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Chaparral 2012-2013: 21.4 What's Happening Through Title V

What's Happening Through Title V (March 2013)

What’s Happening Through Title V?

by Cathy Durham

Title V Grant Director

If “Title V” is a fuzzy concept in your mind, you’re not alone. Perhaps you know that Title V has something to do with grants and money. You might associate it with certain people and projects on campus, or with services to Latino students. Perhaps you’ve noticed that Title V occasionally sends out emails or sponsors events. Your individual experiences have likely given you some impressions about Title V. The purpose of this article, however, is to offer a few specifics about Title V at GCC and to highlight its activities over the past year.

Unlike Title 5, which is part of the California Code of Regulations, Title V is part of federal legislation that provides “institutional development” grants for Hispanic-Serving Institutions. The U.S. Department of Education awarded GCC two five-year Title V STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) grants in fall 2011. The two grants differ greatly but are remarkably complementary. (There is actually a third Title V STEM grant at GCC--the AIM Program, in which GCC partners with CSUN, the lead grantee. To learn more about AIM, contact Richard Cortes or visit

The first of the two grants on which GCC is the lead recipient is the GAUSS grant. GAUSS focuses on providing experiential learning opportunities to attract students to the STEM fields, engage them in learning, help them successfully progress through their coursework, and facilitate their transfer to four-year universities in STEM majors. To date, key activities of the GAUSS grant have included:

  • Fully equipping a robotics lab/classroom and developing curriculum for “Introduction to Robotics,” a course that is accessible to all students because it assumes no prior knowledge of engineering, robotics, or computer programming.
  • Developing an entire lower-division, interdisciplinary robotics curriculum, the GCC Robotics Academy, to prepare students for engineering majors and careers through a series of skills-building courses that culminate in a capstone engineering project. (See 
  • Transforming GCC’s excellent machine shop into a modern center for manufacturing technology and robotics, where students can actually build what they design, using 3-D printers and other high-tech software and equipment.
  • Hosting two events at GCC for local high school and middle school students to promote STEM awareness: the IEEE Engineering Conference on February 9, 2013, and the LEGO and VEX Robotics Competition on March 30, 2013. 
  • Creating a Physiological Psychology lab, where students can acquire skills and research experience as they measure and collect data on nervous system activity, using state-of-the-art BIOPAC units. Similarly, purchasing BIOPAC units for the Biology Division’s Physiology lab.
  • Supporting collaboration between student assistants and Astronomy faculty to expand the content and technological sophistication of Planetarium shows available for teaching and outreach.
  • Providing computers for the Physics lab to allow students to perform sophisticated experiments and analyses previously impossible to them because of technological limitations.
  • Supporting winter and summer opportunities for Organic Chemistry students to conduct research as chemists, using modern lab equipment not typically found at community colleges.
  • Purchasing equipment and supporting the development of a summer 2013 opportunity for Biology students to conduct research as biologists.
  • Providing opportunities for students to work as biologists in developing and maintaining a herbarium (dried plant specimens) and a herpetarium (reptiles and amphibians).
  • Creating two “smart” computer lab/classrooms for college-level math courses to allow students to better grasp concepts, using tools such as Mathematica for rendering complex surfaces in 3D and Smartpens to record lectures for “flipped” classrooms. 
  • Investing in software and equipment for the Instructional Technology Resource Center (SF 101) to assist instructors who want to explore new ways of using technology in their teaching. Additionally, creating an adjacent experimental lab/classroom in SF 102 to encourage instructional innovation.
  • In Biology, Chemistry, and the Planetarium, developing student tutor/apprenticeship programs through which students have the chance initially to receive tutoring help or guidance in a research or lab activity from more senior students and later to become more senior leaders themselves, taking a greater degree of responsibility for projects. 
  • Sponsoring the STEM Courseware Initiative (SCI), which encourages faculty to create interactive online lessons on topics students find difficult. Students complete faculty-created lesson modules online before class, which frees up class time to focus on applying concepts and delving more deeply into course material. 
  • Supporting Math Across the Curriculum, which helps students understand the pervasive relevance of math and the application of math concepts in many courses. 
  • Supporting the development and piloting in spring 2013 of a new course, Intermediate Algebra for Statistics, to provide non-STEM students an alternative to Intermediate Algebra that is tailored to preparing them for Statistics.
  • Supporting the use of clickers by STEM faculty. 
  • Supporting the efforts of a team of students and faculty in Physics and Astronomy to build a functioning telescope from its separate components. The telescope can be disassembled completely or partly, depending on the goals of a particular lesson. 
  • Sponsoring two GCC professors in externships at Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) during summer 2012. 

GCC’s second Title V STEM grant is the Gateway grant, which aims to develop at GCC a holistic and unified basic skills program that integrates instruction, student services, and ancillary instruction to significantly improve transfer outcomes in STEM majors for basic skills students. Key activities of the Gateway grant have thus far included:

  • Supporting the redesign and piloting of Arithmetic & Pre-Algebra (Math 155), to shift the classroom experience from lecture to student learning activities facilitated by interactive software. 
  • Supporting the design, piloting, and ongoing development of the Fast-Track Algebra Package, which employs immersion, in-class SI, and math study skills training to help students complete Elementary and Intermediate Algebra (Math 141 and Math 101) in a single semester. 
  • Supporting the redesign of all self-paced math classes to provide greater structure and guidance for self-paced math students and enhance the use of technology for instruction. 
  • Supporting a new initiative for Elementary Algebra I (Math 145) & II (Math 146) to employ some of the technological tools now being implemented with success in the self-paced program.
  • Funding the redesign of a large portion of the Math Discovery Center, the self-paced math study and testing areas, and two developmental math classrooms adjacent to the Math Discovery Center, including equipping the classrooms and parts of the Math Discovery Center with virtual labs to increase and enhance the use of technology in math instruction and tutoring. 
  • Equipping the English Lab with computers to support the division’s increasing use of technology in teaching.
  • Supporting collaboration between Reading and Writing instructors in the English Division to improve connections between courses, share resources, and create a more cohesive experience for students pursuing language proficiency. 
  • Supporting the development and piloting during spring and fall 2013 of two intensive English classes, the first of which combines Writing Workshop II (English 191) and Composition and Reading (English 120) into a single course of eight units. The second combines Composition and Reading (English 120) with college-level Freshman English (English 101) into a single course of seven units. Also under development are two critical thinking classes to accompany each of the combined English classes.
  • Supporting major efforts by the Learning Center to enhance and expand its outreach to basic skills students:
    • Training GCC faculty to create Directed Learning Activities (DLAs) for their students and training tutors in administering the new DLAs. DLAs address individual students’ specific weaknesses in one-hour sessions in the Learning Center.  This complements a major effort to infuse Learning Center resources into the curriculum so that students’ use of the Learning Center will not be something “extra,” but rather an expectation woven seamlessly into the fabric of the course. 
    • Piloting the use of English instructors as tutors in the Learning Center.
    • Developing and implementing a workshop series targeting some of the content areas that most frequently stymie basic skills students. 
    • Improving tools for assessing not merely students’ satisfaction with workshops and tutoring but also the efficacy of workshops and tutoring to produce actual learning. 
  • Creating an online resource for faculty interested in discovering more about active learning. (See 
  • Supporting a collaborative effort by English and Social Science faculty to advance a campus-wide Common Writing Goals strategy to help faculty agree to the extent possible on consistent language for writing assignments and to communicate clear, concordant expectations for students about what constitutes good writing in any discipline. 
  • Supporting the development of new teaching materials by a group of Non-Credit ESL faculty, to prepare non-credit students for college-level writing.
  • Supporting a collaborative effort between the Assessment Center and Non-Credit to better prepare incoming students for assessment into and subsequent success in credit programs in math, English, and ESL.
  • Developing and implementing sustainable methods for integrating Academic Counseling and other student services into the college experience of each basic skills student. 
    • Through collaboration between Assessment and Academic Counseling, developing and pilot-testing a new system to for entering students, in which they sign up for a two-hour, small-group advising session with a counselor immediately following the completion of their assessment tests. 
    • Equipping two computer lab classrooms to support Academic Counseling’s increasing use of technology in advising and student development.
    • Updating GCC’s online orientation video.
    • Developing online advising modules.
  • Upgrading an ESL classroom (VGT-4) to allow expanded use of technology in teaching.
  • Funding ESL faculty training in a revised scoring system for final essays in ESL Grammar & Writing levels II and III.
  • Supporting the development and piloting in fall 2013 of a Fast-Track Credit ESL course, through which students will complete the two highest levels of composition, ESL 141 and ESL 151, in one semester, in conjunction with a library research skills component. 
  • Supporting the library’s effort to develop information competency workshops especially designed for basic skills and ESL students. 
  • Equipping a library computer lab to support the library’s increasing use of technology in library workshops.
  • In collaboration with the GAUSS grant, hosting the 2012 Innovations Expo. In an open-house-style setting, GCC faculty and staff learned about many Title V-funded innovations and viewed new lab and manufacturing equipment being used across campus to promote experiential learning. The Innovations Expo culminated in a keynote address by Michael Wesch, “The End of Wonder in the Age of Whatever.” (To watch the video, please visit  

I hope you will agree that the Title V STEM grants have been productively engaged since their funding in fall 2011 and have potential to create splendid opportunities for students. If you have an idea for a GAUSS project, please send a brief description through the link:

Similarly, your thoughts about a possible Gateway grant project can be offered through the link: Submitting an idea doesn’t commit you to anything but will allow grant staff to explore possibilities with you and explain the next step in the formal proposal process. We welcome your ideas, questions, and suggestions.

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