October 2020 | Volume 2, Issue 14
College and District News
Moreno Valley College Receives
Moreno Valley College has received five financial awards, totaling $254,234. These awards include: the Jay Pritzker Foundation Award, Assembly Bill AB1645 Award, Pritzker Foster Care Initiative, and the Umoja Grant and Growing Inland Achievement's COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.
Jay Pritzker Foundation Award
A month after being notified that Moreno Valley College was a targeted institution for assistance from the largest philanthropic gift to community colleges in the nation, the College has received notification that it will receive $150,000 from the Jay Pritzker Foundation.
The $100 million, 20-year pledge to the Foundation for California Community Colleges will help eliminate regional educational gaps by providing scholarships to students who are close to completing a certificate or degree at a California community college or transferring to a university, and emergency financial aid to students facing unexpected financial hardships. Entitled the CCC Finish Line Scholars Program, funds will be distributed to students by June 30.
Over the next five years, the Foundation CCC will deliver grants to 34 community colleges in the three regions of California with the lowest percentage of adults who have college degrees as identified in the Vision for Success: Strengthening the California Community Colleges to Meet California's Needs. Because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, 100 percent of the first round of grants may be used by colleges to provide students with emergency financial aid. In future years, grants are to be used to provide a combination of scholarships and some emergency financial aid. A scholarship amount of up to $18,500 per student per year is intended to cover the estimated true cost of a student's community college education which includes textbooks, instructional materials, transportation, housing, childcare, and food.
"This unparalleled level of support for our students will be life changing," Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, said. "We are grateful to the Jay Pritzker Foundation for their generosity and recognition of the California Community Colleges as a vehicle for transformative change."
Dan Pritzker, president of the Jay Pritzker Foundation, and his wife, Karen, said they have spent decades focusing on improving education globally and were inspired by President Barack Obama's efforts to promote community colleges nationally. But they were spurred to action after seeing firsthand the effect of a community college experience on their daughter.
"The generous gift from the Jay Pritzker Foundation will help eliminate regional educational gaps and support our students to finish their desired academic programs," Christopher T. Sweeten, vice president of MVC's Student Services, said. "This financial support will help our students attain their goals and become the future leaders we need to tackle problems in vast industries. As MVC continues to be a leading institution in creating greater access and retention for students, this gift will contribute significantly to our students' success and the Moreno Valley and Perris communities."
Assembly Bill AB1645 Award
The College received $43,234 from California Assembly bill, AB1645. Under AB1645, California community colleges are required to expand resources for undocumented immigrant students. Authored by Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), the bill compels colleges to create an UndocuLiaision, a staff position that would specifically assist undocumented students. The bill also obliges colleges to develop a Dream Resource Center, but currently it isn't being required of institutions, Sweeten said.
"This is thrilling news at the right time," Michael Paul A. Wong, Ph.D., dean of Counseling, said. "This year, we have taken significant steps to assist our undocumented students. We established our campus' UndocuLiaision (position), delivered programming for Undocumented Students Week, provided legal consulting, and worked on the Undocumented Student Support Center, which will be part of our Common Ground Center when our new Welcome Center building is completed. This funding will support additional programming and support on behalf of undocumented students."
It is estimated that California Community Colleges educate upwards of 70,000 undocumented students every year, according to a published report by the California Community Colleges Foundation, California Community Colleges Dreamers Project Strengthening Institutional Practices to Support Undocumented Student Success.
Pritzker Foster Care Initiative
Meanwhile, the Riverside Community College District Foundation was awarded a one-time grant of $70,000 from the Pritzker Foster Care Initiative. MVC will receive half of the award for its Guardian Scholars Program. The Guardian Scholars Program is committed to supporting current and former foster youth exiting the foster care system. The program's aim is to equip foster youth with educational and interpersonal skills necessary to become self-supporting, community leaders, role models, and competent professionals in their selected fields.
"The Pritzker Foster Care Initiative has supported current and former foster youth, known as Guardian Scholars, at Moreno Valley College for several years," Andrew Sanchez, Ed.D., dean, Grants & Equity Initiatives, said. "This renewed support from the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation will be an invaluable source of support to the Guardian Scholars Program, helping us provide academic, social, food, housing, technological, and other support to current and former foster youth at the College.
"The Pritzker Foster Care Initiative's support is important to our students and their families because our Guardian Scholars students face challenges both on and off campus. This award allows us to continue to provide needed support to the Guardian Scholars students."
Umoja Grant and Growing Inland Achievement's COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund
Finally, Umoja, which is dedicated to enhancing African American students' cultural and educational experiences, received a $16,000 grant and a $10,000 donation from Growing Inland Achievement's COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The funding will support services for participants in the Umoja program. Funds will increase counseling services for the winter intersession and spring semester and support virtual activities.
"The grant will help provide direct student support services and supplies, basic needs assistance, student staffing, and other supplies and materials," Gertrude Lopez, associate professor and Umoja Community counselor and coordinator, said.
MVC offers one of the state's largest Umoja programs. Umoja serves at-risk educationally and economically disadvantaged students. Umoja actively promotes student success for all students, with emphasis on African American student success, through culturally responsive curricula and practices.
"Growing Inland Achievement's award provided critical student support during this challenging time," Lopez said.
The donation allowed the program to purchase 83 Chromebooks for Umoja's Summer Bridge High School and Umoja programs to use.
"It is vital to the community that the Student Services division continues to pursue funding opportunities to enhance the services and programs to support student success and empowerment," Sweeten said. "These funding opportunities will empower undocumented students, African American/Black, and former foster youth to achieve their goals. It is with the generous support of the community that we can expand services, so, in turn, students can be the leaders we need in the Inland Empire."
Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Ceremony to be Held Virtually
Moreno Valley College will hold its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Ceremony on January 20 at 3 pm. To register for the free virtual event, click here. This annual event celebrates Dr. King's achievements and legacy. An influential American civil rights leader, Dr. King is well known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and for racial equality in the United States.
Through this MLK Recognition Ceremony, the College provides scholarships to Moreno Valley College students and Moreno Valley and Val Verde unified school district students. The College students compete in a speech competition, while the high school students submit essays. Three MVC students will receive scholarships, with the top competitor winning $1,000. Second- and third-place winners will receive $500 each. Two winners from each school district will win $500 scholarships.
This year's prompt: THE WINDS OF CHANGE: ADDRESSING OPPORTUNITY GAPS
Dr. King wrote Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (in 1967) in the wake of the monumental Voting Rights Act of 1965. Given the new freedoms granted by this progressive legislation, Dr. King asks, how might all Americans organize to promote a united movement for greater social and economic equality? Inspired by Thomas Paine's belief that the United States could effectively "begin the world over again" and by James Baldwin's injunction to Americans to "realize [them]selves" as a diverse but single family, Dr. King issued a stirring, renewed call to the nation to persist in the face of racism and other forms of systemic disempowerment.
For even with the Voting Rights Act and other victories of the civil rights movement, Dr. King could see deeper, unrelenting currents of inequality and injustice continuing to oppress African Americans. In Where Do We Go From Here, Dr. King is particularly interested in forms of opportunity—political, social, economic, financial—that remained inaccessible to African Americans, and the book is largely an examination of, and an attempt to navigate and redress, these opportunity gaps. It is along these lines, in a chapter from his book entitled, "Where We Are Going," where Dr. King explains that [when] a people are mired in oppression, they realize deliverance when they have accumulated the power to enforce change. ...The powerful never lose opportunities—they remain available to them. The powerless, on the other hand, never experience opportunity—it is always arriving at a later time.
In 2020, far too many Americans still remain "mired in oppression" in the way Dr. King describes above, and too many of the essential opportunities Americans require—with education, employment, and housing, for instance—remain available too far to few of us. Dr. King's insight here prompts us to more actively notice and address opportunity gaps, which continue to stand in the way of greater equality in the United States.
The ceremony will also feature a keynote speaker and the honoring of the MLK Legacy Award winner.
Top row left to right: Tanya Lowry, Melissa Thompson, Nancy Aguirre. Bottom row left to right: Esteban Navas, Laura Dunphy, Mario Vega Sanchez
Twelve Instructors Receive Tenure
Moreno Valley College has granted tenure to 12 faculty members. A faculty member qualifies for tenure after the fall semester of their third or fourth year of teaching. A committee of peers, by majority vote, make a recommendation for tenure to the administration for action as specified under the law. This year, the instructors below have been approved for tenure. Each was asked to respond to one of the following questions of their choice:
Nancy Aguirre, Administration of Justice
"Research and service are both important when it comes to teaching today, for several reasons. However, if I place one before the other, service would take first place. Service to students in mentoring and guiding them towards their educational and career goals is significant to me in teaching today. Assisting students in identifying their passion towards a career may lead to both success professionally and personally. Service also includes discipline and college involvement.
In Administration of Justice - Crime Analysis, research is essential as a skill. Implementing research tools in my classes for students to adopt is important. As their instructor, I believe it's my responsibility to research current events, policies, changes, developments and opportunities that may affect the students, discipline and/or the College."
Tanya Lowry, Kinesiology & Health Science
"My advice to young scholars embarking on a career in community college teaching is to follow your passion and live your purpose. Be ignited by the passion you already have for your area of expertise and pass that on to your students as they prepare for careers or transfer. Show gratitude to your students for motivating you to be the best version of yourself and trusting you to actuate them to maximize their human potential through learning. I am blessed, and constantly intellectually inspired, to work in this diverse and collaborative environment with so many wonderful colleagues and students."
Laura Dunphy, Business Administration
"The advice I would give to young scholars about teaching at the community college is to gain as much experience as you can while you are getting an education. The best combination is a variety of work experience, volunteer work, and travel. Each one of these adds depth of character and valuable real-world experience. Any work or education you are pursuing, do your best, and be engaged. Someone is always watching, and you want to build this muscle for quality of interest and output. Know what you need and have the courage to ask for it. Lastly, under promise and overdeliver whenever you can. This will not only aid in the success of your career but in your life as well."
Esteban Navas, Mathematics
"The most immediate advice I would give to a young scholar about teaching at a community college is that it is an organization, with its own institutional structure, history and future. The biggest realization for me as a new full-time faculty member was that being a professor is not just about teaching and your classroom, although that is the dominant role and your starting place. While you do need to master your discipline to the best of your ability as a prerequisite, you need to work hard to understand everything you can about how a community college functions outside of the classroom, the role your position will fill, and how it might be different from a four-year teaching or research institution. This includes knowledge of its governance structure, committees, support services, and department structure. It helps to talk with colleagues, peers and mentors to get a deeper idea of how any specific college functions.
It is also very important to stay updated on current and ongoing movements in your field, especially pedagogical approaches in which you are intrinsically interested. For example, a year or two before applying for full-time teaching positions I knew there was growing demand for math teachers that could also teach Statistics. While attending professional development workshops to learn how to effectively teach Stats, I came across Accelerated Pedagogy and student-centered classrooms, presented by the California Acceleration Project. At the time I was a fresh UCR Math Ph.D., still juggling whether I wanted to focus on teaching or to go into industry. After learning about these new (to me) teaching approaches, I reasoned that if I were to continue teaching then I would absolutely focus on creating a student-centered classroom. It felt like a completely new and interesting approach to teaching mathematics that completely fired me up. I initially studied mathematics to solve Interesting Problems, so creating a better classroom and enhancing student outcomes became my number one Interesting Problem to solve.
It turns out that equity was always at the heart of acceleration, then later on the AB 705 legislation that abolished student placement into pre-transfer level courses. Currently, many faculties are working on creating equitable online and face-to-face classrooms through Active Learning, Culturally Responsive Teaching, and Mastery-Based Grading. These are great teaching practices to learn; but they will, of course, evolve over time and you will need to constantly revise your classes. It is a continuous cycle of research-based instructional design, implementation, assessment of outcomes, and re-design based on outcomes and current research. Thus, if you want to go into teaching, then you need to be ready for the lifelong learning it entails."
Melissa Thompson, Early Childhood Education
"As I ponder the question, 'what is more important when it comes to teaching today, research or service?', I immediately begin to reflect on my community college experience. I remember the classmates who motivated me to participate in study groups, the counselors who guided me through my educational plan, and the professors who pushed me to appreciate my soft skills and academic qualities. Throughout my educational journey, I didn't just develop skills to learn about child development; I developed heartfelt respect and admiration for those individuals who assisted me along the way. In the words of Maya Angelou: 'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.' I learned this to be, indeed true.
Today, I want the students that enter my class to know that they matter. I want them to know that learning is not about a race for gaining knowledge from a textbook but rather a walk of discovering one's passion and life lessons. It is my belief that service is being the best professor I can be to my students by getting to know each student as an individual in order to comprehend his or her unique needs; by understanding students' diverse backgrounds, interests and abilities; by removing apathy and replacing it with 'good trouble.'
While this has been a tumultuous year, service to my college community will remain my focus. The first four years I learned how to be a professor. In the coming years, I will become the professor I inspire to be and provide service to my students and the college community that was shown to me."
Mario Vega Sanchez, Spanish
"Teaching a community college is where the seed for learning is planted, and it is also the place where faculty encourage students to reach for the greatness within themselves inspiring the seemingly unreachable, and they insist on going beyond students' expectations to reach goals of tremendous magnitude that once seemed to be impossible."
From left to right: Sara Nafzgar, Barry McNaughton, Elizabeth (Tracy) Kazsuk, Abel Sancehz
Elizabeth (Tracy) Kazsuk, Sociology
"In the past I have had students who were interested in becoming community college professors. They all had been successful community college students. Here is some advice that I would pass on having worked for the District for 21 years.
In all teaching endeavors, I encourage future professors not to pick too narrow a path. Most graduate students attend universities for which research and publication are required of faculty. Sometimes teaching is a secondary obligation next to article publication, and the focus of such work is to expand the field of the discipline. Therefore, a prospective community college professor will really need to be mindful of developing their teaching craft alongside research endeavors. While many community college professors engage in research and publication, the focus of teaching is paramount at most schools.
Furthermore, I have noted a wide difference in the area of responsibility for success. While at many universities and colleges academic success is the task of students, and professors are charged with presenting information; in community colleges success is regarded as an institutional effort. Faculty need to understand that authentic care is a responsibility of theirs, and that their role is a nurturing one as well as an instructional one. It is not enough to provide curriculum; mentoring students and providing proactive interventions are also required. Our students often arrive with personal challenges, complicated educational histories, and the issue of under-preparation. We must understand that we are teaching a variety of learners and ensure that our pedagogy is carefully sculpted to reach each one. If this is seen as too great a burden, community college teaching is not for you.
The bad news is, this sounds like a lot of extra work beyond developing a syllabus and tests and fastening your tie for lecture. The good news is, you have an amazing opportunity to follow students through their college journey, from the baby steps of registration, to the cap and gown on graduation day—and beyond! You have the opportunity to be the first face they see in their path to their degree, and you will ultimately determine whether they see college as unfriendly, adversarial and impossible—or enlightening, collaborative and warm. This first impression is a big responsibility but also a wonderful opportunity to be the face of education not just for your students, but for their families, friends, colleagues and community.
On my most difficult days of teaching, I am mindful that this is the best job I've ever had, and the only thing I ever wanted to do. I am certainly thankful for being trusted with such a great responsibility."
Barry McNaughton, Music
"Never miss an opportunity to inspire and recognize the importance of what you do. A few years ago, I was asked to judge a Los Angeles guitar competition at my alma mater (USC Thornton School of Music). I was familiar with this particular competition because I had played in it when I was a graduate student (many years ago!) and I knew that the level of playing would be inspiring. So, I decided to make a fieldtrip out of it and invited our MVC guitar students to attend as my guests. We were not disappointed; what we witnessed was nothing short of astonishing, truly some of the best playing anywhere in the world.
After the competition, our students had the opportunity to interact with the performers and their unbridled enthusiasm was obvious through their barrage of questions and comments. During this time, I had an opportunity to catch up with my former graduate adviser, and I made a comment about how unbelievable the USC program has become in recent years. As he watched the enthusiastic interaction between our MVC students and the USC performers, he replied, 'The level of playing here is amazingâ€¦but what we do here at USC is take the best players in the world and make them this much better (holding his thumb and finger together). What you do every day is change lives.'
I thought a lot about that comment on the ride home. At the community college level, we work with students who are just beginning their academic careers and so we might not always get the opportunity to see the culmination of their journeys. However, we have the unique opportunity to play a role in guiding them down a path towards discovering themselves and ultimately realizing their dreams. What we do is truly life changing!"
Sara Nafzgar, Communication Studies
"I would advise young scholars who are considering teaching at the community college level to keep a record of the moments in their educational journey that had the greatest impact. What did professors do that was helpful and inspiring, and what did they do that impeded your progress or your motivation? When you step onto a campus and into your classroom, you have the privilege of both teaching a subject you love and of creating impactful moments for others. Recognizing that responsibility can be both exhilarating and overwhelming, so grounding your choices in the memories you have as a student will be a solid base to assist your decision making.
What I have learned in the last four years is that teaching at a community college is not just about the decisions that you make in your classroom. Your greatest impact can often be realized when you collaborate with others, when you use your talents to contribute to the growth of your institution, and when you make space for learning from your colleagues and your students. This career is full of opportunities to grow and innovate and it is an honor to pay forward the investments that have been made in me. To the future community college professors, I would say find your fit and enjoy all that is possible as you impact the young scholars in your classes."
Abel Sanchez, Biology
"In the sciences the notion tends to be that you need to have significant research and publications under your belt to remain relevant at an academic institution and to the scientific community. Applying that pressure to their faculty is necessary for the top research institutions to remain competitive. This is true for every discipline at research institutions, but not all research institutions. I'd give research a more simplistic thought. We put the scientific method to use every day we step into the classroom. We ask our students how well we delivered the information. Even the seasoned professor regularly assesses the content and its conveyance to deliver the most up-to-date information. When we determine something is no longer giving us the results, we'd like to see we modify our strategies or develop new methods. They become a new part of our teaching once we have tested them in the classroom.
If all this work remains in silos, as it often does, then there are only a few gains. We are here to serve our students and help them achieve their academic goals. We can only accomplish this by coming together as an institution and develop plans that are equitable and purposeful at helping every single one of our students succeed. That is service. It is through service that the institution can come together and review the outcomes of the hard work being accomplished in our classrooms and everywhere else on our campus to see how well it is working for our students. It is at these pow wows that we can take all that work that occurs in silos and pluck out those strategies that are most useful to improve the lives of our students.
In my simplistic view, I think research and service are equally important. At MVC we are helping produce a workforce for our community and some of us hope that we can inspire one of our young minds to be that future innovator that would change the world and make it better.
Guided Pathways Begins Final Stretch for Implementation
Moreno Valley College officials continue to make quick work of implementing the Guided Pathways model. The latest success has been the creation and development of engagement centers that will be attached to each school.
The California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Ph.D., developed Guided Pathways through its Vision for Success initiative. The state wants to increase transfer rates by 20 percent, as well an increase in degree and certificate completion while seeing a significant reduction in the number of units that students ultimately take at a community college.
Guided Pathways grew out of a 2015 report on how to redesign community colleges across the country. Five years later, Guided Pathways has quickly become the model across the United States. The fundamental idea behind Guided Pathways is to shift from a paradigm that asks, "are the students ready for college?" to one that asks, "is the College ready for students?"
The California Community Colleges system was quick to embrace the Guided Pathways model, selecting 20 colleges to implement an integrated, institution-wide approach to student success by creating structured educational experiences that support each student from point of entry to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and careers.
"Our vision for Guided Pathways is for it to be a transformational change that occurs across all areas of the College," Carlos Lopez, vice president of Academic Affairs, said. "We envision our Guided Pathways programs to not only be for students attending MVC, but our vision includes a continuum of support and opportunities, beginning with high school dual enrollment, to pathways support at MVC, and then to transfer to a four-year college or directly into the workforce."
Under the Guided Pathways framework, officials would like to see high school students doing at least one or two college courses or even have a significant chunk of their degree or certificate completed by the time they graduate high school. The earlier to start, the earlier to completion is instrumental in Guided Pathways working for student success.
"The earlier students identify a pathway the better.," Lopez said. "Ultimately, the goal is to have students on a pathway the minute they hit the College's front door."
With much of the pieces in place, the rush is on to build teams for each of the six schools' engagement centers. The engagement centers will be a home base for students in each of the schools that make up Moreno Valley College:
Each school will have an engagement center, teamed with faculty members, counselor(s), an administrator, peer mentor(s), education advisor(s), and clerical support in order to provide students with the services needed for degree completion. Engagement center staff will map pathways that align with the end goals of the student; assist the student in identifying a program pathway; and ensure the student remains true to the path while ensuring that students are learning and progressing to completion.
"The deans of Academic Affairs and Student Services have worked collaboratively to plan and execute virtual and physical engagement centers based on the framework recommended by the Guided Pathways Workgroup," Lopez said. "This is the biggest issue currently, we need to focus in the coming months on standing up the engagement centers, getting them staffed but with the current positions available."
The goal is to start up at least five on-campus engagement centers by the summer of 2021, with at least half available by the spring semester. Engagement centers would launch virtually but transition to physical locations once students return to campus. However, returning to campus will cause another issue â€” space.
"Space is a huge premium for the College," Lopez warned. "(However), we have identified space for nearly all of the engagement centers."
In the near term, the College will open virtual engagement centers for all six schools.
"The first consideration in building the virtual engagement centers was to make them as accessible as possible for students," Tom Vitzelio, interim associate dean of Academic Support, said. "We want to ensure students have the same experiences in the virtual engagement center they would have in a physical, in-person engagement center. We also wanted to develop something that would continue to be available to students even after we go back to in-person operations and would assist in making this transition as smooth as possible."
By having virtual engagement centers, Vitzelio says it would lend itself for a smooth transition to on-campus engagement centers once campus returns to normal operations.
"The first step would be letting students know that the centers would be up and running and that there would be no break in our services," he said. "We have already identified the physical location for most of the engagement centers, so it would just mean providing signage and direction to our students. As I mentioned before, the virtual engagement centers would still be functioning as students, faculty and staff make the move back to an in-person environment."
A key component of building the engagement centers will be staffing. Called Success Teams, staff will be front and center in the engagement centers. It will be up to the Success Teams to start students on the right track and support the initiative of Guided Pathways. Vitzelio says, the Success Teams will offer students a one-stop shop for embedded services and support. Success Teams will handle a variety of services, such as case management; class selection assistance; college resource assistance; counseling; educational plan development; outreach; a referral office for campus resources; registration assistance; and other related activities. Engagement centers will also rely on student peer leader teams.
"The Student Peer Leaders will be trained on the same principles and customer service strategies that we currently do for all of our student employees in academic support," Vitzelio said. "This training is based on a program we have developed which has been certified by the College Reading and Learning Association. Student Peer Leaders will use Zoom, live chat, and Google Voice to connect with students, providing them with information and assistance."
Along with staffing, the engagement centers will need to develop a caseload model. The Career Technical Education model will serve as a framework for the engagement centers.
"With CTE programs you can reach out to an instructor and ask how a student is doing," Lopez said. "They are able to quickly tell you what the student has accomplished and what he or she has yet to learn. CTE programs have been doing this work forever. This is one area where the other disciplines can learn from.
"And it isn't that our academic programs didn't care who their students are; the issue is they didn't always know. With these engagement centers we will be able to focus on ensuring they complete their educational purpose in a timely manner. If they start to wander off their path, we will have data that will alert us and we will be able to intervene and address the issue. This is all done to ensure they can remain in school."
Guided Pathways' aim is to provide a framework for improving completion by addressing equity, social mobility, and economic health through four pillars:
This framework is built to provide students with a clear set of course-taking patterns that promote better enrollment decisions while preparing them for future success. The framework integrates support services in ways that make it easier for students to get the help they need during every step of their community college experience.
The California Community Colleges system serves hundreds of thousands of students annually, but persistence, graduation, achievement, and equity rates remain a steady issue across the state. Delivering on the promises of a two-year education has proven difficult. According to the California Chancellor's Office, 48 percent of students in the system left without a credential or failed to transfer after six years. Of those students who do complete their community college education, earning an associate degree takes them on average 5.2 years. And, more than 40 percent are 25 years or older.
Another goal of Guided Pathways is to address achievement and equity gaps, something that is persistent for underserved populations. The California Community Colleges system serves more African American and Latinx students than the total undergraduate enrollment of the University of California, yet achievement and equity gaps persist for underserved populations, and has for years.
While the state has lofty goals, Wolde-Ab Isaac, Ph.D., chancellor of Riverside Community College District, has challenged the colleges with bigger expectations than what the state has put forth.
"I believe that the Guided Pathways framework that we have developed at Moreno Valley College will get us there," Lopez said. "We need to get the students to start these pathways as early as possible, definitely before they hit our front door. It is imperative to get them started off on the right foot.
"We can't have them wandering the curriculum in a cafeteria model. The cafeteria model is what we have had in California for years. The outcome rate showed us that what we were doing, getting them in the door and then allowing the individual to pick his or her own classes, didn't work. The vast number of community college students are low-information students and under-resourced students yet who show high potential. What Guided Pathways does is help them make good informed choices."
More work remains, however. Yet, when you consider that the typical timeframe to implement Guided Pathways is five to 10 years, the College has made great strides since starting three years ago. While COVID-19 has made the process a little more difficult, it hasn't made it impossible. Despite the pandemic, work has continued at a feverish pitch. The Guided Pathways work group continued to meet once or twice a month. Lopez said, he is proud of the creativity from the faculty, staff and students who have participated in the building of Guided Pathways and marvels at the speed that goals have been accomplished.
"It has been a joy to watch the passion in the planning and now the execution," Lopez said. "It has been truly a comprehensive effort. Everyone wants our students to be successful, and for them to do better, we need to do better by them. Guided Pathways is the overarching framework for change; changing the institution to better serve students."
Turnier Reflects on His Time
Moreno Valley College
16130 Lasselle St., Moreno Valley, CA 92551
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