Ohlone College President's Office

State of the College Address - Fall 2003

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Dr. Douglas Treadway giving his State of the College Address on August 15, 2003.Douglas M. Treadway, Ph.D.
Ohlone Community College District

Presented August 15, 2003.

It will be my custom to give an address at the beginning of every fall and spring semester. We will update the college community on developments and accomplishments as well as discuss issues and opportunities of interest to all groups and individuals, which comprise the Ohlone College family.

This morning I will review the current status of our budget, enrollment, and major construction projects. I will also share with you what I have learned since July 1st about Ohlone College, my vision for our collective future, and some specifics of my intentions and preferences for college governance.

At the outset I feel it is important for me to acknowledge that our college has been through a tumultuous past year. The crisis in the state budget and especially the lay-offs which occurred at Ohlone College, were painful and difficult. To your credit, you did everything possible to maintain the level of services to students that is a hallmark of this institution. We must now move forward, carefully assess our commitments, priorities and plans, and as a college community pull together so that we will emerge an even stronger, better focused and more purposeful institution.


Foremost on everyone's minds has been the budget—both the lingering effects of last year's reductions and concerns over funding levels for the current year. Both the budget bill and the trailer bills the governor signed essentially applied tourniquets to the bleeding of the California Community Colleges. Fortunately, there were for the first time in Governor Davis' term of office, no vetoes of Legislative actions on the community college budgets.

The highlights (or low lights) are as follows:

Student fees are raised effective this semester from $11 to $18 per credit hour. Funds have been authorized for Board of Governor waivers to make up the difference for financially qualified low-income students. The budget of financial aid offices has been dramatically increased.

General funds have been reduced as well as categorical programs, but not to the extent projected in either the January or May revise budgets. As a result of the restoration of most of the EOPS and DSPS budgets, the Board authorized the hiring back of four counselors who were laid off last spring, as well as a technician position in DSPS.

Partnership for Excellence funds were reduced more drastically than general funds and a block grant approach to financing deferred maintenance and hazardous conditions maintenance was initiated.

There are also a number of increased costs to the District for this New Year including a larger employer contribution to PERS, health insurance and workman's compensation, energy costs, salary costs and other items that are required expenditures not included in last year's budget.

There are major uncertainties on the horizon this fall! The Governor Recall, whether successful or not, is a significant destabilizing event for the economy and state budget. We fully expect a mid-year recission of our budget similar to what happened this past winter. Our District strategies for coping with budget reductions and uncertainties has included:

  • Reducing spending through curtailing hiring new or replacement positions
  • Eliminating non-essential travel and early spending cut-offs for annual budget
  • Developing and implementing the college-wide reorganization plan
  • Eliminating low enrollment programs
  • Implementing a Golden Handshake Program
  • Adopting new board fiscal Policies for Mid and Long-Term solutions
  • Maximizing use of matching maintenance funds
  • Exploring long term sources for revenue enhancement and asset management
  • Encouraging District-wide collaboration in finding solutions through budget committee, strategic planning committee, email announcements and forums
  • Review of all equipment service contracts for more cost effective measures
  • Computer replacement project utilizing older machines for servers
  • Dramatically increased use of the Web for student services, reducing postage budget and saving staff time
  • Increased rentals for Smith center to develop funds for equipment replacement
  • Installing a Solar panel on the swimming pool this fall to reduce operating costs of natural gas heating
  • Other efficiencies in energy control and recycling which have been sporadic and can pay greater dividends through student and staff diligence

Regarding budget and staffing levels, given the uncertainties before us, we do not believe it is fiscally responsible at this time to hold out hope for further position restorations in this academic year. Basically, my aim is to focus our attention on the budget for 2004-05. We will need to allocate resources for our full complement of faculty positions and as many staff positions as possible. We also need to get our own revenue stream going which will make us less dependent upon state budgets overall in the future.


Ohlone College enrollment is projected to be slightly ahead of enrollment last year despite a reduction of 5% in the number of classes available to students. Word of classes being in shorter supply resulted in a swelling of registrations during the summer and classes filled earlier than before. Other community colleges in the region have announced cutbacks and students are moving between districts in greater numbers. Last year Online's out-of-district enrollment comprised 30% of the total. It could be a higher percentage this semester. Even if the total enrollment remains constant, students from our district could go to Los Positas, Chabot or DeAnza colleges in search of classes we have closed out. We do not know the full impact that enrollment limitations taking place at CSU campuses will have on our local community college admissions.

For the academic year 2002-03 we had 25% of our enrollment at the Newark Center, 25% in other off-campus classes and 50% on the Fremont campus. Unduplicated number of students served by Ohlone College for the academic year 2002-03 was 16,883.

Due to budget reductions, ten formerly leased classrooms at Newark have been closed and programs have been moved to the Fremont campus this fall, thus resulting in a lowering of the anticipated percentage of enrollments at Newark. An increase in availability and interest in Internet -based classes will raise the number enrolled in off-campus classes.

The incentives for growing enrollment we have seen over the past 10 years have largely disappeared. Many colleges are carrying 10% to 20% or more of their enrollment without the benefit of State funding. This is not an equation for quality of instructional programs and student outcomes! As a matter of fact and strategy, bigger is not better at this point in time or for the foreseeable future.

The best enrollment strategy is to offer a more limited menu of core academic programs focused on local employment needs and university transfers opportunities. A higher retention rate is a more promising strategy than recruitment for expansion. A reputation for high academic quality is a better recruiting tool than appeals based on low cost education.

The most recent Chancellor's office data places Ohlone College 4th among 108 colleges in our transfer rate and 6% above the prediction model based on our demographics. We are only 1.6% behind the first place college on transfer rates. That District, by the way, has 60% of its students attending from outside the District boundary. Its reputation tells the story of enrollment. It is not important who they are, since we will be taking their place on the charts of student success! As we do so, I believe we will continue to attract mostly the students from our own district—but it is a fact that as our academic quality becomes better known—which is something I intend to accomplish during my administration—we will experience an increased attendance from the greater Bay Area and beyond, including increased international student interest.

College Identity

On July 4th I was asked to take part in the Parade in the Warm Springs District. I rode in a convertible with trustees Dan Archer and Bob Brunton. It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of local people before and after the event. What was different about our parade entry was that someone lost the sign that was to be placed on the car in which we were riding. So we sat up on the seats waving, but people did not know who we were. Bob would shout out ”Ohlone College—Dan Archer, President of the Board—Doug Treadway, President of the College.” I would shout “Ohlone College”and wave. People thought it was fun in a strange and different kind of way, but it was truly a case of missing identity!

A public opinion poll taken before the vote on Ballot Measure A college facilities bonds revealed very good public recognition of the name Ohlone College. However, that same poll revealed a lack of public knowledge regarding our specific identity—our core purposes, programs and institutional quality. It is a major task I am taking on as the new president to improve public awareness and understanding of the Ohlone College District and to create in people's minds, both on and off the campuses, a more specific identity for our college.

In doing so I see a need for all of us who are employed at Ohlone College to come together this semester to more clearly define our values, core purposes, academic quality and program emphasis. It is not possible to be a comprehensive community college (as we have known that term in the past) and at the same time offer high quality academic programs taught by faculty who are current in their disciplines and transmitted through curriculum, which is relevant and contemporary to the needs of our changing world.

While we must and want to remain open access, we must at the same time position ourselves so that quality and relevancy are the driving forces-- in other words quality over quantity. Let's get better before we strive to get bigger! Let's get more inclusive before we strive to be more expansive! Let's strive for higher levels of student and staff engagement with one another in the Ohlone family before we create more offspring!

As part of my self-orientation to my new position I have been reading the book by Malcolm Margolin The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area. The following are some of the points I found very informative regarding our namesake and our college identity:

Over 10,000 people lived in the coastal area between Point Sur and the San Francisco Bay before the coming of the Spaniards. These people belonged to about 40 different groups, each with its own territory and its own chief. Among them they spoke eight to twelve different languages. The average size of a group was only about 250 people. Each language had an average of no more than 1,000 speakers. That so many independent groups of people speaking so many different languages could be packed into such a relatively small area boggled the European mind. The Spanish sometimes called them Costenos—People of the Coast. But the name was never adopted by the Indians themselves, each of whom had a name for his or her own group. The descendants of the Bay Area Indians prefer to be called Ohlones, which to them had a more pleasing sound. It is a Miwok word meaning “ western people.” Ohlone is still, however, a fabrication. There was no Ohlone tribe in the sense that there are Sioux, Navajo or Hope tribes.

Before the coming of the Europeans, for thousands of years, the Ohlones rose before dawn, stood in front of their houses, and facing the east shouted words of greeting and encouragement to the sun. They shouted to the sun because they felt that the sun had a nature very much like their own.

Malcolm Margolin wrote: “The Ohlones were very different from us. They had different values, technologies, and ways of seeing the world. Yet there is something that lies beyond differences. If we look long enough, if we dwell on their joy, fear, and reverence, we may in the end catch glimpses of almost forgotten aspects of our own selves.”

The Ohlone namesake for this college is a very powerful metaphor for a collective vision.

It is a metaphor, which speaks of diverse groups of people sharing a common place and values. Today there are over 40 nation states represented in our student body and over 150 languages and dialects spoken in our District. The cultural pluralism of our students and communities is more diverse than most parts of the United States and other parts of the world. Like the Ohlones before us as well as their current day descendants, we do not seek to be one tribe—instead we are proud of our different cultures, languages and heritage. What we share is our common humanity, our valuing of wisdom and knowledge and a reverence for mother earth which give us life and sustains us.

My grandson who lives in Berkeley called me one evening in a very excited state. He was 6 years old at the time. He said “Grandpa, guess what I learned in school today?”

I said, “What was that Keelan?” He said “ I am Korean!”. I replied, “Well that is exciting.” He went on to say: “My dad told me I am also Irish.” I said, “Well your name Keelan is Irish isn't it?” He said “Yes. I guess I am Korean and Irish!”

Our college takes surveys of student opinion and the overwhelming majority of our students relate that the diversity and acceptance they experience at Ohlone College is the number one characteristic of our appeal to them. To a six year-old it makes perfect sense to be both Korean and Irish, if not by birthright, by association with his peers and what he is learning in school. It also makes perfect sense for Ohlone College to claim as our specific identity characteristic that we are a place of and for all people and cultures.

There is an ancient Ohlone song from which only one evocative line survives: Dancing on the brink of the world.

As we take on our namesake the Ohlones, powerful metaphors arise to define our contemporary identity:

(1) We are geographically positioned as a global center of culture, commerce, education and research. We face the Pacific Rim in a rapidly emerging worldwide work place where the knowledge of different cultures and languages is as much a part of commerce as the technologies we export.

We are dancing on the brink of a world of unparalleled change and uncertainty. In the next 20 years, only one out of 100 people on planet earth will ever set foot upon, much less attend and graduate from a college or university. Yet, here in this place and time all people with the ability to benefit can attend Ohlone College. Community colleges are distinctly an American invention—the most democratic of higher education institutions and the most egalitarian. Our special privilege and richness of resources can be shared with other parts of the world now that we are in the World-wide Web.

The metaphor of Dancing on the Brink also conjures up images of playfulness, excitement, energy and even risk taking.

(2) The second metaphor from our namesake comes from the mascot term Renegades.

An Ohlone Indian well known to our college is Andy Galvan who related to me that the Renegade name for our athletic teams was suggested by his father, as was the college name Ohlone. His father had heard the stories passed down about the renegades like the famous San José Mission Indian, Stanislaus who took 400 Indians from the Mission to liberate them from the captivity of occupying soldiers and missionaries who had taken over their village. The term renegade in the Indian usage means Liberator, and Andy's great, great grandfather was named Liberato Galvan. The powerful liberation theology movement in South America in the last quarter of the 20th century was akin to what the Ohlone's believed about the role of the renegade in their own history.

As educators we too have a role to play in the liberation of people through awareness and insight, through the sharing and respect of cultures and differences, through knowledge, which empowers people to earn a living wage and participate fully in our society.

In summary, the namesake of Ohlone is powerful and meaningful. It helps define us as a place where knowledge liberates and empowers, where all people are respected and appreciated, where we share a common bond of stewardship for the earth's resources, and where we dance and celebrate on the brink of a time of unparalleled challenge and opportunity.

The Three Colleges of Ohlone

I have really enjoyed being a sponge this past several weeks in absorbing all I can about Ohlone College and the communities that we serve. I have discovered that there are three campuses of Ohlone College: The Fremont campus, the Newark campus and the campus without walls, which includes community-based learning, and the Cyber campus.

Fremont Campus

The Fremont Campus excels as a transfer institution with selected technical programs included. A highly qualified faculty teaches the classes at Fremont and there are many stories of outstanding student success to be told. As examples, the Forensics program this year had 4 medal winners in national competitions. An Ohlone student won first prize in the statewide Media Arts award competing with 450 other entries. Five of the eleven athletic teams participated in post-season competitions and 2 coaches were named Conference Coach of the Year: Donna Runyon- Softball and John Peterson—Men's Basketball. Ohlone College has a student intern at NASA Ames studying with scientists on Planet Mars geology and another assisting with research on Hawaiian Volcanoes. An Ohlone science student was awarded a summer internship in a national competition. Out of 35 college and university students selected, our student was the only community college awardee, the rest were from universities.

Ohlone's Deaf studies program has been identified by the Chancellor's Office as the best practice model for California Community Colleges. We are developing a CD-Rom of best practice resources for statewide dissemination to DSPS programs. The College counselors worked with 12,000 unduplicated students over the past 12 months and did an outstanding job with the student success results for students on academic probation. Maria Ramirez, an Ohlone faculty member in counseling, has brought special recognition to the college due to her international presentation this past year on Native Women.

Ohlone faculty in language arts and social science are leading in innovation to create new learning communities. The first major curriculum effort in self-paced, computer-based learning is the Algebra Program and the math faculty report strong growth in student interest. The new Hyman Hall is a model for technology-assisted learning and over 30 classrooms are being upgraded to smart electronic rooms across the Fremont campus this year. Ohlone is one of the few colleges offering all Microsoft certification exams and is a model program in high demand in the field of network technologies.

The entire community knows of our creative and performing arts programs and the Gary Soren Smith Center is the primary cultural venue in Fremont, with a wonderful program this summer in the amphitheater. With upgrades to digital camera and editing equipment and the hiring of faculty and staff with professional experience in the business, the TV area has grown significantly. KOHL radio staff currently track over 200 former students now working with highly successful careers in radio businesses.

Ohlone for Kids had over 1100 participants and was yet another example of college and community relationships.

To better support our transfer program, we are developing several subject matter associate degrees. Recently the AA in Speech was approved. The Departments of English and Biology are submitting AA degree programs this fall. Subject matter AA degrees are an important thrust of a strategy to develop Centers of Excellence at Ohlone College.

New projects on the Fremont campus include all new wood flooring in the gymnasium and the construction of the new Child Development Center to be occupied in late spring.

A new student center is under planning at this time and will open in 2007. $50 million in projects from Bond Measure A are scheduled for the Fremont campus, including major upgrades for classrooms and laboratories and the removal of portable units from campus.

Newark Campus

The Newark Campus is in temporary quarters as the District plans and prepares for developing the permanent 80-acre campus on Cherry Street near Interstate 880.

The first phase of development calls for $100 million in bond measure expenditures. The City of Newark has authorized negotiations to construct a joint library on the site and they will finance an additional 15 to 20,000 square feet of space to double the size of the facility planned by Ohlone college for learning resources.

The emphasis of the Newark Campus will be upon Health and Technology programs. The Health Sciences have excellent success rates and will be able to expand student enrollment in the new facilities. Nursing has very high pass rates on the state license exam and 100% placement of graduates for many years running. Respiratory therapy has 100% passage of the national exam for 15 years. Physical Therapy Assistant has 98% student graduation rate and 92% pass their exam first time. Additional programs such as medical technology and radiological science can be placed on the new campus in partnership with other colleges and universities.

Ohlone has a newly developed and growing program in Biotechnology which along with new programs in environmental technology, alternative energy resources and environmental health can form a technology core at the new site which will also afford the opportunity for active wetlands preservation and research as well as support a small scale energy generation farm to run the campus on a combination of geothermal, solar and wind resources.

The architects for the new campus are working with the District to have the new campus and buildings certified according to LEED standards for green architecture and construction. Energy efficiency and resource sustainability will be stressed throughout as the facility is a model for responsible development as well as a learning laboratory.

Finally the new facility is envisioned as a 24 x 7 high tech center akin to a modern shopping mall environment or like the Sony entertainment center in San Francisco. These new metaphors for learning community will drive much student interest and excitement throughout the greater Bay Area and beyond. We should alter the enrollment projections of the master plan for a future enrollment of 8,000 students instead of 5,000. It is interesting to note that an image of the Fremont campus super imposed on the Newark campus shows them to be roughly equal in space utilization of 80 acres. In the future the campuses will be able to support about 8 to 10,000 students each.

Cyber Campus

The Fremont and Newark campuses combined now have 44 computer labs and over 2200 workstations. In addition to supporting the physical campuses, this network also supports what I am describing as our third campus.

The third campus is the college without walls and, as I said earlier, comprises at this time about 25% of our enrollment. By combining the future potential of the Internet with the continued growth and development of community-based learning venues, it is not difficult to also project the built-out enrollment of the third campus at 10,000 students.

Currently the District offers over 50 classes on high school campuses. The Newark Schools-Ohlone Math program continues as a model college and high school partnership. Twenty students graduated this spring from the Corporate College at New United Motors Manufacturing (NUMMI). They took all of their classes in the work setting. There are over 50 classes offered this Fall semester over the Internet and the growth of fully Internet-enabled as well as Web-based hybrid learning continues to be supported and expanded by Ohlone college faculty. These courses are among the first to fill their enrollments. Contract and Community Education offer not-for credit learning programs throughout the district and expansion of those offerings on a self-support basis is very feasible based on community interest and demand.

Just as the Internet has spawned both fully enabled and hybrid courses, and just as we earlier observed students are moving back and forth from different community colleges to get the classes they need, so the future of the three campuses of Ohlone College will be characterized by maximizing individual choice, flexibility and a seamless or transparent overlay of support services regardless of mode, time or place of learning. Many observers are seeing a model of learning in the 21st century, which is 1/3 classroom, 1/3 work site, and 1/3 cyber space or individualized learning. This mix of modes can optimize learning in a broad array of disciplines as well as interdisciplinary learning.

New times do call for new ways of teaching and learning and I am highly supportive of innovation. I will actively seek out partnerships and resources to assist the faculty and staff in creating new models as well as improving upon current methodologies of learning and service delivery.

The new generation of students is Tech Savy—some students know more than their teachers about technology. However, many challenges face our students—New technology jobs require higher levels—more rigorous training than students may be prepared to undertake. International languages must be learned as more companies operate overseas as well as domestically in a pluralistic technology community. Careers are changing rapidly—over 90% of new careers require at least two years of college.

The Generation Y Technology Innovation Project showed that students can support their teachers and work with them and Ohlone has a good base of experience in providing opportunities for student employment, student tutors and classroom assistants. This foundation can be expanded through NSF grants and other resources as well as a paradigm shift which views the learner as in collaboration with the teacher and not a passive recipient of instruction.

Student Centered Institution

Much of what I have read about Ohlone College and heard from administration, faculty and staff is that the college has been and is today primarily focused on students and their success in learning. This is not a college known for the easy passage of students through their courses of study. There are high standards.

There is also the accompanying compassion and dedication of faculty to assist all students who will put forth the effort to benefit according to their highest potential.

Ohlone College faces major challenges to be a high quality student centered institution in a time of severe budget cut backs. There are some principles I will be basing my administration upon which will I believe be important in not only maintaining our commitment to students, but also improving and strengthening the overall quality and relevancy of the institution in the years ahead.

  1. We need an identity around which we can all rally our hearts and minds. The Ohlone namesake gives us a foundation for that shared identity. The constructionist principle states that our organizations evolve in the direction of the images we create. We need to be about creating a vision of the kind of academic community we want to work and live in at an optimal level. The Ohlone College identity will not only better establish us in our communities; it will be the basis for developing and enhancing our physical campus facilities. Stanford's palm-lined entry drive creates an image that identifies the university for students, faculty and visitors. As we further develop the Fremont campus as well as our new campus at Newark, we need a college identity, which will be the central element in creating the new building designs, purposes and relationships.

  2. We need to focus on quality and not quantity. For the most part the state is not in the position to support enrollment growth. If and when it does it is at best going to provide marginal additional funding support. We should not be chasing after numbers for numbers' sake, other than those that generate student success outcomes.

  3. We should maximize the new funds being generated by Measure A bonds to enhance the quality of the college. Beyond creation of the new campus at Newark and new student services building, all other funds should be dedicated to enhancing the laboratories and classrooms of the Fremont campus rather than adding more classroom space. Once the new buildings open we will have ample space for enrollments, which are manageable under a quality learning environment paradigm for many years to come.

  4. We need to have a form of internal governance, which is reflective of the values of academic community and one which reflects research on effective organizations. I have met with the leadership of the Academic Senate, the Classified Senate and the Associated Students of Ohlone College to begin the process of forming a College Council for the shared governance of the District. There will no longer be a President's Cabinet or a President's Advisory Committee. The College Council will be the forum for exploring, debating and reaching consensus on the major decisions impacting our college community. It will also be the vehicle for bringing to the Board of Trustees recommended actions under their purview. Membership on the council will include students, faculty, staff and administration. Composition of the Council and its protocols will be developed jointly between myself and the leaders of the represented groups through a task force that will form within the next three weeks. Persons interested in being part of the task force to design the College Council initial structure are welcome to make their interest known to your respective senate leaders.

    Some of you have been reading materials on what is called Appreciative Inquiry as a methodology for organizational decision-making. Jane Watkins who writes on this subject has posed the question: “If the act of studying a system alters it, why not do so in ways that create movement toward peak experiences or successes?” Learning from moments of excellence serves as the foundation of Appreciative Inquiry. You will see me often citing the successes of our college community at every opportunity. Positive imagery will build momentum toward shared governance that is focused on the important contributions of all groups who comprise the college, and upon affirmation and consensus building, not upon conflict.

  5. As part and parcel of our identity we need to commit ourselves as a college to fostering healthy and sustainable communities, both on and off our campuses. We need to eliminate smoking from all parts of the two campuses. We need to renew commitments to recycling and reuse of resources. We need to build and develop facilities which are environmentally responsible. We need to support and expand a program of wellness for all employees and students. We need to expand the number of staff currently trained in first aid and CPR and have our campuses better prepared for emergencies of varies types and circumstances. We must be continually vigilant for the health, safety and welfare of all who come to our facilities for what ever purposes. And we need to appreciate the outstanding efforts of our buildings and grounds staff that keep the campuses looking inviting and supportive of learning and each do our part to keep them clean and well maintained.

These five principles based on creating and celebrating our identity, emphasizing quality over quantity, deploying and leveraging bond resources to support quality, working together in a shared democracy of governance and diversity, and committing our hearts and resources to healthy and sustainable communities, will guide us in all of our decision making in the months and years ahead. Following these principles will, I believe, mean that future State of the College Addresses will be able to unequivocally report that as members of the Ohlone College family we have done very well the important work we are privileged to come here to. And we have done it with a margin of excellence that is a source of enduring pride and satisfaction.

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