By Cuauhtemotzin Hace
With an intention to improve the low transfer rates that has afflicted East Los Angeles College in recent history, the Department of Social Science has launched the John Delloro Program in Social Justice. It is designed for transferring students, and is the only academic program in the district that guarantees student transfer in two years.
The program was co-founded by Professors Eileen Ie and Michael Collin, who wanted to facilitate the transferring process for students at ELAC.
According to Eileen Ie, Director of the program, “Students who wish to transfer find that it is taking them longer than two years often because they are unable to enroll in the classes they need.”
By working with hand selected faculty that has collaborated so assignments and reading could be linked with each other, the program has not used funding from the school and instead has combined already existing courses.
“The classes are not new but the way we combined them is what makes them unique,” Ie said.
The program consists of peer learning communities and follows a cohort model where students take classes together.
This intimate approach offers socially conscious individuals an opportunity to complete a pre-planned program as a group.
Three rotating cohort tracks are offered that are dedicated to Social Justice: Labor and Working People, Environmental Policy, and Public Art.
“Students studying sociology, social work, ethnic studies, environmental science, political science and history will find that this program serves many of their needs,” Ie said.
Building community in their own neighborhood is an integral part of the program, and students are encouraged to become engaged in the world around them while they gain the tools to be successful in academia.
A mentorship program run by former ELAC students who have moved on to four year universities, contributes to the success of the tight knit community.
Pavitee Peumsang, a student mentor in the program, believes that we can all achieve our goals with the help of others. During her time at ELAC, Pavitee became inspired by professors to “engage in research examining college access and equity among underrepresented ethnic minority students, specifically community college students.”
The two-year thematic program is allied with four-year institutions including University of California Los Angeles, University of California Santa Barbara, University of California Berkeley, California State University Dominguez Hills, California State University Northridge, City University of New York, and University of Southern California.
Completion of the program ensures an AA degree in two years and transfer readiness. To be eligible for the program students must have completed English 101 and Math 125, as well as culminate 2.7 GPA.
The program is named in honor of renowned labor and immigrant rights activist John Delloro, who died of a heart attack on June 5, 2010. Delloro was the national president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, a UCLA instructor and executive director of the Dolores Huerta Labor Institute since 2006.
As executive director of The Dolores Huerta institute, he worked to expand labor studies in all nine campuses of the Los Angeles Community College District.
The deadline for fall 2015 is July 2.