Fresno City College
2016 Regina Stanback-Stroud Diversity Award Winner
Professor Jennifer Dorian is the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) Faculty Coordinator/Instructor at Fresno City College. She is a warm, engaging, energetic, dedicated, and caring person who exudes enthusiasm for her work assisting the many students at Fresno City College who desperately need assistance but who do not always know it or know how to get it. She grew the PASS tutoring program over 400% in under one year by increasing tutoring services to include one-on-one peer tutoring sessions and embedded tutoring, establishing an online PASS tutoring Center to provide 24/7 online tutoring, and offering free printing and food to support the diverse student population at her College. PASS serves all levels of English and ESL courses. Her leadership has significantly increased accessibility, retention, and success by providing an equitable learning environment to students. PASS students report feeling more engaged, which supports persistence and campus-wide student engagement.
She also has created the Brain Food Project (BFP) that provides food to students during learning assistance sessions (ranging from snacks to sack lunch options). This project is paired with a training methodology called EASe (Empathy, Awareness, and Sensitivity) which trains faculty, staff, and tutors to effectively implement the BFP to uplift student lives, celebrate diversity, and create equity.
The local Academic Senate has been very supportive of Professor Dorian’s efforts by funding a conference registration for her this year. Future support might include assisting with funding for Brain Food through a fundraiser collaboration.
Working with the Community
As a result of this award, Professor Dorian has been able to extend the program’s reach to other campuses. The Brain Food Program with EASe will be implemented on six college and university campuses across the state this fall. The development of the Brain Food Program with EASe could not have been as successful without the support of the tutors and students who truly make this implementation come to life every day.
Where Are They Now?
Since winning this award in 2016, the Brain Food Project with EASe has flourished. The Brain Food Project is program that provides food to students during learning assistance sessions (ranging from snacks to sack lunch options) and is paired with a training methodology called EASe, which trains faculty, staff, and tutors to effectively implement the BFP to uplift student lives, celebrate diversity, and create equity. Defeating the opt-quoted dictum that “students don’t do optional,” this incentives-based program has increased the PASS attendance from 26% to 70% by providing food. Professor Dorian is currently training and certifying six universities and colleges to become Brain Food Project with EASe (Empathy, Awareness, and Sensitivity for equity training methodology) campuses. This award has given her a new platform to share her research and implementations, and her life and the lives of countless others have been positively changed for the celebration and promotion of diversity and equity.
You Can Do It Too!
Professor Dorian offers the following advice for faculty who want to create their own projects to support diversity:
“Remember that just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done; support diversity with diverse thinking. Greatness requires work and commitment, particularly in the beginning, but if you can get through the early stages, the sky is the limit. And, one last point: ask for help.”