Orange Coast College President Angelica Suarez hosted her second Conversation and Cookies event in the Student Center Lounge today, a gathering where she talked with faculty members over coffee.
Suarez’ said her goal is to make herself approachable to faculty members since they are on campus every day interacting with students. She said this as she continues to learn herself.
“To help inform my vision for Orange Coast College, I really need to hear from you. It has to be a shared vision,” Suarez said.
Faculty members started the conversation by sharing what makes them proud to be a part of OCC. As a group, the faculty recognized that the campus is an environment where they are making a difference in the lives of students and contribute to students’ ability to achieve success.
Suarez said she has done research on what factors play a role in student success.
“There was research done in California about what makes students successful. There were five factors that were identified as being critical to student [success]. They are being valued, feeling connected, feeling respected, being focused and being directed,” Suarez said.
Suarez recognized there was something essential missing from the research — the faculty being a part of the equation. According to Suarez, employees have to feel the same things as the students so they can give that back in return.
These conversations are Suarez’ way of hearing from faculty to ensure they feel connected and their opinions are respected. She said that the Conversation and Cookies is her way to get feedback on where there is room for improvement.
Areas for improvement mentioned by faculty include creating a space for faculty to come together and connect, bringing experts on campus from different fields to provide “Trauma Informed Teaching,” and rebranding the Disabled Student Services Center to encourage students to use its services without feeling labeled.