The Community College of Aurora is taking its commitment to address equity gaps to the next level with funding from the Colorado Department of Higher Education.
CCA was one of three Colorado colleges to receive funding in February to help close attainment and equity gaps as part of a Talent, Innovation, and Equity (TIE) grant from the Colorado Department of Higher Education. The Department of Higher Education received the funding from Lumina Foundation, a non-profit organization that funds initiatives to expand student access to and success in education beyond high school.
CCA will use the grant to implement two strategies to help close the equity and achievement gap. One strategy will be to fund instructor education regarding how to close equity gaps. The other will be to survey students to gain insight into what they perceive are obstacles to a college education.
CCA was encouraged to apply for the grant in December because of the equity work it has already undertaken to address achievement gaps between students of color and white students. For example, in 2013 CCA began its equity work as part of the Equity in Excellence project in conjunction with the Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.
That equity work at CCA continued in 2016, with the development of the Equity in Instruction Leadership Academy (EILA). The Academy is a series of workshops totaling nearly 60 hours per semester in which faculty learn to create more inclusive and equitable classrooms and to increase equitable outcomes to close the gap between students of color and white students for overall student success. The Academy began training with department chairs and has incorporated full-time faculty.
Through the TIE grant, CCA will receive $60,000 to expand EILA to include adjunct instructors. The plan is to recruit 42 instructors to participate in the Academy through spring 2019. Quill Phillips, Special Assistant to the President for Inclusive Excellence, will serve as the lead point of contact for the grant.
“If our strategy focuses on inclusive pedagogy, we can’t rest with just training our full-time faculty,” Oudenhoven continues. “We also need to provide opportunities for our adjunct instructors to have access to this information.”
“The feedback on the Leadership Academy has been positive. I think that those who have participated—chairs and full-time faculty—have seen value and have been pretty courageous about trying some different things,” Oudenhoven said.
I recently had the opportunity to meet with officers from CCA’s Student Government Association. We talked about how we can address some of our students’ life concerns while focusing on our educational mission and student success.
I shared with them that we are still in the process of addressing some ongoing financial constraints as a result of our unique history. While I anticipate that there will be a time when we will be able to access financial support from the state of Colorado to help us maintain and improve our campuses, I am not sure when that will happen. Students often ask me if we can add day care or build a fitness center. I shared my belief with our student leaders that due to limited resources, our first priority has to be supporting their educational experience and that we need to find creative solutions to other issues.
As community college faculty and staff, we are often aware of our students’ personal challenges and the impact that those challenges can have on their ability to be successful. Housing, transportation, child care, food insecurity, and a host of other personal issues can take their toll. However, we are educators, and we need to rely on our experienced and expert partners in other sectors to help us help our students. That said, I wanted to share some of the good work that is happening as we try to address some of these concerns.
Child care –Grants are often the way we bring in additional resources, and the Strengthening Working Families Initiative (SWFI) grant has allowed us to focus on the needs of students who are also parents of dependent children. The program employs a child-care navigator and some other strategies we hope to sustain.
Food insecurity – For the last couple of years, CCA students have been able to sign up for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits directly through the college. We have also applied for a grant to further our support for these students. In addition, the new student meal plan is going to be submitted as a student fee so that students can use financial aid to cover this expense.
Mental health – We partner with the Aurora Mental Health Center to provide counseling on campus, and we hope to expand these services through a recently submitted grant.
Health and wellness – We are partnering with the City of Aurora to provide affordable access to all of Aurora’s recreation centers, and we are experimenting with a couple of the dockless bike companies to provide bikes on campus that can be used for transportation or recreation.
These are just a few examples of initiatives where we can help our students and address issues that may impact their academic achievement. We are lucky to live in a community that allows us to leverage resources from agency providers, government, business, and philanthropists. If we can continue to connect our students to the assistance we cannot provide to them directly, it will help them now and in the future. And while we may not be able to do it all, I value your awareness of these challenges and your compassion for the students we serve.
The Community College of Aurora and the City of Aurora’s Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Department have partnered to offer the FoxFit Pass, a discounted membership for all CCA staff, faculty, instructors, and students to access all recreation centers in the City of Aurora.
Three membership options are available: A one-month pass is $15; a six-month pass is $70; and an annual pass is $140.
CCA staff, faculty/adjunct instructors, and students can sign up for the pass at the Aurora Municipal Center or at CCA’s two Cashier’s Offices on the CentreTech campus in the Administration Building, Room A204 and on the Lowry campus in the West Quad Building, Room 119. Sign-up is easy using CCA's identification card, which also serves as the FoxFit Pass.
Caption: Beck Recreation Center is one of the centers where the FoxFit Pass can be used.
CCA’s Career Services Department has a new one-stop website with access to jobs, internships, workshop events, career fairs, and career counselors.
The CCA Career Corner site gives students everything they need to prepare for their career search. The site provides immediate connections with career experts, the ability to connect with employers and alumni, and listings of internships and jobs. A mobile app is also available to students through the site.
There are more than 400 videos about how to search for a job and career development, as well as links to other useful resources on the site.
Employers can post internships and jobs on the site, so students can apply directly to positions that interest them.
Anansi & Friends: Folktales From Around The World
The spring theater production Anansi & Friends: Folktales From Around The World opened on March 9 and ran through March 18. The five-act play featured five different folktales from around the world.
Caption: CCA student Genesis Miller portrays Anansi the Spider and student Nicholas Gere portrays the Sky God during a dress rehearsal.
Friends and Family Science Fair
Eric Eshun places organs into the anatomical model while instructor Brenda Gierczak reads directions on February 14 at the Lowry Campus North Quad Building. CCA’s High School Equivalency program hosted a Friends and Family Science Fair on Valentine’s Day with lessons based on such themes such as the heart and blood.
State of the World Lecture
Dr. Brandon Williams, History Department Faculty, makes a point during the “State of the World” lecture on February 21. He was joined by Dr. Bobby Pace, Dean of Concurrent Enrollment, to discuss global economic, social, and political issues.
Pathways Advisor Anna Jansen (left) and Assistant Registrar Valerie Sangiuliano dressed up in similar looking pajamas and took a selfie during CCA’s Pajama Day on March 6.
The Community College of Aurora National Model United Nations team received Distinguished Delegation honors on March 22 in New York City at the National Model United Nations Conference – the highest honor that the delegation has ever earned.
CCA's Model United Nations delegations have previously earned an honorable mention award for the past three years before this year's honor, which is the second highest award a delegation can win. This year’s delegation was recognized from over 2,500 other students who participated in the competition from across the country and the world.
Dr. Bobby Pace, Dean of Academic Affairs for Concurrent Enrollment, developed CCA’s Model United Nations program, which includes more than 300 students on CCA’s campus, as well as a delegation that competes at the international conference in New York City. Fifteen students participated in the conference this year, representing the United Arab Emirates.
Besides Pace, Elizabeth Hirsh, Anthropology Faculty, and Stephanie Walsh, Concurrent Enrollment instructor, helped prepare the students for their work for NMUN and should also be congratulated.
Christina Sachi Nakata—Head Delegate
Kyle David Lawson – United Nations Environment Assembly
Anca Roxana Lutescu and Seridan Prince – Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Chris Blaylock – International Telecommunication Union
Carlos Neri – Human Rights Council
Adam Isaacs – General Assembly First Committee
Luigi Guadarrama and Josh Bock – General Assembly Second Committee
Shadia Sekeema and Austin Greene – General Assembly Third Committee
Julian Aranda and Steven Vanulle – General Assembly Fifth Committee
Sabrina Yusupova – Economic and Social Council Plenary
Adam Lemberg – Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
The Project SLOPE (Student Learning: Objectives, Persistence, and Engagement) Assessment Task Force, a project that began in fall 2017, is continuing its work to build an integrated system for college-wide assessment focused on student learning inside and outside of the classroom. The four-year plan for the Task Force includes revitalizing CCA's institutional outcomes, known as Lifelong Skills; improving methods for data collection and analysis; and designing program outcome assessments.
This semester, five subcommittees within the Task Force are working on specific tasks related to the Project SLOPE goals. Two committees are implementing focus groups to gain insight into lifelong skills from external stakeholders, such as industry and transfer institutions, as well as stakeholders within the college. Another committee is analyzing current data-collection processes to make recommendations for a consistent approach across the college. Two other committees are identifying assessment training needs and improving communication about assessment and the work of the Task Force. If you have questions about assessment or want to get involved, please email Assessment.CCA@ccaurora.edu.
Dalpes Receives Pillars of the Profession Award
Dr. Paulette Dalpes, Vice President of Student Affairs, received a NASPA Class of 2018 Pillars of the Profession award at the NASPA Annual Conference in Philadelphia on March 5.
She was named a Pillar of the Profession in October 2017.
The Pillars Award recognizes sustained professional distinction in the higher-education field, as well as leadership service to NASPA, which is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession.
Dr. Dalpes has worked for more than 30 years as a Student Affairs professional, including 18 years at community colleges. She joined CCA in August 2017.
From left to right: Nelson Rodriguez, Director of the Office of Student Life; Dr. Paulette Dalpes; Tamara White, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs; and David Murphy, Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs.
Faculty Members Reach Non-Provisional Status
The following CCA faculty members have reached non-provisional status. This status means that they have been with the college in a regular faculty position for three years and their department chair and dean have recommended that their contract be renewed:
Congratulations to Dr. Andrew Goff; Keith Howard; Katherine (Kate) O’Donnell; Daniel Schweissing; Dr. Ashley Simpson; Eric Vahling; Cynthia Villegas; Kristofer Whited; and Dr. Brandon Williams.
Dr. Brandon Williams Named Chair of Social Sciences Department
Dr. Brandon Williams, History Department Faculty, will become Chair of the Social Sciences Department on July 1. He has assumed a variety of roles within the Department since he began in August 2015. Those roles include work with program and assessment planning, the Gateway to Success intervention implementation, textbook selection, and adjunct instructor observations. Dr. Williams is replacing Dr. Bobby Pace, who became dean of Concurrent Enrollment in February.
Burkhart Featured in Skillful Video
JoAnn Burkhart, Computer and Digital Technologies Department Faculty, was featured in a Markle Foundation video discussing competency-based education in the classroom. Burkhart discusses how she created competency-based courses using the website Skillful and its resources to develop a seven-course certificate program in IT Tech and Support. The Markle Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization concerned with technology, health care, and national security
Tamara White Named Associate Vice President of Student Affairs
Tamara White, formerly Dean of Students at CCA, was named Associate Vice President of Student Affairs in February. White has served the Community College of Aurora as the Dean of Students since June 2014, providing leadership to significant Student Affairs programs as well as several campus-wide initiatives. She leads the Guided Pathways program, co-chairs the CARE Team, and manages student behavior concerns. She is also responsible for ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations, including Title IX.
Kate O’Donnell, Art Faculty, and Glenn Spagnuolo, Political Science instructor in CCA’s Social Sciences Department, have been named the winners of 2018 Dr. Linda and Roger Bowman Award for Instructional Excellence.
A seven-member committee, comprised of members from each division across the college and a Student Government Association representative, received more than 100 student nominations for 57 CCA faculty and instructors.
Students commented on the positive impact the faculty and instructors have made in terms of college-wide engagement, student learning/instructional activities, and student success.
One student commented on O’Donnell’s nomination form that:
“I am not exaggerating when I say that Kate has been an integral part of my success at CCA. She has inspired, supported, guided and challenged me from day one.”
On Spagnuolo’s nomination form, a student commented:
“The amount of passion and dedication he exhibits is new to me, and what I always imagined I would get from my college experience. I have never before left a classroom feeling so motivated to go out into the world and make a difference.”
The Community College of Aurora Foundation is now accepting applications for fall scholarships.
A variety of scholarships are available, including those for students who are Dreamers or participating in CCA’s Pulse 29 publication.
The deadline to apply for fall scholarships is May 31. Please encourage students to apply.
COSI Day at the Capitol
John Wolfkill, Director of the Community College of Aurora Foundation, and CCA students who have received a scholarship from the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative visited the state capitol on March 6. Wolfkill and CCA students Dianne Myles, Sade Smith, and Brandon Thierry met with state representatives to share how COSI scholarships have helped them meet their educational goals.
Caption: John Wolfkill (far right) poses with Brandon Thierry and Sade Smith.
The School of Professional Studies and Sciences hosted a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Day for high school girls on February 16, with 90 students from Rangeview, Overland, and Vista Peak high schools participating in STEM-related activities.
The event allows prospective students to learn more about STEM and hear from professionals in the field.
Staff from CCA’s Computer and Digital Technology and Science departments, along with Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, prepared hands-on workshops. CCA staff also discussed how the college can introduce them to STEM fields after they graduate from high school.
Volunteers at Food Bank of the Rockies Help Virtual Food Drive
Staff and students from the Student Success Center volunteered at the Food Bank of the Rockies on February 23, filling warehouse orders that were delivered to various organizations and churches throughout the Denver metro area. The volunteer effort was part of the Student Success Center’s virtual food drive, which raised more than $300 in February.
Caption: CCA students Josue Barrancas and Sade Smith show off one of their warehouse orders.
From left to right: Kelly Gaer, Credentials Evaluator; Christine Oliver, Graduation Processor; and Nicole Banks, Coordinator in the Concurrent Enrollment Department, celebrated Oliver’s last day at CCA with a going-away party on March 2. Oliver left CCA after four years to become self-employed.
Jonatan Hernandez, Upward Bound Advisor
Matthew Holland, Financial Aid Loan Advisor
Nelson Rodriguez, Director of Student Life