This week, a cadre of my colleagues from Bakersfield College, the Kern Community College District, and our two sister colleges, ventured across the country participate in the Achieving the Dream (ATD) kick off conference in Orlando. You can read more about ATD at http://www.achievingthedream.org/
Day 1, June 17th, started with a dinner session where we heard from four students at Valencia College. I will post a 3-minute video clip of one of the students, Angel Sanchez, who was incarcerated at 16. It really brings to mind that our students start at different places in terms of their academic preparation and their readiness to engage with college education and the question is how do we create the learning environment to meet each of them where they are and support them in their progressions towards their educational goals.
Here is an activity on day 3 of the conference. Zav Dadabhoy, Vice President of Student Services, captured a brief 54-second clip on his iphone to share on this blog. Senate President Corny Rodriguez (left), Chair of the English department Pam Boyles, and Job Placement coordinator Vikki Coffee playing a game which focuses on the different types of students that come to a community college and their experiences in the classroom as well as the services provided to them. Just to prove we aren’t all work and no play, Corny finds it very amusing that Pam, an English professor, would draw a question centered on English courses. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uixe5uX9wVA&w=560&h=315
Achieving the Dream focuses on equity and excellence and closing the achieving gap is a primary focus of the work. By adopting a rigorous approach of studying the data by drilling down, interventions can be developed that are laser focused on a certain target population with the goal of improving their progression towards goal attainment.
Sue Vaughn, Bakersfield College’s Director of Enrollment Services, is here at the Achieving the Dream kickoff with me. She said two ideas have stood out to her as very important. “Equity doesn’t mean treating all students the same, but it means meeting each of their needs. Also, everyone needs to know more about what data we currently collect on students.”
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Bakersfield College’s Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs, says Achieving the Dream places emphasis where it is most needed. “Achieving the Dream gives us a focused approach to look at our own data to shape our student success practices. The work of student success resides in every classroom and every office, with every person. To ‘move the dial’ it will take dialogue and full engagement.”
Stay tuned for more as the week continues.