Academic Senate discusses a myriad of issues

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On Oct. 2 Delta College’s Academic Senate met in the Mustang Room to discuss topics affecting students and staff, initiatives from Senate members and upcoming implementations in general education requirements.

MyDelta problems continue 

Academic Senate President Kathleen Bruce addressed the records and financial aid issues impacting students, including when expected fixes will happen. 

“There is an issue where transferring students can’t get records for transcripts, and the goal is to have this issue fixed by mid-October. In the meantime the transcripts are being done by hand,” said Bruce. “The financial aid problem is the priority right now along with the records. There are 18,000 students currently at Delta College in eligible programs and they are not getting financial aid.”

The topics discussed in the meeting include the Senate’s role in improving equity on campus, Guided Pathway maps for degrees and future implementation of ethnic studies as a graduation requirement at California State Universities.

Equity on campus

Although Delta College is known for its diversity, Bruce said equity on campus needs to improve.

“We haven’t had the professional development in understanding our equity data or conversations about closing achievement gaps,” said Bruce about reading data showing the success of students.

“I think it’s the most important issue because we have an obligation to student success. If we know that there is a group of students failing disproportionately compared to other groups of students, then we know that there are clear implicit or racial biases that we have in our structures and we need to deal with those. That way those groups of students can have an easier path to be successful.”

While understanding the data is a challenge for faculty, the counseling division has no access to the data at all because of bugs from the new registration system.

“In my division we had a dean who blocked us from seeing the data, so we had no way of making informed decisions about how to improve our programs. Now we don’t even have a dean,” said Counselor and Guidance professor Becky Plaza.

“We’re hoping to get more funding for counselors. The more counselors we have the more student appointments are available. Currently students wait about two to three weeks to see a counselor.”

The Dean of Counseling position at Delta College is currently vacant.

Ethnic studies as requirement

For the 2020-21 academic year AB-1460 will be implemented. This is a bill which will make it a requirement for students at a California State University to take one ethnic studies course with three units to graduate.

“We are recognizing the fact that a lot of K-12 eduaction did a disservice when it comes to talking about the contributions of people of color to art, literature, history and science.” said History Professor Evan Wade.

“Close to 50 percent of community colleges presently have that requirement,” said Art Professor Mario Moreno.

Professors in favor of this implementation argue it is necessary due to California’s diversity.

“California is a very diverse state and we’re becoming even more diverse. So to go into the workplace you must have some type of competency in addressing issues of race,” said Wade.

Implementation of this requirement will be a topic of discussion in future meetings.

Guided Pathways mapping update

Guided Pathway maps were the last topic to be discussed by the senate.

“Pathway maps are a recommendation and not a done deal for students,” said counselor Diane Feneck.

According to the California Guided Pathways Project, these maps are meant to help students make decisions when it comes to taking courses and pursuing degrees in different programs.

Delta College is one of 20 community colleges participating in the project.

During the meeting Feneck said the Pathway Maps need to be revised and if there are any important assist classes students need to take before transferring.

“If a student gets the associates degree for transfer in Business at Delta College they only need four units, which they can complete with Math 12,” said Feneck speaking on Business student transfer as an example.

“I spoke with the Business division at Sacramento State however, if students don’t take Math 13 they will get set back one year to a year and a half when they transfer.”

If the requirements for transfer at Delta College don’t meet the requirements for a program at a higher education institution, counselors are trying to discuss this issue when putting together the maps.

The next Academic Senate meeting is scheduled for Oct. 16.