THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2000
New Professor Helps Students Expand Horizons
Walnut, CA ... New Mt. San Antonio College Spanish Professor Kurt Kemp is enjoying his first year as a full-time teacher at Mt. SAC, but what he enjoys even more is helping students explore a different culture, a
different perspective, enroute to expanding their horizons and becoming better people.
"Being bilingual and bicultural is important because the world is becoming a smaller place," said Kemp, "and having the perspective of another culture makes you a better human being."
That dual perspective is likewise important, Kemp said, because it allows people to see another side of issues, events, and life in general in a more humanistic context.
Part of his classes involve not only speaking, writing, and reading Spanish, but also require that students experience Spanish culture through what he calls culture projects.
"It's a hands-on experience that will stick with students longer," he said.
The projects can include anything from music, dance, food, history, crafts, travel, or popular culture, and require that students try something that they haven't experienced before.
"I want students to understand the culture and people who are from Spanish-speaking countries, to break down the stereotypes, and to break down the fears of speaking another language to people who might be native speakers."
Kemp, a resident of Mt. Baldy and native of Covina, comes to Mt. SAC with 16 years of teaching experience, including five years teaching part-time at Mt. SAC, both credit and Community Education classes. In addition to Mt. SAC, he's taught at Pasadena City College, University of La Verne, City College of San Francisco, Solano Community College, and Santa Rosa Junior College. He has also taught as a teaching assistant at UCLA for seven years and taught high school full-time at Justin-Sienna High School and San Leandro High School in the Bay area.
Mt. SAC, however, seems to be the perfect place for him.
"My passion for Spanish began here at Mt. SAC as a student," said Kemp, whose first language is English and is not a native speaker of Spanish.
Admittedly, he didn't know what he wanted to do when he came to Mt. SAC. He took some Spanish classes in high school, but it wasn't until after he received encouragement and inspiration from instructors at Mt. SAC like Dr. Charles Moolick that he knew what he wanted to do with his life.
"What tied the knot for me was when I spent the entire summer in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1977," he said, recalling an incident with a custom's agent upon his departure from Mexico.
The agent asked him a question, and he instinctively responded in Spanish. "Spanish was coming out of my mouth without my even realizing it."
He went on to graduate from Mt. SAC, continued his education at Cal State Fullerton for his bachelor's degree, and finished the Master's Program in Romance Linguistics and Literature at UCLA. And as for a career in teaching, it didn't hurt to have some of his family members involved in education. His brother is currently employed by the Covina Valley Unified School District as a computer programmer. His father taught at Covina High School for more than 30 years and coached the varsity baseball team there for 10 years.
"From him, I got the enjoyment of helping other people," he said.
Yet with his experience teaching at the community college, high school, and university levels, Kurt Kemp thinks community college is special and the right place for him. The interaction between professor and students at community colleges is one of the factors that make teaching at a community college unique, he said. He has also observed that community colleges are frequently more involved in the community.
"I feel more of a moral mission at Mt. SAC because this is where I got my start," he said. "This is where everything took off."Mt. SAC Forensics Takes Fall Championship
Walnut, CA ... The Mt. San Antonio College Forensics Team took top community college honors at the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensic Association fall championship speech and debate tournament, held December 1-3, at Cal State Long Beach.
Thirty-five colleges and universities and more than 450 students participated in tournament that saw over 2,500 individual performances. As a team, Mt. SAC placed first in the community college division ahead of second-place Orange Coast College and third-place Moorpark College.
Mt. SAC students won 48 trophies at the tournament, including 10 first-place awards. First-place trophies were won by Josette Serranno (Diamond Bar), Marl Gatchalian (Walnut), Allan Axibal (Hacienda Heights), Rafael Guerrero (West Covina), Audry Arambula (Pomona), Tammy Morgan (Upland), Diana Mena (South San Gabriel), Susan Hall (Diamond Bar), William Chiu (Walnut), and Miles Gregley (West Covina).
The Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensic Association fall championships is one of the largest speech tournaments in the nation.After School College Reaches Out to High School Students
Dec. 06 Walnut, CA ... Local high school juniors and seniors are getting a head start on their college studies thanks to Mt. San Antonio College's After School College program which gives high school students the opportunity to take college classes at area high schools.
"The goal is to capture the interest of high school students as early as possible so that they see they can be successful at college," said Mt. SAC Professor Dr. Laurel Jones, who is the co-coordinator for the After School College program.
The program offers a wide range of college classes, including math, English, counseling, study techniques, biology, political science, child development, and others. Yet perhaps more importantly, the program offers students an option to prepare for the future ahead of schedule.
"Many high school students never think about what their options are until school's already started," said Jones.
One of the major benefits of the program, Jones said, is that it is offered on high school campuses in an environment with which the students are already familiar. The transition to college can often be difficult for many students.
"They don't have to worry about the differences in learning cultures because they're learning in a place that they know with people they know," she said.
But make no mistake about it -- the courses offered are college-level classes taught by teachers from Mt. SAC. Just because the students in these classes are high school students doesn't lessen the expectations for performance.
"It gives them a reality check for what's going to be expected from them in college," said Jones.
Another significant benefit of the program is its low cost. Class fees are waived completely, and fees such as parking do not apply since the courses are held on high school campuses. Students pay only for their books. And the students themselves seem ready for the challenge.
Jones, who taught political science through the After School program, said that high school students who take a college course are dedicated, motivated, and interested in learning.
"They are very ready and excited about learning something that is out of the high school realm," Jones said.
The After School College program began two years ago as part of Mt. SAC's high school outreach efforts to strenghten its connections with high schools in the Mt. SAC District. This spring, the program will offer a combination of 18-week and six-week short-term courses with spring semester classes beginning January 8.
High schools that have offered the After School College courses include Baldwin High School, Bassett High School, Bonita High School, Charter Oak High School, the East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program, La Puente High School, Rowland High School, San Dimas High School, Sierra Vista High School, and Walnut High School.
"We want other high schools to know if they are interested in having the program on their campus it is doable," said Jones.
For more information on Mt. SAC's After School College program, call (909) 594-5611, ext. 4306 or ext. 3908.TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2000
Mt. SAC Offers Spring Single Parent Academy
Dec. 11 Walnut, CA ... Mt. San Antonio College will offer its Single Parent Academy this spring semester on Mondays, 9 a.m. to noon, beginning January 8 through May 18.
The Single Parent Academy, which began at Mt. SAC in 1987, is a three-unit, 18-week course designed to provide career direction to single parents who want to achieve new personal, educational, and career goals. Some of the topics students will explore are career and personality assessment, job search strategies and career trends, stress management, relationships, self-esteem, and parenting skills.
The class cost is $11 per unit plus $4 material fee, $11 health services fee, and $11 college services fee. Through the Single Parent Academy, assistance with enrollment fees, child care costs, and transportation expenses is available for eligible participants.
To register or for more information, call Mt. SAC's Re-Entry Center at (909) 594-5611, ext. 4392.