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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Student success shines at spring 2020 convocation

City College President Michael Guiterrez kicks off the Spring 2020 Convocation as he talks about what student success means in the Performing Arts Center Friday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Sara Nevis/[email protected])

City College administrators, faculty and staff gathered Jan.17 at the Performing Arts Center, where City College President Michael Gutierrez kicked off the Spring 2020 Convocation. 

“What does student success look like to you at Sac City College?” Gutierrez asked the crowd, prompting the main discussion.

Gutierrez instructed people in the audience to turn to a neighbor and discuss the question among themselves before texting in a one- to two-word answer. 

As laughs from the crowd ensued from the texting request, the result soon became clear in a live word cloud graphic display projected on stage. 

“As you can see there’s varied responses,” Gutierrez said. “Completion seems to be a very popular response. But you see things like engagement. Persistence. Community. Purpose. Equity. Graduation. Welcome. Relationships. Growth. Employability.” 

After addressing what administrators, faculty and staff thought student success looked like, Gutierrez showed a short video highlighting multiple City College students voicing their impressions of what student success looks like. 

“What we heard our students say was connecting to resources, making those personal connections, graduating—just being here,” Gutierrez said following the video. 

Tracey Gomez, a member of City College English department faculty, followed Gutierrez’s speech, continuing the theme of listening to students. 

Tracey Gomez, a member of the English department faculty, speaks to the convocation attendees about “City Ways,” a way to improve student success and lessen drop rates during the Spring 2020 Convocation in the Performing Arts Center Friday, Jan. 17, 2019. (Sara Nevis/[email protected])
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“How can we help our students succeed?” Gomez said. “What I’m going to present today are some ways, some ‘City Ways,’ that we can help our students succeed.” 

Eyeing student success and lessening drop rates, Gomez spoke with over 400 students about why they stayed in class throughout the semester. She showed her results in a short video and four “City Ways” values: establish a personal connection with students; use materials students can relate to and apply to their lives; set clear expectations and deadlines and be flexible when needed, and communicate—talk with students not at them. 

“How can we help students succeed?” asked Gomez. “We can answer that by saying, ‘doing things the City Way.’” 

Gutierrez reflected on the hate speech incident that occurred fall 2018 that resulted in protests and student forums, and how that affected him personally. 

“I kept on hearing our students tell us, ‘We just want to be treated like people,’” Gutierrez said, “and I kept on thinking to myself, ‘Man, we’re the people’s college, and we have a group of students telling us we want to be treated like people.’ When you peel those layers back, it’s really about those personal connections, in part of what they are talking about, not exclusively, but in part.” 

The audience of faculty, staff and administrators broke into discussion groups to further examine the four City Ways to better facilitate student success, then came back together to look at what the groups developed.

“The four ways are part of an ongoing tradition,” said Jesus Limón, English professor and equity representative, to the reassembled group. “They come from internal reflection, what works on our campuses, highlighting practices already existing on our campuses from experts who engage in these practices.”

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