seeks input from
Del Mar students
Eddie Puente / Associate editor
The Student Strategic Planning Committee held a forum on Nov. 14 at the White Library and invited all students to voice their opinions and concerns. Titled “Access to Excellence, Del Mar College Strategic Plan for 2014-2019,” this forum was presented to enable students to take part in the planning of the college’s future.
Lenora Keas, executive director of Strategic Planning/Assessment and Workforce Initiatives, welcomed the students and explained the directive and goals of the forum. With about 40 students in attendance, there were a variety of majors representing both East and West campus.
Committee members were on hand to be group leaders and guide the discussions. The students were broken into groups of about six per table and each table had a group leader. Mike Jones, Dr. Larry Lee, Cheryl Garner, Beverly Cage and Chris Tetzlaff-Belhasen acted as group leaders.
Dr. Leonard Rivera, director of Off-Campus Programs, presented the groups with the beginning of a statement about Del Mar then the group was tasked to brainstorm ideas to complete the statements.
Statements ranged from “Del Mar College needs to change or improve at …,” “I look for Del Mar College to provide me with …,” and “Once I leave Del Mar I hope to prepared for …” The answers varied from the need to expand parking to more online courses to the city providing more job opportunities to decrease the amount of brain drain it faces.
Rivera discussed the importance of including students in this forum.
“Obviously it means a lot because our students are our customers, and we have to make sure that we as a college are appealing to our students,” Rivera said.
He said the college wants to be able to meet students’ needs, fulfill their dreams in a large spectrum and be able to get them to where they need to go.
“Whether that is just having a better opportunity to go toward their transfer degree to a university or graduate school. The choices like you have heard in this discussion, just preparing for life, things that come at them, being prepared for the trials and tribulations that life brings all of us,” Rivera said.
Involving the community is also an important aspect on the committee’s goals.
“We want to be able to include the community and community leaders; their voices are critical because they obviously support Del Mar College by way of taxes,” Rivera said. “The community is who we serve, that is our public and these students are our community.”
Rivera wants to be sure the college is meeting the needs of the community; the community is at the heart of all community colleges.
“We know that we will prepare the community for the current and future demands as far as workforce and career opportunities here in South Texas,” he said.
Cheryl Garner, dean of Student Engagement & Retention and a committee member, said the students are the most important part of the planning process,
“This school is for them. We need to be able to provide them with everything they need,” she said.
Whether it is just increasing skill for their current job or trying to get a certificate or trying to transfer, whatever their goal is, Garner said Del Mar College needs to be able to meet those goals and deliver students’ dreams.
“The only way we can do that is to hear from them, because what we might think is important, might not be important to them,” Garner said.
Next semester the committee will host four more student forums beginning in January. Be sure to check Del Mar’s website and the Foghorn for future notifications if you want to be involved in the college’s future.