Thoughts on Student Needs

I took a weekend off and went to teach a seminar workshop in Santa Cruz where I met some really inspiring UCSC students. I love getting the opportunity to return to teaching now and then—it keeps the teaching chops alive and it also means I keep abreast of student concerns and needs across the state. Since 2015, I’ve had the opportunity to go around the state and speak at community colleges, Cal States, UCs and private colleges on subjects near and dear to my heart.

Student concerns and what boards and admin think are student concerns sometimes overlap but often they do not. It’s a great reminder and eye opener. The UCSC students were clearly enjoying their community (albeit an expensive one) and they were navigating the far away from home and culture aspect of being in college.

I thought of our students here. I thought of how great it would be if the board and admin took the whole student into consideration. I’m going to preface what I say next in the context of what I learned from teaching in Japan. Sports are a part of daily life, sure, but they cannot be the sole reason for existence. A prison program is a noble and in the case of our school—a lucrative adventure. But these cannot take the place of academics and certainly should not be prioritized (in the case of prison) above those students who have not committed crimes. We need balance and right now we are out of balance. 
It took a few days for things to sink in deep, but I was really troubled during our league of women voters forum when my opponent said that FRC had vocational education because it had a fine arts degree.
I liken his statements to someone saying because they offer a biology program students with botany degrees will become medical doctors. Sure there’s a base relationship (Biology 101) but those are two very different paths. Our board needs to understand that the critical fundamentals of arts classes do not mean they are off the hook for providing vocational education. Graphic Design—a popular major in the 1990s is not the future of all art degrees. Talk to an artist if you’re confused, I want to tell my opponent.
FRC has a great art teacher and department head—I know—I lobbied to get him here in the first place. 
Listen to students. They are graduating into this 21st century economy. Provide what will make their economic futures viable. Also remember to educate the whole student. As an artist myself, I highly value my education and the critical and creative thinking it brought me. 
And that’s what’s needed on the board. #featherrivercollege#votegarcia4frcboardtrustee

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