Over the summer months, the Academic Learning Center (ALC) worked at making their workshops online friendly and developing how-to videos for students. Their how-to video topics range from how to access the ALC’s Blackboard page to how to start an online session. The team has put in a great amount of time and hard work ensuring that students are able to continue to seamlessly use the ALC and all its resources.
On Aug. 24, Student Development Services launched their first ever virtual TCC Northwest Navigators. The first few days of classes can be arduous for students, and that is where Navigators step in. Through the years, the Navigators have been made up of students, faculty and staff, who help guide students to their appropriate venue. In the digital medium, Navigators did not slow down. They kept pace by offering a live virtual platform for students to ask their immediate questions to a real person. By remaining open during the first week of the Fall 2020 semester, they were able to navigate nearly 300 students to success.
Starting in August 2020, the Academic Foundations team created Tech Tea Time Tuesdays to meet, discuss and experiment with technology for their classes. They use this time to roleplay as an instructor and as a student for each other. This allows them the time and space to see how different technology tools and pedagogical practices work before trying it with students. Roleplaying as students gives them the student view of these strategies, which is a key component of being Student Ready. In November 2020, the Academic Foundations team shared this practice (and favorite tips) with a group of almost 200 TCC Northwest faculty and staff at a Student Success Showcase presentation.
On Aug. 5, the coordinator of PTECH and CTE Innovation for Crowley ISD, Daryl Porter, brought a team to CEATL for a tour and meeting with Dean Clint Grant and his team. Crowley ISD is working directly with the TCC Aviation Maintenance Technology and Logistics and Supply Chain Management programs in establishing CTE dual credit opportunities.
During the fall semester, speech faculty, led by club sponsors Stephen Bailey and Ava Jenkins, along with the TCC Northwest Communication Association club members, are working together to help students overcome COVID-19 related anxiety, isolation and depression. Virtual club meetings focused on a variety of topics and open discussions designed to offer our students a safe place of community and connection. Faculty and guest speakers were lined up to facilitate these weekly communication sessions, which steered students to a more positive mindset as well as allowing lots of time to just talk. Some of the weekly topics included: The Science of Friendship, Virtual Animal/Pet Therapy, Mindfulness Meditation and the Power of Gratitude.
On Aug. 5, registration opened for TCC Northwest’s Virtual Senior Education Program, which offers a variety of course topics from current events and history to arts and crafts and recreation for individuals aged 55 and older. The program traditionally is held in person and coordinated on each campus with Senior Advisory Councils through Community Education and Engagement (CEE). Given the current circumstances with COVID-19, our Senior Education Council, volunteer instructors and CEE staff are piloting the first ever Virtual Senior Education Program, which will serve more than 260 students. We would like to recognize our amazing students, volunteer instructors, Senior Education Council and program staff. This would not have been possible without their hard work, enthusiasm and commitment to the community.
On Sept. 23, TCC Northwest held an awareness event for the Texas Standing Tall Grant, which the Campus received this year from the State. The purpose of this $4,500 grant is to raise awareness about the risks of alcohol and promote a safer and healthier campus community. The virtual event was attended by 321 students who also completed an initial survey. Ultimately, 45 of those students opted to visit with a staff member to further discuss their drinking behavior. Advising and Counseling, Student Accessibility Resources, Health Services, the Transfer Center and the Veteran Resource Center supported this program.
The High School Equivalency (HSE) Program enrolled 19 students in an online eight-week HSE (48) exam prep course, which was in session August 24 to October 15. Currently, two additional online eight-week HSE (48) exam prep courses are in session, October 19 to December 16 with 13 and 14 students enrolled respectively. Prior to the eight-week sessions commencing, three face-to-face orientation sessions and six Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE) exam dates were facilitated in addition to the Professional Certification Testing Center’s regular operational schedule with Dr. Zarina Blankenbaker’s approval. Orientation sessions included Saturday, September 26 with 22 students, Saturday, October 3 with 24 students, and Thursday, November 5 with 25 students. TABE exam dates included Thursday evenings October 1, October 8, November 12 and Saturday mornings October 3, October 10, and November 7. With Dr. Blankenbaker’s approval, one additional face-to-face orientation session is scheduled Saturday, December 5 with 21 students thus far and two TABE test dates include Thursday evening, December 10 and Saturday, December 12.
Throughout the semester, a group of administrative support staff rotated through the Centralized Student Support Services area in WHPE on Fridays. This group greeted students who came to the Campus on Fridays looking for support and provided them with information as to how to connect with resources online or when to come back when in-person support will be provided. Big thanks to Michelle Gasca, Rita Anderson, Barbara Solorzano, Crystal Ledet, Christine Rivera, Jennifer Cargill and Stacy Yue.
From Oct. 12 through 18, Emily Johnson-Boyd, adjunct instructor of dance, displayed her choreography through an event hosted by Texas State University. The event was called Opening Door Dance Theatre: A Virtual Homecoming. Johnson-Boyd’s work is titled “Sisters” and can be accessed via the Texas State Presents website.
In October, Frederick Spaulding, associate professor of art, and Trish Igo, professor of art, were awarded a $25,000 Development Grant from the 60x30TX Open Educational Resources (OER) Grant Program. The grant will allow them to create an OER for Art Appreciation courses, which will be of great benefit to TCC students. Professors Spaulding and Igo will be working with Walsh Library staff as well as faculty and staff from TCC Connect to develop an enduring resource platform. They also will be collaborating with art faculty from every TCC campus, as well as several state and four-year institutions to create a flexible public resource and supplemental active learning curricula for instructors. With thanks to the wonderful TCC Grants Office, Pamela Quinn, Judith Gallagher, Zarina Blankenbaker, the Walsh Library staff and everyone else who has joined or supported the effort, Professors Spaulding and Igo are excited to make something awesome and free for TCC students and for students throughout the District and State.
On Oct. 7, Student Activities began hosting their annual Hispanic Heritage Month events, all in a virtual format. They had a total of four events that took place every week. The first event was called Recipes of Hispanic Heritage, exploring recipes from different Hispanic cultures. The second event was a Hispanic Heritage themed decoration contest where students were asked to submit photos of themselves with their decorations. The third event was the History of Hispanic Heritage, focusing on the historical background of Hispanic Heritage as well as Hispanic heroes in American history. The last event was called 800 Kilometers to Santiago and was led by guest speaker Alejandro Garza, associate professor of Spanish. Professor Garza has an incredible background in travel and spoke about his experience during his Santiago pilgrimage. These events had a total estimated attendance of more than 60 people.
On Oct. 14, TCC Northwest hosted Pathways Exploration Day sponsored by the Humanities Division, a virtual event designed to help students clarify their path, get on a path, and stay on a path to student success. Advisors, academic departments, universities and employers along with representatives from the Transfer Center and Career Services were on hand to assist approximately 40 students who attended. In the past this event has been held on Campus; it was modified for a virtual format through Blackboard Collaborate this year. The planning team was led by Tina Ross and members included Rachelle Alvarez Montero, Stephen Bailey, Lupe Camacho, Cassie Fennel, Zachary Frohlich, Alejandro Garza, Carol Hunsberger, Ava Jenkins, Leslie Johnson, Christina Martinez, Tracy Williams and Weatherly Williams.
On Oct. 29, six students, who were chosen from an essay contest about Immigration Journeys, joined our virtual panel to read their original essays to an audience of 43 students, faculty and staff. During this 90-minute session (currently available to view on YouTube) moderated by Alejandro Garza, the audience also heard from three TCC Northwest faculty who shared their own inspirational and educational stories about immigration. This event was born out of TCC Northwest’s common reader book, The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henríquez. This contemporary novel shares the experiences of immigrant families as they search for the meaning of “home.”
Student participants and essay titles:
Maried Toro Bonilla, “Between the Lone Star State and Borinquen”
Suyeon Kwon, “My Second Home Country”
Selina Asare, “Immigration to America”
Sooa Pyo, “The True Meaning of Home”
Hyun Park, “Daring Adventure”
Maria Hollingsworth, “My Story”
Alejandro Garza – Moderator
Mayra Fuentes – Panelist
Daiju Hoshino – Panelist
Jesús Gonzalez – Panelist
On Oct. 30, Student Activities hosted a virtual version of their annual Literacy Walk for students at WJ Turner Elementary School. Every year, TCC Northwest welcomes the kindergartners from WJ Turner Elementary the Friday before Halloween. Different departments host booths for the kids to play counting and letter games for candies and treats. This year, Student Activities decided to host the event in the virtual space. To do this, Student Activities created a webpage to display all the activities, videos and live sessions for the kids to visit. Several departments contributed to the virtual activities, which included live book readings, live letter games, pre-recorded activities (songs, readings, dances) and printable coloring pages. Teachers helped 100 students navigate the different activities and the students were very excited to participate in the fun. No Halloween event would be complete without treats, so Student Activities pre-packaged 100 goody bags for the students and dropped them off at the school for distribution. WJ Turner Elementary has been a partner of TCC Northwest for more than nine years.