During a meeting between the Dean of Admissions and Records Tamica Ward and student veterans on March 23, students asked questions about three issues.
One student asked about late hours to facilitate students who work and cannot come to the office during normal working hours. Ward said that they were still working on the hours for all student services. Summer hours will be Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Ward was asked about the delay before diplomas are available. The question about diplomas was, “When I graduated from the University of Virginia in 1977 and my wife graduated from San Jose State in 2003, we both got our degree diplomas at graduation. A ceremony was held for each school within the university where the diplomas were handed out. At Las Positas diplomas are not available for those graduating in May until September or October. Why?”
Ward explained the process from final exams to diploma availability. The reason for the time between the end of the semester and diploma is impacted by many factors. LPC holds its graduation early. Instructors, by contract, are not required to turn in grades until three business days after the last day of finals, which is after the graduation ceremony, Ward said.
Then the grades have to be entered into the computer. After the grades are entered, an evaluator needs to perform an evaluation to ensure that all the requirements are met. The courses completed are also entered into Degree Works.
Currently, LPC only has one evaluator available. Another evaluator is on leave.
After verification that all the requirements have been met, a diploma is ordered from a printing company. LPC has changed print vendors in hopes that the printing time can be shortened.
The third question was about transcript evaluations and how to get the evaluation done in a timely manner.
LPC will not perform a transcript evaluation until a student has taken at least 12 credits at LPC, according to Ward. This ensures that a student is serious about working towards a certificate or degree. In addition, it ensures that valuable evaluator efforts are not used on a student who does not complete a certificate or degree program.
The same evaluator performs transcript evaluations and the evaluations before the degrees are awarded and diplomas issued.
LPC is changing to make a transcript evaluation for students transferring to LPC to be done earlier. This should help those students who have completed some requirements at other schools, Ward said.
One student said the counselor questioned if a math class she took at another school would meet a math requirement. Submitting several requests for an incoming transcript evaluation were ignored.
Students have complained that requests for information such as transcript evaluations are ignored and not returned. I have experienced that myself. I have rarely received a reply to any email I have sent to Admissions and Records or to Ward.
Asking questions at the Admission and Records window has always been responded to by “send an email,” which is never acknowledged. An issue that was not brought up to Ward was the lack of knowledge of some of the people serving students in the office. Two years ago I applied for a semester of independent study. You apply by finding a faculty member who will be your advisor in the independent study and filling out a form. I submitted my form and when a few weeks went by without any update, I went to Admissions and Records to inquire about the status. The person at the window replied, “Independent study, never heard of it.” She then looked up independent study and told me I had to fill out a form, which I had already done. I then walked, following the trail that the form would have taken for approval. The Dean of Arts and Humanities administrative assistant had a copy of the approval.
Another issue where Admissions and Records do not support students is a student who went to the window to submit his petition for graduation. He was told they only accept the petitions by e-mail or fax, not in person.
At one time LPC advertised “Students First,” but this slogan has disappeared from the LPC website.
Las Positas needs to return to Students First and make sure the correct staff is available to help students in a timely manner.
Correction: Some information in the story has been corrected. Specifically, the hours for Admissions and Records were updated and plans from additional hours were added. In addition, the story was edited to acknowledge that Admissions and Records have responded to one email by the author this semester. Finally, additional details about why some delays occur were added.
Alan Lewis is the photo editor of The Express. Follow him @AlanLew89343503.