Letter to the editor
Full-time licensed professional counselors (LPCs) have been part of the WCC landscape for many years and have a multifaceted skill set providing counseling services to students on a regular basis. All LPCs in Counseling and Career Planning, the Student Resource & Women’s Center and divisional counselors strive to provide the very best wellness care, assisting students to meet their academic needs.
Since 1988, LPCs have been recognized in the state of Michigan as mental health clinicians through the counselor licensure law and are regulated by federal and state laws that define our scope of practice. At WCC we are also trained in confidential reporting, participate in Psychological Emergency Procedure (PEP or At-Risk Team) assisting students in crisis, and we will play a primary role in the upcoming Behavioral Intervention Team.
All counselors at WCC are committed to assisting students in achieving academic and personal success. We understand that life gets complicated at times and various issues can impact students’ academic success. Full-time WCC counselors are available to meet with students on an individual basis to provide personal counseling services for a variety of concerns. From time to time, counselors make appropriate community referrals to best suit student needs.
Mission of the college
Our college strives to make a positive difference in people’s lives through accessible and excellent educational programs and services.
- We provide a caring, open-door teaching and learning environment.
- We provide excellent teaching, counseling and support services.
- We reach out to people who have limited income or other barriers to success.
- We enable people to progress in their academic and career pursuits.
- We work in partnership with the communities we serve.
We are all in support of the college’s mission statement. We attempt to serve our students using the outlying principles listed above. We hope that your academic semester is off to a good start. Please know that we are here to support you.
Pat Taylor, LPC, dean of support services and student advocacy
John Rinke, LPC, director of student support services
Debra Guerrero, LPC, director of learning support services
Liz Orbits, LPC, manager of the Student Resource & Women’s Center and International Student Center
Kim Groce, LPC, divisional counselor
Sue Travis, LPC, divisional counselor
Jim Bauer, LPC, counselor
RELATED ARTICLES: Full-time counselors are on campus and here to help
The Washtenaw Community College office of Student Diversity and Inclusion would like to thank everyone who attended the Diversity Extravaganza on Friday, Nov. 21.
A big thank you goes out to the community groups, University of Michigan students and the WCC International Students Club who performed in the show. And special thanks to Taste of India Suvai, Ahmo’s, Conor O’Neill’s, Frita Batidos, Pilar’s Tamales, Biggies Taste of Soul, Hut-Ke Chaats Nutrilicious Indian Food, and Paesano’s restaurants for donating all the food.
Lastly, thank you Anita Chaudhri for all your help planning and organizing the event.
Dean of Student
Diversity & Inclusion
As an adjunct instructor, I’ve had a 10-year history with the SOQ process. The airing of opinion and options for using student questionnaires to interrogate the quality of instruction has always been, and still is, of great interest and concern to all WCC faculty.
Furthermore, Dave Horowitz’s February 2014 letter-to-the-editor, while tongue-in-cheek at times, did illuminate what really is at stake here: a quality education for students and employment prospects for instructors. Moving forward, it’s time to expand our SOQ dialogue.
Natalie Wright’s recent Novemeber 2014 editorial (Grade Inflation and a Happy Ending) in defense of posting SOQ scores online was, overall, fair and balanced. I agree, the student/consumer has the right to make informed choices, based on reasonable criteria, before spending thousands on tuition.
Factors not clearly articulated in Wright’s editorial (factors not easy to quantify) include physical classroom environment and interpersonal dynamics. Each semester, the changing, organic classroom experience encountered by all instructors may play some role in SOQ fluctuations. One group of students may be enthusiastic and motivated – the physical and interpersonal chemistry just works. Another section of the very same class, using the same variables, may be the complete opposite.
Personally, I feel more effective in a room with stuff on the walls and some kind of natural light. I believe many students feel this too. Don’t misunderstand, I’m grateful for the opportunity to teach here. WCC provides some of the highest level learning resources for a college of its size. Its technology departments and infrastructure are state-of-the-art.
Teachers, while being under constant quantitative observation (SOQs), are still human – only human. Are teachers still needed in this “braver” new world? Rhetoric aside, let’s be honest. Can a computer really connect a student with human language, or inspire a charcoal sketch, or explain why writers and philosophers have important things to tell us?
Well … maybe not – yet.
My own somewhat modest proposal to foster the growth of WCC’s valued part-time and adjunct educators would be to include more peer-to-peer instructor evaluation; regular update meetings with department heads; and a closer working relationship, overall, with our various departments – all of this and the SOQ.
Additionally (for all the activists), consider posting SOQ scores over a one academic-year-average (winter, summer and fall). While not an expert in statistical analysis, I sincerely feel that student/consumers may get a more accurate picture of who a particular teacher is: psychologist, motivator, mentor and more – a WCC instructor!
Really, aren’t we all entitled to a tough semester now and then without the threat of dismissal hanging over our heads?
WCC English instructor
Just wanted to thank you for the great article about LSS tutoring. We really appreciate the exposure and encouragement to students in using the services. As a clarification for the student who was frustrated with tutors sitting at the computer. Because many of the math classes are now using the online homework systems, the student must do the work independently. Built into the online homework systems are Help and Show Me resources where students can see problems being done step by step. Tutors do assist at the computers by answering “quick” questions but are careful not to do the homework problems where students are graded (then it isn’t the student’s work). Students are always welcome to print or bring the problems to a tutoring “session” in the Math Center to get more explanation with the tutors. As Carolyn pointed out, the purpose of tutoring is to help students further understand concepts – not just get the problems done.
Director of Learning and Support Services
To the Editor:
I just picked up a copy of the paper in Busch’s grocery store and read your “Healthy Voice” column. (By M.M. Donaldson, July 21, Page A5)
It’s a great reminder to keep reading labels. My older daughter just related her similar findings when she went to treat herself to a V8 Splash. She’s been staying away from the cold drinks with all the high fructose syrup so decided to choose a V8 instead.
What a surprise – and disappointment – when she read that the second ingredient was high fructose syrup. No longer could she consider this brand a special treat. She searched out the selections and settled on something else.
We consumers have been asleep for so many decades – only to be awakened to find our food supply utterly broken. There is now so much to learn, and many of us are in the process of moving away from the convenient processed food items to cooking from scratch again. And, even then, trying to find non-GMO ingredients.
Thank you so much for alerting us to the unhealthy aspects of many favorite summer treats. We can’t be reminded enough to read, read and read again the labels on food products.
In fact, I encountered a humorous incident in a grocery store about label reading. I asked the stocker where to find some organic vegetables and in the exchange, he said, “You know, people don’t come here to buy groceries anymore.”
“Excuse me, what do you mean by that comment?” I asked.
He replied, “They now come to read. They’re reading labels all the time! You’d think this was a library or something!”
Well, I was thrilled to hear his comment, though his tone made me think he was perturbed by it all.
Anyway, I look forward to more of your columns. Keep up the good work!
To the Editor,
The board of trustees and its choice of a college president do not appear to have “what it takes.”
Moreover, this new team seems to be hell-bent on a secret agenda so toxic that they cannot speak of it except in small groups for fear of explosions.
So, what is this grand agenda, with its loping off of heads and loutishness? Strangely, the board replies with clicks of its collective tongue and waggles a finger in a “boys will be boys” non-explanation.
A 158-22 vote, however, against the president is unprecedented. I’ll bet that you can’t get that kind of landslide with your neighbors on the question “which direction is north?”
Why are our best and brightest jumping out windows to escape the flames?
Ever since colleges began sprouting up in the United States during the 1700s, there has been a fairly simple formula for their effectiveness: put a good teacher in front of a willing student.
At first, colleges were built to train the clergy to serve in their churches. Later on, they trained our farmers and miners, then people in the newly formed professional trades.
Colleges have expanded to get their arms around all the trades and arts. Computers really help, but good teachers and administrators are as essential to schools as parents are essential to good families. Both require a lot of time and a lot of work. Our colleges are the best.
If teaching were just the pouring of a full pitcher of knowledge into an empty head, that would be easy. It’s not.
Sometimes, people who have seen too many cowboy movies are charmed by the sheriff who puts on a shiny star and then guns down Lash La Rue. Education is not Lash La Rue.
The next time you wonder at the cause of school shootings, remind yourself of how much money we all saved by closing down psychiatric facilities to rely on pills.
Perhaps the board should make a nice circle and resign together so that the next election cycle can fill their shockingly empty seats.
Instructor Emeritus, WCC
Letter to the Editor
First it was water. Now it’s energy. And next it’s food!
Put it together and what do you get? The past, current and future themes of Washtenaw Community College’s committee on sustainability (the Sustainability Literacy Task Force).
The SLTF has run more than 16 events on the topic of sustainable energy in the Fall and Winter semesters for students, staff and faculty to take part in.
We offer these events to enrich the academic life at WCC and they ranged from a panel discussion on sustainable energy to a sustainably made, locally sourced dinner to a talk on how to get decreased emissions for your car and lower your bill at the pump at the same time.
We also hosted a talk on the math of saving energy (including how to read your gas bill), a tour of geothermal facilities at WCC and a presentation about the community garden project on campus.
We organized book clubs, low carbon diet workshops, a Moving Planet Day competition, a poetry reading and many more activities.
The SLTF would like to give a shout out to the departments that participated in our events for the “Year of Energy.” Thanks to students for attending and professors, counselors, managers and students in the following departments for working to make our “Year of Energy” a success : Anthropology, Automotive, Biology, Business and Computer Technologies, Culinary Arts, Counseling, Electricity/Electronics, Energy Services, English, Environmental Sciences, Facilities Management, Gallery One, Graphic Design/Media Arts, Bailey Library, Math, Media Services, Public Relations, Student Development Activities, Visual Arts Technology, the Writing Center, and The Washtenaw Voice.
A special shout out to Vice President of Instruction Bill Abernethy, whose generous funding made these events possible.
Don’t forget to attend our final “Year of Energy” event, a Poetry Reading called “Student Energy Works,” with popular professors Maryam Barrie and Tom Zimmerman on June 11, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in Gallery One.
And, students, faculty and staff, please contact us with your ideas for events on the topic of sustainable food for next year, which is the “Year of Food!” Send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com .
Emily Thompson, Ph.D.
To anyone passing by, it looks like another office on campus. But inside of TI 106, a dozen or so students are usually hard at work trying to chase down stories and photos that will fill 16 blank pages every two weeks. It’s a difficult and at times, very intimidating task to complete, but that’s what goes into producing The Washtenaw Voice.
Walking into the office on a Monday morning hoping that your story ideas will come to fruition, while providing information that is current and meaningful to the students and staff of Washtenaw Community College, is tough. The most difficult part of that job is having to take on the administration of the college about issues and topics it would rather not talk about or address.
Recently, this year’s group of “Voicers” took on a task that I admittedly backed down from pursuing during my time as editor of The Voice. After years of being told students did not have the right to see the Student Opinion Questionnaires we filled out every year, this year’s team at The Voice challenged the college for the right to see the SOQs.
After finally succeeding where many of us failed in years past, the group was required to pay $168.40 for the work associated with producing the last five years’ worth of SOQs. I knew the bill wasn’t anything the newspaper couldn’t afford, but I felt like it was also something The Voice shouldn’t have come out of its budget either.
Over the course of the next week, myself and 10 other former employees of The Voice raised the $168.40 to pay for the costs. While it always feels good to lend a helping hand, doing it for those you share a unique bond with feels even better. Unless you’ve sat through the meetings and discussions about having the proverbial hammer dropped on you because of a story we pursued that upset the administration, you don’t know what that kind of pressure feels like.
As the student newspaper for WCC, it’s the duty of the reporters, photographers, editors and everyone else involved with The Voice to speak up for the students. And unlike any issue I’ve known about at the college since I began classes in 2010, this one may be the most important. Knowing what our peers think about those who teach us, is the most valuable piece of information a student can have going into a new semester.
While I no longer attend WCC, knowing there is still a passion for journalism and hard work inside TI 106 makes me feel like I’m still connected to the campus.
To the staff of The Washtenaw Voice, I know you hear Keith tell you often how proud he is of your work, but we wanted to let you know he’s not the only one who notices it. So from all of us former Voicers, we say thank you and great work for still being “the voice” of the students, past, present and future.
Former Voice editor
March 31, 2014
To the Editor:
Since Eric Wade in his front-page opinion piece in the 3/24 issue referred to my letter, I felt a response might help to continue the discussion.
First, isn’t the question of the students as customers/educators as service providers a separate issue from SOQs being made public?
For instance, as a service provider, Kroger expects I will abide by their operating policies and procedures while there; can educators as service providers similarly expect that students will do the same in class?
In the same vein, when I see one of my students working at the local Meijer store, for instance, would it be acceptable for me to ask the student’s supervisor for a look at the student’s performance review? After all, I might not want to deal with an employee that other people might have had a problem with.
Mr. Wade says on p. 1, “I first must dispute the idea that students are not the customers. My education is a service that I pay for. When I pay my tuition, I am the customer.” He then goes on to say, “My tax dollars are an investment to my community, not a transaction of currency for goods or service.”
So, it seems that as a student, he wants to know if I and my colleagues provide good service, but as a taxpayer, he doesn’t seem to care. Interesting.
As for the question of SOQs being made public, the headline on his opinion piece – “WCC educators: Regarding SOQs, what do you have to hide?” – makes it clear where he stands. In addition, he writes, “As a student, it is absolutely essential that that students have access to SOQs to make sure they get the best for their education dollar.”
OK, but don’t students have any responsibility in this transaction to make sure they “get the best for their education dollar?” If my SOQ is made public, and it’s good, does that mean all my students will/should get an A in the course?
He then says, “Adding students’ names to the SOQ would make them fear repercussions for a poor evaluation of an instructor, leading to inaccuracies in the evaluation.”
First, the SOQs are not distributed to instructors until after the term is finished and the grades have been submitted, so I think a fear of “repercussions” is likely unfounded. If an instructor actually did try to change a grade after submission because of an individual student’s evaluation, I think it’s pretty likely The Washtenaw Voice would find out about it.
As for his disagreeing with me about having students sign evaluations, let me ask this: whose opinion would/should students value more, someone they know or an anonymous posting? Don’t discussions of teachers happen every hour, every day in the Student Center?
Getting back to the headline, “WCC educators: Regarding SOQs, what do you have to hide?”, he pays it off later in the piece with “…If they do their job educating, engaging and preparing students for their chosen career path, then they have nothing to fear.”
Isn’t this equally true for my “customers?” If they do what they’re asked to – read the assigned chapters, write papers, take exams, etc. – then they should “have nothing to fear.” That would be true irrespective of SOQs, wouldn’t it?
He also writes, “To me it sounds as if the faculty of WCC feel that the students aren’t educated enough to make decisions based on evidence.” To lump all WCC teachers as “the faculty” is as wrong as lumping all students together. Some of us actually disagree with others on the faculty, just as some students disagree with others.
Here’s a thought: I don’t pay for The Washtenaw Voice. Does that mean that because no cash was exchanged, the staff have no responsibility to me or other readers to gather and report news accurately?
One final thought: letters to the editor, which often contain opinions, are limited to 400 words. Mr. Wade’s opinion piece runs approximately 645 words. I recognize that as a staff writer, the guidelines he works under are different than those of a letter writer. Still, it seems a bit unfair that he can write 50% more than what you request of your readers.
Note: This runs 700 words. I would like it to run, of course, and I do understand the need to edit letters, but I would appreciate it if you would run it unedited. If that is not possible, I’d prefer that you didn’t run it. Thank you.
Editor’s note: This letter to the editor by English instructor David Horowitz was untouched by The Voice editing staff.
As a part-time instructor at WCC, as you can imagine, I have a great deal of interest in the SOQ process and its outcome. That’s why I was so interested in the recent cover story on SOQs, and the benefits/drawbacks of making the results available to students and, thereby, to the public in general.
Many of those quoted seemed to think that the results should be made available to help students determine who might or might not be a “good” instructor according to the SOQ scores. There was also mention that students are customers, and teachers are the providers of services, like store owners.
I suggest that to make the process truly communicative and by doing so, transparent, that we consider the following:
- Make the results of all SOQs available to the public by publishing them on a website; after all, it is the residents of Washtenaw County who, through property taxes, help to keep the college open. Shouldn’t they be part of a transparent process?
- Have the student filling out an SOQ sign his or her name. This would serve two purposes. First, it would support the transparency of the process and enhance communication between student and instructor. Second, it could serve to identify those students who may find it amusing to give every instructor a poor evaluation, just for the sheer fun of it. Eliminating this possible messing with system (and I’m not saying at all that this is happening) by having students sign the evaluation would only make the SOQs that much more valid, and thereby, more beneficial to other students.
- Make the results of all students’ grades public on the same website as the SOQs. This would, again, increase the prospects for transparency. Publishing student grades might also be a way for future students to know if an SOQ was filled out accurately or just to fool around and/or create trouble for an instructor. As indicated above, surely those taxpayers who support WCC would be interested to know how students are progressing.
After all, as a service provider, I surely would like to know as much about my customers as possible. Just a proposal to keep the conversation going.