Faculty, staff appreciate diversity, collegiate atmosphere

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Instructors talked about the satisfaction of watching students progress.


Faculty and staff interviewed Jan. 25 explained why they chose to work at this college and suggestions for improvement.

Linda Hughes Peterson, computer information systems program adjunct, has been teaching at this college since 2009.

After retiring from USAA, where she was a programmer, systems analyst and project manager, Peterson knew she wanted to “teach college and play golf.”

She enjoys helping students get an education that will help them get good jobs and “share a career that has been absolutely wonderful to me.”

Peterson said some of the metrics used to judge her effectiveness as a teacher are “not meaningful,” when administrators measure specific factors out of her control, such as student participation in an online class.

Amanda Graef

Dance Adjunct Kellie Prinzing has been a dancer all her life.

Prinzing loves to teach and has studied teaching at Northwest Vista College.

Prinzing started working for the Alamo Colleges in the fall. She teaches ballet, jazz and modern dance.

“I love to see students progressing in dance,” Prinzing said.

Prinzing said she is excited about the new parking garage being built, and she wants the college to create classes for more dance genres.

Prinzing also thinks that no one should be ashamed about attending a community college and Alamo Colleges provides opportunities for a better future.

Ronald “Ronnie” Watson, coordinator of the theater program, has been here since August 2005.

He is in charge of directing shows, acting and teaching courses in stage building and makeup.

He is also the Drama Club sponsor and is in charge of the scheduling of productions.

“I was a high school teacher and came here because it’s really an opportunity to move up and take a higher step,” he said. “The college has a good reputation across the state, and students can transfer easily.”

To make his job easier, Watson would like the administration to help students easily transfer credits and core courses to universities.

“Course and credit transferring to four-year institutions would be good, instead of the students restarting the program once they get there,” he said.

History Professor Sean Duffy has taught at here since 2009.

Duffy said he loves the college because it has a university-type atmosphere during the day.

Duffy teaches U.S. and world history in-person and online.

“I love the students and the diversity among the students at the college,” he said. “Seeing that the campus infrastructure is improving is definitely a positive.”

What he would like to see improved is updating computers and technology for students.

Roxanne Cortez, student learning assistance center supervisor, started working at this college at the end of fall 1997.

Cortez got the job after working on an internship as part of her degree plan.

Cortez was later asked to stay on part time.

Her job today consists of taking care of paperwork and scheduling for faculty and staff.

To improve her job, she would like to work more hours.

“I wouldn’t mind 25 hours,” she said.

She works 19 hours a week.

What she likes best about the college is the variety of the people she meets.

“It’s very diverse here,” she said. “I have met a lot of people here. Some have passed on. I like meeting new people.”

English Professor Donna Duke-Koelfgen started working at this college in 1996.

Duke-Koelfgen wanted to work here because of the student diversity and the “university-like setting.”

She said that buildings and departments enhance the feeling of this college being a university.

Duke-Koelfgen’s favorite part of working here is the students and their backgrounds. Since her students come from various places around the city and country, they end up teaching her about locations previously unknown to her, such as the San Antonio River Walk.

Because Duke-Koelfgen is an English professor, she has noticed her composition and English classes have been taking a hit in enrollment.

This is because students can take a humanities class instead of an English class for some transfer advising guides, she said.

Koelfgen said she would like to see the college having more English courses in degree plans.

Deborah A. Middleton, senior coordinator of services for women and non-traditional students, has always had a passion for helping student excel past their expectations.

“I have always wanted to help students rise to their full potential,” she said. Moving to San Antonio in 1999, Middleton said this college was the perfect choice for an employer.

“I wanted to be in a work environment to work with both students and the community,” she said. “San Antonio College is the perfect place to combine both.”

Middleton coordinates a GED-to-college program.

“I love to see how a student can transform through education,” she said. “To see them grow and achieve things that they may have not thought they were capable of is truly amazing.”

Middleton said she would like to see a change in the demographics this college markets to.

“I would love to see more focus on adult education and nontraditional populations,” she said.

Pauline Aguilera started her part-time position in human resource management this semester.

She worked in HR as work-study before she graduated from this college in spring 2018.

“The college is very flexible with my hours, allowing me to attend full time at Incarnate Word,” she said.

Parking is a concern with Aguilera. She comes in early to ensure a parking spot near the nursing and allied complex where she works.

Melanie Bautista, team lead of general merchandise at the college bookstore, will enter her sixth year of employment with the bookstore in August.

Bautista, who had been a student at the college for eight years, came back to work here for the environment.

“I love the experience of college,” she said. “I want to treat students like part of the family. Especially with what we have here with the associates, it feels like a big family.”

As team lead of general merchandise, Bautista places orders for food, drinks, school supplies and school apparel and pays attention to the detail of every product in inventory.

“The police academy apparel takes time to process because the emblems on them are hand-stitched, so we want students to be mindful of that when they order in advance,” Bautista noted.

She also pointed out the stocks of Band-aids and other over-the-counter medical products.

“We want this place to be almost like a convenience store. If you’re sick, we have cold medicine.”

“My No. 1 part of the job is the customers. When I see them come in, I ask their name and we create a bond. I say hello to the students and try to see what I can do to make their semester more easygoing,” she said.

Bautista wishes that the bookstore could be more well-known around campus, especially among new students.

Because of its placement in the basement of Loftin Student Center, the bookstore is often ignored during new student orientations, leaving new students unaware of the location, Bautista said.

Steve Ochoa, coordinator of the math lab, started working at this college in 2007 and was a student here in the early 1970s.

What Ochoa likes best about working here is the students and his staff.

He had time to experience the corporate world prior to working here, but he wanted to find more meaning in the work he was doing.

Ochoa would like to see communication between departments improve. That would help teach students more efficiently, he said.

Students needing help with math can find Ochoa in the math lab in Rooms 121 and 124 in McCreless Hall.

The lab’s hours are 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

The math lab offers help in English, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi and French.  

Breonica Broussard, Sandy Cordell, Julian Gonzales, Marlon Anthony Juarez, Sarah F. Morgan, Alberto Ramirez, Katelyn Louise Silva, Michael Smith, Isacc Tavares and Samantha Woodward contributed to this story.


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