Trustees Applaude New Title V Grant

El Vaqiero Features Editor

The college has been awarded a new Title V Grant to help improve the access and success of low-income students. This was just one of several important topics covered at Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

The new Title V Grant will give $575 thousand a year for the next five years.

Scot Spicer, the Associate Dean of Instructional Services, and Cathy Durham, the Title V Grant Director, gave an informational presentation on the intent and benefits that this grant, which begins October 1, will give low-income students as well as the college.

The goal for this grant, according to Durham, is to “enhancelearning communities.”

The learning community will be an outreach program to High School students, to hopefully help ‘at risk’ students to not only go to college but to also stay once they get here.

The program will have four linked classes, Math, English, Student Development and Social Science. This will be a block schedule and the students, in the program, would take all classes together for their entire first year with guaranteed enrollment and class schedules.

Extra items that will be put to the test in the future for the learning communities, to see if they work, will be a dedicated space for these students so they can socialize together. There will also be help getting the students jobs and internships in and around campus. Special field trips to universities may be offered to the students.

“Essentially the model [of learning communities] says that community colleges can create in an environment, whereby the experiences of students will make them more likely to stay,” said Spicer.

The benefits that go towards the students, according to the presentation, were that students will feel connected and supported; they will be able to learn through teamwork and feel pride and accomplishment.

GCC faculty will have some benefits as well. They will have “morale-boosting satisfaction of helping an increased number of students learn, persist and succeed.”

A pilot program will begin next fall with 90 students. They will compare the success of the participants in this program to those who are not in it. They expect a higher rate of success from those who are participating compared to those who are not. Students involved should have a higher level of transfer readiness, student engagement and student satisfaction according to Durham.

Other pertinent issues covered in the meeting were the lowering of enrollment fees beginning Winter semester, the nursing program receiving numerous $1000 scholarships and Nidal Kobaissi saying goodbye to his position as president of GCC’s California School Employees Association.

Beginning the Winter 2007, semester enrollment fees will be dropped $6, bringing the price down to $20 per unit. This was a decision that was unanimously agreed to by the board.

Cynthia Dorroh, Associate Dean of Health Sciences Division, spoke of GCC’s student nurses. Twenty-three of 33 students were awarded $1000 scholarships by St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

“We’re very proud of them,” said Dorroh

According to Dorroh the criteria for the scholarships, “were academic achievement.”

“We [the nursing department] filled out lots of forms-our students do participate in service learning, so they all had plenty of health care involvement to include,” said Dorroh.

Dorroh also mentioned that those awarded needed to possess “enthusiasm or a passion for nursing.”

“We of course, believe that our students are the most enthusiastic of them all,” she said.

Nidal Kobaissi’s time as president of GCC’s California School Employees Association has come to an end. He has been promoted to a management position within the organization.

Saodat Aziskhanova has taken his seat at the Board of Trustees meeting as well as his vacant position as president.

Kobaissi was awarded a pen set with his name engraved on it by Audre Levy, president/superintendent of GCC. He was also awarded a plaque by Aziskhanova, along with a blue toy light saber, to help him on the other side.

“In the close to ten years that I’ve been on the board, your [Kobaissi’s] period of leadership has really been, I believe, the best for your union,” said Victor King, member of the Board of Trustees as well as the elected clerk.

Aziskhanova was welcomed by all members of the board and she in turn expressed her happiness at being a member of the team. “This is a great place to work and an exciting time to be here.”