City College continues to build support for students in Isla Vista

Courtesy+Art

Sourav Das

Courtesy Art

MARISSA WHISMAN, Associate Editor

Students and Isla Vista residents were given the opportunity last semester to speak about the struggles of living 15 to 30 minutes from school.

The consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates published an official report in April that goes into detail regarding the results of surveys and focus groups involving students and staff. City College paid the company $16,000 to conduct these focus groups with the intent to help bridge the gap between City College and Isla Vista residents.

“We provide a lot of opportunities for students living out in Isla Vista,” said Ben Partee, dean of student development. “We’ve collaborated with UCSB to help our students living out there, finding them other options other than going out and partying.”

The report was shared as a PDF presentation in an email to faculty and students at the beginning of the fall semester. The PDF is 22 slides detailing the process the outside company went through to calculate all the student complaints and requests regarding City College student life in Isla Vista.

The main objective that came out of these focus groups and report was the need for a school resource located in Isla Vista. According to Partee, the number one complaint was access to academic counseling.

One of the ways City College reaches out and aids students in Isla Vista is by offering a tutoring program and academic counseling at Tropicana Gardens two nights a week. In late September, a City College mobile librarian was assigned to assist students with any resource and library questions.

Adjunct Lecturer and Librarian Kirsten LaBonte is at the Pardall Center in Isla Vista for three hours once a week in an attempt to meet student’s requests for more school resources closer to home.

However, student attendance has been extremely low threatening the program.

“We advertised the heck out of it and it just didn’t happen,” said Partee. “We are rethinking what we are going to do.”

Partee believes the reason for the low attendance is due to the location of Tropicana Gardens and unsuccessful advertising.

“It really would be nice to have an actual, official tutoring center in IV,” said Savannah Reller, City College student and Isla Vista resident.

Partee said the college is currently working with another entity in Isla Vista to utilize their facility for both personal counseling as well as tutoring counseling opportunities.

“What we want to provide is a more localized facility so students living in Isla Vista can walk or ride their bikes to this facility where they can have both personal and academic counseling, as well as tutorial services, library services and potentially a one-stop-shop for enrolling at the institution,” Partee said.

According to the report, students feel the campus can also do more to make academic resources more accessible. They suggested ideas such as the library stay open later, open up unused classrooms, tables with umbrellas outside and outlets located in more areas on campus.

New plans arising from the SBCC Isla Vista Students report results will be adjusted and created in spring 2015.

Click here for the PDF of the report.