Student Services take part in Campus Community Forum on adapting to remote learning


Mesa Office of Communications

The Student Services building at Mesa College.

Walker Armstrong, Staff Writer

Students, faculty, and staff from the Mesa College Student Services department took part in a panel discussion at the bi-monthly Campus Community Forum on Sept. 8 hosted by Mesa College President Pamela Luster. 

The forum, moderated by the Dean of Student Success and Equity, Larry Maxey, was a discussion on how Mesa College’s Student Services department has continued to benefit and support students while adapting to a remote format.

“We had to rethink real quick,” Victoria Miller, the Dean of Student Affairs, explained. “It was a challenge.”

Both the topic and discussion placed a keen emphasis on the well-being of students and shed a spotlight on how specifically the Student Services department has acclimated to the changes and stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other cultural issues affecting the student and staff population at present.

According to the Vice President of Student Services, Ashanti Hands, a “call to action” was sent out to each department to address certain barriers that may affect specifically black students. Hands said that by Sept. 30 she expects to have “a smart goal” from each department regarding specific steps to addressing and removing barriers. 

“What we know is that what we do for one, we ultimately do for all,” said Hands. “So where we’re starting right now is our black students.” 

Other panelists cited the importance of technology in their ability to reach out and keep a connection with students. However, Ailene Crakes, Dean of Student Development, recognized that the oftentimes flawed modes of communication can be a burden on students. 

“In the past, we had face-to-face services where students can just stand and inquire at the counter about quick questions that they may have, but these days it’s taking a little bit longer as we return email exchanges,” Crakes said. 

Outreach Coordinator, Karla Trutna, explained that her team took on the task of reaching out to students who withdrew from the spring 2020 semester “personally, with a phone call.”

Claudia Estrada-Howell, the Transfer Center Supervisor, reported that the Career Counselor Coordinators created “career chat”, which Estrada-Howell said was a resource for students to come to the counselors and “vent.” 

Equally critical, Estrada-Howell said her department responded to the 60% decrease in employment among the student population by assisting with the effort of filling out unemployment paperwork. 

In another development, the Student Services online resources page, a joint effort on the part of multiple individuals in the Student Services department, allows for students to get in contact with counselors and other school resources, according to the President of the Classified Senate, Charlie Lieu.

A recording of the event can be viewed here, and any further questions or concerns can be answered and addressed by the Student Services department, here, who remain adamant about their unceasing support for the student population.

At this time, the date and time of the next Campus Community Forum has yet to be announced, however, updates are made daily at the Mesa College Facebook page.

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