Salt Lake Community College will offer a pilot course aimed at Pacific Islander students.
The course, called Pasifika Studies Within an Academic Space, is designed to help Pacific Islanders understand their role in local communities and schools.
“In the last decade Pacific Island students are among the lowest groups in retention rate. Through the efforts of our Pacific Island community and administration, we felt support and need to target these students in the classroom as well as in our advising offices,” says SLCC multicultural advisor Tevita Hola.
Because SLCC has a mission to expand learning into so many different cultures, they felt that this class would expand that mission even more.
“This is part of the College’s commitment to serve the broader community. Its mission is to provide quality higher education and lifelong learning to people of diverse cultures, abilities, and ages, and to serve the needs of community and government agencies, business, industry and other employers,” Hola says.
The new course is supposed to give Pacific Islander students greater knowledge of their culture and a clearer understanding of student life and higher education. It compliments the EDU 1020 class already offered at SLCC.
Because this is a pilot course, the first and only teacher who will be teaching the class is Jake Fitisemanu, who works in the Office of Disparities at the Utah Department of Health.
Fitisemanu will provide background on the importance of entering into college from a cultural perspective students will identify with. He will also teach students how to navigate their own pathways and achieve lifelong learning after they graduate.
“The hope is that these Pacific Island students will understand the vital role they play in our communities and future endeavors. Helping these students in the classroom will be a stepping stone towards their academic success,” Hola says.
Hola hopes the course will soon fill the Social Science General Education requirement as an Ethnic Studies course.
No books are currently required for the class.
Any Pacific Islander students interested in learning more about Pisifika Studies Within an Academic Space can contact Tevita Hola at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-957-3905.