Lydia Hearn wins Excellence Award for student success efforts

Mehek Kapur, Staff Reporter

After helping pioneer the movement for affordable textbooks and establishing a new curricular management system at De Anza College, Lydia Hearn won the Excellence Award from the League of Innovation in the Community College.

The curricular management system she worked to create will likely go into place in Fall 2020.

Currently, all De Anza courses need to have their curriculum and course outlines updated every five years with any changes that have been made to course goals or objectives. In order to get changes approved, professors have to go through a long process of finding signatures from many others.

The new system intends to automate this process and make it fully digital so it’s more efficient.

“It’s kind of difficult to keep tracking down different people for their signatures,” said Hearn. “Hopefully the automatic workflow will make things easier for them.”

Another one of Hearn’s important projects was her implementation of the low-cost and no-cost textbook search features on the De Anza class schedule two years ago. The no-cost textbook labels were mandated by the state of California, but Hearn added the system that listed courses with materials that cost $50 or less.

So far, over two hundred faculty members have designated their classes as low-cost or no-cost, and more are changing their classes to be low-cost or no-cost.

“A few years before this started, the average cost of a textbook was about $95,” Hearn said. “Now that it’s spreading nationally, the average cost is about $70.”

Hearn is also working to help revamp curriculum, offerings, and schedules in the wake of California law AB-705, which doesn’t allow students to be placed into developmental level courses starting this fall.

She also teaches for the Puente program, which helps students transition from high school to community college to a four-year university, and founded the REACH program which is intended to help student athletes make their required courses more relatable to them.

“There’s always different projects I’m working on. I tend to gravitate towards programs that help marginalized students or those who’ve faced discrimination,” said Hearn. “I really feel like these programs have helped them feel more empowered.”

She hopes to continue helping serve the De Anza community through different projects in the future.

“I want to set up systems that let people serve the campus in more meaningful ways,” said Hearn.