faces, new duties
ACUNA, Acting Dean, Academic Affairs, Workforce Development and Specially
When 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
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 developmental math.
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.