Nicole Sebergandio/Courier The Associated Student meeting meets on Friday September 29th 2017.
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In order to better help students achieve their educational goals, the new Student Success committee has been created.

Consisting of faculty, staff, and student body representatives, the Student Success committee forms a union of the Student Equity committee, Student Success and Support Program, and Basic Skills Initiative.

While these three will continue to work independently as well, the Student Success committee hopes that, by joining forces, they can improve their efforts in increasing student course completion, raising graduation and transfer rates, and closing equity gaps.

“The committee is charged with the review of programs and services across the student lifecycle from recruitment to completion and identifying gaps and barriers in student achievement,” said Associated Students Vice President of Cultural Diversity, Yahia Haggag in an email.

The committee’s analyses are primarily based on statistics.

“Some of the things that we are looking at are statistics in terms of programs, such as the Pathways program,” said Alejandro Chavez, Associated Students Vice President of Business Affairs. “Somebody recommended to start thinking of institutionalizing Pathways, to make it more accessible to everyone.”

Another goal of the Student Success committee is to increase the number of students who complete Comprehensive Student Educational Plans, a resource managed by the Student Success and Support Program (SSSP).

Educational Plans allow students to organize their courses for future semesters to ensure they are completing their requirements for graduation or transfer in a timely matter. Many student support programs, such as Pathways, EOP&S, and Ujima require students to create and update their educational plans regularly.

“It’s harder for [students not involved in any support programs] to get awareness of this resource and how beneficial it is,” said Chavez. “At the end of the day, it’s really critical in terms of the path you take here in college. And if your plans are to transfer, this will be really beneficial in saving money and saving time.”

Though everyone in the committee has good intentions, Chavez expressed the difficulty in trying to understand and cater to the unique circumstances of students while working within the confines of an institution that relies on numbers and profit.

“How do you really focus on individuals as human beings and, at the same time, work within the boundaries of an institution?” Chavez said. “Within the boundaries of the discourse of institutionalized equity in higher education, which you need money. And how do you ask for this money from the people with the money? … Do they really want to hear the stories of students? Or do they want numbers?”

Despite these challenges, Chavez is confident that the passion of those involved will ensure the Student Success committee’s progress in removing barriers to student achievement.

“It’s a really complicated thing but I do feel that the committee has the potential to break through certain walls,” said Chavez. “Based on the last meeting, I could see that many of the people in the committee are really interested in helping students.”

Nicole Sebergandio/Courier
Kiely Lam leads the Associated Students meeting held on Friday September 29th 2017.

“Ultimately, I think it’s great that there are people who care enough on this campus that want to focus not just on education and finishing college…but also how our culture ties into it as well and influences,” said Kiely Lam, President of Associated Students.

“I think it’s cool that people are aware of that and they want to do something about it.”

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