Utah researcher discusses project, students ask for mentorship at Academic Senate

Ella Shih, Staff Reporter

The De Anza College academic senate presented information on higher education organization and student governance success on May 13.

Sean Crossland, director of the Thayne Center for Service and Learning at Salt Lake Community College, presented his research project, “On Becoming a People’s College: An Appreciative Inquiry,” at the senate meeting.

Crossland said he believes other community colleges can benefit from this project by carrying out their own “self-discovery.”

During his presentation, Crossland asked faculty to pair up, examine the project and envision a goal for De Anza based on it.

Terrence Mullens, meteorology professor, said he hopes students focus on understanding material instead of their grades.

“(Students should) not focus on the points and focus more on the point,” Mullens said.

Student Trustee Genevieve Kolar said the project brings more open conversations where students can honestly express their opinions.

Kolar and Inter Club Council Chairperson Rex Zhang presented their ideal practice of students in shared government.

Director of Health Education and Wellness Mary Sullivan asked if senators require mentorship. Minimal mentorship is available in the current staffing.

Cynthia Kaufman, director of the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action, said mentorship should be available.

“The DASB vice president should enforce and hold the student representatives accountable for attending shared governance meetings,” Kolar said.

She said student representatives are expected to write down everything that happened after attending shared governance meetings.

Kolar said students cannot make it to meetings usually because of schedule conflicts and a lack of mentorship.

Further discussion of students in shared governance will be presented at the May 20 meeting.