Chase Charaba, Online and Social Media Manager
Pierce College now requires new students to take COLLG110 during their first or second quarter.
COLLG110, a college success course worth three or five credits, is designed to help new students transition into college. The class explores skills such as financial literacy, reading strategies, brain plasticity and time management.
“It’s all part of what you call Achieving the Dream, which is a big picture goal that Pierce has bought into,” Mike Peluso, educational adviser, said. “Hopefully, the bottom line is students’ achievement and experience at the college level is better than before. [Studies] have found out that there are way too many students coming into college who are not prepared for the basic skills that college requires.”
Achieving the Dream, a national organization that Pierce College is part of, helped to lead the college to focus more on student success, prompting the college to look into COLLG110.
“Last year Pierce College was actually named as a leader college within that group, and we were named a leader college faster than any other institution has been recognized, so we’ve been part of this group for a couple of years,” Amber Baillon, assistant professor & coordinator of College Success, said. “It’s a national organization that’s focused on student success at community colleges, so they’re really looking at data that can help institutions make good decisions to support students.”
Baillon says that when Pierce College joined Achieving the Dream, it connected the district with “coaches” who come to both campuses to help make decisions and analyze data.
COLLG110 was introduced in 2012 with the intention of eventually becoming a required course. Baillon was named the assistant professor and coordinator of college success in 2014 to allow the college district to prepare for making the class mandatory during summer quarter 2015.
“(The district) knew they wanted this class to become a core piece of achieving your education here at campus, so they created a dedicated 10-year track position, which is my role,” Baillon said. “I’m in the second year of my tenure process, and I think that really shows Pierce College’s commitment to student success: that they’ve created a new faculty role to oversee this new program.”
Students who don’t enroll in COLLG110 within seven days of the start of second quarter will have their schedule altered to meet the requirement, according to an official Pierce email. In addition, students who fail the course are required to retake it.
Many students feel that this requirement is wrong because they could use the credits for a different class essential for their degree.
“I don’t really think it should be a requirement, especially for people like me that have worked hard on knowing how to study and really just how to succeed in college, which is what the college success class is,” student Amber Lowe said. “I really think that it should be optional.”
Peluso said students should give the class a chance because they might learn something about themselves or their professors that will help them be successful in college.
“School requires an open mind; if you go into school closed minded, it doesn’t work,” Peluso said. “An open mind is one of the most crucial qualities a student needs to have to succeed in college.”
Students wishing to opt out of taking COLLG110 have a few options. According to the COLLG110 policy approved by the Learning Council June 3, students who transfer to Pierce with at least 30 credits or a college degree don’t have to take the class. Students earning a certificate with fewer than 25 credits also don’t need to take the course.
An exemption can also be granted for other reasons if students request one through the Director of Advising and Entry Services Christine McMullin in the Student Success office.
Peluso said the class is important for all students to take and should be required.
“People who start off, right by the get-go saying, ‘I don’t need this class, I’m not going to get anything out of this’, they may be the ones who need it the most,” Peluso said.
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