2014 April Highlights

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.

April 2014

Matriculation & Counseling

Frisco Day Street Sign logo

Matriculation has been working diligently to address student service outcomes, especially the following outcome: Students will be able to locate the services, such as orientation, placement, and counseling that they need to get started pursuing an education at CCSF

Last year over a thousand students applied to CCSF, took the placement test, but did not enroll in courses. Why?  We knew we needed to unravel the mystery. Staff and student ambassadors phone banked the majority of these potential students to ask why they didn’t enroll. From a myriad of responses, the most frequent was that students received a letter telling them the next steps in the matriculation process but they couldn’t make sense of it. This data has informed our outreach to SF seniors and to Frisco Day. Incoming students from SFUSD not only need improved communication, but also personal, face-to-face guidance through the matriculation process.

Frisco Day brings 800-1,000 SFUSD high school seniors to campus. Every year we use this day, with our captive audience, to complete more and more steps of the Matriculation process for students. Now, every high school in SF has a lead counselor that regularly visits to conduct Placement, Orientation, and Education Plans on site. Nearly 400 students will arrive at Frisco Day, this Friday April 18, having completed matriculation and enrolling in courses! 23 more need only complete an Education Plan before enrolling on Friday.  Approximately 350  will start their day at orientation, with the goal of finishing the steps before they leave campus.

The coordination between the Matriculation and Counseling has been outstanding. Embedded high school counselors worked long hours at the high school site and have developed a special relationship with the students.  

Even more counselors have volunteered for Frisco Day. We are looking to decrease the number of students NOT enrolling in our courses and we have stepped up efforts to coordinate and market the fantastic retention, transfer, and support programs that already exist. Each SFUSD student will be asked to Find Your Community from a list of support systems and learning communities, including a new coordinated effort toward retention in Project SURVIVE and YO!, the first year experience program being coordinated in the English Department. Having given students the support they need to enroll, it’s clear that we have many resources that will help them succeed and persist.

Highlighting Highlights

Yahoo looking SLO marquee

At the end of every semester, faculty are given the option of adding a "highlight" to the end of an assessment report. Last semster I was struck by how many faculty filled out this optional frame. But once I read the content, my surprise was gone. Our classrooms and student service sites are clearly dynamic, engaging, and inspiring. A couple of themes emerged from the "highlights" that are worth sharing. The exerpts below hit upon those themes

Dialogue and collegial collaboration

·         Assessment and discussion of book material as relating to course outline, course content and "downstream applicability" with other (especially the "downstream instructors" is a highly recommended process. I've experienced a tremendous increase in student knowledge   building in-re course outcomes in obtaining a book that more closely meets the teaching expectations of the course.

·         A positive outcome from engaging in EOPS SLO assessment includes having more discussion among the EOPS team on program improvement in an effort to help close the educational gap of students from low-income and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds-- with an emphasis on underrepresented students.

·         Focusing on the Student Learning Outcomes have three very positive effects on multi-sectioned courses:

  1. It creates a dialog between instructors who teach the same course for assessment and improvement of the SLOs.
  2. It allows the instructors to focus on the SLOs and use them as goals of learning for their courses.
  3. It makes writing and revising course outlines more purposeful and meaningful.

·         I am very pleased with the spirit of collaboration that exists among the 3 guitar instructors, demonstrated by the aforementioned meeting and the several actions that developed out of it.

·         It is my hope that the increased collaboration that is occurring between the three chairs will continue and will result in a more effective, comprehensive orientation experience for students that reflects all the various needs our students bring to the college.


·         I am very pleased that the adjunct faculty have taken such a hand in conducting assessments, in helping to revise outcomes and in participating in the life and health of this department.  It shows a real commitment to their professionalism and dedication to raising the next generation of library staff.

·         Any conscientious instructor assesses the outcomes of their class. My department takes great pride in the fact that we really care about the quality of instruction for our students. This calls for constant assessment and re-evaluation of what we do. We would do this even if it were not mandated by the accreditation board

Clear student improvement

·         The main highlight comes at the end of each semester when I get to read my students' final papers and literally see the fruits of our labor come to bear. It is usually my time to smile because I can map their writing ability from the beginning of the semester to the end, and it is in that final paper that the structure of their arguments becomes clear, eloquent, and forceful. These are all tools that they will need for the rest of their academic careers, as well as the rest of their lives.

·         Since using the rubric in the last two semesters, the student oral presentations have improved in the area of eye contact, tone and pace.  Students are no longer reading to the audience but making eye contact even when reading from notes.

·         The students exceeded the expectation of the course in many ways.  Most importantly, the final outcomes brought out the best in them and the department as a group. The kite project was a delightful, energetic, and instructional and the students learned a great deal about themselves and their potentials through their work.  They reached outside of the classroom and they recognized that what they are making in class is not just a project but a larger part of their learning experience and interaction with the community.

·         SLO assessment revealed a need to enhance instruction in field recording using lavalier microphones.  We saw a marked improvement in the comfort level while recording audio for our class projects.

Inspiration & Satisfaction

·         As a teacher, it is incredibly fulfilling to introduce students such as these to the existing history of aesthetic self-expression in Experimental films, and to see their own expression blossom. I have no doubt that they will have a keener eye, and a better understanding of their own creative voice.

·         As I have discussed with Cinema Dept Chair Lidia Szajko, I have *never* been so inspired by such a diverse group of engaged learners in a college classroom! After years of experience teaching at the CSU, University of California and at a private college on the East Coast, I can honestly say that my CCSF class of CINE 23A comprised 32 of the *best* students I've ever had the pleasure to work with! It was truly an honor to be a member of the CCSF faculty, and I hope to have the opportunity to teach at CCSF again in the semesters to come. THANK YOU EVERYONE!

·         Some former students keep in touch with me by sending occasional news reports and reflections on the region. It is deeply satisfying to know that my course has a lasting impact on individuals and is not just something they take to get their credits with the information going in one ear and out the other. These ongoing discussions are what let me know that I have succeeded at contributing to students developing sense of critical inquiry, lifelong learning, and civic engagement.

·         Teachers gathering together to talk about the impact of language--both in student writing and in the writing of faculty--is empowering! Taking the time to gather together and talk about writing, and our values as teachers, our values as graders within our department's standards, allows us to learn about and contribute to our community which takes what at times is a very solitary job and makes it exciting.