CTN held the Ascender Spring Seminar via zoom on May 27 with over 40 in attendance. The seminar brought together scholar mentors, educators, advisors, counselors and trainers from across the state to discuss progress and challenges in the program and to share best practices in the classroom. It featured speakers, panels and group discussion to troubleshoot some of the issues faced now with recruitment, student retention and faculty training. Attendees were able to access some static course content on May 25.

“This was a very important seminar for our Ascender familia as we plan for the future under a new reality. How we adjust our teaching for our students to continue to be engaged and maintain a sense of belonging while dispersed across the state is key to our development as is the retention of current students and the recruitment of new students in the absence of TSI scores to review or high school visits to facilitate recruitment,” commented CEO Dr. Chavez.

The seminar began at 9 am with a welcome and introduction from Dr. Maria Martha Chavez. It continued with the presentation “Student Engagement, Retention and Event Coordination” by Alejandra Polcik and Megan Diaz from Austin Community College, which was followed by a Q&A.

At 10:30 Vidal Almanza, Austin Community College (Hays Campus), Ariel Flores, Austin Community College (Riverside Campus) and Anna Alaniz, South Texas College (Starr County Campus) presented “Virtual Recruitment Strategies: A Panel Discussion.” Next Allegra Villarreal, CTN Director of Professional Development presented “Addressing Digital Equity Gaps in Curriculum Design.” From 1-2 pm attendees listened to “Engaging Students Virtually: The One-Sentence Lesson Plan” by Norman Eng, Founder of Education X Design. The last session was presented by Rogelio Saenz, Professor of Demography, University of Texas San Antonio and was titled “The Impact of COVID-19 on Latino Communities.”       

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