Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Reece ready to take on new task

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Bryan Reece takes on his new position during the spring semester.

“If somebody had to pencil in a job that just felt perfect, this would be it.”

Bryan Reece used this scenario to describe his “dream job” as the new dean of student success and institutional effectiveness, a position aimed at improving student success rates at Cerritos College.

Reece began his job on Jan. 1 and claims to enact plans he had for Cerritos that are three years in the making.

Some of his 53 plans include working with faculty and improving traditional and online tools for students.

“A lot of these projects may have five or six people working on them, and staying on top of them is the big challenge right now,” Reece said.

Reece says that in order to improve student success, student input is necessary in certain fields.

“One of the big issues we’re dealing with is the support services.  We need input on the look and feel of the LRC (Learning Resource Center). We need to bring five or 10 times more students into this area,” he said.

“You have to make it an inviting environment. There are lots of ways to make this look as we’re designing it. What should it look like? What do we call it? What should the language be around it?”

Reece also mentioned that one of the biggest challenges he faces is getting students to make the “habits of mind” campaign part of their learning experience.

Reece said, “A lot of students understand what the iFALCON habits of mind are. They get the idea that these are the behaviors of successful students and the details behind all of it. The question is: how do we get students to implement these habits of mind on a day-to-day basis?”

However, this new position did not come without some tension. When the plan to create the new position was proposed in November, faculty members of the humanities/social sciences division were concerned about how the process would occur.

Reece addressed this issue, saying that he has helped create a smooth transition, focusing on helping new dean, Rachel Mason, with her new duties.

“We’ve been sharing staff and trying to make sure she knows exactly where I left off with a number of issues and things like that,” he said.

Reece also believes that the tumultuous events that led to his new position, including a verbal debate at a faculty senate meeting in November, are now a thing of the past.

“I think we’ve reached a high-water mark during the [faculty] senate meetings. Nothing’s been as tense as that at all.

“Change is difficult, and this is a major structural change for the college,” he said.

Cerritos College President Linda Lacy echoed Reece’s sentiment, citing student success as the number one priority.

“Students don’t come to fail; they want to succeed,” Lacy said, “It’s just providing the help that students need.

“The ultimate outcome is to have more students be retained, have successful completion of their coursework and not play the game of, ‘I started a class and I was unsuccessful, and now I’m back to square one.'”

Students such as business major Jasmine Medina believe one of the contributing factors for their success is the availability of student tutoring.

She emphasized that, as a student athlete, tutoring has become a significant part of her academic success.

“Everywhere you go, you see signs showing tutoring for student athletes now. I think it’s really helpful that we have a lot of tutoring and people staying late to help us,” Medina said.

Reece explained that his efforts to help those around him and his experiences as faculty senate president and as the interim dean of humanities/social sciences were what motivated him to take on this position.

“The reason it feels like a ‘dream job’ is because I get to work with people on campus and think about how I help over 20,000 students have a better experience.”

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