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Another perspective: Local colleges work together, which helps students

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By Jesse Gallegos

In August, while I was at Highlands University taking pictures at a town hall meeting with the New Mexico Department of Higher Education, I saw my old buddy, longtime Highlands University Recruiting Director Gil Gonzales. He stopped and asked me if I could set up a meeting with him and some of our officials here at Luna Community College about a 2 plus 2 initiative.


Essentially, a 2 plus 2 collaboration would be Luna Community College working on articulation agreements with four-year universities (in this case with Highlands University) that will honor Luna’s core general education courses, certificates and conferred degrees so. When sophomore students consider transferring to a university for their junior and senior years, they will be well-prepared to do so.


I think that is a great idea.


We all see what is happening with education today. Everyone is concerned about it — whether it is the media, parents, trustees or regents, or even our two gubernatorial candidates, Diane Denish and Susana Martinez. Although everyone has their own opinions on this, the bottom line is that we’re losing too many of our students. We all agree on one thing: Students are not succeeding at the rate we would want them to.


Am I an expert in this subject? In a simple answer — no. But I really think that our two local colleges really need to look into it. And not just President Campos and President Fries either. I believe for this to work, both our presidents need to get their soldiers involved. Keep in mind that this is a situation that is occurring all over the country. It’s happening from New York City to Riverside, Calif. We can’t take care of this all over the nation, but we surely can take a closer look at it in our neck of the woods.


Highlands and other four-year colleges should provide Luna Community College input in order for us to provide the best remedial and transferable courses possible to prepare students to be proficient at the university level. In turn, once students are at the four-year institution, course material can be taught and understood with proficiency.


I encourage everyone to look at the following and take some action with it. I know I will be getting calls from my own people here at Luna Community College, Highlands and perhaps even the New Mexico Department of Higher Education. And that’s OK.


A 2 + 2 Program better prepares students for their chosen program of study. For example, when a student takes the COMPASS test (a test that quickly evaluates incoming students’ skill levels in areas such as reading, writing skills and math) once the results are known, the student can be placed in appropriate classes for a starting place from which to begin proper instruction. The key, once a student successfully completes a program of study at LCC he/she can move into a focused program of study at New Mexico Highlands University without having to take additional remedial courses.


Luna is making every effort to individualize academic programs for students so they will be prepared to attend NMHU their junior year in college. As a learning community, we have the educational institutions to master the concept and strategy that will lead to student success.


We owe it to all of our students—for the sake of our region and the health, education and economic future of our state’s population.

Jesse Gallegos is the public information coordinator at Luna Community College.