Community Column: Supporting students in high-challenge courses

October 24, 2021

Dr. Robert Garza

Palo Alto College was established in 1985 by people who cared about creating a better future for the South Side community. As the first institute of higher education south of Highway 90, Palo Alto College has helped over 150,000 students obtain a college degree or certificate since offering our first set of classes on Billy Mitchell Boulevard.

As part of our 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Palo Alto College has developed a Quality Enhancement Plan, also known as QEP. The QEP provides an opportunity for the college to identify a specific aspect of student learning or student success that can be improved and then develop a detailed comprehensive plan.

In June 2020, the college community selected embedded tutoring in high-challenge courses as the QEP topic. Embedded tutoring connects students with tutors who are in the classroom and can offer immediate support.

This detailed, carefully designed action plan will be implemented over a five-year period in three phases. It is designed to help students achieve four learning outcomes, including an understanding of course content, an increase in self-confidence, a positive perception of tutoring, and an increased sense of classroom belonging.

The QEP aligns with the college’s Strategic Direction of Student Empowerment, an enduring institutional commitment to help students succeed academically and professionally.

We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated faculty and staff that spend countless hours helping our students achieve success. Demonstrating compassion and care has led to innovative solutions to better assist students both inside and outside the classroom.

Visit alamo.edu/pac/qep to learn more about Palo Alto College’s QEP plan.

This column by Dr. Robert Garza, president of Palo Alto College, was originally published in the San Antonio Express-News' Southside Reporter and mysanantonio.com.