Empowering our Employees

October 14, 2019
Computer Literacy Tutoring Program
 
This past spring quarter, Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises piloted a computer literacy tutoring program for Residential Operations staff members who are part of the Latinx/ESL community. The program was funded through a grant that was acquired by a campus staff organization named LUNA. The Latina/o UCSB Network Association (LUNA) was established in 2014 as an avenue for bringing faculty and staff together who are concerned with the advancement and welfare of Latina/os in the postsecondary landscape. LUNA’s primary mission is to provide activities and opportunities to assist with the retention, development, and promotion of Latina/os at UCSB.  
 
In January 2019 we began an outreach process to garner interest and acquire applicants to fill the role of Computer Literacy Tutors. The primary population we chose to focus on as far as hiring were Resident Assistants and Desk Attendants, which we later expanded to all UCSB housing residents. These students were considered to be the best pool to select from primarily because of their existing interactions with UCSB Housing and Residential Operations staff. 
 
The computer literacy tutoring sessions were taught over the course of four weeks in spring quarter, with each week covering a new topic. The topics covered were: Passwords and the Internet, Email and Calendar, Benefits, and then how to apply these concepts to smartphone use. Tutors were assigned one to two tutees in the buildings they lived in or a building in the same area. They met with their tutees once a week in individual sessions. In total, we hired 15 tutors and served 22 Housekeeping employees, and spent roughly $1600 out of the LUNA grant. 
 
Student tutors were asked to sit down with their tutee during their first and last session to fill out a pre/post literacy test in order to track progress. They were asked to rank the difficulty of various tasks such as creating an email or tracking their employee benefits through UCPath. The results were outstanding! Many of our staff members were able to learn new workplace skills such as sending an email, as well as navigating UCPath. There was a drastic increase in our staff’s technological skills. 
 
 
Throughout the program, we received a lot of great feedback and testimonials. Rosario Santana from Santa Cruz said about her tutor, Minerva: “I’ve been to school, other computer lessons, and other tutors, but this is the first time I actually understand stuff. You are such a great teacher, you finally got through to me.” Jennifer Lopez-Diaz, a tutor in Manzanita Village says the most rewarding aspect of tutoring is when her tutees come back the next week saying they were able to make their own calendar events or send their own emails!
 
Overall, these sessions had a profound impact on our housekeeping staff’s knowledge and ability to use technology, which in turn is a powerful tool in empowering our employees whose second language is English. We hope to continue to bring this amazing opportunity to our Residential Operations staff members who are part of the Latinx/ESL community, and expand it to other communities at UCSB.

​By Gracie Huerta

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