By Gustavo Buenrostro
Students’ lack of foundation and the problems they face during college was the main topic at the lecture for the Adelante Program’s first Social Justice Plactica Thursday.
The speaker of the event was Dr. Nancy Acevedas-Gil, assistant professor at Cal State San Bernardino and was presented by the Adelante first-year program.
“The goal (of the Social Justice Plactica’s) is to expose the campus to a different knowledge base, to assure that scholars get access to different ways of thinking outside of the class,” said Dr. Vanessa Ochoa, associate dean of Student Services.
Ochoa got the idea to organize the Placticas from UCLA, where she says there is a communal cultural wealth, which is the idea that communities of color have great knowledge and assets to offer.
“Using that mindframe (communal cultural wealth), working with my student worker Joe Gama, we talked about how to begin to engage with that communal cultural wealth. So one way was to establish the Social Justice Plactica series,” said Ochoa.
Acevedas-Gil spoke about the pathways that students go through to either transfer out of community college, or get a degree.
She says that the pathways are perceived as linear. A student goes to a community college for two years and is able to transfer to a four-year college after those two years. This is not, however, what ends up happening.
Students stay at a community college longer because they are stuck in developmental classes.
Acevedas-Gil said that developmental classes are borderlands, or blocks, that keep students at community college longer.
She said that students have trouble moving up the levels to be college ready because of a lack of resources.
Acevedas-Gil presented data that is seven years old and said it’s more than likely that the numbers could have changed by now.
In English developmental classes, three out of 100 students will be four levels below college English, 14 will be three levels below, 32 will be two and 51 will be one and 36 out of those 100 students will complete transfer level English, according to the Community College Chancellor’s office.
In math, 14 out of 100 will be four levels below college level, 27 will be three, 32 will be two levels and 26 will be one level down.
Out of those 100, only 17 will pass transfer-level math.
She asks why it is that students are not placing higher in their assessment test. She said that answer may be that in K-12, students have a lack of resources.
Gama, a student-worker for Adelante, said that one reason for students not placing higher in high school is because students are moved up a grade level, whether they know the material or not.
Acevedas-Gil presented examples of a study done on students who were in developmental classes and their experiences.
Study subject Denise said that it was difficult to approach her professor because she would make students feel bad for not knowing how to do something.
She gave the example of the time her professor was asked by another student how to use a calculator and the professor got frustrated with the student saying, “It’s right there. Just do it.”
Acevedas-Gil said that a good way for students to move forward in the developmental classes is by spreading the word for “good” professors, who will take the time to fully explain something the student doesn’t know how to do.
Another way is for students to know what obstacles lie ahead of them and see how they can navigate through them.
The Social Justice Plactica is one of many events planned by Adelante and their first-year program.
There will be a total of five Social Justice Placticas and if students attend all of them, they will receive a Social Justice certificate.
The lectures will also be livestreamed on the Facebook and Instagram pages at AdelanteFYE.
The next Social Justice Plactica will be October 25 at the G3-Foyer.