Mesa Scholarships 2018

Every year San Diego Mesa College offers more than $200,000 in scholarships to Mesa students.  This year we just wanted to take a moment to highlight a few magnificent students who have contributed to our Classroom Tutoring and Peer Navigator Programs, and acknowledge their efforts to assist Proyecto Exito in reaching their grant objectives.

Let us start with our Classroom Tutoring Program.  Part of the grant objectives for this program include increasing the student success rate (earning a C or better) for specific courses, and increasing the placement levels of students for other courses.  Our classroom tutors are instrumental to these objectives with their dedicated support to assisting students in understanding the material for their courses and succeeding in their specific course objectives.  We love the opportunity to display how they model success, and receiving scholarships is one way they achieve that.  Three of our classroom tutors are recognized SEEDS scholars, and one of them, Hy Truong, was also recognized for two other scholarships.

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Next we have our Peer Navigator Program.  For anyone unfamiliar, our Peer Navigators (PNs) are mentors to incoming students; committing to their student success for their first academic year on campus.  A few of the things that the PNs provide are: peer-to-peer support, monthly informational workshops, and movie or game nights to promote self-care and a balanced lifestyle.  Their commitment to sharing their experience for the benefit of other new students assists with another grant objective in increasing the percentage of participants who indicate feeling a strong connection to the campus and their peers.  Three of our Peer Navigators are receiving scholarships this year.

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CT’s Efforts to Enhance Student Experiences

Once again, our Classroom Tutors (CTs) are embracing opportunities to go above and beyond for our students’ experiences.  Of course, it is not just our CTs doing this, but all tutors here at Mesa College.  As the Classroom Tutoring Program becomes institutionalized through the Mesa Tutoring and Computing Center (MT2C) it is awesome to behold how our CTs are growing professionally with additional training and opportunities for expansion of the program.  The MT2C hosts “All Tutor Training” days three times each semester to offer tips, tricks, and best practices that will enhance all of our tutors ability to connect with and support our students.  While these training began as optional for the classroom tutors, they are now mandatory training for all tutors; however, the tutors bring new material all of the time, eager to share what has worked for each of them, that may also work for their fellow tutors.  This increasing collaboration promises to increase the effectiveness of classroom tutoring by enhancing the experience for the students utilizing these programs and erasing the stigma that once kept them from the service.

Approximately five years ago, 3CSN’s Learning Assistance Project, (a community of practice focused on raising the professional profile of post-secondary tutoring), produced an annual conference “Tutor Expo,” by and for tutors and other educators to showcase effective practices in tutoring, supplemental instruction, and a wide variety of learning assistance programs and services within the community colleges of California.  In 2016, under the direction and guidance of Mark Manasse, Mesa’s Instructional Learning Assistance Coordinator, Mesa tutors began attending this important conference for professional learning.  This year’s Tutor Expo will be taking place in Orange County at Santiago Canyon College, and a few of our gifted classroom tutors will be facilitating training sessions.

Classroom Tutors Jose Rojo and Ramzy Oncy, have teamed up to facilitate a training session on “A Growth Mindset.”  This session will focus on how students can be stagnated by a fixed mindset that traps them on a path of uncertainty or self-doubt.  However, adopting a growth mindset will allow students to overcome mistaken beliefs of limits on their abilities and expand their capacity and understanding across any variety of disciplines.

Classroom Tutor Cole McDaniel has paired with Writing Center Instructional Assistant Nicholas Crumpton (Niko) to facilitate “Johari Mountain Training.”  The Johari Mountain framework combines the knowledge categorization of the Johari Window with the timeline progression of the Zone of Proximal Development to create a model for comfortably guiding tutoring sessions in the realm of the uncomfortable. At the top of the mountain is the discovery zone, where tutor and tutee or teacher and student are interchangeable roles that help each other reach new heights.

Winter Mathletics 2018

ROUND TWO~

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President Luster revisiting the ‘Basics!’

This winter, we piloted our second round of Mathletics to further support students as they go into their next math course. With the passing of AB 705, we felt that it was necessary to support those students who were in the gateway courses (e.g. Math 104, 116, and 119) as well as our pre-transfer students. In all, 38 students showed up to our 4 day program, varying from Beginning Algebra all the way to Applied Calculus. Our program this winter was a bit different; we cut down the 6 hour daily event (from summer) to a 4 hour daily event and reduced the amount of time allocated for speakers. We maintained the same structure for our process however: the first 30 minutes was an icebreaker or guest speaker followed by 90 minutes of math stations where each station had a specific topic.

Winter Mathletics 2018-4After a brief lunch break, we reconvened to continue our ALEKS program remediation. The students expressed some strong feelings, providing us with great feedback about our programs.  We caught up to Catherine Cannock from HSI Title III, who was able to conduct some interviews with students that participated in the Winter Mathletics.  She was able to share with us her perspective from Mathletics.  She described an atmosphere of high energy, collaboration, and inclusion.  When speaking to the students, she was told time and again how comfortable everyone felt regardless of their level of Math.  Sounds like the very values of Mesa College in action: Excellence and Equity.  We wrapped up by asking Catherine one of her own questions:  What was the best part of Mathletics for her?  This is what she had to say:

“I think the best thing about Mathletics is the team work and camaraderie that gets built between faculty, staff, and students.  You get a really good feeling, and actually, this is why students utilize the STEM Center.  Hands down, all I get (from students) all day, and MathleticsWinter Mathletics 2018-2 provided the same atmosphere for them.  It’s because when you come and you feel accepted and feel like you’re a part of something bigger and you’re working together to continue your growth, I think that was probably the best; the energy and the fact that you could tell that all of our students were engaged, and all of the faculty were engaged, and all of the staff were engaged, and really working together to kind of level out the playing field.” ~CC

Something new that we implemented this semester was that for our four days, our general topics across the board were expressions, equations, and graphing. The fourth day, however, we gave students practice exams. As this installment of Mathletics came to an end, we informed students that we would be offering weekly workshops:

MATH WORKSHOPS_spring 2018
Please note our location change:  Workshops are being held in MS201.  We apologize for any inconvenience.  Hope to see you there!

Our goal for Summer Mathletics 2018 is to open the program up to all students at all class levels and obtain 80 participants.  The more we are able to grow this program, the greater the network for students in need of support for all levels of math.  If you participated in either of the prior Mathletics Programs, we invite you to share your suggestions with us.  If you just happen to be reading this and hearing about Mathletics for the first time, we would love to hear your ideas, too.  Reach out to Professor Juan U. Bernal: jubernal@sdccd.edu