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The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

DVC instructors go back to school

Forty DVC professors will “go back to school” June 1-3 to learn how to better educate students lacking in basic academic skills. 

The “Student Success Workshop” will also include follow-up workshops and seminars in the fall, said Patrick Leong, a DVC English instructor and co-coordinator of the college’s Foundation for College Success (FCS) committee.  

The committee of faculty, staff and managers helps to implement a statewide initiative aimed at improving students’ reading and critical thinking skills, as well as their ability to properly conduct research across all disciplines of study, Leong said. 

According to Leong, DVC defines basic skills as “those foundation skills in reading, writing, mathematics, and English as a Second Language, as well as learning skills and study skills, which are necessary for students to succeed in college-level work.”   

“We realized that most students may assess at basic skills, but DVC’s criteria isn’t meeting the [standard],” Leong said of the discrepancy between DVC’s Basic Skills programs and the guidelines set by the state chancellor’s office and the California Community College Association. 

The workshop will also focus on how to address the current generation.  

Faculty attendees will learn how to use the technology and social networking that is so prominent among the younger generation, whom Leong referred to as the “Millenials.”   

“We are asking, what are the characteristics of the Millenials’ generation?” Leong said. “Who are our Basic Skills students?” 

Lisa Orta, head of a task force that has come out of the FCS to coordinate the Student Success Workshop, said the task force is inviting new faculty members to the conference first before opening the invitation to other instructors.  

There are a total of 40 spots, and if faculty members attend the summer conference and the series of fall workshops, they will be able to get upper division credit through the college, Orta said.  

So far, instructors from counseling, business, art, foreign language, speech, and math departments have registered for the workshop, which fits with the aim of the committee to apply the instruction to all disciplines of study, Orta explained. 

For the first two days, instructors from the Reading Apprenticeship program, a California-based program that organizes an approach for teachers to help students understand reading comprehension for all subjects, will lead the faculty through seminars.  

On the third day, Nancy Ybarra, an English instructor at Los Medanos College, will guide teachers through a research project so they can learn the Reading Apprenticeship approach in helping students.  

“It is a way to share with students how people who are experts in a particular discipline go about reading and understanding materials in that discipline,” Ybarra said of the program.  

“For example, the way mathematicians read a math textbook is very different from the way a historian reads books and articles about history.” 

When the workshops continue in the fall, one will be hosted by the Reading Apprenticeship program and the others by Ybarra.  

“We want help with teaching, creating, assessing and designing our curriculum,” Orta said.  

“We want to learn more about teaching our students with an eye on success.” 

Contact Annie Sciacca at [email protected] 


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About the Contributor
Annie Sciacca, Editor-in-chief
Co-editor-in-chief, fall 2010.

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DVC instructors go back to school