The CUNY Coordinated Undergraduate Education (CUE) Conference 2017 was held May 5 at BMCC’s main campus, 199 Chambers Street, and at BMCC’s Fiterman Hall, 245 Greenwich Street.
The Conference theme, Accelerating Progress, Accelerating Equity: Improving Student Success in Developmental and Gateway Courses was reflected in breakout sessions, a keynote address by Katie Hern, Director of the California Acceleration Project, and Plenary by Steven Hinds, Director of Chicago’s Active Learning in Adult Numeracy and Mathematics.
"One of the University’s highest priorities and certainly BMCC’s highest priority is improving student success,” said BMCC Provost Karrin E. Wilks, as the conference opened with a breakfast in Richard Harris Terrace. “We’ll never be able to do that unless we improve developmental outcomes and outcomes in Gateway courses. This is essential to realizing our mission of advancing opportunity, equity and student success. This conference is a great opportunity to learn from what other colleges are doing, proven practices that address those priorities."
Katie Hern’s Keynote Address, “Improving Completion and Equity in Developmental and Gateway English and Math,” presented findings from her work supporting California’s 113 community colleges as they implement reforms to increase student completion of college-level coursework and close the racial equity gap.
Closing the mathematics gap for adult students and college students who struggle with math was the focus of the conference plenary by Steven Hinds, “Active Learning Pedagogy for Developmental and Gateway Algebra.”
Breakout sessions highlight effective strategies
More than 35 breakout sessions highlighted the efforts of faculty throughout CUNY to improve student success, addressing many facets of student experience.
“Bridging the Gap: Addressing College Expectations,” was led by BMCC Speech, Communications and Theatre Professors Bertha Ferdman and Daphne Sicre. “Our presentation looked at freshmen coming into a Gateway course, and asked the question, ‘How do we make sure that our students are staying not just in our class, but are also staying in the college?’,” said Sicre. “We’ve realized that many students enter BMCC having a different expectation than we do, of what college is, so we start by having them read articles and do free writes on their expectations and on the differences between high school and college.”
A group of Mathematics Professors including Jean Richard, Luci Prado, Daniela Bardac-VLada, Bernard Beecher and Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Analytics Bettina Hansel presented highlights from a pilot class they developed that combines statistics and algebra. “It’s now an official course, thanks to some of the results we found,” said Hansel. “For example, about 72 percent of the students taking the combined course of algebra and statistics were able to pass, and when you look at the algebra pass rate for similar students it’s much lower, 30 percent.”
Speech Professor Sandra Poster and her colleague Chris Vinsonhaler led the breakout session, “Modeling Professionalism in Gateway Courses." One of the things the CUE Conference addresses, Poster said, "is techniques that effective classroom instructors can use to help students succeed. We want to enable faculty members to have more tools in their tool box for reaching students, helping them be the success they want to be, and we want them to be.”
A breakout session that addressed the gap in math proficiency many incoming students experience was led by two College Discovery staff members: Director Pedro Pérez and Academic Support Coordinator John M. Burdick. “One of the things we share with our colleagues across the CUNY system is the need to help our students bridge the gap from some of the developmental courses and testing challenges they experience as they enter CUNY,” said Pérez.
“It’s great to bring faculty and staff together from across CUNY to talk about issues we share, especially regarding Gateway courses, because these are areas that our students often struggle with,” said Burdick. “It’s inspiring to for colleagues from divergent campuses to share resources and knowledge. It’s important that we’re here.”