Secretary
Debra Thompson for Rufus Glasper
Morris Johnson for Anna Solley
Darrel Huish for Ron Bleed
Karen Mills for Linda Thor
Grady Wolfe for Gene Giovannini
John Neibling & Ginny Stahl for Art
Paul Dale for Mary Kay Kickels
Attendance: Approximately 100, not including facilitators, camera staff, and campus staff.
STRATEGIC CONVERSATION (4:20 p.m. through 6:50 p.m.)
Welcome remarks were made by Student Development Services Director Tonya Drake, who then called upon MCC President Larry Christiansen to offer further welcoming remarks. Dr. Christiansen also welcomed to the evening's strategic conversation intended to discuss "Making Student Connections." He stated that everyone was very proud of the MCC Rend Mountain Campus which was just a dream in 1995 but came to fruition as part of the last Bond Initiative. This second campus of Mesa Community College has been embraced by the East Valley community and they now boast 4,000 students.
Dr. Christiansen highlighted activities unique to Red Mountain and these include:
- A commitment to the environment. Existing plants were potted and replanted when the buildings were completed. Portable buildings were brought out to accommodate the growing student population and they have now been names Acacia Villege. A nature walk has been set up around the campus.
- An instructional area is being planned so that students and staff can take advantage of living, seeing, and feeling the surroundings.
- Next summer a group of students and faculty will be trekking the Superstition Mountains to measure and study the infamous Circle Stone Configuration
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 Paul Dale, Vice President of Student Affairs at PVC, 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:
- Carrie Seather, Chandler-Gilbert Community College
- Khristophr Henning, Paradise Valley Community College
- Arthea China, Scottsdale Community College
- Alex Condon, Rio Salado College
- Cohorie Richmond, Mesa 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.
- Carrie responded that she has not had one teacher who has not been accessible. In the Education Department, teachers encourage them to do professional development events.
- Khris stated that PVC teachers spend a lot of time with students. There is good communication between students and teachers.
- Arthea indicated that she has teachers that are teachers in real life and students are in constant touch with their instructors for feedback and advice purposes. Contacts are very necessary. Technology also plays a very important role in this program for communication purposes.
- Alex remarked that at Rio all things are done online. Questions can be e-mailed and answers come back right away.
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?
- Alex (Rio) remarked that he is very, very connected, however, there was no single event that did it. Small group communication is required between students and this provides a real sense of connection.
- Khris stated he was very connected to the college (PVC). Tutoring labs provide connections and so do clubs.
- Arthea (SCC) mentioned that a lot of students take only one or two classes since they work. To belong to a community a student has to attend extra activities. In her cohort of 17 students it took about eight months for them to connect with other students and not necessarily favorably.
- Cohorie (MCC) responded that his parents went to MCC and he has always felt connected, perhaps because he plays football.
- Carrie (CGC) commented that students bring their own desire to connect. They are eager to learn. She personally took three classes with same students and this helped. Student Life is a big part of college and helps students keep their focus on student life, career and professional development.
3. Describe how facilities would inspire you to learn.
- Arthea: Student Life is wonderful. At SCC campus is self-contained and everything you need is available on campus. Computer are always available and faculty are very helpful. No problem with technology. Faculty, community, and environment are conducive to success.
- Khris (PVC): Facilities provide everything needed. The gym is always available and the computer commons and library are very nice. Tutoring labs are very helpful.
- Alex: Rio exudes technology. They are part of something special and are cutting edge. Tutoring and the library really go out of their way to make students feel special. Everyone goes out of their way to make students feel special.
- Cohorie: The MCC library is great and they have daycare for students with children.
4. Describe your experiences with your peers with reference to learning with other students in and out of the classroom.
- Carrie (CGC): Worked with people who sent out drinking all the time and these people were also college students. When she started taking classes, she was pleasantly surprised to find people were different and she has learned a lot from these students.
- Khris (PVC): Did a research paper with five different people on the topic of religion. Students were forced to work together to get different views.
- Arthea (SCC): Relationships with fellow students have help her get through her classes because she is able to bounce things off of other students.
- Alex (Rio): Was given a list of fifteen items necessary for desert survival which were supposed to be ranked in order of importance. This was done over the message board and then through a teleconference with the teacher.
- Cohorie (MCC): Has had a lot of help with advisement. With his disability he needs more help with different things and there is unfortunately a lack of funds, time and space.
Questions from the audience:
1. Do you ever hear from other students regarding student housing?
- Khris (PVC): Would like to see this because of the cost. Small learning environment and closer to home.
- Arthea (SCC): Has previous four-year degrees, however, she is now getting a post bac from SCC because of the cost.
- Alex (Rio): The need is not vocalized and there are different needs. Would be a good idea. Knows many people who would love to do this.
- Cohorie (MCC): Certain places around MCC give discounts and so those are considered housing for MCC students. If community colleges were to offer baccalaureate he would not do this and he wants a four-year degree from a university because of the status thing. He has attended a community college because he wanted to get involved in sports and get his name known but now he wants to go to a four-year school.
2. Do you every think how you will keep your connections?
- Carrie: Instructors follow students and intends to continue communicating with instructors. Would like to have a community college student in her future classroom for mentoring purposes.
- Arthea: Volunteered to stay on University of Phoenix list. Want to remain on Step Program.
- Alex: Not really.
- Cohorie: Would like to come back to MCC as an alumni.
3. Elaborate on student advisement?
- Khris: He personally went to his coaches for advisement.
- Alex: Went to advisement and found out how to ask questions. At ASU advising is a pain. At community colleges, he has received a who lot more help.
- Cohorie: Advisement people have been very helpful.
- Carrie: CGCC advisement has been very helpful. Instructors know what teachers need to take.
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 6:50 p.m.
Governing Board Secretary