By Sergio Medina
Dr. Vivian Miranda, director of student success at Maricopa Community Colleges, suggested student success personnel partner with faculty in the classroom to further engage students academically.
She is one of four candidates for the open position of dean of student success at this college. The other candidates are Dr. Becky M. McBride, associate vice chancellor of student services at Fletcher Technical Community College; Dr. Valschkia L. Dabney, vice president of the American Business Women’s Association Greenspoint Chapter and Dr. Maria Oralia De Los Reyes, assistant dean at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Miranda spoke at an open forum before an audience of seven Oct. 3 in the Valor Room of the Victory Center.
When asked by Professor Bruce Davis what she has done in the past to contextualize student support into the classroom, Miranda responded with an example where finance was implemented into a math course.
“A good example is: Contextualized learning with things that matter to the student,” she said. “For example, we partnered with our math department, in our developmental-level math class, and I brought some curriculum for them that was based on financial aid; and so we integrated that into the classroom: Math problems that were about budget and how they spend their money.”
She continued with another example from when she was studying at Arizona State University.
She said she created a 32-page student success guide including student career development and various college-life aspects such as a list of clubs, activities and services.
“And so I worked with, I think there was 32 faculty, that took that student success guide and committed to spending 10 to 15 minutes in each class session for a five-week period so they could discuss real-life college experiences.
“What it did was: It increased their self-efficacy because they now had more information and they discussed it in a group setting so that they realized they weren’t alone.”
She shared her focus being placed on students.
“I have a philosophy that I’ve tried to share with all my team members, and that is: to put students first,” Miranda said. “Not only to put them first but to deliver our services with care, which basically means: talk to our students with respect, to encourage them and be an active listener.”
Miranda said stories from students may become repetitive in nature but should nonetheless be paid attention to.
“To them, them telling their story, it may be the first time they’ve ever had the courage to tell it,” she said.
She further spoke about the importance of faculty being properly represented in the hierarchy of the college.
“Faculty and staff senates on policies are really important,” she said. “As employees, we are more than willing to do what we do for students but we still want to be protected and heard and appreciated.”
Miranda obtained an Associate of Arts at Mesa Community College, a Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Adult Education and a Doctorate in Higher and Postsecondary Education and Leadership and Innovation at Arizona State University.
Bios for the dean of student success candidates can be found at https://www.alamo.edu/sac/calendar/2018/october/Dean-Open-Forums/
This college’s executive team are expected to submit a finalist to the board of trustees at the Oct. 16 board meeting at 201 W. Sheridan.
For more information, call Dr. Lisa Alcorta, vice president for academic success, at 210-486-0930.