Mesa College Sends Team to California Acceleration Project Summer Institute

Mesa’s Community of Practice team made its debut at the California Acceleration Project Summer Institute in mid-June. Professors Marie Alfonsi, Mona Alsoraimi, Jason Kalchek, and Wendy Smith will meet twice more to engage with teams from around the state to learn and put to work acceleration pedagogy.

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English Department Developing a Second Accelerated Course!

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The English Department at San Diego Mesa has been focused for the last five years on developing an accelerated basic writing course: Reading, Writing and Reasoning (English 47A). At this point, we’re focused on scaling up as well as developing a transfer level/co-requisite course, partly modeled on those in the Accelerated Learning Program at Community College of Baltimore County.  We received mentoring and advice from Co-Director Susan Gabriel. We hope to offer our new course in Spring 2016: stay tuned!

Professional Development: Preparing for Takeoff!

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by Leticia Lopez

A team of Proyecto Exito change agents visited two community college Centers for Teaching & Learning Excellence over the winter break to explore options for the structural planning and program design of the Mesa Faculty & Staff LOFT (“Learning Opportunities for Transformation”).  The LOFT is expected to be built on the 4th floor of the library where the current AV area is located by the end of 2015.  CED will be comprised of Four Strands: Technological Awareness (e.g., “Tech Fridays” coming in Fall 2015); Excellence in Teaching and Learning (e.g., “Faculty & Staff Book Club” coming in Fall 2015); Individual and Department Training (e.g., “Brown Bag Series” and online self-paced workshops with details still being developed); and Culturally Relevant Teaching and Learning (e.g., “HSI Speaker Series”).

New Classroom Tutor Program in the Works!

by Brad Hughes and Sim Barhoum

We are working on a Classroom Tutor Program that fits with Mesa College’s needs. We are currently developing the best possible peer-assisted study sessions that are lead by Classroom Tutors (CT’s). These sessions will be directly after the normal class session. CT sessions are regularly-scheduled, informal, creative, and fun review sessions in which students compare notes, discuss readings, develop organizational tools, and predict test items. Students learn how to integrate course content and study skills while working together. The sessions are facilitated by CT’s, students who have previously done well in the course and who attend all class lectures, take notes, and act as model students.

We are planning on starting the CT Program in the fall starting with math and science courses. We are currently developing the CT protocols and have reached out to other successful classroom tutor colleges. We are attending the math retreat at the end of May to help professors understand what a CT will and will not do. Here is the short list of what we think the Mesa CT Program will look like (we welcome any feedback for changes):

  • There is no extra work for Professors – this is a hands-off approach
  • CT’s are self-directed and will run the study sessions based off of classroom notes
  • Using a CT is a “free service” offered to all students in a targeted course
  • The CT Program targets high-risk courses rather than high-risk students – There is no remedial stigma
  • It is a voluntary program for students and Professors
  • Students with varying levels of academic preparedness and diverse ethnicities participate

Our goal is to:

  • To increase retention within targeted historically difficult courses
  • To improve student grades in targeted historically difficult courses
  • To increase the graduation rates of students

Peer Navigators Work to Mentor New Students

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Mesa College’s Peer Navigators!

by Veronica Gerace

Peer Navigators are enthusiastic and energetic students who serve as guides to new students at San Diego Mesa College. They participate in training, team building, and professional development programs throughout their one year tenure, and serve in integral roles during the Summer CRUISE program. The leadership and career development experiences foster growth among Peer Navigators and help them develop confidence to reach their own goals and aspirations. Peer Navigator team members are paid student employees. Please encourage students to apply to become a Peer Navigator.   Please visit our website for requirements, more information, and the link to the application. The Peer Navigator Program is directed by Dr. Veronica Gerace, the Proyecto Exito Student Success Specialist, vgerace@sdccd.edu.

Summer CRUISE

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by Veronica Gerace

We have been hard at work developing an exciting summer program, Summer CRUISE 2015, for new San Diego Mesa College students who have recently graduated from high school. Our free program highlights our focus on helping them succeed academically and becoming engaged in our campus community. English, Math, and Counseling department faculty members are playing a big role in the Summer CRUISE program by offering English CRUISE, Math CRUISE, and Personal Growth CRUISE programs. During the four day engaging event, August 3 – 6, students, faculty, and staff will be Creating Rich, Unique Intellectual Student Experiences (CRUISE)! We welcome the participation of all San Diego Mesa College departments and programs. A flex workshop will be offered in May to share ideas for developing engaging activities and meaningful Summer CRUISE 2015 sessions. If you would like to join us, or would like more information, please contact Dr. Veronica Gerace, vgerace@sdccd.edu.