Last Wednesday, Henry Amaya and the Multicultural Services hosted their annual Student Faculty Café in C-120. Of the over 1,000 faculty members working both full-time and part-time at the Bellevue College main campus, six attended the discussion: Cadi Russel-Sauvé, Rachel Woodbrook, Lori Saffin and Sayumi Irey—each faculty librarians—and Lina Flory-barnes. The first conversation topic began with student success and how the forum defined it. Many students at the forum agreed that the structure of learning at BC has become mechanical. “It sucks because a lot of the instructors view students as just another name on the roster and another grade on the record. They’re training us to confine into this robotic system where grades only reflect as a demographic for the institution,” said Ali Collucci, director of the LGBTQ Resource Center who also attended the forum.
The discussion also covered “what gets in the way of students’ academic success.” One response was safety on campus: how safely can students fully express themselves through their coursework?
“After hearing from what you had to say, we as faculty had to do something about it,” said Saffin. As explained by Saffin, the first importance that instructors seem to put forth is the objectives—what the students are expected to learn by the end of the course. “But that should be the third most important aspect of learning. The first and foremost importance should be emphasized on self esteem,” said Saffin. The students at the forum expressed the same concern: that as hard as they work in school, that low grade reflects student failure and lowers self-esteem. Rather than enforcing their growth from where they started, it shows where they failed.
“It seems that society is just coming down on all of us. We’re talking about people in government whose first target towards budget cuts is education,” said Flory-Barnes. “It may seem the contrary but there are instructors and faculty members like the ones in this room who want to help you and who are willing to listen to you.”