faces, new duties
BELINDA ACUNA, Acting Dean, Academic Affairs,
Development and Specially Funded Programs
Belinda Acuña began her duties in June as assistant
dean, she had a big assignment: to run Mission Colleges
new $2.5 million Title V grant designed to combat poor math
results among students. Now, she has two big assignments.
Recently, Acuña who came to Mission College
from Cal Poly, Pomona where she was director of the Maximizing
Engineering Potential program was asked to serve as
acting dean of academic affairs, overseeing all workforce
and specially funded programs. In that role, Acuña
assumes the duties (for the fall semester only) of Edgardo
Zayas, who in turn is assuming the academic affairs duties
of Dean Martha Soto during her medical leave.
While adjusting to the new responsibilities, Acuña
already has moved the Title V effort forward significantly.
Work will begin soon on creating a state-of-the-art math lab
in the lower level of Campus Center. Acuña expects
the lab to be ready by spring semester.
The lab will serve about 300 students who are identified as
having problems with math. It will include a 40-seat computer
center, lecture room, individual study room, cubicles for
independent study, and testing area. It will accommodate both
group study and individual tutoring.
Math has become a bottleneck for many of our students
trying to move forward in the curriculum, said Acuña.
About half of our students either fail or drop out of
And because that course is a prerequisite for forward movement
in many majors, failure to pass it keeps many students from
graduating or transferring.
Acuña said in many cases students have not been taught
the basic skills in math before arriving at Mission College;
and others suffer from math phobia a fear
that they just dont get math. In addition
to the intensive learning support, the Title V program will
offer workshops in understanding math phobia, study techniques,
and test-taking skills, said Acuña.
The short-term goal will be to increase the passing
rates in developmental math, she said. The long
term goal is to increase graduation and transfer rates.
BY EDUARDO PARDO