Once a month, we highlight departments, programs, and committees from across the college that have great things happening motivated by a desire to improve student learning.
To address timely completion, in 2014, Bridge to Success funded leaders at City College (Associate Dean of Matriculation, Associate Dean of Outreach, Student Learning Outcomes Coordinator, and a Counseling Lead) to attend a project-based leadership academy. Interested in finding low-cost avenues to accelerate transfer and completion, CCSF leaders created a diverse, coordinated and intentional network of student support options. This network was named “Find Your Community” and packaged existing support systems and Learning Communities at CCSF under one easy to understand and marketable umbrella. “Find Your Community” was inspired by Nudge Theory, a belief that the architecture of choice has powerful and predictable results. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be an easy and accessible choice, not a mandate. Find Your Community embedded the selection of a support pathway in the formal counseling process, rather than an informal resource fair, in order to give counselors the opportunity to nudge students toward a support system more effectively. Counselors assigned to local high schools disseminated information at the high school sites, during FRISCO Day and during Saturday All-in-One matriculation days.
Below, each program in Find Your Community provides an update on their program's progress and improvement strategies. The Metro Tansfer Academy was featured in the September issue of SLO Highlights
For those interested in pursuing bioscience-related careers, CCSF’s Bridge to Biosciences/Laboratory Assistant Certificate Program is a great starting point. The program features a 180-hour internship that allows for students to gain valuable workplace skills. Developing a method to evaluate this workplace learning–given the diversity of our students, their mentors and the kinds of projects they work on–presented unique challenges.
We realized early on that it was very common for students and mentors to view how the training was going very differently, so we developed separate questionnaires, one for the student and another for the mentor, that take these different vantage points into account. Currently, these questionnaires are give mid-semester and at the end of the semester.
Questionnaires given at mid-semester focus a great deal on how student and mentor establish their mentoring and work relationship. For instance, students are asked to evaluate whether the mentor has provided clear demonstrations showing how things are done, whether the mentor has provided adequate supervision and guidance while they learned to perform a technique on their own, and whether the mentor has given time to practice a technique on their own in order to gain proficiency. On the other hand, the mentors are asked to rate how satisfied they are with the student’s willingness to ask for and use guidance, how satisfied they are with an intern’s attention to detail, and how satisfied they are with an intern’s ability to work on assignment to completion. The questionnaires are meant to compliment each other enough that we can identify when things have gone astray and give feedback to improve understanding and communication between the student and mentor.
The final questionnaires covers similar ground to the first in order to see how things have evolved over the semester, again from both the students’ and mentors’ perspectives, but additional questions are asked regarding overall learning outcomes related to the lab work at the internship site. Students are asked to list the specific skills they worked on and how well they mastered these skills, and the mentors are asked to evaluate the students’ overall learning and performance.
We would like to support our mentors in developing better mentoring skills. Since the majority of our internships are at UCSF, we plan to work more closely with our mentors there. This semester we are piloting is a mentoring training program with five mentors working with five of our students. They will meet on a bi-monthly basis to receive training and support in developing good, sustainable mentoring relationships. (We are working with UCSF Office of Career and Professional Development on this project).
Though we began using questionnaires to help identify when expectations on either side of the mentor-student relationship were out of alignment, over time we have realized that these questionnaire prompt both the students and their mentors to think more critically about the workplace learning and reflect on ways to improve it. We plan on refining elements of the questionnaire over the next two semesters, working this criteria-setting mode of evaluation into our new mentoring training program.
In Fall 2014, CCSF launched a First Year Experience Program called YO! (Year One). YO! enrolls students in core classes of English, Math, and college success while helping them succeed with wrap-around services that include counseling and tutoring support. Another unique element of the program is the community service component, in which participating students partner with Habitat for Humanity on local housing projects. As the program branches out and increases capacity, it will create a landing pad for students enrolling in CCSF who need basic skills courses in Math and English in order to pursue their educational goals. This summer YO! hopes to offer a summer orientation for new students following the students' participation in SOLE—the college’s summer bridge program. This orientation will focus on building community for the students so they are better connected to each other and the college when they start classes in the Fall.
YO! is striving to continually improve through the assessment process. Data, both quantitative and qualitative is being gathered as YO! begins to scale from its initial pilot. Part of the assessment process is to engage in dialogue with other institutions that have successfully scaled First Year pathways programs. One such program is at Pasadena Community College. On March 20th, Brock Klein, the Coordinator of the Pasadena Program will lead a discussion on how they were able to go from a boutique first year experience program to one serving over 2,500 students with no achievement gap. This presentation is part of the Strategic Summit on Career and Transfer Pathways from 9-3 in MUB 140.
The Puente Program has inspired students to inquire more into Latino literature, seek out mentors and to prepare to transfer to a four-year university. In September, CCSF Puentistas met with other Puente students from over thirty Northern California community colleges at UC Davis for the NorCal Puente Transfer Motivational Conference. There, students listened to former Puentista and published novelist Alex Espinoza discuss his struggles as a first-generation, disabled Latino student. Students were riveted by Espinoza’s powerful story and writing voice. Additionally, former Puente students—and now University of California students—met with current Puente students as informal mentors, telling the current Puentistas how Puente inspires and empowers students to succeed at UC campuses. These inspirational program requirements helped build community and retain students in English 96.
The Accelerated Math Gateway (AMG) Program at City College of San Francisco, a collaboration between CCSF, Growth Sector, and SFSU's Center for Science and Math Education (CSME), is a cohort-based learning community for STEM-major students to help them reduce the time it takes to get to Calculus from Beginning Algebra. Students in the program receive twice-weekly tutoring, as well as weekly Math-Problem Solving skills workshops taught by CSME staff.
Growth Sector, CCSF's Grants Office, and NASA Ames Education Department worked together to provide paid research internships for 9 AMG Program Graduates last summer. Students worked on a variety of projects, including the programming for the world's first global earthquake prediction system and exploring possible uses of microgravity science experiments on the International Space Station. The AMG Program is also relying on former participants to provide tutoring to the current cohort. Former students not only know the subject matter, but also the current math professors and can utilize their own experience to impart information in a hands-on way.
When the AMG program started, it was restricted mostly to Engineering majors and included 3 cohorted engineering courses over the course of the two semesters. Due to a reduction in resources for the program, and in an effort to open up the accelerated math progression to other STEM Majors, the current AMG model includes the 4 math classes, tutoring and CSME workshops.
Our main measure of success is pass rates for AMG students in the four math courses (Intermediate Algebra, Geometry, Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry). Overall, pass rates have been an average 25%-35% higher than non-AMG students in the same courses. In student suveys, AMG participants consistently identify the cohort model (guaranteed, block registration and same students in all four classes) and the Student Support Specialist as the most important components of the program.
Project SURVIVE has a long history at CCSF and is constantly looking for ways to grow and develop. In 2014, Project SURVIVE joined the Find Your Community campaign to form a loose cohort support community organized around anti-violence education. Students identifying an interest work with the Women Studies Department and MAP (Male Ally Project) to promote anti-violence, especially relationship violence. Students are encouraged to take women studies themed English and math courses together as well as a LERN 50 course taught by women studies faculty. It is hoped that students will form relationships in their classes and around a shared academic interest to succeed and persist at CCSF—and earn a Sexual Health Educator Certificate or an AA degree.
Project SURVIVE loose cohort model is one still under development and is looking for ways to expand and attract students. One improvement Project SURVIVE has been pursuing is adding more male peer educators to its model. Last spring, A team of three female peer educators conducted three male focus groups (March 3, March 17, and April 28) to determine what factors men thought would interest other men in being trained as Project SURVIVE peer educators. Twelve men participated in these focus groups. The main factor that emerged was that male peer educators would attract more men to the team.
The growth of Project SURVIVE is well documented in the Rosenberg Library Exhibit, Project SURVIVE, 1994-2014.