Episode 8 Deidre Yancey
8:29PM Feb 15, 2021
Hello, hello, hello lovely listeners. Welcome to Out Loud in the Library, a Durham Tech Library podcast. I'm your host, Courtney Bippley, reference librarian extraordinaire, here to remind you that you haven't had enough water today. Just because it's February doesn't mean we don't need to hydrate, go drink. Some library updates are that we have been posting, and will continue to post, Black History Month reading recommendations on our social media accounts. All of our recommendations are available as either ebooks or audiobooks on the Libby app through Dogwood Digital Library so you can access them from the comfort of your own home. Which is great because it's raining right now, and you probably don't want to go outside. We also have a great list of documentaries on our blog that you can stream through Films on Demand. I linked the blog post in the show notes.
I have finally finished my first book of 2021. I've been in a reading slump. So it took me a month and a half but I did it and it counted for two of the Reading Challenge categories this year. You only need five books to win our Read Great Things Challenge so I am still on track. Check out the categories on our blog. Heads up that the Durham County Public Library is planning an incredible event in early April. It's called Library Fest and it will be a whole week celebrating the library from the 5th through the 10th. It's gonna have fantastic programs and guest speakers. All virtual, of course. Durham Tech is collaborating with the public library so we will be participating as well and are very excited about it. I can't tell you who the headliners are yet but rest assured that they are literary powerhouses and you won't be disappointed.
Today's interview is with Deidre Yancey. She is the Chair of First Year Experience and College Success and is also an instructor who teaches ACA 122. ACA 122 is also known as College Transfer Success. What does that mean? What kinds of things do students learn and why is it required? Listen to find out!
Hello, thank you for joining me today.
Thank you, Courtney. I'm glad to be here.
What is ACA 122?
Yeah, so the title of ACA 122 at Durham Tech is college success. And that's really what the class is about. So it is a standard course that's offered at all of the North Carolina Community Colleges. And here at Durham Tech, we focus on three areas. In particular, we focus on goal discernment, which really centers around career and academic goal setting. We also focus on learning strategies, which is all about, I refer to it as studentship skills. So time management, note taking, study strategies, reading, test taking, those sorts of things. And the third area that we cover in ACA is college culture. What does it mean to be a college student? And particularly what does it mean to be a college student at Durham Tech? So what are our college policies, our college resources? How does financial aid work? And what do you need to know about keeping your financial aid? What are the different letter grades at Durham Tech and which letter grades count towards GPA? Those are all things that an ACA student will walk away with.
How long have you been teaching ACA 122?
Yeah, so I believe this is currently my sixth year of teaching ACA at Durham Tech. So I arrived at Durham Tech in fall of 2015. And before coming to Durham Tech, I taught a similar course at another North Carolina institution. So six years here at Durham Tech. And I have to say my favorite part of every academic year is just the start of new semester, new students, new goals, new ideas. That's always my favorite part of the term.
New beginnings. Most programs at Durham Tech require ACA 122 In their course plan. Why do we make students take it?
Yeah, that's a really great question. So we really want every student to take this class at the very beginning of their academic career, because we want them to essentially have a roadmap for their success. So at the very beginning of their college career, we want to make sure they have that foundation, we want to make sure that they know the difference between a certificate and a diploma and an associate's degree. To make sure that they have chosen the right credential for what they want to do. We want to make sure that if transfer is something you're interested in, that they know about the different pathways to transfer and the different articulation agreements. And, even if transfer is not something that they've thought about, we still want to make sure that they at least know the ins and outs of that. So ACA is really all about building that foundation and making sure that our students have the tools that they need to put them in a position to be successful, whatever their next steps are. And so that's really why we want our students to take ACA just so that they can have that foundation to make sure that they are set up for success. And whatever it is that they're moving forward to in the future.
So we get students coming in sometimes who don't think they really need to take ACA, what do you say to a student who thinks they shouldn't need to take this class?
Yeah, that's a really great question. So I would say a couple things. The first thing would be, you would be surprised how much general life knowledge you get out of ACA. The things that we cover in ACA all center in some way back to goal setting, and success. And for the most part, the things we talked about are applicable not only to college, but also for example, I think about a discussion that we have on time management fairly early into the semester. So obviously, for a college student, it's important to know how to manage one's time and how to beat procrastination, but that's also important to be successful in one's job. And also thinking about topics like financial literacy and stress and wellness, which lend themselves to real world application beyond the classroom. So a lot of the things that we cover our absolutely applicable to being a college student, even if they have been a college student somewhere else they still need to know and understand what it means to be a college student at Durham Tech, because each institution has its own culture. And in order to maximize success, students need to learn about that culture, what resources are available, where to go when they need help, what policies govern certain actions and outcomes, and ACA will help them discover all of that.
Absolutely. All the skills you mentioned, are lifelong skills, the financial literacy, time management, study skills, all that stuff I'm still working on.
Aren't we all? It's always a work in progress.
Yes. ACA 122 is a one credit class. Most classes are three credit classes or four credit classes, how much time should a student expect to spend on a one credit class each week.
So we teach our students something called the two to one rule. And that means that for every one credit hour that a class is worth, students can expect to spend twice that many hours outside of class each week working on course content. So since a ACA 122, is worth one credit hour, students can expect to spend twice that, about two hours, every week working through readings, assignments, and course activities.
Two hours does not sound too bad.
Yeah, it's not too intense. And that that's one of the conversations that we have with our students, particularly around time management, and also, of course, scheduling for the upcoming semester, because we want students to understand that if they are signing up for a 16 hour course load, or 16 credit hours, that if they double that, that's about 32 hours every week that they need to have available to complete assignments, then do readings and activities. And so when it's put in that perspective,
Yeah, 32 hours is a full time job.
What is your favorite assignment to give in the class,
I think all of our assignments are really engaging and insightful. So it's difficult for me to choose one. But if I had to choose one to spotlight, it would probably be our academic timeline assignment. With that assignment, we guide students through how to read their plan of study, their advising guide, and if they are a transfer student, their course selection guide. And we help them map out every single semester from beginning to end. I love it, because I think it fulfills such a critical part of the mission of ACA, providing students with a foundation, a roadmap really, that will hopefully guide the remainder of their time at Durham. We really want every ACA student to leave our class with that completed academic timeline and self service that as they move on to meet with their advisor and future semesters, they already have a plan in place, and all they have to do is tweak it and adjust it as needed.
As an academic advisor myself, I have to say that that is also my favorite assignment. I love it. When students come to me and have a whole plan that they've already thought about that we can work on together. It makes my job easier. It reduces their own stress. So you're right. It's a great assignment.
Awesome. I'm glad to hear I'm glad to hear that. Courtney, thanks.
Do you have anything you would want students to know coming into ACA 122?
Yeah, one thing does come to mind. It's actually something that I tell my new students at the beginning of every semester and that is that you will get out of ACA 122 what you put into ACA 122. I really want students to know that this is a class that honestly and truly meets them where they are. We have students that come into our class from a variety of backgrounds. Some are straight out of high school, others have been out for a number of years. Some are interested in transfer. Some are not. Some may be transitioning into a new career, while others are still figuring out exactly what they want to for a career and every single activity, assignment, and project that we do in ACA is really centered around that goal. Helping students to investigate and figure out what it is that they want, and how to get there. We spend a lot of time discussing the goal discernment cycle, and how students can formulate goals, how they can make sure that their goals are SMART, and really making sure that they leave the class with a road map.
Is there data, like statistics, that show different outcomes for students who take ACA 122 versus students who did not take ACA 122?
Yes, we actually do have some data that discusses our outcomes. So what we found is that consistently, students that enroll in and pass ACA persist at a higher rate about 88% than students not enrolled in ACA who persist at a rate of only 61%. So when we're talking about persistence, we're talking about students that do come back the next semester, and continue being successfully enrolled at the college. I think that's because in some ways, ACA really functions like a semester long orientation. So it provides a safe space for students to get acclimated to the college, familiarize themselves with what's available.
What was the last book you read?
I had to think about this one because I've read quite a few books recently, but recently finished reading a book called Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by brothers Chip Heath and Dan Heath. The book talks about how in order to effect change, either in our personal lives, or even in our places of work, we have to consider two elements, our emotions and our logic, and how those can sometimes be in competition with each other.
That sounds like a very useful book.
It was it was very useful and thought provoking. And it also gave some ideas for how to kind of rally a team of people and appeal to both their emotions and their logic to get everyone rallied around a common goal. So it was a very useful and enjoyable read. It actually was not too dense because typically every chapter had at least two or three personal stories or anecdotes, so, it was very relatable. It felt almost like a conversational read, which made it a lot easier to get through.
Excellent. Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope that everyone listening knows now more about ACA 122. Why we have you take it how important it really is to making your college experience a successful one.
Thank you so much for having me today. Courtney, I appreciate the opportunity.
Thank you again to Deidre Yancey the book she read Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath is available through Interlibrary Loan. Request a copy online through the catalog or fill out the Interlibrary Loan form on the Durham Tech Library homepage. I hope that the water you drank was incredibly refreshing and that you have a lovely day!