ECOS Makes Contact with Letter


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Mark Graven

Staff Writer


The president of the Executive Council of Students (ECOS) Alex Crossland, says he believes that the CNM Administration will respond positively to the ECOS Board’s call for improvements to its remote learning program.
Crossland offered the opinion after the Board’s December 11th meeting– at which it was noted that ECOS had received a response from CNM President Tracy Hartzler to a letter that ECOS had sent out through email the previous week to Hartzler and a half a dozen key people in the administration, calling for reforms to remote learning.
Crossland said he was “encouraged” by Hartzler’s response, but that he did not expect the administration to react precipitously. 
“I believe that our letter was effective, and that the administration is listening to us,” said Crossland, adding that he expected that administrators would give ECOS ideas careful consideration, and not just slap a “bandaid” on the problem. 
He said he is hopeful that the process will result in improved remote learning during the upcoming intercession and the conduct of Spring Semester.
Kristopher Gaussoin, director of student life and discipline at CNM, also the advisor to the ECOS board, said that the ECOS letter has already been taken up at an administrative meeting.  Gaussoin has been urging the board to frame its concerns about remote learning in a constructive manner to get good results with the administration– which he predicted would welcome input from ECOS, the voice of the student body.
Remote learning has been the main topic of discussion for the ECOS board at meetings held over the last two months. The ECOS letter to CNM administrors was drafted by ECOS Vice-President Imane Bahji, and then approved by the full board on December 4th.  
Bahji has consistently criticized the fact that many remote learning classes lack a lecture component, wherein students can ask professors questions in real time, and clarify difficult concepts or processes.  
She has said that there is a danger that when student’s don’t understand, they might quit classes, or even drop out of school.
Crossland said that, in fashioning its letter to the administration, ECOS got input from students through conversations, and through a Suggestion Box, set up on its CNM web page.  The Board also considered information from surveys conducted by CNM that included questions about remote learning.
CNM turned to a largely remote learning format during Spring Semester, after the onset of Covid-19 cases in New Mexico,  although some classs were allowed to meet on campus during the fall.
Linda Martin, a representative of CNM’s Office of Data Strategy, appeared at Friday’s meeting.  She said that the most recent information on student enrollment and retention is still being processed, so that the statistical picture of the impact of remote learning on enrollment numbers and finances is still unclear.
Crossland said that ECOS would not immediately release for publication the letter to the administration, or the administration’s response, although it might do so at a later date.  Such an approach could be more productive in the short run, he said.

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