Las Positas College President Dr. Dyrell Foster used the Las Positas College Veterans First program as a model when he was at other colleges.
Foster held a virtual meeting on Tues, April 14 for the student veterans at LPC as part of the Veterans First Leadership Program where meetings are held with various members of LPC leadership. 14 student veterans attended the meeting via Zoom. Foster conducted the meeting from his home in Anaheim. A question and answer format was used.
Foster stated that when he worked at previous colleges, the Veterans Centers were under him as his career has always been in student services. He looked to Las Positas to see how a good Veterans program was conducted.
Foster stated that when he was Director of Student Life at Mt. San Antonio College he was particularly impressed with the relationships that LPC had with the community groups. Those relationships are what most of the community colleges lack.
Foster also is impressed with the amount of space the LPC Veterans Resource Center has compared to many other community colleges. Space is often at a premium at colleges but LPC makes the commitment to the veterans to have adequate space.
A question was asked if there were plans to discount child care for student veterans. Many of the student veterans have children and the cost of child care can be prohibitive and impacts one’s education. Foster responded that the school just received a $2.8 million grant for COVID-19 expenses, $1.4 million is specifically for students. Some of the funds could be used for child care but students would have to apply for the subsidy.
Classes in the summer will be online only, the current plan is to hold regular classes in the fall but backup plans are being made in case only online classes can be held in the fall semester.
Graduation has been cancelled but a current survey is online to find out what graduating students would prefer instead.
Foster said that the biggest issue so far on online classes is how to hold classes that do not fit the online format and Closed Caption. The college is making a list of classes that do not fit an online format. There is a demand for close caption in classes and the college is working to meet that demand.
Historically online classes have a less success rate for students than in person classes. LPC is training instructors on how to hold/improve online classes.
Low cost housing is an issue not only for veterans but for all students. Some student veterans drive long distances and time to attend classes at LPC, places such as Modesto, Stockton and other places. Foster did not know of any plans for lower cost housing for students but will look into the issue and see what has been done by other groups.
Las Positas has obtained a grant to hold a Guided Pathway study. A Guided Pathway study looks at a college from the student perspective. Foster mentioned you would think that would be a normal study but rarely does one look at from that perspective.
Other issues that students brought up is will the Veterans First program get a bigger space, is anything being done to improve the math department, the Veterans Center get a Mental health counselor, and can LPC hold more classes for veterans only? Dr. Foster took notes and said he would look into each issue.
Foster was very interested in the veterans and plans to do when he can to support the student veterans. He would love to have lunch with student veterans after the shelter in place is lifted.
Alan Lewis is the photo editor of The Express. Follow him @alolewis1.