SGA Senate approves Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board, uses all co-sponsorship budget

The Student Government Association Senate voted Wednesday night to create a new Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board.

The senate passed a bill to amend Title II of the SGA bylaws to include an advisory board consisting of a multicultural affairs committee chairman, vice-chairman and any committee members or other senators who wish to participate, as well as students from any minority or underrepresented student organizations. The board will meet once a month and will create a report each semester of diversity-related issues that Oklahoma State University can improve upon, as well as instances where the university has succeeded in promoting inclusiveness.

The board’s function is to “hear the concerns, issues, and ideas from these groups in order to bridge an informational gap between the Student Government Association and these groups, as well as foster an environment and outlet for the students to relay their concerns, issues, and ideas back to the Student Government Association so that we can help in the best way possible,” according to the bill.

The bill’s co-author, Sen. Erica Stephens, was elected SGA president March 8. Stephens and her vice presidential running mate, Brayden Farrell, campaigned to unite the campus through community, academics and leadership. Creating a Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board was a community point in Stephens and Farrell’s campaign. Their term as SGA president and vice president will begin this fall.

“This bill is working towards bridging the gap between underrepresented minority groups on campus and SGA,” Stephens said.

The senate also passed a bill to amend Title I of the SGA bylaws, requiring committee chairmen and vice-chairmen of all standing committees to forward legislation and meeting minutes to the SGA vice-chairman and secretary by noon Friday the week the committee meeting is held.

Sen. Briar Lostlen, the bill’s author, said this deadline will allow SGA to receive information in a more timely manner and help senators effectively reach out to their constituencies.

The senate approved two co-sponsorship requests, allocating $321.75 to reimburse members of Voto Latino for travel expenses to a leadership conference the group attended in Los Angeles and $300 to the Sri Lankan Student Association for their performance at Cultural Night on March 31.

The budget committee will hear two more co-sponsorship requests from student organizations next week. However, the senate has already allocated all of the $16,000 SGA’s budget provides for co-sponsorship funds each semester, as well as $2,400 of unused funds from the fall semester.

Budget Chairwoman Taylor Winston was absent from the meeting. Committee Vice-Chairman Austin Bui explained the Budget Committee hopes to receive about $600 from the Multicultural Affairs Council to fund more co-sponsorship requests.

The senate granted registered status to Coffee Club, a new student organization for coffee appreciation.

SGA President Dillon Johnson announced he is working with Edmon Low Library officials to promote open educational resources, including open textbooks for general education courses.

“This is something I’ve had interest in recently,” Johnson said. “People at the library are interested in making this happen too, so hopefully a pilot program will be happening next year.”

Johnson encouraged senators to contact him if they want to be involved in his meetings at the library because he will graduate before the program becomes a reality.

“This really is a great cause, so I don’t just want to see it die when I graduate,” Johnson said.

State Legislature briefs: The bills that affect UNM

Here’s a quick rundown of bills that passed during the 60 day Legislative session that affect UNM. The descriptions are taken from the bill summaries as stated in the fiscal impact reports.

Lottery Scholarship grace Period – Passed in the Senate – Y:34 N:5, Passed in the House of Representatives – Y:62 N:6

Senate Bill 420 amends the Legislative Lottery Tuition Scholarship Act to allow a 16-month grace period for qualified students to enroll in a public post-secondary educational institution after graduating from high school or receiving a high school equivalency credential.

The bill also extends the grace period for qualified students who serve in the military between high school and college. Under SB 420, these students have four months, rather than 120 days, from graduation to begin service in the U.S. armed forces and 16 months, rather than one year, from completion of honorable service or medical discharge to attend a public post-secondary educational institution.

Limit School Use of Restraint and Seclusion – Passed in the House of Representatives – Y:58 N:0, Passed in the Senate – Y:30 N:4

House Judiciary Committee Substitute for House Education Committee Substitute for House Bill 75 adds a new section to the Public School Code to specify the conditions when restraint or seclusion techniques may be permitted in schools; to require schools to adopt policies and procedures for the use of restraint or seclusion techniques in a school safety plan; requires schools to establish reporting and documentation procedures when restraint or seclusion is used on a student, including notification of the student’s parent or guardian.

Loan Repayment for Certain Students – Passed in the Senate – Y:27 N:0, Passed in the House of Representatives – Y:60 N:6

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The Senate Finance Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 197 converts the Minority Doctoral Assistance Loan for Service Program Act to the Minority Doctoral Loan Repayment Act.

The bill provides for repayment of loans for “an individual who is a member of an ethnic minority or is a woman and who has successfully completed a doctoral degree-granting program at an eligible institution in the field of engineering, physical or life science or mathematics or another academic discipline in which ethnic minorities or women are underrepresented.”

The bill further requires the department to give preference to a recipient who has completed a postsecondary degree at an institution designated in Article XII, Section 11 of the Constitution of New Mexico.

Brain Injury Training for Student Athletes – Passed in the Senate – Y:31 N:7, Passed in the House of Representatives – Y:53 N:0

Senate Bill 38 requires school districts and youth athletic leagues to provide a brain injury training and information form to student athletes.

Athletes and guardians are required to confirm, by signature, that the athlete received brain injury training and understands the training before beginning or continuing to participate in athletic activities in schools or athletic leagues.

Transfer of College Credits – Passed in the House of Representatives – Y:60 N:0, Passed in the Senate – Y:39 N:0

The House Education Committee amendments add to the definition of “general education core curriculum” to specify that the general education core curriculum is a group of lower-division courses that are accepted by all institutions for transfer purposes.

The amendments add to the definition of “meta-major” to clarify that the fifteen credits of lower-division courses are developed in consultation with faculty and approved by HED and that a meta-major can include courses across the institution that address diversity.

The title in Section 2 of the bill is changed to “INITIAL ARTICULATION PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT OF META-MAJOR AND TRANSFER MODULE.” The amendments require HED to facilitate the development and approval of transfer modules by August 2019 in consultation with the faculty.

Finally, the general education curriculum as amended by the House Education Committee excludes associate degrees in applied science and includes “courses that include the interdisciplinary study of differences that recognize and respect New Mexico’s diverse cultures, histories and identities.”

Innovations in Teaching Act – Passed in the House of Representatives – Y:37 N:30, Passed in the Senate – Y:23 N:13

The House Education Committee Substitute for House Bill 105 creates a new section in the Public School Code, entitled the Innovations in Teaching Act, to be implemented by PED beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.

The new section provides an application process for teachers to apply for innovative teaching projects. PED may grant waivers from standards-based assessment results for up to two years. This bill also outlines the reporting, and evaluation processes for proposed innovative teaching projects.

-Compiled by Celia Raney

Weber’s Bill Will Give New Teachers More Time

In her second year, Lara’s circumstances changed. She was still working on her credential, but was assigned her own math and science special education class. Each student had an Individualized Education Plan. While trying to meet the instructional needs of her learners, it took a couple months for Lara to find a mentor in her subject area. She had to plan for multiple grade levels and for collaboration with teaching assistants and behavior specialists who supported her students. Sometimes, she stayed at school until after nine to take care of her workload. It was a rough first semester. By the end of January, the principal notified her that she would not be returning the following year.

CCC center ahead of schedule

In this Hub file photo, Central Community College President Greg Smith, middle, is joined by dignitaries and board members as they turn dirt for the new CCC Kearney Learning Center at 30th Avenue and 11th Street. The $23.3 million, 63,000-square-foot campus will be located across the street from the new Kearney High School and is scheduled to open in fall 2017.

Ivy Tech opening registration, hosting enrollment events

Ivy Tech Community College is hosting enrollment events at its Greencastle Campus and Avon site this month. Registration for summer and fall classes at the college opened March 20.

The Express Enrollment events are set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 22 at the Greencastle campus, 915 S. Zinc Mill Road, and March 23 at the Avon site, 7508 Beechwood Centre Road.

For more information or to make a reservation, visit the website at

This event helps prospective students complete their enrollment steps and register for classes. By completing their enrollment steps now, students can get the classes they want and avoid the summer and fall registration rush. At the event, attendees can meet with Ivy Tech representatives and receive assistance filling out an application and completing new student orientation, financial aid, assessment and advising. To meet the assessment requirement, attendees can bring in their SAT/ACT/PSAT scores, high school transcript, college transcript, or take an assessment called the ACCUPLACER if needed.

Programs offered at the Greencastle campus include the General Education Transfer Core, which transfers to four-year institutions, licensed practical nursing, business administration, entrepreneurship and human services. Students can earn their degrees in these programs or take other classes that can be applied toward degrees at other Ivy Tech campuses. Services offered at the campus include Admissions, Advising, Assessment, Bookstore, Financial Aid, Bursar, Testing Center and Tutoring.

Ivy Tech’s Avon site offers a variety of general education courses including English, psychology, math, business and more. These courses transfer to degrees at other Ivy Tech campuses and to four-year colleges and universities.

SFI 2017 registration open

Faculty from across all colleges and departments will gather to learn from some of the country’s leading educators at University of Delaware’s 2017 Summer Faculty Institute, scheduled from May 30 through June 1 in Gore and Mitchell Halls.

This year’s organizing principle is “making meaning and creating deep learning through technology,” and each day’s program supports a special theme. Multiple concurrent sessions each afternoon will ensure that all instructors can create an institute program that meets their teaching needs. Registration may be completed online.

On May 30, James Lang, author of the book Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning and a popular Chronicle of Higher Education column of the same name, will start the institute with a highly engaging keynote full of practical tips to stimulate student learning. Lang’s approach encourages faculty to make small changes in their courses that will help students feel invested in their classroom experiences.

The afternoon sessions on day one complement Lang’s work by offering ideas on how to use technology tools to solicit feedback from students, how to create courses that get students involved in their communities and small ways to help international students engage in your classrooms. Many sessions feature faculty presenters or co-facilitators who will highlight the strategies and approaches that have been successful in their classrooms here at UD.

To introduce faculty to Lang’s work, CTAL will host a special meeting of the Faculty Commons Book Club on April 26 to read Small Teaching. Limited free copies are available.

On the second day, May 31, Valerie Barr, professor of computer science at Union College, will highlight the importance of computational thinking across disciplines. Barr has worked in interdisciplinary partnerships and has created a digital art program at Union College. She is committed to increasing the number of women who succeed in computer science. Her keynote will set the stage for afternoon sessions on diverse topics such as concrete ways to infuse computational thinking into a course, clicker technology (both for beginners and tricks for advanced users), creating good exam questions and applying the General Education rubrics to courses.

Two special initiatives also take place on May 31. The first is a 90-minute workshop on creating (or redesigning) a multicultural course. Second, a daylong field trip will run concurrently with the institute. Called “Discover Delaware” and sponsored by the Community Engagement Initiative, this trip will orient faculty to the opportunities in Delaware for civic engagement courses and will spark ideas for community engagement scholarship projects. (Special registration is required via SFI registration.)

June 1, the final day of the institute, is dedicated to the Digital Humanities, and it kicks off with a presentation by Mills Kelly, professor of history and art history at George Mason University. Kelly’s current project engages undergraduates in original research and the creation of a digital humanities project about the Appalachian Trail. His keynote session is followed by a day full of sessions dedicated to technologies and strategies that can increase student buy-in, such as StoryMaps, audio projects and hybrid courses.

This year’s SFI also features special reflection sessions for CIRTL program participants that will occur each day and culminate on the last day with a “Teaching As Research” project-design workshop. To help all participants navigate the SFI schedule, institute sessions will be tagged according to special interest categories. Tags include: Making Meaning Through Technology, Digital Humanities and UD’s Strategic Priorities. Using these tags, participants will be able to customize their schedules and create a tailored institute experience. Lunch and refreshments are provided each day.

Registration is now open, and more information is available online.



NWC encouraged by Performance Indicators Report

NWC Institutional Researcher Lisa Smith shared the results of the 2015-16 Performance Indicators Report last week at the monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees. The report tracked progress rates in such areas as student retention, student persistence and completion.

“That is information I’m really proud of,” said NWC President Stefani Hicswa. “Some of it is a really positive reflection of where we are at, but it also tells us areas we need to focus and work on a little more.”

Smith began her presentation with a discussion on retention rates, which are basically the percentage of full-time students who enroll in the fall and either re-enroll or have graduated by the following fall.

“For students starting in fall 2015, NWC tied for the highest full-time retention rate — 62 percent — out of the seven Wyoming community colleges,” Smith said. “For the same cohort, NWC’s part-time retention rate was 33 percent, third highest in the state.”

Looking at retention rates from a broader perspective, since fall 2007, NWC has had higher retention rates than the state average every year, except fall 2010 and 2012. The national full-time retention rate for public, two-year institutions has ranged from 58.4 percent to 60.5 percent (fall 2007 through fall 2014). NWC’s full-time retention rates are comparable to national rates.

“I’m really pleased with the work that we’re doing with our Student Success Initiatives,” Hicswa said. “We’re starting to see the results in these numbers. Certainly, there’s still areas where we need to improve and that we can do better, but we’re making good progress.”

Next, Smith discussed persistence rates — roughly defined as the percentage of full-time students who enrolled at an institution in the fall and graduated or re-enrolled at any institution the following fall.

“For the fall 2015 cohort, NWC had the highest full-time persistence rate (71 percent) and the second highest part-time rate (39 percent) out of the Wyoming community colleges,” Smith said.

In addition, NWC tied for the fourth-highest completion rate for fall 2012, the most recent term for which statewide comparisons are available.

Completion rates generally measure full-time students who enroll at a college in a fall term and complete a degree or certificate within 150 percent of normal time to completion (three years for two-year degrees). The group of full-time students who enrolled at NWC in the fall of 2012 had a completion rate of 30 percent.

“Since the fall 2006 cohort, NWC has had completion rates that were higher than or equal to the state average for every fall cohort, except fall 2010,” Smith said. “National completion rates for the most recent 10 years at public, two-year institutions ranged from 21.1 percent to 23.9 percent. NWC has been well above the national average every year.”

Smith concluded her presentation with comparison rates for college-level English and math courses following the completion of a developmental course for fall 2013.

Of NWC students enrolling in a developmental English course in fall 2013, 50 percent subsequently completed a college-level English course within eight terms (by summer 2016). NWC’s rate of college-level English course completion was the highest in the state.

Math has proven to be more of a challenge, however. According to Smith’s research, of the students who enrolled in a developmental math course in fall 2013, 26 percent completed a college-level math course within eight terms, ranking NWC fifth out of seven community colleges in the state.

“Looking into this measure further shows that the percentage [of students] who passed their fall 2013 developmental math class was the lowest in the state,” Smith explained. “However, of students who passed that course, NWC students were more likely to pass a subsequent, college-level math course than those at five of the other colleges.”

Hicswa said the math department faculty have been working on initiatives to improve those numbers, including math “boot camps,” tutoring and other support mechanisms.

“Math is an area where we need to take a look and see what we can do better,” Hicswa said. “We need to find out what we’re doing in our English classes that students are so successful that we’re not doing in math.”

The trustees met at NWC’s Cody Center for their March 13 meeting and their agenda included a tour of the facility.

“Every year, we like to do an update on what’s going on at the Cody Center campus for the Board of Trustees,” Hicswa said. “Enrollment in Cody has stabilized, so we’re pleased with that, and I’m really pleased with the faculty who are willing to teach over there and what we’re able to offer students.”

Students who enroll at NWC-Cody Center have access to the same general education courses found at the Powell campus, as well as classes for certain degree tracks. Cody Center also hosts business trainings and seminars, adult education classes, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and high school equivalency prep classes. With NWC’s expanded partnership with the University of Wyoming, students at the Cody Center may soon be able to complete a four-year’s bachelor’s degree without leaving Cody.

“There are classes in every single [general education] category, as well as a couple of other degree programs,” Hicswa said. “There’s art classes, fitness classes, we have a librarian on staff there. We have several good classrooms, a lab and a Center for Training and Development. I think that center has a real opportunity to grow with the economic development in Cody, there are some really good things going on there.”

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for April 10 at 4 p.m. in the NWC Yellowstone Building.

MissionU Says It Can Replace Traditional College With a One-Year …

A roster of well-known companies—and darlings of Silicon Valley—have signed up to participate. They include Uber, Lyft, Spotify, Warby Parker, Casper, Birchbox, Plated, 2U, and Chegg. (Facebook has also been an advisor to the effort but is not formally a partner.) “In designing our curriculum, we actually start with employers first,” says Braun.

Ponca Tribe’s History Played Key Role at Conference


by Lydia Lum

SAN FRANCISCO — When Cynthia Surrounded convened the workshop, she asked attendees to remove their shoes but remain seated. She didn’t offer a reason. The participants, most of whom didn’t know Surrounded or each other, appeared surprised but obliged anyway.

Surrounded asked a woman in the audience named Stacy to take the name “Bertha” for the duration of the hourlong session. She also asked a man named Ken to go by the name “Warren.”

Throughout the hour, Surrounded called upon both of them to respond to questions that tested their knowledge about the history of indigenous people in this country. Every time, Surrounded addressed them by their adopted names.

Deep into the workshop, Surrounded explained that these tactics were similar to what she employs with her community college students in order to illustrate what students at the Indian boarding schools of the late 1800s and early 1900s had to endure because of the insistence among Whites to Anglicize them.

“Imagine if you were an indigenous child at that time,” Surrounded said. “Boarding schools required you to remove the clothes you were used to wearing. You had to cut your long hair, and you had to change your name.”

Her remarks came last week during the annual conference of the League for Innovation in the Community College. The League brings together educators and stakeholders of two-year institutions to share best practices, along with new and different ways to teach, stimulate learning and how to enhance the community college experience.

Surrounded spoke at a session titled, “Building Relationships with Indigenous Populations with a Service Learning Course.” She is an instructor in human services at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska. She co-teaches a course with sociology instructor Bridget Christensen that aims to boost students’ awareness and understanding of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska while also assisting the tribe in its activities.

At the conference session, Christensen and Surrounded shared with attendees books and other educational resources about the Poncas, who were removed from their Nebraska homeland and forced to live in Indian Territory — what is now Oklahoma — in the late 1870s.

The service-oriented college course, which the women teach every two years, focuses on the tribe’s history and culture. Chief Standing Bear and his family were among Poncas who moved to Indian Territory, where starvation, malaria and other disease claimed many lives — including that of Standing Bear’s son. The chief and a contingent of followers returned to Nebraska to bury their dead, but federal officials arrested them for leaving the reservation without permission.

Standing Bear sued for writ of habeas corpus, meaning he did not believe the arrests and detention of himself and other tribal members was lawful. During an 1879 trial, a federal judge ruled in a landmark decision that an Indian “is a person” and therefore had the same rights and protections as Whites, and that the federal government didn’t have legitimate reason to arrest and detain Standing Bear and the other Poncas, who did not have to return to Indian Territory.

“So 1879 was when indigenous people became legally recognized as humans,” Surrounded told conference-goers. “With all due respect, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t the first minority civil rights leader in this country. Chief Standing Bear preceded him by many years.”

Ironically, the federal government terminated recognition of many tribal nations during the 20th century, including the Ponca Tribe in 1966. The Ponca Restoration Act of 1990, signed into law by President George Bush, reinstated federal recognition.

During the community college course, Surrounded and Christensen take students on field trips to observe buffalo in their natural habitat, go on nature walks to learn about indigenous herbs, plants and traditional medicine, and participate in healing ceremony with Ponca elders.

Class enrollment is capped at 15 to 18 students, but the small head count still provides plenty of energy and muscle to help the tribe prepare for its annual pow wow. For instance, students paint benches, trash receptacles and outbuildings so that facilities are fresh for the celebration.

During last week’s conference session, Christensen and Surrounded explained why they prefer certain terms in their class, such as mainstream culture rather than dominant culture, and indigenous people rather than Native Americans.

“We don’t use ‘dominant culture’ because the phrase simply continues to empower Whites and disempower minorities,” Christensen said.

The service-learning course counts toward diversity credit for Southeast Community College’s general education requirement. Surrounded said that the course has also helped diminish stereotyping and prejudice against mainstream culture by the Poncas.

“It’s now more likely that they will send students to our college,” she said.

For students across all ethnicities, lessons from the course help inform and shape their interaction with indigenous people, Surrounded said.

She shared a video testimonial from a college alumnus who said that, before taking the course, he had relied too much on humor to interact with clients of the detox center where he worked. The man said that indigenous people were frequently among the center’s clients.

“This was an amazing, life-changing course,” he said in the video. “I grew as a person, and I don’t feel I have use humor to approach indigenous people. The course debunked all kinds of myths, like all indigenous people are crazy, that they’re all alcoholics, that they all live in teepees.”

He added, “On one hand, I didn’t believe these myths myself, but you would be really surprised how these myths easily get spread — even in 2017.”

Semantic Tags:


Students are often told that high school is like college, that it is the last stepping stone before college, but it’s not. Students who are almost legal adults have little real freedom in high school, and this should change. Students deserve a more liberal arts-style curriculum, one that can give students some educational freedom.

Outside of school, 16-year-olds are given many responsibilities such as driving, holding jobs and sometimes even providing for their families. But in high school students are still treated as children who must be supervised at all times. Although there is talk of the “real world,” it is treated as mythical and other.

Leah Phillips

In college, just one year after high school, everything changes. Students can choose their own classes, they can eat whenever they want, attendance isnt mandatory and grades are based off of only a few tests and papers instead of worksheets. Students are treated like adults. Students are given responsibilities.

More and more, people are complaining that high school is not preparing students for adulthood because being kept in a building for seven hours every day, following instructions, is not how the “real world” works.

If high school were to be more like college, to provide students with more independence, teenagers could build the skills that they need as adults in the workforce – skills like budgeting time, multitasking and prioritizing.

A Huffington Post article
that high schools follow a liberal arts college curriculum. Blake Boles writes that schools “could ask high-schoolers to complete 10 general education courses in at least 5 different subject areas over 4 years in order to graduate.”

Using this curriculum, students would have the ability to study what they wanted in order to further improve their skills in whatever area they want to pursue after high school. If students were unsure, they could use their high school time to figure it out so that when they went to college they would already have a better idea of what they wanted to do.

Right now at Blair there are specific required classes that all students must pass to graduate. All students must have three social studies credits and they must be U.S History, US Government and Modern World History. English also has a four-year requirement and for science there are at least three classes mandatory for graduation. Students are also required to take High School Assessments (HSAs) and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests.

With a liberal arts curriculum no specific class would be required, just a class that fits each of the subject requirement. Following the liberal arts style, the rest of a student’s classes could be chosen by the student depending on what he or she wanted to study. There would be a requirement for math, science, English and social studies but students could choose what kind of class they wanted take under those categories. Instead of government, students could take a political science class.

This curriculum could benefit students who are not continuing their academic career after high school. For people who aren’t going to college, their last four years are important and if they can use those years to learn a trade or area of study, they could excel in the workforce without the traditional college degree.

If high schools adopted a more liberal arts college approach to teaching students would be able to focus on what they wanted to , they’d be able to suggest courses they found interesting, this could increase attendance levels and attention levels in classrooms. Many kids skip school or fail classes, not because they can’t do the work but because they’re not interested or inspired. By giving them control of their education, letting them choose, they could be inspired.

For some students all this freedom would be quite a culture shock coming straight out of middle school. Most students would not be used to making their own choices about what they study, but with the help of counselors and parents, students could follow their passions. Some parents would be concerned about the curriculum. The one that students have now has been made by experts who know what students need to know before leaving school and without it students would not learn the basic things they need to know. The new curriculum would still have core values they would just be less confining so that students could discover what they like for themselves.

High school, instead of restricting students to a set curriculum, should give students the opportunity to explore while their education is free. They can discover their interests before they get to college, they can develop skills for adulthood and they can have the responsibility to choose – and go to the bathroom without permission being required.

This idea has never been tried. No one has ever brought higher education to public school but education is about trying new things when old ones don’t work. With this new education system educators could change the way students learn into a more creative and diverse community. If adults take the first step and show students that there is more than one way to learn then the students can take the next step and pursue whatever they’re impassioned to learn.