STARS shooting for academic glory

Academic assistance committee tries to light the way for students.

By Zaida Diaz, Staff Writer

The Strategic Team for the Advancement and Retention of Students (STARS) Committee has already begun to host a series of events they hope will continue to generate Monarch academic success. STARS has been around since 2003 and is funded by the Associated Student Union (ASU). The committee is compromised of Valley College faculty who seek to motivate and help students thrive in college.

On Sept. 22, Valley Math Lab Supervisor John Kawai conducted a workshop called “Math Success Strategies,” which was geared to help students overcome their fear of math. There were 26 students in attendance, whom, by the end of the session, rated it as “excellent.” According to the evaluation survey, students believed that Kawai gave an “inspirational and realistic approach.”

During this week’s STARS meeting, it was confirmed that “Navigating Through College,” the second in this series of workshops, will take place on Oct. 23. It is meant to educate students, particularly incoming students, about the various programs and resources provided by Valley.

This will be followed by,”Study Smarter, Not Harder” on Nov.4 where Monarchs can expect to learn skills on how to handle test taking anxiety, time-management strategies, note-taking strategies, and more. STARS Committee Member and Biology Professor Suzanne Baldwin believes “Study Smarter Not Harder” can be particularly useful for students; as she explained that various students often fall behind while writing notes when professors lecture.

“A lot of students think they have to write every word instead of getting down the main concepts,” said Baldwin. Monarchs struggling with this issue could benefit from attending the workshop.

The events will be held from 1- 2:30 p.m. at the Library & Academic Resource Center (LARC), Room 201; refreshments will be provided.

In addition, STARS is pursuing guest speakers, but has not heard back from potential candidates yet.

“It’s an ongoing project,” said Jonathan Saxon, Valley History professor and STARS Committee Member. The committee has persistently reached out to individuals and are determined on offering a speaker series they hope will engage and encourage students on continuing to pursue a higher education.

Monarchs with any inquiries or suggestions can send an e-mail to or attend the next meeting, which will be held on Thursday, Nov. 6 from 1 -2 p.m. in LARC 200. STARS meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month and are open to all Valley students.

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