News Release – Diné College Adjusting to Online Delivery; Student Challenges; Postpones May Graduation


Diné Colleg​e shifted to online course instruction March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students now work from home, some on college-issued laptops.

Diné College Adjusting to Online Delivery; Student Challenges; Postpones May Graduation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mar. 27, 2020

TSAILE, Ariz. — Like everyone else in higher education, adjusting to online delivery in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been a challenge for Diné College, but officials are getting through the challenges. The college reverted to online classes on March 23rd and postponed the annual spring commencement ceremonies to a yet unannounced date.

“The most challenging part of this (COVID-19) spread, and adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocol is the transition from face-to-face to online instruction,” Diné College Provost Geraldine Garrity, Ed.D., said. “The challenge is for both faculty members and students. Because Diné College is a unique teaching institution with an emphasis in cultural, history and language, most of the Navajo language, history and culture faculty members had to embrace the online format by being creative.”

Garrity, an alumnus of the college, said the creativity aspect includes producing video lectures and working with the online format with limited Navajo font and redesigning the curriculum. “For students, this online format was most challenging because many students lack computers, internet and cell phones,” Garrity said. “The Navajo Nation is a remote area and many students come from remote locations across the Navajo Nation. It has taken two weeks to reach out to all the students and responses are still trickling in.”

There are a few language and culture faculty who initially resisted the online shift, out of fear it would commercialize the teachings. Students say the adjustment to online classes is a challenge in more ways than one.

“There are challenges,” Pamela Yazzie, a junior majoring in pre-engineering from Del Muerto said. Yazzie takes most of her classes at the Tsaile campus. “There is a very low (Internet) connection where I live.”

Meanwhile, Garrity said that initial plans were to transition to online classes that were “shovel ready,” but the college surpassed that goal.

Those plans changed as COVID-19 spread throughout the Navajo Nation — there are currently 71 cases of COVID-19 on the reservation and some 300 online courses in place. During Spring Break, the college surveyed students about the Internet access and confidence learning online. Out of 1,433 students this spring, 155 completed the survey. The non-scientific survey suggested that 66 percent had Internet access and had no problem and another 20 percent said they didn’t have Internet, but it wouldn’t be a problem to get access.

The May 8 graduation has been postponed to a further date. There are 176 students scheduled to graduate this year. College President Charles Roessel indicated they will still get their degrees on that date.

“This required the Navajo culture, history and language courses that had prepared to continue teaching face-to-face to begin using the (CDC) guidelines,” Garrity explained. “It has been all hands-on deck for the college.”

There are some students who are dropping courses because of the transition. But faculty members, staff and school deans are working hard to address those challenges, Garrity said.

The college’s Incident Command Team (ICT) has provided strategies to assist students. For example, the School of Technology, Engineering and Mathematics has ordered laptops and modems for STEM students. And the Information Technology Department also ordered laptops and modems for students, Garrity noted.

“There may be more students in need,” Garrity said. “The college is doing what it can as new concerns arise.” Garrity noted that the college created a hotline (928) 724-6900 for non-health related concerns and a Student FAQ page on the college website.

The college also reached out to students for some of the services that were normally done face-to-face: library, advising, tutoring and counseling. “These services can now be accessed online through virtual services,” Garrity said.

The college also created Wi-Fi hotspots for students at all six locations of the college in Arizona and New Mexico. “Students don’t have to leave their vehicle and can access their course work from their vehicles,” Garrity said. Laptops have also been ordered, including internet access by cell phone or cable for some students.

Garrity said the college’s values of t’áá hó ájit’éego (self-initiative, problem solving), ahi[ na’anish (teamwork using k’é), i[ idl9 (respect, maintain safety) and Ieehózin (thoughtfulness, understanding, competence) assist in getting both students and staff through these difficult times.

 

CONTACT US

Marie R. Etsitty Nez 
Vice President of External Affairs
marienez@dinecollege.edu
928-724-6985

George Joe, M.A., M.Ed, Director Of Marketing and Communications
grjoe@dinecollege.edu
928-724-6695

Bernie DotsonPublic Relations Officer
bdotson@dinecollege.edu
928-724-6697

Scott TomGraphic Design and Digital Media Specialist
shtom@dinecollege.edu
928-724-6698

Jazzmine D. MartinezMarketing Assistant
jdmartinez@dinecollege.edu
928-724-6694

Associate Professor Chengde Wang

COURSES:

MTH 110: College Algebra, MTH 365: Modern Geometry, MTH 106: Survey on College Mathematics, MTH 191: Calculus I, MTH 221: Ordinary Differential Equation

CREDENTIALS:

Doctorate in Ph.D.: Arizona State University

Major: Mathematics

Master of Science: Beijing Biss International School

Major: Mathematics

Bachelor of Arts: Beijing Biss International School

Major: Mathematics

Willis Tsosie

COURSES:

CIS 111: Intro to Computers, CIS 210: Systems Analysis and Design, CSC 150: Programming Fundamentals, MTH 096: Basic Mathematics, MTH 100: Intermediate Algebra

CREDENTIALS:

Master of Science: Montana State University

Major: Information Processing & Communication

Bachelor of Science: Montana State University

Major: Computer Science

Associate Professor Donald Robinson

COURSES:

CHM 130: Fundamental Chemistry

CREDENTIALS:

Doctorate in Ph.D.: Maharishi University of Management

Major: Physiology

Master of Arts: Maharishi International University

Major: Science of Creative Intelligence

Master of Scienece: The University of Akron

Major: Biology

Bachelor of Scienece: Northern Arizona University

Major: Biology

Dennis Price

COURSES:

Credentialed to teach MTH 096: Basic Mathematics, MTH 100: Intermediate Algebra, MTH 110: College Algebra

CREDENTIALS:

Bachelor of Science: Northern Arizona University

Major: Agriculture

Associate Professor John Murray

COURSES:

MTH 100: Intermediate Algebra, PHY 111: Algebra based Physics II, PHY 131: Calculus based Physics II

CREDENTIALS:

Doctorate in Ph.D.: Clemson University

Major: Engineering

Master of Science: Clemson University

Major: Engineering

Bachelor of Scienece in Engineering: University of South Florida

Major: Engineering

Bachelor of Scienece: University of South Florida

Major: Engineering

Associate Professor Oleksandr Makeyev

COURSES:

Credentialed to in all MTH courses and Engineering.

CREDENTIALS:

Doctorate in Ph.D.: Clarkson University

Major: Engineering Science

Master of Science: Kyiv Taras Shevchenko National University

Major: Statistics

Bachelor of Scienece: Kyiv Taras Shevchenko National University

Major: Mathematics

Barbara Klein

COURSES:

BIO 205: Microbiology, CHM 152: General Chemistry II, CHM 230: Fundamental Organic Chemistry, CHM 236: General Organic Chemistry II
*Credentialed in CHM 100-300, BIO 100-400, HEE 100 and PUH 100-300. PUH is contingent based on official transcript.

CREDENTIALS:

Master of Arts, Master of Science: Iowa State University

Major: Microbiology

Master of Science: Clark College

Major: Computer Application

Bachelor of Arts: Mercyhurst College

Major: Chemistry

Carmella Kahn

COURSES:

PUH 100, 200, 300, 400

Professor Shazia Tabassum Hakim

COURSES:

Bio 100, 200, 300, 400

Associate Professor Fredrick Boyd

COURSES:

Needs credential form, BIO 160: Intro to Human Anatomy & Philosophy, BIO 201: Human Anatomy & Physiology, BIO 202: Human Anatomy & Physiology II
Credentialed for BIO 100-400, CHM 100-200 (300 level will be reviewed w/ faculty), HEE 100

CREDENTIALS:

Doctorate in PH.D.: University of Florida

Major: Medical Science and Physiology

Bachelor of Science: University of Wisconsin

Major: Zoology

Professor Michael Begaye

COURSES:

CHM 130: Fundamental Chemistry, CHM 152: General Chemistry II, CHM 230: Fundamental Organic Chemistry
CHM 100-300
*MTH 100-200 (300-400 level will be reviewed with Dean)

CREDENTIALS:

Doctorate in PH.D.: New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Major: Chemistry

Bachelor of Science: Fort Lewis College

Major: Chemistry

Professor Mark Bauer

COURSES:

PUH 200: Principles of Health Education, PUH 280: Implement &Evaluation of Public Health Intervention
*Anthropology 100, 200 level
Public Health 100-400 level

CREDENTIALS:

Doctorate in PH.D.: Northwestern University

Major: Anthropology

Bachelor of Arts: Ohio State University

Major: Anthropology

Associate Professor Don Whitesinger

COURSES:

FA227: Arts for Teachers, ARH 211: Survey of Native American Art, FA 106 Color Theory, FA112: 2D Design, FA 390: Painting III

CREDENTIALS:

Master Art of Teaching: Rhode Island School of Design

Bachelor of Arts: Arizona State University

Major: Studio Arts

Associate Professor Sheila White

COURSES:

HUM 152: Film Appreciation, HUM 131: Music Appreciation, ENG 101, 102

CREDENTIALS:

Master of Arts: Northern Arizona University

Major: English, Bilingual & Multicultural Education

Bachelor of Find Arts: University of Arizona

Major: Theatre Arts

Orlando White

COURSES:

ENG 101, 102: Freshman English II, ENG 212: Creative Writing: Poetry, ENG 233: Intro to Native American Literature

CREDENTIALS:

Master of Fine Arts: Brown University

Major: Literary Arts

Bachelor of Find Arts: Institute of American Indian Arts

Major: Creating Writing

Anna Walters

COURSES:

ENG 082, 085, ENG 101,102, 233

CREDENTIALS:

Master of Fine Arts: Goddard University

Bachelor of Arts

Professor Irvin Morris

COURSES:

ENG 082: Communication Workshop I, ENG 101, 102 Freshman English I&II, ENG 231 Intro to Literature

CREDENTIALS:

Master of Fine Arts: Cornell University

Major: Creative Writing

Jesse Maloney

COURSES:

ENG 233: Intro. to Native American Literature, ENG 075: Advanced Reading, ENG 082: Communication Workshop I, ENG 101: Freshman English I, ENG 102: Freshman English II,

Not Reading

CREDENTIALS:

Master of Fine Arts: Lindenwood University

Major: Writing

Bachelor of Arts: Northern Arizona University

Major:

Associate Professor Andrew Kwon

COURSES:

ENG 082: Communication Workshop I, ENG 101: Freshman English I, ENG 102: Freshman English II, ENG 212: Creative Writing: Poetry, ENG 238: Introduction to Indigenous Literacy

CREDENTIALS:

Doctorate of Philosophy: Oklahoma State University-College of Arts & Science

Major: English

Master of Fine Arts: University of Massachusetts

Major: English

Bachelor of Arts: Clark University

Major: History

Velma Hale

COURSES:

ENG 085: Communications Workshop II, ENG 072: Foundation of Reading, EDU 100, 200, 300, 400

CREDENTIALS:

Master of Arts: Northern Arizona University

Major: Bilingual-Multicultural Education

Bachelor of Science: Northern Arizona University

Major: Secondary Education in English

Emily Green

COURSES:

ENG 072: Foundation of Reading, ENG 082 Communication Workshop I, ENG 085 Communication Workshop II, ENG 101

CREDENTIALS:

Master of Arts: Old Dominquez University

Major: Applied Linguistic

Bachelor of Arts: Old Dominquez University

Major: English

Bachelor of Science

Associate Professor Robert Bollinger

COURSES:

DA 110: Introduction to Graphic Arts, DA 112: Computer Illustration I, DA 115: Web Design I, DA 212: Computer Illustration II, FA107: 3D design, FA Drawing II, FA 315: Drawing III

CREDENTIALS:

Master of Architecture: UNM

Major: Architectural design

Master of Fine Arts: San Francisco Art Institute

Major: Painting

Bachelor of Arts

Major: Fine Arts

Professor Karla Britton

COURSES:

ART 100, 200, 300, 400, FA 300, 400

CREDENTIALS:

Ph.D. Architecture