Why I Attend ACC and Joined Phi Theta Kappa

Camila Monroe, ACC studentNowadays, we hear everywhere about the importance of diversity; community colleges are the most diverse academic population anyone will be able to find. A quick walk around our school will illustrate that: we find overachieving high schoolers, coming back students, young adults pursuing a new career, international students, Hispanics, people of color, LGBTQ activists, Republicans and Democrats, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers…and the list goes on. The differences in backgrounds, race, gender, political affiliation and age make community colleges the environment that we would like to see along the streets. It’s an environment where all of that diversity comes together to learn. Of course big universities might also offer that variety, but in community colleges that is a sure thing; one of the reasons is that nearly every person can afford that kind of education.

Which brings me to another point: we are at school because we want to – not because our parents do. We sign up for classes because we truly expect to learn, and to apply that obtained knowledge as soon as possible, whether it is towards a job or higher levels of education. We are goal-oriented students, and we will persevere in the journey towards that goal.

I joined PTK to become the VP of Honors in Action (HiA), a position that combined two things that I have a passion for: research and community service. I started my project that summer, and I have learned and grew so much ever since. I have had experiences with community service and journalism back in my home country of Brazil, doing something similar in a completely different language and culture was beyond challenging. But I succeeded, and as a consequence I started to engage more and more every day.

The success of that project made me thirsty for more; more friends than those amazing ones I had met at PTK, more outreach of my ideas on how we could improve our community, more ways to be part of my school beyond showing up and getting good grades. After my award-winning HiA, I joined many clubs, became a chemistry, biology and economics tutor at ACC, joined the Colorado Space Grant Program, and, finally, became president of student government and of our PTK chapter. I believe PTK is not only for those who were born ready, who had all resources available; it is also an honor society for those who overcame obstacles, who do not ignore, but recognize and even celebrate their imperfections. Those are the hard-working students, who understand that a leader is not born, but built, slowly, as a consequence of the never-ending process of bettering ourselves.

by Camila Monroe

Strengthening Student Success

As the semesters and years move forward, it appears that student needs increase. More and more often, instructors are addressing learning issues beyond direct course content. I would like to take one teaching strategy, and use that as an example of how to better work with today’s student.

A promising teaching strategy connects to the benefits of reading fiction. The following was taken from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, April 7, 2014: Recent neuro-scientific research posted in the New York Times reveals that reading stories with detailed descriptions and complicated plots written in an evocative and emotional language full of metaphors and other figures of speech does stimulate the brain and even change how we react in life. Researchers from Emory University discovered, through a series of brain scans done on a number of subjects that brains respond differently to metaphors. For instance, when subjects read a metaphor that involved texture, the sensory cortex (that part of the brain responsible for perceiving texture through touch) became active. In two other studies published in 2006 and 2009, Drs. Oatley and Mar found that “individuals who frequently read fiction seem to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them, and see the world from their perspective.”

I am a Learning Disabilities Specialist. The research cited above was posted by Lindamood-Bell in December 2014; Lindamood-Bell is an agency that works with children and adults with learning disabilities (LD). Whether you have a student with a learning disability, any disability, or no disability, this teaching strategy of using metaphors and other figures of speech is beneficial for all.

Regardless of the content you teach, this instructional technique can be used in most courses. Stronger students become more successful students, which creates an improvement in classroom climate! And for those working within ACC but not in the classroom, metaphorical language can be added into a conversation with a student. Just watch their thinking enlarge.

Interested in knowing more about learning issues? Please view this brief LD Podcast that is housed on ACC’s website.

Maureen Rafferty
Student Access Services Specialist

“Plunking” with ACC President Diana Doyle

Several times each month, Arapahoe Community College President Dr. Diana Doyle embarks upon her “plunking” rounds; heading out amongst the students to talk with them about their paths to ACC, experiences at the College, and aspirations for the future.

What a great start we’ve had to the new academic year. One of the enjoyable aspects of beginning a new year is getting to meet some of the first-time students at ACC. They come to us from diverse backgrounds, with varied goals for attending our college. What they do have in common is a desire to attain their career goals, increase their personal development, and improve their future lives. I always admire their enthusiasm, dedication and tenacity to be successful. It’s my pleasure to share just a sampling of some of the inspiring new students at ACC.

Susan, in her mid-30s, is attending college for the first time. Having had her children early in life, she says they are now all in school so it’s time for her to attend school, too! She wants to serve as a positive role model for them by completing an associate degree and then going on for a bachelor’s degree, hopefully in one of the business areas.

Jim is an 18-year-old skateboarder from Parker who is the first in his family to attend college. He hopes to start his own business someday and knows that he has a lot to learn about how to get there successfully. A social guy, he likes that ACC already has had some student activities and events this term.

Sarina took a year off after graduating high school to work in a clothing store. She quickly realized that she wants more for herself in the future, and is excited to be enrolled at ACC. She exclaims, “It’s a new beginning for me!”

Byron describes himself as “just an average guy who is an average student”. He knows that in order to reach his goal of becoming a scientist, he needs to be a better student – and that’s why he came to ACC.

All students at ACC, whether new or returning, have a compelling story about where they’ve come from and where they hope to be someday. Each of them has individual reasons for selecting ACC as the college to help them with that journey.

by Diana M. Doyle, Ph.D., President, Arapahoe Community College

Welcome to the College Diversity & Inclusivity Project!

I’d like to share some exciting news about a site license that Arapahoe Community College purchased called Kurzweil 3000. This software is FREE to all students, staff, and faculty. Kurzweil 3000 can meet the needs of English Language Learners by offering multi-sensory support, opportunities to hear authentic text across all subject areas, pronunciation and vocabulary instruction, fluency training, multiple exposures to the same text, note-taking features that improve comprehension, writing and proofreading, and independent access to material. The translation features in text or audio have a plethora of language options. If you would like to be registered to use this software on your computer, please contact eLearning by calling 303.797.5080 or emailing elearning@arapahoe.edu.

How To videos: https://www.kurzweiledu.com/help/how-to-videos/how-to-videos.html.
Using Technology as a Solution for English Language Learners in Higher Education White Paper: https://www.kurzweiledu.com/files/kurzweil-3000-ell-higher-ed.pdf.

Enthusiastically,

Rachel Weir
Disability Services, Assistant Director
College Diversity & Inclusivity Project, Chair