Ohlone College President's Office

State of the College Fall 2008
August 29, 2008 / Dr. Gari Browning


Leadership Transition [Video of Olympics]

Many of us have enjoyed watching the Olympics this past month.  You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the shared human experience of watching young and old, individuals and teams performing their best under the pressure of having millions of eyes focused on you.  As we watch, we vicariously share the experience of each competitor as they step into the spotlight to contend for the win. It evokes in us the feelings of success, of striving to do our best, and of struggling to achieve new heights. 

It’s difficult to resist the temptation to use a sports analogy right after the Olympic Games, so I hope you’ll forgive me if I succumb to the temptation.  I was particularly impressed by the performance of the American relay teams.  The men’s and women’s medal-winning swimmers demonstrated how readiness, a willingness to work together, and a high level of ability could drive a group of individual swimmers to work as a team and push each other towards history-making success.

Standing in front of you today, I feel like the guy standing on the starting block watching Michael Phelps splashing towards me with his 6 foot 7 inch “wing span”.  It’s my turn next, but what a great position my team has placed me in!  I have utmost respect for Dr. Treadway and the foundation he laid to ensure the long-term success of Ohlone. 

In any successful transition there are three key elements.  These include a strong supporting foundation, clear vision, and effective strategy.  And, I don’t want to rub salt into the wounds of any track and field fans out there, but another key element to a good transition is a good hand off.  We’ve seen the unfortunate results when two runners do not successfully pass the baton.  Let me assure you that Dr. Treadway and I have communicated about the presidency here at Ohlone.  No one is going to drop that baton!  Working with a team of college leaders, I am prepared to take the next steps to establish a framework for strategic decision-making that will guide the College to a dynamic and successful future.

For those of you who don’t know me, let me tell you a little about my approach to getting things done.  I tend to collect information about issues and needs at the start.  I like data—numbers yes—but also qualitative data like people’s perceptions.  I generally analyze the data I gather to create a vision, that is, identify where we want to end up.  The next step is to figure out how we might get there—what the tasks are that we need to perform and when we need to do them.  Action follows.  Finally, I like to see how well we’ve accomplished what we set out to do. 

I also believe in collective wisdom—thinking together.  I know from experience that designing things by committee rarely yields good results, but bringing many perspectives to bear on a problem aids full understanding of it and often suggests good solutions. 

Mission, Vision, Values and Goals

Dr. Treadway provided a solid foundation from which we can move forward.

The mission of Ohlone College is to serve the community by offering instruction for basic skills, career entry, university transfer, economic development, and personal enrichment for all who can benefit from our instruction in an environment where student learning success is highly valued, supported, and continually assessed. [slide]

We have a strategic plan that clearly sets out college mission, vision, values, and goals.  Our mission appropriately focuses on meeting our community’s educational needs.  Our strong strategic plan is the result of a collegial process, resulting in the college community embracing and intentionally moving the college in the direction it is taking.  Steps taken to achieve the goals are reviewed and described regularly in writing to assure the college is constantly improving in the areas it has identified.

Today I will be telling you what we have accomplished lately—well, what YOU’VE accomplished lately.  I’ll describe the impressive progress made on our College goals.

Assessment of progress on College Goals

One of our goals is to promote appreciation for and understanding of diverse races and cultures.  These efforts are moving forward with increasing educational partnerships in China and similar models initiated in India.  Specifically, we offer our students the opportunity to study in other countries; we have faculty exchanges; we have cultural exchanges in the form of dance and other arts; and we are formalizing partnerships with businesses and industry to enhance student and faculty educational opportunities.  Ohlone College staff, faculty, and students have already benefited from exchanges that promote cultural appreciation and language learning. [Slides]

We have an ongoing Study Abroad and two Study Abroad opportunities in the planning stages—one to Australia and one to China.

This past spring, Ohlone College was awarded a Business and International Education (BIE) grant by the U.S. Department of Education, which calls for the development of overseas Internship opportunities for Ohlone College students in Suzhou, China, and in Fremont and Newark-area multinational companies.

Numerous faculty exchanges have taken place with our partner institutions in China.  Immediately following this presentation, you can hear more details about their visits.

Cultural Partnerships photos.This spring Ohlone College formalized partnerships with two schools in Suzhou. In May, Board of Trustees Chair Garrett Yee was present in Suzhou as part of a City of Fremont delegation to China to commemorate the establishment of the Ohlone College-Suzhou Center in China.

While in Suzhou, Garrett and Doug met with Steve O’Neil, Senior Vice President of Tyco Electronics, the largest U.S. employer in China with a total workforce of 34,000 employees.  (photo)  Steve has been working to establish a partnership between Ohlone and Tyco in China and in India.  Steve is in the audience today, between flights.  I understand he has to catch a plane for China right after this speech, so I’ll say “How do you do,” now and “Thank you, Steve.”  We look forward to working with you.

In 2007, faculty representatives from Ohlone Center for Deaf Studies traveled to Stockholm to provide training to faculty there.  In February 2008, officials from Sweden returned the visit to Ohlone College, to provide consultation to members of Ohlone’s Center for Deaf Studies on the state of the art techniques of teaching and preparing future interpreters.

International Programs photos.International students come to Ohlone from China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and India.  The college community in its entirety is benefiting from the increasing numbers of international students among us.  The growth is sensational. (slide)

Increased contact is producing the synergy needed for long-lasting and productive relationships.  This is a terrific start, and to assure that the baton is not dropped, I hope to have Dr. Treadway involved in our international efforts this year to provide a smooth transition. 

World Forum posters.The World Forum series, begun in Spring 2005 at Ohlone has perpetuated an expanding global perspective for our students and staff, allowing a greater understanding of our world and our region, where so much diversity exists.  In the past year, World Forum topics included:

  • The Changing Global Profile of India and the Dynamics of US and India Relations, presented by Mr. B. S. Prakash, The Consul General of India.  
  • Dr. Roslyn Rosen, former Vice-president and tenured professor at Gallaudet University, on the international perspective of deaf culture and society.
  • Ohlone’s final World Forum of last year presented historian Malcolm Margolin, author of The Ohlone Way, who discussed California Indians and the Cultural Revival.

This important lecture series has become a valuable institution at the College that I heartily endorse.  This October we’re excited to be joined by Dr. Mohammad Qayoumi, President of CSU East Bay, who will present Education in Afghanistan:  Current Challenges and Future Opportunities, as our first World Forum topic.

The goal of increased understanding and the concrete steps taken for Ohlone to become “a world of cultures united in learning” was one of the things that attracted me most to the College.

GOAL II is about Ohlone developing into a Learning College.  As defined by the former college President, a Learning College:

  • Focuses on the individual and develops a college for and about the individual learner;
  • Advocates that more options for students are better;
  • Encourages and supports experimentation and innovation;
  • Engages in collaborative learning; learners are active, not passive vessels being filled;
  • Everyone at the institution is a facilitator of student success; and
  • Documentation, feedback, assessment, and adjustment are ongoing quality processes.

Let me review the assessment published in our accreditation report regarding our progress on becoming a learning college.

The visiting team was impressed with the progress, dedication, focus on learning, and collaborative spirit demonstrated by all College constituencies.  It was clear to the team that Ohlone faculty, staff, and administrators live the self-assigned label of the learning college. 

One of the efforts I was deeply involved in when I was working at the Accrediting Commission was the development of the new standards, which included SLOs for the first time. SLOs are quite consistent with learning college concepts. The real purpose of SLOs—rather than creating a no-child-left-behind testing and accountability model for higher education—is to help faculty focus on teaching as a profession.  SLOs ask faculty to articulate the learning they expect students to achieve, state how they will know that the learning has occurred, design and apply means to improve learning, and then to assess whether improvement really occurred.  Ohlone is doing very well in this endeavor. 

The accrediting commission has created a four-level rubric for evaluating institutional effectiveness.  The expectation is that colleges have achieved the second level for SLO development by now.  Ohlone is probably close to the third level and continues to move forward to assess learning and make improvements.  In my estimation and that of the Accrediting Commission, Ohlone is ahead of most with respect to SLOs and living the philosophy of a learning college. 

GOAL III is about developing strategies to increase the proportion of full-time students through a variety of strategies.  Overall, we are succeeding in increasing the proportion of fulltime students at Ohlone.  Although there are fewer students on campus than in 2006-07, today’s students are taking more units.  The percent of full time students for spring 2008, 28%, was the highest spring full time rate since before spring 2002.  In addition, in fall 2007, full time equivalent students enrolled in basic skills classes increased 20.2%; in vocational education classes 3.8%; and in transfer classes 23.2%.

Title III grant and Basic Skills money are supporting faculty in several projects.  One of the projects underway is identifying course leaders to ensure that SLOs are applied consistently across all sections of a course.  Another is supporting a Learning Community Coordinator to assist faculty interested in developing learning communities.  

We have several Learning Communities actively underway.  (slide)

K-12 Relations

For the past 10 years we have worked with high schools in Fremont and Newark, and Mission Valley ROP, to increase opportunities for high school students to earn college credit and to encourage more students to attend college.  Our relationships with the school systems have strengthened over the years.  I saw this firsthand when I attended our recent partnership workshop at the Newark Center.  Both Superintendents attended along with the principals and vice principals from all the high schools, the two Adult School principals, and key directors from the ROP.  This group joined Ohlone Deans to discuss enthusiastically building stronger bridge programs. (slide)

A key partnership strategy we use is dual enrollment.  One approach involves students taking Ohlone courses at the college on an individual basis,  Another approach offers Ohlone classes at the high schools involving both high school and Ohlone faculty.  Last year over 80 course sections were taught at the six high schools.

Another important partnership approach is the 2 + 2 or Career Pathway strategy.  High school and ROP courses are articulated with Ohlone courses through faculty to faculty agreements.  Upon entering Ohlone, students can apply for credit.  A great example of this approach is the Ohlone Learning Alliance for Bioscience (LAB) program, a pathway program focused on biotechnology.  New pathways are actively being developed in Science, Health and Physical Education; Information Technology; and Green Technologies.

Finally, the College Connection program is a unique partnership where high school teachers work with a cohort of high school seniors on the Fremont campus.  The College Connection program began its third successful year with cohorts from Newark Memorial and Kennedy High Schools.  This year’s College Connection students are in the audience this morning.  I would like to ask them to stand so we can give them a warm Ohlone welcome,

Another Ohlone College goal is to provide continuous learning for all District personnel, supportive of the Learning College Model.

In 2003, the College Council was created to serve as the shared governance body for the college.  It has representatives from all campus groups. (photo) The by laws describe its function as responsible for communicating with the campus community and as the college planning and budgeting body, and it is well designed for its function.  It is now poised to take the next step.  That is, it now needs to act as the conduit for information to flow to the members of the college community and back again to the Council.  (You might hear me call this “looping.”)  This week the Council discussed how to make that communication happen.  The College Council is the primary advisory body for the president and provides the means for tapping your perspectives. 

Another important aspect of this goal I intend to address is enhancing opportunities for professional development for staff, faculty, and administration.  Among the ideas that have already come forward are orientations for new staff, adjuncts, and fulltime faculty.  I’m also considering hosting a regular new faculty luncheon which would be an extended orientation and a chance for new faculty to get acquainted.

Goal V is to promote the health, environmental, cultural, and economic vitality of the communities served by the District.

I am passionate about attracting underrepresented students to Ohlone.  One opportunity I envision is for young children, especially from underrepresented groups, to visit the campus regularly to make it their own because I have seen the impact this relatively simple effort has on the extended families, friends, and neighbors of these children, not to mention the children themselves.

Another related area of particular interest to me is increasing the numbers of women and underrepresented students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs.  The Learning Alliance for Bioscience (LAB) project I mentioned earlier provides underrepresented high school students a path to college in bioscience and related fields.  Dean Ron Quinta has led Ohlone in this project.  (photo of LAB students)

An environmental scan, which I will describe, will also solicit community input and provide guidance for more opportunities for outreach and programs designed to meet the broad scope of community needs.

Newark Center—Environmental Sustainability Initiative

Newark Center grand opening photos.A goal we have done very well on is to promote and maintain an accessible, clean, safe and healthy college environment through continuous engagement of students and college personnel in campus preparedness, wellness, beautification, universal design, and environmental sustainability.

The Newark Center had its grand opening in January.  The green features of the campus include:

  • Solar panels (slide)
  • Geothermal ground coils (slide)
  • Enthalpy wheels (slide)
  • Water efficient, Bay Friendly® landscaping (slide)
  • Furnishings made from recycled materials (slide)
  • Up to 97% recyclable, ergonomically-designed furniture

The learning environment at the new campus features:

  • Natural lighting and use of colors that enhance learning
  • Indoor environmental quality—fresh air, low emissions, comfortable temperature
  • Flexible learning spaces
  • The latest teaching and learning technology (slide)
  • A wetland restoration site to become a Living Laboratory for the campus (slide)

The Newark center actualizes our values about learning-centeredness, outreach to the communities we serve, and pursuit of excellence, innovation, and stewardship for our environmental resources.  I intend for Ohlone College to be known for the achievement of its effective and environmentally-friendly learning environment provided at the Newark Center.  It is my hope that Ohlone College will set the community, regional, and state standards for learning and sustainability.   (slide)

Join me in learning a little about the new campus from some of our students. (introduction and student video)


Working with the Ohlone College Foundation promises to be especially exciting for me because I will have the chance to try some of the great fundraising ideas I have learned to help the college and reach out to our great community of supporters.

The goal to increase public and private funds for educational programs, equipment, and facilities through entrepreneurial activities, grants, and the college foundation is progressing well under the leadership of Dave Smith.

At the last Board of Trustees meeting, Dave gave a detailed report of the work of our foundation.  Here are a few highlights.
  • The Capital Campaign has generated $2.77 million in funds and in-kind contributions for the Newark campus.
  • February’s “Green Tie Gala” celebrating the opening of the new campus generated $51,000 net profit; almost 300 participants.
  • The “Pathways to Progress” brick sale has generated $81,000 net profit to date.  (You can still buy a brick!)
  • The Ohlone Golf Tournament (benefiting Athletic Programs) will be held at Castlewood Country Club on September 8th.  The Tournament is just a few golfers short of a sellout, and has a record number of sponsors!  (You can still golf, but hurry.  If you don’t golf, please join us for dinner.)  Should net $40,000 for Athletics.
  • A record number of scholarships and awards were given out this past fiscal year.  (72 Scholarships and Awards totaling over $44,000)
  • An exciting “Employee Giving Campaign” will be announced this Fall.

As Dave Smith would say, YOWZA!

Goal VIII is to develop and implement a district-wide facilities plan which encompasses the design, construction (including furnishings and equipment), renovation and major scheduled maintenance of college facilities that support programs and enhance student and employee success.

These are the upcoming projects funded primarily with State money (and some match from the College using bond funds).
  • Below Grade Water Intrusion
  • Fire Suppression
  • Bldg Exterior Repair – Water Intrusion

This means no more rain in the first floor of Building 1.  All projects should be completed within four years of start.

We will also be developing a detailed plan for the secondary effects of moving programs and services to Newark and the new Student Services building. 

This will be a campus-wide effort and will result in a clear idea of what will go where and when.

Finally, we will be implementing the plan needed for revitalization of the Fremont campus to provide a learning environment comparable to the Newark Center. 


Over the past year we made significant progress on our stated goals.  I have shared with you some of my intentions to continue and expand that progress.  However, we also face some challenges, most notably in the area of accreditation, and like all colleges, with our budget.

On July 1, my first day on the job as your president, I received a letter from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, also known as WASC.  The letter notified the College that the Commission had issued a Warning and asked the College to correct deficiencies and complete two reports documenting the corrections. 

The first report to the Commission, due on October 15, 2008, will address four recommendations related to issues concerning the function of the District’s Board of Trustees.  The recommendations concern the Board’s involvement in college and district operations and require that the board delegate those responsibilities to the president.

The report due on March 1, 2009, will address four recommendations related to college planning and program review, as well as classified staff and management employee evaluation processes.  Both reports will be followed by a visit of Commission representatives.

Before I outline our plan and progress, I want to reiterate that the accreditation visiting team gave extremely high marks to Ohlone’s academic programs and student services, as well as the general operations of the college.  It is very important to note that the visiting team had no recommendations related to the college’s student learning programs and services.  This is quite unusual and indicates the visiting team’s very high assessment of Ohlone’s academic programs and student services. 

Secondly, I want to assure you that the credits students earn at Ohlone will still transfer to other colleges and universities and that financial aid is not affected by this warning.  Ohlone College remains accredited during the warning period.

We are in the process of developing and executing a plan to respond to the accreditation recommendations.  The upcoming reports to the commission will reflect our progress.

Progress on recommendations for October report

We are working with outside consultants to assist the board into coming into compliance.  The Board has already participated in two workshops to increase their understanding of their roles.  The workshops focused on clarifying the delineation of policy and operational matters for both board and college and means for monitoring the delineation.  There have been significant changes in meeting and agenda structure to reflect role distinction.

The trustees have examined the results of their self assessments and targeted three areas for improvement.  More will be targeted during the semester.

In addition to refining the Board meeting organization, there are other changes I will undertake to improve relations between board and college community.  I will

  • Provide for Trustee workshops and conference attendance to ensure understanding of the Board’s role as a policy-making body.
  • Provide opportunities for the Board to learn about College organization, data, and key issues.
  • Provide regular written updates with clear distinction between information related to college operations and policy related information that may result in Board action.
  • Provide timely and adequate information to the Board to ensure it is prepared to discuss and take action on policy related matters. 
  • Set regular meetings (each semester or quarter) with small groups of trustees or individual trustees on a rotating basis.

Progress on recommendations for March report

Recommendations related to college planning and program review are already being addressed.  The College Council met earlier this week to identify steps to make the required changes.  Earlier this summer they authorized the purchase of a new software module that will assist in connecting some of our key processes, as required in the recommendations.

We are also addressing the recommendation regarding evaluation of staff.  In fact, administrators just received an email this week regarding evaluations due by December.

The Commission recommended that the college establish a process to review the mission and vision statement and its planning processes.   We are not going to start over with our college planning.  The plan is solid; however, the process needs to be codified—described to assure it is followed in a regular and cyclical fashion. 

We must also be sure that our planning process is working to our satisfaction to improve the college.  I come with a new perspective on parts of the process, and I intend to move the process to the next logical level.  The Commission recommends that we “enhance the nature and use of data in Program Review.”  To make that happen, we are beginning an environmental scan that provides information about our community such as (slide)

  • demographics
  • current and projected job openings
  • new and potential industries
  • economic trends
  • K-12 data
  • Community leader perceptions and expectations of Ohlone College

This information will be shared widely with the intention that the college community arrive at a common understanding of what it means.  The next step is to look internally at how well we are meeting expectations and plan accordingly. 

We are also asked to codify the links between program review, budget decision-making, facilities planning, and information technology decisions.  Put simply, we need to make program review central to our planning process.

Again, my fresh eyes tell me we need to be more conscious and facile with the facts about our college.  By being more data-oriented (and I include here qualitative as well as quantitative data), we will be able to assess more concretely whether we have improved in the ways we intend.

Budget Update

Community Colleges hoped that with the advent of November ballot deadlines and party conventions looming over legislators that a compromise on the State budget would be reached.  This has not occurred.  Until legislators do pass a budget, no community college will receive any funding.

Currently, Ohlone is positioned very well to ride out this funding storm, providing students pay their bills and we are prudent with resources—including human resources.  Through diligent cash management and a cash-flow loan in the form of a Tax Revenue Anticipation Note (TRAN), we should have sufficient funds to carry us through the fall semester.

The District will have to prepare a budget without the benefit of a finalized state budget.  Because funding for growth and COLA are uncertain, the District is proposing a very conservative budget.  We have also added expenses: the second half of year of operation expenses for Newark, $450K of step and column increases, and fixed cost increases such as heath insurance and utilities.  

In order to balance the budget, it was necessary to count on significant salary savings resulting from not replacing vacant positions.  These savings allow the District to avoid lay offs.  So if we determine that a position must be replaced, we do not save any salary.

The good news is that we have already begun dialogue with CSEA regarding a proposal to enhance professional development and pay levels of classified employees while elevating job descriptions.  This foundation should assist us in evaluating these positions, finding creative solutions for under staffed offices, and avoiding lay offs.

This just in:

The Senate will vote on the budget at 10 a.m. The vote will be on a modified version of the Governor’s August proposal.

The major changes to the governor’s August proposal are:

  • Permanent 1 cent sales tax increase, rather than three years
  • Elimination of the governor’s proposal to allow “carry-back” deductions for business losses
  • Spends $65 million more than the governor’s August proposal, with smaller cuts in health and human services

For community colleges, the budget would provide:

  • No cost-of-living adjustment
  • 2% enrollment growth
  • 2007-08 spending levels for categorical programs
  • Preservation of the Competitive Cal Grant Program

Stay tuned.

How are we doing?

As I explained, I enjoy looking at how well we’ve accomplished what we set out to do.  Here’s a little update on how we’re doing in some important areas.

Growth (chart) As you can see, enrollment is up rather impressively.  Community college enrollment is up an average 10%, a phenomenon that occurs typically during an economic down-turn.  Our enrollments appear to be even stronger than that.  However, a word of caution—at one point during the summer our enrollments appeared to be up a whopping 26%.  It turned out that, by census day—the day we do the counting—enrollment was up just 13%.   Our concerted efforts to enroll students early had paid off, but the early temperature-taking led us to believe enrollment was much stronger than was the case.  The same thing could be happening for fall.

Another word of caution regarding growth—We are still at the mercy of the Chancellor’s Office regarding how much growth will actually be funded.  This year’s CO growth target for Ohlone is just 1.5%.  We still have some catching up to do from earlier years when enrollment was down, but this year it would be very easy to exceed the growth we will be paid for.  We do not want to find ourselves in the situation of having to cut summer and especially spring classes because we can’t afford to offer them.

There have been a number of improvements in student success in just the past year.  Here are two examples.

  • Both retention and success rates for basic skills classes were up in fall 2007.
  • In the area of Persistence Rate (students who took 6 units in a fall term and returned the subsequent fall), Ohlone is above similar colleges, the CCC rate, and its own 2007 rate.

Other interesting statistics:

  • During spring 2008, 44% of our students had come to Ohlone from high school, a rate that is 6.1% higher than the previous four-year average.
  • In fall 2007, enrollment in online sections rose 11.4% over the previous fall; in spring 2008 online enrollment was up 18.6% over spring 2007.
  • Ethnically, Asians are still the largest group of students at 35%, followed by 28% White, non-Hispanic, 12% Hispanic, 7% Filipino, and 4% African-American.
  • 53% of Ohlone students are female.
  • In 2007-08 there we offered sections in 1137 different courses

Aerial photo of Student Support Services Building under construction.Our new student services building is progressing nicely. (photos) The other day I was carefully guided through the building, and let me tell you it’s still tricky to step over wires, what look to me like giant bolts protruding from the floor, and 18” high thresholds.  Nevertheless, it was exciting to be able to visualize the space our students will be using within a year.  The building features access to high tech, natural light, and amazing flexibility.  It will fulfill its intention to be a hub of interactivity and to consolidate services in one location to make life easier for our students.  Students will have a clear path into the main street of the campus through the building.  Great views from the upper floors, too.

Here’s a list of what will be going into the new building. (slide/list)

If you are interested in more detail about the floor plan of the building, please visit our website.


New staff

In the last few weeks, I have carried on a tradition started by Dr. Treadway, to invite several college employees to have lunch with me in my office each week.  We have time to chat and get to know a little about one another.  Because I started with individuals that had not have the opportunity before, some of my guests are relatively new to Ohlone.  Each one brings positive energy to the college.  The most common comment made is that Ohlone is a great place to work.  It is on that note that I welcome the following new staff to Ohlone College.  (Please be forgiving if I mispronounce your name.)  (slides of new staff)

  • Dr. Gari Browning, President/Superintendent
  • Ralph de Unamuno, Temporary Full-time Faculty Chicano Studies
  • Angelique (Walt) Finney, Biology/Microbiology Faculty
  • Genie Gertz, Dean of Deaf Studies and Special Services
  • Ju-Wei Huang, Biology Lab Technician
  • Lucas Lee, Desktop Support II
  • Rogue Mojica, Custodian
  • Derrick Mumin, Building Trades, Maintenance Plumber
  • Charles Outing, Desktop Support
  • Jeff Roberts, Athletic Trainer/PE Instructor
  • William Sharar, English Language Institute Program Coordinator
  • Bonnie Zhu, Payroll Accountant

And a few camera shy individuals:

  • Julie Collins, Theatre Operations Assistant
  • Holly Dane, Nursing Faculty
  • Christopher Dvorak, Facilities Equipment Attendant
  • Laura Hoffman, Case Manager
  • Reginald Mundy, Safety Officer
  • Phillip Zimmerman, Electrician

Newly tenured faculty

When I was a faculty member serving on committees to select my future colleagues, I was often reminded that the committee was about to invest a million dollars of public funds.  Today, by my estimation, the figure is probably closer to 3.5 million.  Here at Ohlone not just the financial weight of the decision, but more importantly, the impact of good teaching has obviously guided selection committees.  Our newly tenured faculty are

  • Darren Bardell, History
  • Sheryl Einfalt, Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Anu Ganguly, Chemistry
  • Poonam Khare, Nursing
  • Mandy Kwok-Yip, Counseling
  • Tina Mosleh, Business/Economics
  • Paul Mueller, Art
  • Rosemary O’Neill, Counseling
  • Brenda Arteaga Reynoso, Counseling
  • Tim Roberts, Music
  • Kim Stiles, Nursing
  • Jeffr Watanabe, Biology


I want to thank everyone at the college for making me feel so at home so quickly.  I’m already convinced that Ohlone is a great place to work.  I have also been welcomed warmly by many organizations in the community including the Citizens for a Better Community, Indo-American Community Union, the Irvington Business Association, the local chambers of commerce, the Rotaries, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

I’m also making some getting-to-know-you efforts of my own.  I mentioned the weekly luncheons.  I was also interviewed this summer by several groups of children from Ohlone for Kids (photo), I’ve visited one class and have received several more invitations, and I spend a morning a week at the Newark campus.  One activity that I really enjoy is walking around to get to know people.  (video)

I want to take a minute and thank some of the people who helped with this presentation, especially Jamison Boyer who did the media, Patrice Birkedahl, Sarah Daniels, and many others.

Group of Summer 2008 Ohlone For Kids.

LEED Level announcement  (video of Newark)

I have to say that as spectacular as the Olympics were, I think even the honor of Olympic Gold falls short of what I have to say next.  I take great pleasure in announcing that this past week Ohlone College received a Platinum Certification, the highest designation possible, from the US Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  Achieving LEED Platinum certification is not an easy task.  At present, we can find fewer than 65 buildings in the world that have achieved Platinum status.

LEED certification is based on a system of points for each design innovation or operational practice employed in construction of a building that contributes to environmental stability and sustainability.  Each LEED point represents the combined knowledge, efforts and experience of so many groups who participated in this great project.  Anyone who has visited the Newark Center knows the excellence of the facility and can recognize the quality of work and ingenuity of design that went into the new campus. Let me try to list some of the groups responsible for helping this dream become a reality:

Perkins+Will, the lead architects have been with us since the beginning of the project.  Nationally recognized experts in sustainable design for higher education purposes, they were ideally suited to partner with us on this project. Karen Cribbins-Kuklin was the lead partner that managed this project. She is here in the auditorium with us today.

Turner Construction, one of the largest construction management firms in the nation, has completed or is in process of completing over 100 LEED projects.  They were Invaluable in bringing the high level of quality to the project required to achieve such a lofty status. 

Numerous suppliers were also involved in supplying materials, products, services and expertise in opening this landmark facility.  Key consultants to Perkins+Will in achieving the LEED goals were AlfaTech (MEP Engineers), Conger, Moss, Guillard (Landscape Architects), and Davis Landon (Cost Estimators). In addition, Steelcase and One Workplace supplied furnishings and equipment for the center, donating their design services and consulting expertise in developing the enhanced ergonomic learning spaces at Newark.

Numerous funding partners made donations, large and small, to the Capital Campaign for Newark.  Founding partners, those who contributed $25,000 or more are listed on the slide.  But I’d like to draw attention to two special donors, whose assistance made many of the special finishing touches possible.  Fremont Bank, a continual partner to Ohlone over the years, generously donated $250,000 to the Newark Center capital campaign.  We are proud to name our Community Conference Center for them.  Gloria Fuerniss Vice-president of Fremont Bank is here with us today.  The Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation gave Ohlone a $2.5 million matching grant, allowing us to double the value of every donation received. We owe a special debt of gratitude to the Foundation and their director Michael Dressler.

And last, we cannot forget members of the Ohlone community that spent so many hours in the final preparations for the opening day of classes.  Countless hours and extra shifts were put in by staff in facilities, IT, security, and grounds. In addition, a planning team of faculty, deans and staff who would be working in the building gathered regularly to coordinate processes and schedules on the new campus.  This group was lead by Dr. Leta Stagnaro and Dr. Doug Treadway.   Please join me in giving them all a hand in thanks for their tremendous work!

I’d like to remind us all of the reason we put forth this effort.  It was not simply for an award.  At Ohlone, we do what we do because of the students.  Think back to that Monday morning last January, hundreds of students were arriving on campus to attend their first classes in this beautiful edifice.  Can you imagine what it was like to come there for the first time?  Beautiful landscaping of native plantings surround the building.  Interiors painted in rich colors, furnished beautifully and lit with natural daylight.  Classrooms equipped with the latest learning technology and equipment to assist students in their learning quest. Imagine what a pride of place they must have felt to know that this campus had been built for them and built for their future. Imagine their pride when they learn that it has been given the highest distinction possible, Platinum Certification, and that they got to be a part of it.

I think we can all feel proud and congratulate ourselves on a job well done!  

But this is not an ending, it’s a beginning.  We’ve broken records and set the bar as high as it can go.  At this moment, we are the only LEED Platinum campus of higher education in the country, possibly the world. But, as we know from the Olympics, records can always be surpassed.  New energy efficient technologies and methods of sustainability will come along. New teaching and learning technologies and methodologies will emerge. Today, we are the Michael Phelps of Education and Sustainability. And tomorrow, we will keep raising the bar. 

Thank you everyone, and have a great year!

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