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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

ACC Hosts Curriculum Conference

Alvin Community College hosted a conference on February 10 to provide local instructors in colleges and high schools with methods to improve classroom instruction.

The Across the Curriculum Conference featured several speakers on a variety of topics. Approximately 60 instructors attended the conference from local universities, community colleges and school districts.

“This new initiative is aimed to help the ACC faculty, students and staff as well as our ISDs partners and other colleges in the region to increase professional development opportunities and to foster an environment where they can discuss and share their best classroom practices and innovative ideas,” said Dr. Nadia Nazarenko, Dean of General Education and Academic Support.

Participants received three hours of professional development credit for attending the conference.

Some of the conference topics included student retention methods, increasing classroom engagement, teaching millennials, software applications and student development.

Lee College English instructor Jill Coe Gos held a seminar on working with millennial-age students in an era of ever increasing technology. Students now tend to want more direction in their assignments and interaction with their instructors, she said.

“They want that feedback,” she said. “You now have to be a much better planner. They are the largest generation of learners now.”

ACC Director of Academic Foundations and Learning Lab Dr. Patricia Konovalov discussed the importance of building relationships with students in order to increase retention rates.

The more students build connections with faculty, staff and other students, the more likely they are engaged and will complete their education, she said.

“Students need to feel a sense of belonging, wherever they are,” Konovalov said. “When you go the extra mile for them, they will work harder.”

Retention rates can also be increased by helping students understand the challenges of college life, identifying realistic goals and recognizing their accomplishments.

“All of these things are essential,” she said.

There was also a panel discussion during the conference which gave instructors a chance to speak with a group of students about the challenges they face in college. The students spoke about their own life obstacles as well as developing the personality traits they feel are needed to succeed such as stress management and time management.

One major adjustment is that “instructors leave everything up to you and they don’t watch over you,” ACC student Elisha Gambrell said. “It was a the self determination that was hard to conquer at first.”

ACC Paralegal student Jennifer Cazes said college was a major opportunity to get hands on-training for a profession.

“That prepares you for what happens in the real world,” she said.

The college plans to host similar events in the future to benefit area educators, Nazarenko said.

“We hope to offer even more workshops and presentations next year as this type of conference in not only one of the best resources for the faculty and staff, but also a great support for our ACC community and the college as we are working towards the ACC’s Strategic goal of providing ongoing professional development for our faculty and staff,” she said.



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