De Anza College seeks to connect students through “Villages”


Source: De Anza’s Villages homepage

Kaylee Flores, Reporter

In the fall 2021 quarter, De Anza College’s Guided Pathways initiative announced the new student “Villages.” Guided Pathways is an educational model drafted by a team of classified professionals, faculty members and students at De Anza.

It aims to help students be successful by giving them support, as well as detailed guidance for their education and future careers. The Villages are meant to be communities for students to interact with one another and faculty and staff.

“We’re going to be sharing community and campus events and it’s going to be where students can connect with others within their majors and interests,” said Anu Khanna, department chair of the communications studies at De Anza and a co-lead for the Villages Guided Pathways Team. 

De Anza’s different student Villages are grouped by major. (Kaylee Flores)

There are six villages: artistic expression, business and finance, health and life sciences, language and communication, physical sciences and technology, and social sciences and humanities.

“Since the Villages was a new initiative, we wanted to make sure students were informed upon what they were and what kind of resources were available to them,” Khanna said.

Students are offered resources related to their Villages in Canvas such as recommended departments, clubs, and events. This makes it easier for students to find and access these resources virtually, as many resources on campus are not open.

Jayme Brown, coordinator for the bookstore and administrator for Guided Pathways said the Villages are needed to connect students while they don’t have access to campus.

“We try to give back to students and especially now, I think there needs to be more events kind of like this because we’re trying to make sure that you’re engaged,” Brown said. 

On Dec. 2, De Anza’s Guided Pathways Villages announced the six winners of the #VillageConnect giveaway of Microsoft Surface Pro 7s through Canvas. 

The giveaway was meant to incentivize students to engage with the new initiative and see what it has to offer. The prize was just an added-plus.

Jacqueline Perez, 18, film and TV production major, was drawn as the winner in her artistic expression village.

“I think it’s cool that they’re providing different stuff like computers to students who need them,” Perez said.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7s for the giveaway were donated from the new bookstore at De Anza. 

In order to join a raffle for the giveaway, students had to guess the secret Village Connect phrase found with the scavenger hunt. According to Khanna, 76% of participants had guessed the correct phrase.

“It was really fun to do a little scavenger hunt and it was pretty easy too,” Perez said. “It seemed pretty accessible as well.”

According to Brown, it is estimated that over 1,000 De Anza students participated in the digital scavenger hunt done through Canvas.

“We came up with something that was going to be promoted through the Canvas sites because we’re trying to push people to get into the habit of checking sites that contain so much information,” said Brown.

Brown said the event was meant to give thanks during the November holiday and educate students about online resources through the questions in the scavenger hunt.

“I get to learn more about what De Anza provides as a college, which I feel like not many students know about,” Perez said. 

After completing the scavenger hunt, students were given a questionnaire where they could add their own input.

Khanna said that administrators collected over 1,000 responses from students on what they wanted to see in the future. 

“We’ve also received feedback from students who said they didn’t realize how many resources were available in the Village shell that they can be connected to,” Khanna said.

Guided Pathways will also have upcoming projects digitally as well as future plans for on-campus.

“Another thing that the project is working on is to have actual, physical Village spaces on campus for students,” Brown said.

These spaces won’t be available until later in the year when more students come back to campus, but these plans include social spaces for students to hang out and educational spaces with information pertaining to each village.

Guided Pathways plans to host Village events every quarter in the future.