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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Listening tour brings campus issues to light

Photo+by+Brooke+Baldwin%2FThe+Collegian.+NE+Campus+President+Kenya+Ayers+has+conversations+with+students+as+a+part+of+her+listening+tour.+As+the+newest+campus+president%2C+she+seeks+to+solve+some+of+the+issues+that+students+have+on+campus.
Photo by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. NE Campus President Kenya Ayers has conversations with students as a part of her listening tour. As the newest campus president, she seeks to solve some of the issues that students have on campus.
October 16, 2019 | Juan Ibarra | editor-in-chief
Photo by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. NE Campus President Kenya Ayers has conversations with students as a part of her listening tour. As the newest campus president, she seeks to solve some of the issues that students have on campus.
Photo by Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian. NE Campus President Kenya Ayers has conversations with students as a part of her listening tour. As the newest campus president, she seeks to solve some of the issues that students have on campus.

As part of her first semester, NE Campus President Kenya Ayers has been conducting a listening tour with faculty to learn about which areas of the campus she should focus on for improvement, and she hosted her first student session Oct. 8.

When she became president, people would ask her “What are you going to change?” But according to Ayers, she didn’t want to say for sure what needed improvements before getting to know what others say first.

“It seems a bit premature for me to come in with all my ideas, even though I have some,” Ayers said.

During the entirety of the event, five questions were raised on how students would approach changing the campus.

One of them, “What are the biggest changes that the NE Campus is facing?” was on the screen behind her.

While students were instructed to answer those questions and provide feedback.

“I will answer to the extent that I have answers, and if I don’t have the answers, then I will seek the information and I will come back to you,” Ayers said.

Photo by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian. NE students and faculty were given a platform to bring light to issues on campus which they feel need improvement.
Photo by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian. NE students and faculty were given a platform to bring light to issues on campus which they feel need improvement.

The main focus during the student session was about nontraditional students and how to help students who have to manage a family and a full-time job while also taking classes at TCC.

Ayers told a story about her father and how he was a nontraditional student, as she got her college degree before him. Her father had a factory job as a mechanical engineer at General Motors.

“I watched him come home with a briefcase and then study after he had been at work,” she said.

Ayers confirmed that nontraditional students are a focus for her and due to her personal experience with the matter, she aims to look into helping those students in any way possible.

“In other places, I have started initiatives that have been geared toward nontraditional students,” she said.

Without input from students, Ayers said she could not fully know what changes need to happen.

“I don’t know if it’s community or if it’s resources,” Ayers said. “But if you tell me, then we can think about what that looks like moving forward.”

TCC’s 3 Goals and 8 Principles have been a through line for what Ayers has been trying to accomplish, and they were the reason Ayers chose to come to TCC in the first place.

“These goals and principles may not matter to you, but it means that these facilities aren’t going to look the same in a couple of years,” Ayers said. “It means your classrooms won’t look the same, and the technology is going to be different.”

For TCC to become the best school it can be for students, conversations have to start now, according to Ayers.

“This [TCC] is really ripe for some interesting transformation,” Ayers said. “It just means we [administrators and students] have to work together.”

When one hears “community forum,” it’s easy to imagine a group of people all being angry and yelling, NE student Logan Elder said.

“It was very civil,” Elder said. “There were a lot of constructive comments and I found it very enjoyable.”

NE student Bo Black said he was impressed by this approach from Ayers, and he thinks this information is necessary for the public to understand the future plans of the campus.

“I really do respect Dr. Ayers for doing this,” Black said. “It’s easy sometimes to get lost in the job of being the top person in something, but to come and talk with us and fit this in her schedule, that is a big deal.”

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