Helping students find a successful worthy goal |

Helping students find a successful worthy goal

CMC CornerJane SzucsGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Colorado Mountain College has been studying causes and possible solutions for helping students to move beyond limitations to learning; whether cultural, academic or personal. The “College Success Plan” is designed to provide structure and support through four facets: the campus-wide college reader, campus support services, college success courses and mentorship opportunities. The campus-wide common reader is an innovative learning activity to promote literacy. Literacy is a worthwhile and productive way to invest in people, and this book project encourages people to read. In its first year, the program is based on a book selection for everyone on campus – students and faculty alike – to read and use as a segue for discussion and learning. It’s the popular book club approach, and the public is invited to join in. This year’s book selection is “Three Cups of Tea,” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

The book describes Mortenson’s journey to Pakistan in 1993 and his failed attempt to climb K-2, along with his experiences in a remote Pakistani village and promise to return to build a school. In the intervening years, he has built 55 schools in the region. The three cups of tea referred to in the book represent visiting as a stranger, then as a friend, and finally as family. The story is filled with social and learning implications, forming the common framework for college and community activities.Topics from “Three Cups of Tea” can be adapted to the academic curriculum. For instance: in math, determining the percentage of the budget of developed nations that goes to foreign assistance; in political science, examining the nature of politics in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the impact of tribe and religion in politics; and in nursing, considering the role of philanthropy in medicine.The CMC Roaring Fork Campus is offering a noncredit class free of charge and open to anyone who would like to join in these book discussions. The six-week class in Glenwood meets 6 – 7:30 p.m. Mondays starting Sept. 17. The Monday class in Carbondale started Aug. 27, from 7 to 8:20 p.m., but can still accept registration if space is available. In addition, the author has a scheduled appearance at CMC’s Spring Valley center at 7 p.m., Nov. 14.The other three areas of the College Success Plan serve to fill in educational and experiential gaps for students. Campus support services assist students through counseling and developing better study habits and academic skills. It also provides disability services for individual students. The college success courses are one-credit courses designed to teach students to communicate clearly, think critically and use resources to attain goals. For many, these are the most important courses they take. The topics explore leadership, career and self-exploration, contemporary social issues, health and wellness, aesthetic appreciation, and cultural and diversity awareness. The mentorship program is open to all first-year students. With it, students are paired with mentors who guide their progress. This is especially relevant through the first six weeks of college, as the mentor relationship helps students overcome some initial hurdles that many encounter when starting college. As an open-enrollment college, CMC is working with applicants to ensure their success. And as a community college, residents’ participation elevates everyone’s learning. Come read with us! For more information, or to register for the reading class, please call Carbondale at 963-2172, Glenwood Springs at 945-7486 in Glenwood Springs, or Spring Valley at 945-7481. Jane Szucs is acting division director of developmental education, CMC Roaring Fork Campus

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