Mini-Grant Success Stories – MJC’s Faculty Mentor Plan Supports AB705

Adjunct Faculty Embedded Into Accelerated/Co-Requisite English, Math 

Modesto Junior College recently used its Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Mini-Grant to support compliance with California Assembly Bill 705 by funding a faculty mentor program that embedded adjunct faculty into accelerated/co-requisite English and math courses during the Spring 2021 semester, addressing the key elements of persistence; time to degree; and decreasing equity gap.

“Modesto Junior College’s use of the grant funds is the epitome of the benefits we seek when distributing the mini-grants,” said Dr. Ben Durán, CVHEC executive director. “The grants are intended to spur up creative approaches to institutionalizing equitable systems. Modesto College has done just that.”

Now in its third year, the CVHEC Mini-Grants program, currently funded by the College Futures Foundation, provides awards with a maximum $7,500 each which faculty from member institutions have creatively used for individual projects that help achieve the consortium strategy of increasing degree attainment rates.

Last year, the grants awarded for projects in various amounts provided assistance and professional learning associated with Guided Pathways, Math Pathways, implementation Corequisite English and math course development, and advancement of Pathways for Associate Degrees for Transfer. The 2021 funding cycle also sought to additionally incentivize basic needs and equity, race and social justice work.

With its $7,500 grant, Modesto Junior College eyed a plan to enhance its approach to AB705. The goal of MJC’s project was to expand the courses in highest demand — English 100 (transfer level English) and Math 34 (statistics) — by mentoring adjunct faculty in the pedagogy and andragogy used in the co-requisite and accelerated courses. While being mentored, the adjunct faculty were embedded with an experienced mentor, a faculty member who teaches accelerated and co-requisite courses.

At MJC, changes were made to both English and math using best practices from the California Acceleration Project leading to significant gains in transfer-level completers, and throughput for both departments, reported Dr. Laura Maki, dean of Science, Math and Engineering.

Comparing 1-year throughputs in fall 2017 to fall 2019, English 1 year throughput increased from 45.2 percent to 51.9 and math 1 year throughput more than tripled from 10.7 percent to 34.2, Dr. Maki said in MJC’s final mini-grant report.

In English and in math, two adjunct faculty were embedded into the accelerated composition course (English 100), and into the statistics co-requisite courses (Math 34) respectively in Spring 2021, she reported.

During the semester, each mentee received hands-on experience in the activities and lessons being used in the course, with the goal of increasing their understanding of the acceleration pedagogy and andragogy.

In math, faculty also discussed and reviewed the impact of AB705, equity gaps and disproportionate impact with their mentor adjunct faculty. Adjunct participants were provided with a stipend and FLEX credit during Spring 2021.

In fall 2021, with Modesto Junior College’s high demand for the co-requisite statistics courses, both adjunct faculty mentees will teach a section of Math 34, a 28 percent increase in the number of sections offered.

The co-requisite mentor program has given the instructors the confidence and preparation needed to independently teach the co-requisite statistics course emphasizing the ability to identify equity gaps and provide support for students with a variety of academic and social backgrounds, Dr. Maki reported.