Ranges relit: Culinary classes return for summer

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San Diego Mesa College

Culinary professors and students work from home.

Ava Moslehi, Staff Writer

With classes being online for the remainder of the semester, many are struggling. How are culinary classes handling this challenge?

It comes as no surprise that culinary students and professors are having a hard time since the transition online. With most culinary classes requiring actual cooking and baking as part of their criteria, quarantine can make that a bit difficult. 

According to Thomas Adams, a Mesa culinary arts professor, “The real problem is, my class is a lab class. The students can learn the book part of the class online, however, you cannot learn the hands-on techniques in baking or cooking without being in the kitchen.” Although Zoom has got the class covered when it comes to learning out of the book, the lab is not the same. Tonya Whitfield, another Mesa culinary arts professor says, “Lab classes are extremely difficult to teach online. Our program does not have enough equipment to pass out to every student.” So, how are students completing the lab segment of their classes?

According to Whitfield, “We are returning June 22 to finish seven weeks. Only the lab students are returning. It is very hard to complete competencies through Zoom. We have 85 students in lab classes. They were all excited to be able to return.” That being said, safety is still a number one priority. Currently, faculty are working hard to make sure that the classrooms are sanitized and strict guidelines are being set into place to ensure the safety of all who are returning.

There has also been a fallout in students attending class since the transition online. Both professors have experienced a drop in the number of students attending class and there have even been a few that have dropped the class. 

However, for the students continuing class, faculty and staff are working hard to provide the resources needed to help them continue their education. They are making themselves available to students for any problems they might be facing, not just class-related problems. They are making sure to put in the effort needed to care of the students’ health, whether it be food, internet, or any other resources a student would need during this difficult time. The staff wants to make sure their students know that they are here for them and will support them.

Although attendance plays a big role in the grading process, there is more to it than that. These professors recognize that the current situation at hand plays a big role in the students’ participation and are taking that into consideration when it comes to grading. Whitfield further explains, “Attendance is more than just being in a seat to us. Its participation, coming to class ready to learn, prepared by reading and demonstrating some fundamental knowledge from the outside assignments.”

Both the culinary staff and students have found a way to push through this difficult time. Although it is not ideal, they are making the best of it.

During this confusing and difficult time, it is important that we recognize the work and dedication that students, faculty, and staff are doing in order to keep things moving.