2013 Jan Highlights

Once a month, we highlight departments and programs from across the college that have great things happening motivated by a desire to improve student learning.

January 2013

Guardian Scholars

-- Highlights prepared by Michael McPartlin, Program Manager

Guardian Scholars Open House -- Oct. 22 2012 -- Michael McPartlin (program manager), Debra Dooley (President of Auxiliary of Foundation of CCSF), Verenice Lopez (former CCSF Guardian Scholar, currently attending SFSU), Ernestine Wilson, LaRon Ryan (in back), and Sonia Montes (all CCSF Guardian Scholars).

For a number of years, we have collected data from our students through regular end-of-academic-year surveys that assess which services (internal and external across the college) our students were using at the college, prioritized by most desirable/useful. Students identified scholarships as a key need, so we redirected internal efforts to finding and creating more internal and external scholarships. We sought out funders to create internal scholarships that specifically focused on our students. We also created partnerships with existing external scholarship organizations that would develop specific scholarships for our students. And we identified more existing scholarships that our students could apply for. RESULT: In 2011-2012 we received over $100,000 of scholarships for our students from all sources. We are now the key partner with specific organizations, who use us as the primary market for their scholarships. More CCSF Guardian Scholars get scholarships from these organizations than any other school in the state. Our program has a reputation that can motivate students to continue to pursue these and other scholarship opportunities.

-- Highlights prepared by Vivian Ikeda, Professor of English as a Second Language

A representative from each ESL noncredit campus meets as a norm group each semester to ensure consistency in grading the High Beginning Level department-wide writing tests according to an established rubric. These campus representatives will return to their respective campuses to lead local writing groups who grade student writing tests.

Analysis of assessment data has been published on a campus and program level for over 20 years in the English as Second Language Department. Credit faculty meet at least once a semester in level meetings to discuss course SLOs and results of assessments.  Bi-monthly non-credit campus faculty meetings discuss student outcomes class by class to help determine the needs of a campus with regards to class offerings, use of new equipment or technology, best practices in teaching methodology, etc. Campus Coordinators, one from each campus, meet with the Department Chair weekly to discuss student success and departmental concerns, including scheduling, student progress data, etc. Campus representatives to the Credit Curriculum Committee, Noncredit Curriculum Committee, and ESL Technology Committee meet monthly to discuss student achievement of stated outcomes and faculty ability to align outcomes with state standards in monthly committee discussions and reports.

The ESL Department committees have specific areas of responsibilities; some related to student learning outcomes. The Credit Curriculum Committee (CCC) determines final composition exam topics; analyzes the results of the final composition, reading and grammar finals; analyzes student pass rates and exam rubrics; and makes revisions to course outlines, as needed. The Noncredit Curriculum Committee (NCCC) brings together representatives from all five campuses providing noncredit ESL reports on faculty and student feedback on courses and programs, successful teaching techniques and methodology, as well as promotion test results, and, for the last two years, end-of-semester progress indicator data. NCCC campus representatives, two from each campus, are primarily responsible for leading campus discussions of ESLA, ESLF, and ESLN student learning outcomes and course outline revisions.  ESL faculty, at least one from each campus, who volunteer for the ESL Technology committee, are primarily responsible for evaluating the ESLF computer-assisted language courses (CALL) and ESLB courses related to technology in ESL teaching. At least one member also sits on the district-wide Technology roundtable to keep updated with implementation of the CCSF technology plan.  Citizenship courses and vocational ESL courses also have coordinators to lead discussions on student outcomes in those areas. In this way, all ESL courses are carefully tracked, and kept current- and effective.

ESL faculty are provided with many opportunities for professional development in addition to CCSF’s Flex days. This additional training enables ESL faculty to be more effective when analyzing student success data and developing plans for change. The ESL Technology Committee organizes a yearly Tech Camp to share information about language learning using technology -  lessons and techniques. The ESL Staff Development Committee  hosts an annual ESL Colloquium in which faculty from nearby community colleges, UC Berkeley Extension, and San Francisco State University come to hear CCSF ESL Department faculty presentations on innovative curriculum, technology practice, best practices in methodology, latest teaching research, etc.  Some workshops have been co-presented with faculty from San Francisco State University. For over twenty years, the CCSF ESL Department has implemented an assessment process which has provided a wealth of data for analysis and course revision discussions. It is inclusive and effective; and highly organized as a result of our attempt to cover the wide breadth of our department, both geographically and in terms of student diversity.

ESL Credit Committee meets to discuss changes in common assessments based upon analysis on past semester pass rates.

-- Highlights prepared by Kathy Hennig, Purchasing Manager

For many years, purchasing has used surveys, focus groups, and follow-up evaluations for faculty, students, and staff to help it meet its goals of providing quality materials, equipment, and furniture quickly, cost effectively, and efficiently. Here's one example:

The library survey to faculty and staff was the capstone of a months-long selection process, starting with establishing general specifications regarding college furniture. These specifications cover durability, sustainability, and warranty. Once those general requirements were circulated, a specific library furniture bid RFP 019 was conducted, utilizing input from all the librarians involved (as no one librarian had been designated as in charge of the new campus). A short list of 4 manufacturers was identified and, on October 12, 2011, were invited to make a presentation to all concerned, complete with actual furniture samples and color swatches.

Those faculty/staff invited to participate included Way Chan -- Project Manager, Kim Ginther-Webster -- lead librarian on the CNB project, Dean Clara Starr, CNB Dean Joanne Low, all librarians and interested classified staff. 21 CCSF members attended and completed surveys, which were used to select actual furniture for the building.  Based on that feedback, some pieces were customized to fit our needs. Awards were made to multiple vendors, based on best product available, and I coordinated finishes to assure the overall library had a uniform look. 

Color Swatches
CNB library before furniture picked for it

Speech Communication

-- Highlights prepared by Kristina Whalen, Department Chair

The Speech Communication Department responded positively to the SLO challenge (plight?) at City College. As a newly formed department, we were woefully behind in certain aspects of the SLO process. While our courses had been updated to the Student Learning Outcome structure, no formalized process for assessment existed.

The Speech Department held three “all hands on deck” SLO workshops over the last two semesters. At the first we charted a timeline for formalizing the process for each of our courses and formed assessment teams. In other words, we all agreed that we needed foundational assessment work completed for all courses. At the second meeting we discussed challenges. Long time faculty members found the assessment language obtuse. Other members of the faculty helped struggling team members locate profitable assessment instruments. At the third meeting we discussed the outcomes of assessment for our core course and began to conceptualize how we would address areas of concern. That works continues this semester.

Even though we had just written our AA-T degree, the PSLO mapping process forced us to realize that we either needed to alter our learning outcomes to better match our course work, needed to change the content of some of our courses, or needed to require some courses for all majors that were currently part of a block of choices. At our faculty Program Review roundtable, we decided to pursue the latter for spring 2013. But, many faculty responded positively to the process, noting that it made us honestly reflect on the interaction between our classroom practices and our ultimate objectives.  

At the course level, all our courses have foundational instruments for assessment in place. Our most foundational courses (SPCH 1A/SPCH 11) have “closed the loop.” We are now working toward an updated custom handbook for our students. SPCH 1A faculty are agreeing to use a common course Insight shell with common quizzes that embed assessment.

Several positive outcomes grew from our work. First, we knew right away that in the past we engaged in a fundamentally flawed equivocation. In sum, a bulky course outline does not mean it’s a rigorous course outline. None of our outlines were written with an eye toward assessment. For example, the current SPCH 5 course outline contains 14 SLOs. During our work, we conceptualized the SLOs differently, even adding one. However, the outline ready for CC submission only has 6. (Our reconceptualized course built upon the idea of assessment.)