Thursday, December 8, 2016

Redefining Student Success


 

Redefining Student Success

Commentary

 
By Jamillah Moore, Published October 31, 2016
 
 
While, society widely accepts the importance and value of higher education as a public good, fewer than 40 percent of our nation’s undergraduates complete a college degree within six years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This reality places pressure on college campuses to improve time to completion for their students.
 
Addressing the lengthy six-year timeline begins with a broad focus by increasing college completion rates. According to a report by California Competes, California needs to produce 11.9 million degrees – inclusive of bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and one- and two-year certificates – by 2025 to remain economically competitive. Currently, however, the state is slated to produce only 9.5 million degrees, resulting in a degree gap of 2.4 million. 
To achieve real student success, higher education institutions can narrow or close the degree gap by accelerating student pathways to completion. 
Taking six years to complete college also contributes to higher student debt. Additional time spent earning a degree versus earning an income, along with the rising costs of college itself, reinforce doubts among many potential students as to whether they should aspire to earn a college degree.
According to the Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS), 55 percent of 2013 California graduates had college loans, with an average of $20,340 per borrower. While this is lower than the national average, the high cost of living puts Californians at risk of exceeding the national average soon.
 
Looking at options
The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) is studying the issue more closely. In analyzing various options to reduce debt, LAO is evaluating the advantages of the consolidating existing financial aid programs into one entitlement grant program that takes into account the total cost of college attendance, including tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, and transportation. That includes the Cal Grant Program, Middle Class Scholarship, Campus-based financial aid awards, and the California Community College Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver
The intent is to establish options that ensure, once fully phased in, every student will be able to cover college costs with an appropriate family contribution for middle and higher income families, earnings from a part-time job, and federal financial aid for eligible students.  While this is an important first step, the jury is still out on how financial-aid consolidation into a single entitlement grant will remedy cost increases while maintaining equity throughout the state.
 
As higher education leaders, we believe the state’s colleges need to focus on key areas that directly contribute to a student getting a degree. And luckily, potential solutions are plentiful. They include: 
  • Develop a system for improving and expanding outreach to adult learners.
  • Increase access to college-credit courses for high school students so they can earn their associate degree or credits toward a degree while completing high school.
  • Promote full-time attendance, particularly at community colleges and California State University (CSU), as studies demonstrate full-time students are more likely to complete college.
  • Promote multiple measures for assessment (e.g., considering a student’s prior work experience, GPAs or SAT exam scores or assessment algorithms that weigh students’ high school achievement and scores on a standardized assessment to predict performance) of college students’ math and English abilities to help reduce time-consuming, costly and sometimes ineffective remedial education.
  • Encourage institutions to implement “cultural competence” in the curriculum that will support traditionally underrepresented students, and support diversity, social justice and achieve equity on campus and help increase retention rates.
  • Help to provide transportation and housing to students by leveraging partnerships and developing networks of support for low-income students, especially those who are experiencing homelessness, a population that makes up roughly 10 percent of CSUs students.
  • Implement registration processes that allow students to enroll for an entire academic year at one time – analogous to high school course registration, which encourages students to develop yearlong academic plans, rather than the standard college class registration process of one semester or one quarter at a time. 
Some of these strategies are low-hanging fruit; others require more time and resources to make happen. However, one thing is sure:  if implemented, more students — and particularly more underserved students — will find themselves with degrees in hand. 
 
The promise of California’s Master Plan was that college would be a benefit guaranteed to all Californians who sought to pursue it. If the impending gap in degrees is not addressed as a priority, we will be conscribing at least 2.4 million Californians to a future in which they will not contribute as fully or as meaningfully to their communities or to the state’s varied regional economies. 
 
Jamillah Moore is president of Cañada College in Redwood City, California, and serves on the California Student Aid Commission. She is the author of the book Race and College Admissions: A Case for Affirmative Action (2005).
 
 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What's Happening at Cañada: Week of December 5, 2016






Week of December 5, 2016



December 5-16

Late Night Hours at the Library

Mon. – Thurs. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Need more time to study for finals? The Library is open late this week and next!      
     


December 6

Tuesday Tea Time with TRIO

Learning Center Staff Room (Building 9, Second Floor)
2-3 p.m.

Take a well-deserved break from your day. Come relax and drink tea, coffee, or cocoa and snack on cookies. Meet other students. Learn about what is happening at Cañada, the Learning Center, TRIO, ¡ESO! and the A2B.



December 7 & 8

Treat Yo’Self: Social Justice and Self Love

The Grove: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Building 9, Room 154: 7 - 8 p.m.

Join the Student Senate for a two day event on social justice issues surrounding body image, the LGBTQIA community, and in a time of finals and the holidays—learning to love and treat yo’ self. Be sure to bring your Cañada Fall 2016 Student Body Card.



December 7

University Visit: Grand Canyon University

The Grove
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Come meet representatives from Grand Canyon University.



December 9

Dance in Motion X

Main Theatre (Building 3)
7:30 p.m.

Take in live performances from students and Bay Area guests in Salsa, Hip Hop, Ballet and Ballet Folklorico. Suggested donation is $5. Proceeds go toward the Cañada College Dance Department. 



December 11-17

Finals Week



December 17

Day/Evening Classes End

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Half Moon Bay Review: English Language Program Expands to Coastside




English Language Program Expands to Coastside

Sequoia School Scholars helps with bus passes, books


 

 


Pedro Jeronimo’s weekday morning routine begins at 5:30 a.m. most days.

After walking to the bus stop at the corner of Main and Miramontes streets, he boards the 6:15 a.m. SamTrans bus. He transfers buses twice, before arriving at his destination by 7:35 a.m. He travels to Cañada College in Redwood City to take English classes four days a week.  Later in the day, after four or five hours of homework, he repeats the trip in reverse, arriving home around 8 p.m, on some nights, he says.

In addition to his classes, Jeronimo, 31, works at two Half Moon Bay restaurants — busing dishes and running food Thursday through Saturday nights, and cooking Friday through Sunday mornings.

The schedule may be tough, but it’s no deterrent for him. Jeronimo says he was motivated to learn English by his younger brother, who also took English classes at Cañada.
“He speaks English very well, and he has a better job and makes more money than I do,” said Jeronimo, who was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and moved to Half Moon Bay when he was 15. “He learned English, and I want to learn now.”

Jeronimo is one of around 180 adult students, mostly low-income immigrants, who are working to improve their English proficiency with support from the nonprofit Sequoia Adult School Scholars. While Jeronimo provides the grit and determination to make the trek over the hill to continue his English studies, SASS provides practical support like a Clipper card to pay his bus fares, funds to cover school books, and a laptop for studying.

Founded in 2009 by Elizabeth Weal, a former English-as-a-second-language teacher at Sequoia Adult School, the program started as a way for her students to attend English classes at Cañada College. Now, the program has expanded to support students from Half Moon Bay and Pescadero, Weal said.

Where once there were only four students, there are now nearly 200, most in their 20s and 30s like Jeronimo. Currently, five of them are from Half Moon Bay, said Weal.
“I saw this need, but I didn’t think it would be quite so complicated,” Weal said with a laugh.
The program supports students who have completed ESL classes at their local adult schools and want to continue their education at the college level. “Canada classes are more advanced, and students can take courses to transfer to a university or lead to a profession,” Weal said.

Funded entirely by donations and support from private foundations and nonprofits, the program “allows (adult students) to move out of jobs that don’t give them a lot of potential for economic advancement,” she said.

The potential in students like Jeronimo is what Weal aims to identify and support. She met him at an event earlier this fall to distribute laptops to SASS’s highest-achieving students.
“He managed to figure out his schedule to go to school Monday through Thursday and work Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” she said. “I thought his dedication was pretty amazing.”

During his three hours on the bus each day, Jeronimo reads and watches videos of English lessons. If he continues taking classes at his current rate, he’ll finish school in 2018. And then? “My ideal job is to be an electrician,” he says.


Cañada College Medical Assisting Department Student Success Story – Julie Burns

Julie Burns graduated from the Medical Assisting program at Cañada College in December of 2015. After earning her Associates degree, ...