Estrella Mountain Community College’s first online student magazine, The Lion’s Perspective, is making its debut publication this spring semester. What many students don’t know is that The Lion’s Perspective is part of a five-year, $2.8 million Title V Program Grant awarded by the United States Department of Education to EMCC in September of 2008.
Title V grants are only awarded to Hispanic-serving institutions with a student population that is at least 25 percent Hispanic. Currently, Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC), Phoenix College and Gateway Community College are the only Maricopa Community Colleges that have been awarded the grant.
Jonathan Robles, Title V director at EMCC, is in charge of all the programs and activities under Title V at EMCC. Before becoming the school’s Title V Director, Robles attended the University of Arizona and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology as well as a Master’s in Public Health in Health Administration and Policy. He then worked at the University of Arizona College of Medicine for 16 years before coming to EMCC as the Title V director in 2008.
His main objective is to ensure that programs and projects, like The Lion’s Perspective, benefit and strengthen student learning by opening up opportunities for them to grow. Robles oversees programs like Engage Estrella (E2), a mentoring program for students, and other projects that support student learning.
“The objective of the grant is for Estrella to be a more learner-centered institution,” said Robles. “All the activities under this grant go towards supporting that end goal for the college.”
Robles also assesses the progress of the Title V activities to ensure they are meeting their goals by asking questions like how and why the activities are good for student learning. He is particularly excited in the role The Lion’s Perspective will play in creating a more open culture for students by giving them a platform to let their voices be heard and to support and encourage learning, which is a main objective of the Title V Grant.
“The premise of The Lion’s Perspective is to engage students. It is another tool to increase campus awareness for students, employees and faculty,” said Robles. “It provides a voice and another outlet to showcase students’ writing, ideas, thoughts and perspectives.”
Since the college does not have a journalism department, it was a challenge to initially get the project running, according to Robles. Robles credits the hard work of Selina Schuh and Kathleen Iudicello for developing the magazine's structure and implementation process, the hard work of students for writing the articles, as well as the Editorial Board members who helped choose the content that would be featured.
“The model of [The Lion’s Perspective] is really exciting because we are implementing a magazine on a campus that does not have a formal journalism department,” said Robles. “To be able to do that is pretty innovative.”
The Lion’s Perspective’s goal, like the rest of the activities funded by the Title V Grant, is to engage students and faculty to make EMCC a more dynamic, academically successful institution. With projects like The Lion’s Perspective, students and faculty can enhance the learning culture at EMCC, thanks to significant help from Jonathan Robles and Title V.