September 2015: Counseling/Personal Growth Professional Development

by Laura Mathis

The Counseling Department hosted an “Inclusion In-Service,” that asked counselors to focus on their experiences through the lens of early encounters with “difference.”  Counseling faculty received descriptions of individuals on the backs of puzzle pieces and  were asked to reflect on these encounters.  They were then asked to consider these early experiences in the context of individual counseling practice.  At the end, faculty assembled the puzzle, which formed a tree with roots (biases, social identity, education, heritage, and personality traits) and fruits (positive words that describe the counseling relationship).  The in-service was developed and facilitated by Laura Mathis and Dr. Judy Sundayo, with follow-up sessions planned for future department meetings.

A piece from the Counseling “Roots and Fruits” puzzle
A piece from the Counseling “Roots and Fruits” puzzle
Nick DeMeo, new Counseling faculty member, considers the Counseling “Roots and Fruits” puzzle
Nick DeMeo, new Counseling faculty member, considers the Counseling “Roots and Fruits” puzzle

Community Colleges Embracing Retention Initiative for Men of Color by Focusing on Others

“Cuyamaca College, MiraCosta College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego City College have partnered with the Center for Organizational Responsibility and Advancement (CORA) to provide training on teaching college men of color. Over the course of the 2015-2016 academic year, these colleges, as well as numerous others, are making CORA’s training available to all of their adjunct and full-time faculty (yes, all faculty).”

Community Colleges Embracing Retention Initiative for Men of Color by Focusing on Others

Cal State Coming Clean about Math Test’s Limitations

Dolores Ramos, 16, right, joins dozens of Highland High School students in Albuquerque, N.M., as students staged a walkout Monday March 2, 2015, to protest a new standardized test they say isn't an accurate measurement of their education. Students frustrated over the new exam walked out of schools across the state Monday in protest as the new exam was being given. The backlash came as millions of U.S. students start taking more rigorous exams aligned with Common Core standards. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)
High school students in Albuquerque protest a new standardized test they say isn’t an accurate measurement of their education. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

“It’s hard to understand, therefore, why the university would be anything but candid about how it measures students’ proficiency in math and English. But according to a 2010 study that recently came to light, the placement test required for entering CSU students does not predict whether students can succeed in college-level math.”

Cuyamaca College Event: Friday, September 25

This coming Friday’s event, Acceleration: A Powerful Lever for Increasing Completion and Closing Equity Gaps, still has a few openings! If you haven’t touched base with the California Acceleration Project (CAP), consider yourself out of the equity loop!  Currently, CAP has worked with 61 California Community Colleges to redesign curriculum and placement policies to effect impactful changes for students of color.

Team Mesa Fall Inst.
Above: Team Mesa/City working for the California Acceleration Project!
Team Southwestern
Team Southwestern working for the California Acceleration Project!

ESOL 45: A New Accelerated Pathway for ESOL Students

IMG_0972Starting in Spring 2016, Mesa and City students taking ESOL courses will have a new, accelerated option to help them transition to transfer-level composition courses. Students who opt for the accelerated path will take one semester and nine units (the traditional path takes two semesters and 12 units). ESOL 45 will also link directly with English 101 (the traditional path sends students through English 48 and 49, College Reading and Basic Writing first).Students now have an alternative path to English 101. The challenging and relevant new course, is the brainchild of Professor Jennifer Boots (who recently received City College’s first annual Unsung Hero Award for her work ), Jan Jarrell, and Mark Manasse from Miramar College. As many know, moving new curriculum through the approval process in a three-college district isn’t easy–it requires building consensus and advocating throughout the district to shepherd them through the curriculum process.

What impact will this have on students? The recent RP Group summary of findings for the 2011-2012 pilot year of the California Acceleration Project found large and robust effects from accelerated courses at all placement levels for students of all backgrounds (Hayward and Willett). And once students take transfer-level English, they are much more likely to stay in college and to transfer.

Are students up to this new, challenging option? “If you think you can catch the bus, you will run for it,” says Lee Peng Yee, a mathematician at Singapore National Institute of Education. We think they are.