SBCC’s MET program goal is to help underrepresented students

DELANEY SMITH, Channels Staff

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According to a 2016 article “about 90 percent of low-income, first-generation students do not graduate within six years.” A 2011 Pell Institute fact sheet states that 46 percent of low-income, first-generation students drops out before receiving any degree at all.

The Multicultural English Transfer (MET) program at City College is dedicated to promote the achievement of underrepresented students and reverse the statistics.

“What our program tries to do is to really support everybody, including people who aren’t the traditional student,” said Dr. Clara Oropeza, MET program director. “Our department makes sure to put emphasis on ‘one size doesn’t fit all.’”

Oropeza explained that underrepresented students are students that have “been on the margins”. These types of students typically include first generation college students, ethnically diverse students, older students and any students who have taken a non-traditional route through their college career.

“The [MET Program] is about paying attention to different student’s backgrounds and what they can bring to the table,” said Oropeza. “There’s an acknowledgement that you bring something to the classroom, that you aren’t a blank slate.

“The idea is to then get students to bring that background into their learning.”

The 30-year-old program offers all English classes from 65 through 111 and appears on transcripts the same way any regular English class would.

The MET program offer strong support to its students. The classes are smaller and faculty have more time for office hours. There are academic counselors that come to class and the program holds writing workshops.

Different themes are woven into the classes to promote discussions on topics such as social justice and the breaking down of stereotypes.

Student Ceasar Garcia, who is taking the MET English 111 class, described the structure of the class to be “more of an open discussion on our interpretation of the reading.” He said that they don’t just focus on reading and writing skills, but also that they get in depth and explore the topics being read.

Oropeza meets with other MET professors monthly to discuss their teaching styles and research on inequality patterns in education. The professors collaborate so their students can continue to succeed in the classes.

Students sign up for MET classes by selecting an English class labeled “MT” next to the CRN number. Registering for spring semester opens this November.

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