HLC Self Study
Chapter 4 Graphic

Academic and Student Support Services

Estrella Mountain recognizes the diverse educational needs of its students. Through the operational areas of Student Affairs, Occupational Education and Academic Affairs, Estrella Mountain provides programs and services to assist students in achieving their educational and career goals. With a philosophy that learning happens everywhere, the College’s operational area of student services embraces and practices a collaborative and cooperative student-centered approach.  Estrella Mountain students with diverse learning needs are provided assistance through the following programs and services.

Student Advisement

The Advisement Department, as part of a one-stop student services model, encompasses both the advisement function and reception or “welcome desk” function for student services. This department includes general advisors who advise for all credit programs, as well as specialty advisors who work specifically with nursing students, SouthWest Skill Center students and students for whom English is a second language.

The mission of the Advisement Department is to provide students with the information, tools and guidance needed to create educational plans that reflect their career and life goals. Advisors assist students in the developmental process of becoming self-sufficient learners in pursuit of their educational and career goals.

During the 2010-2011 academic year, the Estrella Mountain Advisement Department conducted 18,977 advising sessions with Estrella Mountain and SouthWest Skill Center students. College advisors presented information in 41 Career and Professional Development classes to assist students in developing their educational plans using online resources including college web pages, degree check sheets, class schedule, and Student Information Systems/self-service.

Disability Resource Center

The Disability Resource Center’s main function is to ensure that Estrella Mountain Community College is in compliance with federal and state laws that require the Institution to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. The center provides comprehensive support services to students with disabilities, including the following accommodations:

  • Note takers
  • Alternative testing
  • Sign language interpreters/cart services
  • Readers and scribes
  • Alternative print formats
  • Assistive technology
  • Modifications to programs and services

The Manager of the Disability Resource Center also provides disability-related consultation and training services to faculty and staff each semester. During the 2010-2011 academic year, the Estrella Mountain Disability Resource Center served 533 students during 2,173 student visits.  In addition, 23 local high schools brought 688 special education students for campus tours and Disability Resource Center information sessions.

Learning Support Services

Learning Support Services (LSS) at Estrella Mountain Community College promotes student learning and success by:

  • Offering flexible academic support and resources to help all students meet their learning goals
  • Creating more powerful learning environments and experiences
  • Addressing the instructional support needs of underprepared students

The vision driving Learning Support Services at Estrella Mountain encompasses a future Student Success Center with an integrated learning approach that will attract students and increase their academic success. LSS takes a collaborative approach in responding to students’ learning needs by working closely with students, faculty and staff to determine how to best support their Learning Support Services expectations.
Learning Support Services is made up of the following centers:

  • NASA Center for Success in Math and Science – first floor of Montezuma Hall
  • Learning Enhancement and Writing Center – first floor of Estrella Hall
  • Information Commons – first floor of Estrella Hall
  • Online Writing Center – through Blackboard

Learning Support Services continues to focus on building capacity in providing tutoring support and learning resources for all students in online and face-to-face formats. From July 2010 through June 2011, LSS tutoring services (NASA Center, Learning Enhancement and Writing Center) served 3,270 students during 26,884 visits.

Figures 18 and 19 indicate the four-year trends for Estrella Mountain Learning Support Services.

Figure 18

Figure 19

Veterans Services

At Estrella Mountain Community College, the Office of Veterans Services acts as a liaison between the eligible Veteran students and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the purposes of certifying Veterans’ educational benefits. For the past two years, Veterans receiving government aid at the Institution continued to increase at an exponential rate. In fall 2010, Veteran students accounted for a 40 percent increase over the fall 2009 semester. In fall 2010, 402 students utilized their Veterans benefits. Veterans new to Estrella Mountain are provided with a New Veterans Orientation and a Career Counseling and Professional Development course (CPD 150), offered specifically for Veteran students. With the recent implementation of a Veterans student club, campus activities for Veterans have expanded to include:

  • Annual Veterans Day Celebration on campus
  • Women in the U.S. military film and panel discussion
  • Veterans Club Scholarship
  • Annual Deployed Spouses/Family Dinner at Luke Air Force Base

In spring 2010, Estrella Mountain Community College was formally recognized as a Veteran-friendly institution by G.I. Jobs magazine.

Library

The Division of Information Resources (Library) at Estrella Mountain promotes dynamic, lifelong learning experiences for students and members of the West Valley community.  Library faculty and staff provide these experiences by meeting individuals’ information resource needs, teaching information literacy skills and supporting teaching and learning. Through fall 2010 and spring 2011, the following number of students and community members were served by the Library:

  • 25,188 questions were asked and answered at the Library desk
  • 3,378 students were taught in classrooms during Library instruction sessions
  • 1,185 community users logged into Library computers (not students)
  • 723 students were assisted by chatting with the Ask-a-Librarian virtual reference service

Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Department at Estrella Mountain Community College accurately and efficiently processes financial aid for students. Through their interaction with the Financial Aid Office, students learn the following: 

  • What financial aid resources are available, and how to access those resources
  • What financial aid requirements exist (e.g., application, Satisfactory Academic Progress)
  • How to navigate processes (e.g., educational, business)
  • How to take responsibility for individual choices
  • How to manage time and resources

As of June 2011, 6,007 Estrella Mountain students were receiving financial aid. This was a 16 percent increase over the 2009-2010 academic year. This included 21,483 student consultations plus 22,820 phone calls. The College Financial Aid Office processed 13,108 applications, an increase of 30 percent from the prior year.  As of June 2011, $28,013,502 in financial aid had been disbursed to Estrella Mountain students, a 23 percent increase over the 2009-2010 academic year.

Figure 20

Counseling

With an emphasis on student academic achievement, retention and persistence, the Estrella Mountain Counseling Division supports students in accomplishing their academic, career and personal goals through counseling services, instruction (Career Counseling and Personal Development (CPD) and Advancing Academic Achievement (AAA)) and various programs.  

Figure 21