I kicked off the spring semester by holding office hours at PCC’s campuses. I have had the pleasure of meeting with faculty, staff, and students at West Campus, Community Campus, and earlier this week, Desert Vista. Although each of our campuses has its own feel and personality, they all in some way are making a positive impact on the lives of our students.
At Desert Vista, commendable work is being done throughout the campus, especially through the Pathways to Healthcare Program, funded by a federal Health Profession Opportunity Grant, and the campus’ MAT 089-Foundational Studies in Mathematics course.
Pathways provides support services and other assistance to eligible, low-income, Pima County residents seeking to complete training and work in healthcare. The College partners with Pima County One Stop to identify and enroll students. The holistic nature of the support services is a strong point of Pathways, which covers costs of uniforms, bus passes and licensure testing. In addition, students can take a 10-week College Readiness course, an adult basic and developmental education course with a healthcare context. College Readiness teaches study, time management, career exploration and other skills needed to be a successful student, as well as incorporating activities to foster community.
MAT 089 teaches fundamentals and applications of basic math, and elementary and intermediate algebra. The course is taught at all of our campuses using the emporium model, which puts students in control of their education. Students complete assignments online in a classroom setting. The curriculum is divided into 35 modules. Learning is “self-accelerated” rather than self-paced. Students can go as fast as they want but have the flexibility to slow down when they have not understood the content. Class attendance is mandatory. Students must master the content before moving to the next module. There is plenty of support in the labs, with instructors, staff instructors, proctors and peer tutors on hand to help.
MAT089 covers subjects that in traditional classrooms take four semesters to cover. Motivated students have finished the modules in one semester, which saves time and money. Students that need more instructional time can take the course up to four times without having to purchase a new textbook. MAT 089 is an example of how a smart structure and quality support can empower students to succeed.
While I was on campus, a student asked me about laptop computers. Like many who attend PCC, he was of modest means, and didn’t have the money to purchase a laptop. The student asked if the College would supply laptops to students who couldn’t afford them.
The student’s question was an excellent one that the College will explore. We are constantly seeking new ways to help students progress during their academic journey at PCC. My visit to Desert Vista clearly showed that we have excellence in abundance to build upon.