Ohlone College President's Office
State of the College Spring 2011
January 21, 2011 / Dr. Gari Browning
- View the State of the College Spring 2011 (WMV) (video is ASL interpreted; it is not captioned)
- Download State of the College Spring 2011 (PDF)
Text of the speech follows.
Welcome back! I hope you all had an enjoyable time with your family and friends over the break and are looking forward to an exciting spring semester as much as I am.
Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that three of our Ohlone family members passed away in 2010. [edited to add: Pilar Lewis, Curtis Bressler, and Stewart Dawson.] All three lost shared our love for the Ohlone community.
We loved them too and will miss them very much. And we’ve enjoyed sharing our memories of them. Please join me in a moment of silence in their memory.
I would like to welcome Ohlone College Board of Trustee Member Teresa Cox. Thank you for coming this morning.
And we have a new trustee, Jan Giovannini-Hill, who joined the Board in December. Trustee Giovannini-Hill is attending the New Trustee Workshop sponsored by the Community College League of California in Sacramento. I’ll be joining her later today. We are happy to welcome her.
I would like to welcome some important members of the Ohlone community who are with us today. Would members of the Ohlone College Foundation Board please stand. They are led by Chairman Bob Douglass, who is here today. Thank you for the support you provide for our students and our college.
Are there any members of the Measure G Bond Campaign Committee with us today? That would include Bob Douglass again since he was the campaign chair. Thank you so very much for your help and support. We could not have done it without you.
We have added a few new faces to our Ohlone family. We welcome:
- Vy Anderson, Confidential Human Resources Assistant
- Alisa Balao, Safety Officer II
- Kate Harrison, Community Education and Workforce Development Program Coordinator, and
- Andrew Ornelas, Science Laboratory Technician, Engineering, Physics, and Microscope Imaging
Staff on the Move
We also have some staff on the move through promotions, transfers, and interim assignments:
- Elliot Almeida, Gardener/ Groundskeeper I
- Jolie Chevalier, Admissions and Records, Registration Coordinator
- Arnulfo Gonzalez, Custodian
- Raenette Halliwell, Facilities Operations Assistant
- Cassandra Harrah, Admissions and Records, Student Services Assistant
- Mario Maglinao, Lead Custodian (Night)
- Steve Miller, Newark Lead Maintenance/ Energy Electrician
- Roque Mohija, Lead Custodian (Day)
- David Panales, Human Resources, Senior Office Assistant
- Kenn Waters, Interim Dean, Counseling
Events Since Fall
Our biggest accomplishment in fall, in fact in quite some time, is the passage of Measure G, the $349 million bond that will change the face of the College for the foreseeable future. Many worked hard to make it happen, and your hard work is greatly appreciated. In fact, we are in awe of what you helped us do. Thank you to all who participated in the bond campaign.
This bond funding allows us to solve our practical facilities problems. We no longer have to operate in crisis-response mode waiting to see what system fails next. We do not have to continue to put important projects on hold to make sure we have the funds to address an emergency. Our past band-aid mentality for facilities is over; we can make our campus environments what they should be.
At the same time, we want to be sure we are thinking well ahead as we plan our campus. The $349 million bond requires us to be visionary about the future. We will be deciding how the college functions for the next 50 years at least. The decisions we make today will create the learning environment for our students for the next several decades. We need to consider who our students will be in 2031. Think of today’s four-year olds. How many times have you heard stories of small kids helping their parents with technology? We must anticipate what the needs, skills, and interests of these young people will be when they reach Ohlone, and we must build the campus accordingly.
Measure G is the seed money for innovation for all we do to create a college for the future. We have the opportunity to redefine teaching and learning going forward, and lead the way for other colleges to follow. It’s a little like creating a new college, only better because we are already doing so many things well. We are fortunate that we can build from those strengths. I look forward to hearing the great ideas and innovations that members of the Technology Committee, the Facilities Committee, the Distance Education Committee, and all members of the college community have to create our vision for the future. I’m talking about much more than bricks and mortar. We are planning for the future of teaching and learning for the whole district—this campus, Newark, and the E-campus. This is the time for all of us to get excited!
I’ve shared a draft of a communication plan with College Council and the Facilities Committee, and the Board will have a bond implementation workshop soon. They recently passed updated bylaws for a bond oversight committee. We have issued an RFP to select a firm for master planning and project sequencing, and we hope to take the successful candidate for bond program management to the Board in March. This firm will assist with project plans, timelines, and costs. In preparation for issuance of our first bond series, we will determine projects to fund. We plan the first issuance to occur by June 30. As you can see, there is a lot to do this semester.
Projects we will tackle early will be those that do not require a great deal of planning but will revitalize our infrastructure. Of high interest will be projects that can reduce costs, such increasing the amount of energy we generate by solar. Next year, 2011-12, will focus on planning future construction projects. It will be a while before we break ground on any new buildings.
Other Accomplishments to Celebrate
The Bond is a big achievement to celebrate, but there is much more we have accomplished recently. Ohlone celebrates accomplishments from all quarters from individual to group, internal and external. Here are a few recent highlights.
We expect to hear this semester that our Substantive Change Report to offer an online degree has been approved by the Accrediting Commission. This is an important step in developing the e-Campus, one that will help degree availability for students.
The National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission conducted their site visit last semester. The evaluators recommended the nursing program be granted a full 8-year accreditation. They found our nursing program to be in compliance with all six standards! The site visitors were impressed by the support from administration, student comments, the Newark campus, our association with clinical agencies, the scholarship of faculty, the community service performed by faculty and students, and especially by comments from the public. The nursing program has had continuous national accreditation since 1978.
The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care has awarded Continuing Accreditation to the Associate of Science Degree Respiratory Care Program, recognizing the program’s compliance with the nationally established accreditation standards. The next evaluation of this program is scheduled to be no later than 2020.
The National Communication Association has notified us that our chapter of Sigma Chi Eta (which means “Students in Communication with Honors”) received the Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award.
Ohlone is now an official member of the Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa. There are numerous benefits to students who join this organization, including access to national scholarships. The students responsible for getting us started tell me the club will also offer augmented tutoring services, support for good scholarship, and chances to make new friends.
And Ohlone’s play, Time Machine, was chosen by the Kennedy Center - American College Theatre Festival to be performed at the Western Regional Conference, February 16. This honor was bestowed on only four plays from colleges and universities in the nine western states in the country. Our cast will be performing the play in an 800-seat theatre at the conference. If selected, they can also be invited to perform again at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. We have a preview of the play to show you at the end of my speech.
Narinder Bansal, Environmental Studies Faculty, gave a presentation to the Green Economy Group about the Ohlone College Newark campus, our “Green Culture Building,” and the Environmental Studies Program.
Our Ohlone trustee, Teresa Cox has been appointed to serve as a member of the Industry Trade Advisory Council by the US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Ambassador Ron Kirk, the United States Trade Representative. Ms. Cox will work on small and minority business initiatives. In this capacity, she will serve as advisor on international trade agreements to promote the economic interest and opportunities of the United States and determine whether these agreements provide equity and reciprocity. She will also provide advice on key objectives and bargaining positions for global trade negotiations and other trade-related policy matters.
Jeff Roberts, Head Athletic Trainer, is a contributing author of two recent publications in the Journal of Athletic Training. The articles are titled “Perspectives on Parenthood and Working of Female Athletic Trainers in the Secondary School and Collegiate Settings,” and “Adherence to Drug-Dispensation and Drug-Administration Laws and Guidelines in Collegiate Athletic Training Rooms: A Five-Year Review.”
Mark Lieu, ESL faculty member and former Statewide Academic Senate President, has accepted a new 18-month assignment. His new job focuses on basic skills and ESL efforts in the Academic Unit at the Chancellor’s Office. While Mark was here, he served ably to help set up our budget committee, which I’ll talk more about it later.
The HR department partnered with the English
Learning Institute (ELI) to pilot an on-the-job ESL institute for 6 non-English speaking Ohlone custodians. In planning the institute, outcomes were identified such as improved safety, socialization with the other employees, participation in campus activities, and involvement in union discussions. The program is overseen by William Sharar, Director of the ELI, who has volunteered his time to provide additional services to enhance the learning process for the custodians.
Our IT Department and Business Office have worked together to execute a successful on-line requisition process. It has been a long time coming and will make this work easier and more efficient. Thanks especially to Nathan Brown, Don Penrose, Ellen Lane, Joanne Schultz, Cynthia Banuelos, and Mark Robbins.
The Ohlone College Foundation hosted a successful Golf Tournament yielding over $41,000 to support our athletics programs. This spring the Foundation anticipates awarding over $100,000 in scholarships! The amount of scholarships has increased steadily for the last several years.
The Deaf Studies Lab was successfully completed and was up and operating in time for the start of the fall semester. Students and faculty are enjoying the new learning environment. Students, both Deaf and hearing, now have a natural setting to learn language and develop friendships.
Congratulations on all of our successes!
Status of Strategic Goals in New Plan
We are now officially working on our new 2010-2015 strategic plan. During the spring, College Council reviewed the status of each goal and objective in the plan and assigned each one to a Council member, who is responsible for status reports. We continue to work on what’s important to our students, so there really hasn’t been a break in our effort. Some consistency between our previous and new goals has made transition to the new plan pretty smooth.
Here’s what we’ve done so far.
Goal 1: Through innovative programs and services, improve student learning and achievement
We continue to assess our SLOs in keeping with our timeline for completion of 2013. Deb Parziale participated in a 10-month WASC Assessment Leadership Academy to learn more about assessment and keep Ohlone moving forward. The Student Services group has developed a first draft of 5 rubrics to be used to assess student learning related to the Student Services curriculum including responsibility, respect, integrity, leadership and purpose. Additionally several people have begun to develop student surveys that directly relate to SLOs. Many thanks to Debbie Trigg for her dedicated and energetic work on outcomes, assessment, and program review. Debbie's reviews have become the models for the division.
The objective to increase retention to rates above the statewide average is progressing nicely. We have improved from 80.6% two years ago to 84%. The Statewide average is 84.7%, 85.5% for single college districts.
For our objective to increase basic skills success rate to above State average, Ohlone is at 67.4%, which is already above the State average of 61.4%.
For our objective to increase the ESL improvement rate to above State average, our efforts are finally showing up in the state statistics. The State average is 54.3%, and Ohlone’s rate is 61.7%.
On each of these three measures, we were below the State average when the strategic plan was written. Now, two Chancellor’s Office reports later, Ohlone is above the State average, not only for these but for all seven performance indicators!
We have an objective to increase transfers to UC and CSU to 600. In 2008-2009, we were close with 581 transfers, but in 2009-2010, transfers declined to 479. This is a systemwide phenomenon due to CSU’s efforts to manage its enrollment by not accepting transfer students. For Ohlone students this is an unfortunate policy because in the long run, our students do better than other community college transfer students an better than students who start as freshmen at CSU.
- California Community College transfer students to CSU have a 76.4% graduation rate.
- Native CSU freshmen have an 81.7% graduation rate.
- Ohlone transfer students to CSU have an 83.7% graduation rate.
During this same period, our transfers to UCs increased 24.4%.
We are also showing increases in the number of students who declare transfer as a goal. From fall 2007 to spring 2010 there was a gain of almost 13%. Especially noteworthy is the high percentage of Hispanics at Ohlone declaring transfer as their goal which may be attributable to our great Raza Day and Puente Program. We also show increasing percentages of transfer readiness for all ethnic groups each year.
In our objectives to increase the number of degrees and certificates we award, we are again part of a broader decline. In development are both California community college and national efforts to improve completion. In our objective to increase to 500 the number of degrees awarded, in 2004-2005 we were above 500 degrees, but for 2009-2010 we’re down to only 291. And in our objective to increase to 300 the number of certificates awarded, in 2005-2006 we were above 300 certificates. In 2009-2010 we declined to just 77.
The consensus is that the decline is due to the withdrawal of incentive Partnership for Excellence money we were receiving. At Ohlone, we have established a completions work group, and we are drawing attention to the major role faculty play role in encouraging and bringing credibility to completing associate degrees and certificates. We hope to inaugurate a pilot process to improve degree and certificate awards this semester.
Studies show that fulltime students are more fully engaged in their educations and do better as a result. We therefore have as an objective to have 30% of total students enrolled for 12 or more units. We had hit that mark twice in prior semesters, but in spring 2010, we had slipped to 28.6%. We need to find a way to maintain the 30% rate.
I’m happy to report that we continue to do particularly well with our partnerships with K-12 districts. By 2012, we plan to establish mutual agreements with local school districts to redefine expectations of partnership in light of reduced staffing and budget support. We have regular meetings with the local K-12 districts—Fremont, Newark, and Union City, and engage with them at every level including faculty, principal and dean, and vice president, and president/superintendent. We are currently planning joint meetings with the school boards and our Ohlone Board of Trustees. The results of these efforts mean strong and positive high school-to-college transition opportunities for our local students.
A few examples:
Last semester students from the Irvington High School SHAPE Program spent the day learning about our health sciences programs including Kinesiology, Physical Therapy Assistant, Registered Nursing, and Respiratory Therapist. They also visited the Health/Wellness/Fitness Facilities at the Newark campus.
Thirty-five students from Newark Unified’s Bridgepointe Continuation High School attended a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) pathways event. Students engaged in workshops hosted by Ohlone faculty and staff demonstrating what our STEM career pathways have to offer. The workshops included a variety of activities from experiments for making DNA samples, to learning how to strategize using math techniques, to finding where you are using GIS tracking systems. The event was organized by the Ohlone College STEM Steering Committee and co-sponsored by Avazando.
Representatives from Ohlone College, Kennedy, Washington, and American High Schools met to start looking into creating a pathway that will help the high school students be more prepared to enter English 101A when they attend Ohlone College after graduating from high school.
Goal 2: Support the economic vitality of the community through educational programs and services that respond to identified employment needs
We are close to completing our new objective to have a local plan for Career Technical Education. This plan will be implemented over the next few years. The plan takes into account the needs of our local employers through existing Ohlone programs, contract education, and new program development. An example of a program that focuses on emerging industry is biotechnology. Students in this program are being invited to biotech companies and regional diagnostic labs for tours and internships, and to get a taste of science in the real world.
The Silicon Valley Information & Communication Technology (SVICT) Collaborative has secured a third round of funding—so far bringing over $1million to Ohlone and it's partners to expand the Information and Communication Technology pathways and programs in local high schools and middle schools. Many of these students will come to Ohlone to complete their training in computer networking and other fields in computer technology.
The Vice President and Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs are working with the Deans and Directors involved in Career Technical Education (CTE) and Economic Development programs to complete this plan. The plan is on schedule to be finished by the end of the spring 2011 semester and will achieve the first objective under Goal 2. This plan will also provide the structure to link the CTE and Economic Development Strategic Plan with the Educational Master Plan and the Program Review process. This linkage will provide opportunities to use VETA and Tech prep grants to help fund Program Improvement Objectives (PIOs) identified within CTE program reviews.
We are making progress on our objective to create a curriculum which enhances the availability of programs that focus on emerging industries including green technologies and those identified by the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and Department of Labor’s high growth, high demand job training initiative.
The Tri-Cities One Stop has been very busy this past semester. Under the direction of Tina Dodson the One Stop has had over 2500 displaced and unemployed folks visit the center for various services.
Several Contract Education courses under the direction of Dean’s Dr. Gale Carli and Lesley Buehler were offered in partnership with the Alameda County WIB and local One-Stop Centers. During the fall 2010 semester over 150 displaced workers received training in Introduction to Computers and/or Microsoft Office 2010. The CNET program has been very busy offering the CISCO academy program and A++ Certification courses. Ohlone’s Environmental Studies program is a partner with Alameda and San Mateo County WIB’s and San Mateo Community College District in the Home Energy Retrofit Occupations’ (HERO) project.
Community Education under the Direction of Chris Warden has added two new online corporate partners: University Alliance, which provides professional education programs developed by top-ranked universities including Villanova University, the University of San Francisco, and Tulane University, and LERN U-Gotclass, which offers online certificates and courses related to improving job skills for the 21st century.
Goal 3: Promote continuous, needs-based, learning and professional development opportunities for all district personnel
Over the last semester, in addition to the fall flex, we held a variety of professional development events for all categories of employees. Since August including Learning College Week, we offered a total of 159 sessions. Highlights of those workshops include:
- Many workshops on using technology to enhance teaching
- Training on our new online course management system, Blackboard
- Many workshops on writing and assessing SLOs at the course and program levels with faculty, staff, and Student Services personnel.
- Individualized and small group sessions on how to develop a program review within the new CurricUNET Program Review module.
- A Full day workshop, "Creating Community in a Diverse College Environment" by Lee Mum Wah with follow-up campus discussions.
- Fitness/Wellness workshops
- Retirement and other money management workshops sponsored by HR
- A Leadership Book Club with weekly on-going meetings, and
- An OSHA Hazardous Waste workshop
We have also approved 44 individuals, including staff, adjunct faculty, full-time faculty, and management, to receive up to $500 to attend off-campus conferences, workshops, or courses that promote the College goals and objectives and assists them to promote student success.
Goal 4: Use human, fiscal, technological, and physical resources responsibly, effectively, and efficiently to maximize student learning and achievement
Consistent with accreditation recommendation that requires us to connect planning and budget, the College Council is implementing the PIO process. As you know, Program Improvement Objectives or PIOs are the result of the Program Review process undertaken by all college programs, services, and departments. PIOs state the improvement the program or department concludes it should make after a close self evaluation. The College Council has identified three primary criteria by which to assess PIOs—impact on student learning and achievement, contribution to achieving college goals and objectives, and impact beyond the program. In order to implement the PIO process, College Council has created two sub committees, the Budget Committee and the PIO Committee.
We’ve made good progress on this goal in a just a semester. Generally, Ohlone is in better fiscal shape than most community colleges. We have a good reserve and continually look for ways we can sustain it. Helping faculty and staff understand the budget and budget issues has received a lot of attention over the past year and will receive more going forward. We have established a Budget Committee that is a subcommittee of College Council. Its recently-approved charge focuses on helping the college community understand budget concepts and development.
We have succeeded in increasing our non-apportionment income, mainly but not exclusively through Community Education (Ohlone for Kids and the ELI) and increased numbers of international students. We are also working to make our Technology Plan consistent with the Strategic Plan, which will in turn help address technology for our Facilities Master Plan (FMP). The plans fit together. Because of the passage of Measure G, we now have the funds to start to implement the FMP and upgrade the Fremont campus, which is one of our Goal 4 objectives. The bond was well supported by the community, which suggests we may be able to build on our momentum. We will be looking for ways to leverage the bond money to make it go further.
The Technology Committee is working to integrate the Technology Plan with the Strategic Plan by focusing on the specific technology objectives in Goal 4 related to classrooms, updating computers, and efforts to improve services to students through technology.
Goal 5: Lead and educate the community in environmental sustainability
The many tours of the Newark campus provided by faculty and administrators give us opportunities to educate the community about our green campus. Recently, we received a new AT&T grant for $15,000. Each semester the Newark Center provides learning opportunities for over 1,500 students and building visitors. Currently, informal tours of the Newark Center are provided by executive staff and professors upon request. However, relevant information on the center’s environmentally sustainable features is communicated verbally to interested parties, without any means of capture or distribution. Completing this Eco-Behavior project would allow for self-guided tours and expand the opportunities for students and building visitors to discover knowledge about green building and innovative learning environments. The College’s Environmental Studies faculty and the Sustainability Committee, which includes faculty, staff, administrators, and students, will provide ongoing oversight of the Eco-Behavior project.
As we move forward to implement the Measure G projects, one of the sets of standards we will be establishing and following will be for sustainability, thus providing a great opportunity for Ohlone to apply the same green principles we used for Newark as we revitalize the Fremont campus.
Goal 6: Enhance college-wide interaction with, and acceptance of, diverse peoples, cultures, arts, and perspectives
One of our objectives is to increase enrollment of international students by 100% by 2015. We recorded record high international student enrollment in fall 2010. Three hundred ten international students from 28 different countries were learning at Ohlone College last semester. This number includes 80 students in our not-for-credit English Language Institute, or ELI. Given enrollment pressures, we are shifting our international student outreach focus to prioritize ELI student recruitment. ELI students enrich campus diversity, contribute needed revenue for the College, and exert minimal impact on the campus as they pursue full-time English study in this Community Education program. Overall, international students generated nearly 2 million dollars in tuition revenue for the District in the last academic year. Revenues are expected to climb this year. We are considering setting a percentage of our student population as a target for numbers of international students.
Last month, Ohlone took part in an online student outreach event that attracted over 4,500 visitors from more than 150 different countries. During the event, Ohlone partnered with officials from U.C. Santa Cruz to deliver a streaming video-based keynote presentation titled “Transferring from a U.S. Community College to a 4-year University.”
One of our objectives is to increase the number of Study Abroad opportunities for faculty and students. Last Fall Professor Jeff Watanabe led 11 Ohlone College students on our annual Semester in Sydney Australia program. Among other adventures Down Under, Jeff and several students joined one of the many worldwide 350.org events on October 10th (that would be 10/10/10). The goal of 350.org is to raise awareness of climate change. What an exciting way for the College to be fulfilling Ohlone Goals 5 and 6 at the same time—promoting sustainability and appreciation of diversity!
This month, Professors Kay Harrison and Brenda Ahntholz led 16 Ohlone College students to Egypt, on a business and international education grant-subsidized trip. While they were in Cairo, they visited a leading media outlet headquarters to learn about Egyptian journalism and see it in action. The story about the Ohlone group's visit to Egypt ran on the front section of the media outlet's website. The group returned early this week!
This spring break the Chinese department is leading a short, action-packed trip to China. The trip includes visits to the Great Wall, the Yangtze River, and Hong Kong. Thirty-five members of the local community, including many of our faculty, will be joining this exciting journey.
This summer, we’re offering two more Business and International Education (BIE) grant-funded trips—a 3-week trip to China beginning right after graduation and a 3-week trip to Japan during the same time period. Students participating in these trips will effectively pay 50% or less of the true costs thanks to our BIE grant.
Institutional partnerships also enhance opportunities for cultural exchange. Last summer we sent 9 faculty members to teach at 3 of Ohlone’s Sister Schools in China. The disciplines represented were computer science, computer networking, music and ESL. This summer we’re planning to offer more of these exchange opportunities, in Suzhou, Hangzho, and Shanghai, China, and in Vietnam. Stay tuned for more information from the International Education Committee.
Later this spring, we’ll be hosting 2 faculty members from one of our oldest and closest partners—the Zhejiang Vocational Academy of Art. Our colleagues from China teach Chinese painting and calligraphy, and dance. Our art and dance departments are planning exhibits, workshops, and other venues to expose our campus community to these rich Chinese artistic traditions and expertise.
This semester the International Education Committee will put the finishing touches on our International Programs and Services 2010-2015 Strategic Plan. The committee has deliberately aimed to link our international education activity with the District’s Strategic Plan. The activity will help us fulfill our College goals and do so in a fiscally sustainable, beneficial way. The committee will be soliciting feedback about the plan from College Council, Faculty Senate, and others throughout spring.
Goal 7: Increase access to higher education of under-served and under-represented demographic groups in the District and local communities
An objective under this goal is to increase under-represented enrollment to approximate district demographics. The one under-represented group we have at Ohlone is Hispanic, which represents 19.4% of the district population. Over the last three years, we have increase Hispanic enrollment fro 11.4% to 14.4%.
Another objective is to increase retention and success rates for underserved demographic groups. Retention rates for African-American, Hispanic, and Filipino students increased respectively by 3%, 3%, and 4% over the retention rates two years ago. Success rates for the same groups (African-American, Hispanic, and Filipino) increased over the past two years by even greater margins.
We also plan to increase the percentage of under-represented groups among faculty and staff to approximate the demographic percentages of the district population. Asians are particularly underrepresented among our faculty and staff. Changes in staff demographics are generally slow, especially when hiring is not occurring. However, we remain committed to this objective and are still working on it.
Goal 8: Engage all members of the college community in active, continual institutional improvement
This goal targets improving our communication processes internally and in the community, and it addresses our planning processes. Over the past two and a half years, the College Council has continued to look for ways it can deliver information to the college community and gather input for college discussion on important issues. At its retreat on Wednesday a number of strategies were shared by Council members. I explained the communication role of the Budget Committee earlier. We also discussed the importance of broad involvement in Program Review and set up several new groups to communicate about the bond. The college Research and Planning web pages are regularly updated to make current data available to the college.
The College Council is also about to launch the PIO selection process. This process provides the vital link between planning and budget, so we will be refining it until it works well.
Other efforts to increase communication include the newly created Budget Committee I mentioned before. The first meeting of this committee is Tuesday, January 25, at 11:00, and they are planning to hold regular meetings on the fourth Tuesday of every month. I tell you this because we encourage attendance as an opportunity to improve your understanding of budget principles and development, and to have your budget questions answered.
We will also distribute satisfaction surveys for students, faculty, and staff again in spring. This instrument can be very helpful for us in assessing progress toward meeting some of the objectives that aren’t easily quantifiable.
I plan to continue my informal lunches, and I am considering holding regular office hours to encourage your direct input to me. We may also establish a suggestion box to allow for anonymous ideas to be expressed.
Budget Going Forward
Here’s what we know. Governor Jerry Brown just released his proposed budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year last week. The plan cuts spending by $12.5 billion and increases revenue by $12 billion, based on asking the voters to extend existing temporary taxes. With $1.9 billion in other solutions, the proposal would balance the budget and create a $1 billion reserve.
For community colleges, the spending plan proposes:
- cutting community colleges by $400 million by reforming census dates
- providing 1.9% enrollment restoration funding equaling $110 million, which partially makes up for the 3.39% reduction to our enrollment cap, called a workload reduction, we received last year
- increasing fees to $36 per unit, generating, coincidently, $110 million
- other modest accounting changes
We know these cuts assume the voters approve $12 billion in additional revenues at a June election, the extension of existing temporary taxes. If they don’t, the community college share of the cuts could increase. While the proposal would hold K-12 harmless from cuts, it proposes $500 million cuts each to the University of California and California State University. Our advocates are looking at these cuts and will be requesting changes designed to ensure community colleges are only being asked to contribute their fair share of budget solutions.
There’s a lot we don’t know yet. Keep in mind that this is the Governor’s proposal for January. Just like last year and every other year, it is difficult to predict how it will play out by the time a budget is approved. The change to census dates is particularly controversial because harder classes tend to have poorer retention, so incentive to offer say math and physics would be reduced in favor of classes outside of transfer, career technical, and basic skills—the very classes the Chancellor’s Office has discouraged us from cutting. We really don’t know if there will be changes to the census method. Already other means of cutting our apportionment have been proposed by the Legislative Analyst Office. Also consider that this same proposal was set aside last year because of the impact it would have on colleges with the highest percentage of underrepresented students. This is not to mention that we incur expenses for classes whether or not students drop after census date.
We also don’t know whether the proposed apportionment restoration will remain in the budget because in effect, it asks us to serve more students with fewer dollars.
We don’t know how a 38% fee increase will impact enrollment.
And we don’t know how the cuts will be redistributed to include K-12 and prisons or what the net impact will be on CCCs if the tax increase is voted down.
There are a few things we think are true. We think Ohlone’s share of the $400 million cut will be about $3 million. We aren’t sure because Ohlone's exact share of any system-wide cut is an estimate until finally determined by the State Chancellor's Office.
We are assured that there will not be mid-year budget cuts this year and that the negative COLA in the original Governor's budget for this year will not be applied. However, we think we will need the 1% we set aside for this year’s possible deficit to help offset an anticipated decline in property tax and personal income tax revenues below what is in the budget. We do not have a number yet.
We think we can figure out a way to make it through 2011-12 and give ourselves time to plan for 2012-13.
We also have a few hopes. We hope we can get through 2011-12 without additional furloughs or other salary reductions. In the meantime we will continue to plan for the future, including realistic staffing levels in all areas.
In addition to the regular meetings of the Budget Committee, to which you are all invited, I will be holding regular Budget Forums as information from the State comes to us. I’ll calendar these forums at varying times to allow as many of you to attend as possible. I am also continuing to post on our budget webpage the latest budget information from the Community College League of California and the Chancellor’s Office.
A word about the Bond money—while it is true that we cannot use bond money for regular operational expenses, the money will help us in other ways. For instance, the State has deferred apportionment payments to colleges for this year into the next fiscal year, creating a potential cash flow problem. This could cause us to have to borrow money to pay salaries until the apportionment payment arrives and to incur associated debt expenses. But because we will have money from the bond deposited with the County, we will not need to borrow, thus avoiding some unnecessary expense to the District. Additionally, any staffing costs resulting directly from the bond projects are legitimate bond expenses. We are not expected to use General Fund money to support bond staffing or management because that would take money away from classes and services to students.
What's Coming This Year
You have heard about how we are integrating the Technology Plan and the International Programs and Services Plan with the Strategic Plan. You also know that we have an Educational Master Plan which is the foundation for many of our plans. We also have resource plans in the form of the Facilities Master Plan, the Technology Plan, and of course a fiscal plan called the budget. What we don’t have is a human resources or staffing plan.
As you have been hearing, the economy is predicted to take a while to recover, maybe as long as 5 years, but we want to make responsible resource decisions in the meantime. Planning for staffing needs will help us determine where we should put our money first. When our funding normalizes a bit, we would like to stabilize our staffing levels. To that end I have been working on an all-college Staffing Plan. To draft the plan, we have considered several types of data, the context in which we find ourselves as a result of the SERP and hiring freeze, and good principles for determining effective staffing levels.
The data we have includes our current staffing levels by department and where our staffing levels have been in the past, especially before the hiring freeze and the SERP. As you know, both the freeze and the SERP reduce staff willy-nilly, without consideration of where the need is. I have reviewed vacancies as they occur to assure we fill critical needs, including where there is a safety or liability issue or a previously recognized and serious shortfall. Another example of an essential need is the Dean of Counseling and Support Programs, a position vacated last summer by Martha Brown which we are gearing up to fill. Still, our staffing levels are not well planned. We have asked area managers to provide what they consider their base staffing needs, and we have looked at other college’s staffing levels and how they distribute staff. Of course, each college is different and has its own unique student population and array of programs, but we still get a reality check from this information. We also look at staff to student ratios, especially if student numbers go down.
We also want to consider the situation in which we find ourselves. Some of the key elements of our context include our across-the-board temporary reduction to salaries in the form of furloughs, severe and continuing cuts to categorical funding, changes in our apportionment cap, the requirement to adhere to the 50% law and the Faculty Obligation Number, and potential cuts for next year and beyond.
With respect to the budget, we want to adhere to the principles we have set. We want to ensure Ohlone is fiscally stable over the next few years, we want to protect programs and services that directly impact students, and we want to avoid layoffs. We intend for our budget decisions to be transparent and collegial.
We must provide a comprehensive system of instructional classes to achieve our primary mission as a community college and to meet the important needs of our students. And, of course, the enrollment in our classes forms the base of the main source of funding for the institution. We are committed to maintaining a core of fulltime teaching faculty and to taking Ohlone’s unique student needs into account. Full time faculty are the backbone of community colleges and central to the vision of a Learning College. Teaching and learning are our core functions and the leadership from full time faculty is vital.
Because of the randomness of the hiring freeze and the SERP, we have experienced a nearly 20% reduction in our classroom teaching faculty. The college has created an Educational Master Plan, approved by the Board, which sets the goal of returning to our level of full time faculty in place in 2007-08. We have created a ten-year plan to achieve this goal. The plan takes into account the requirement to wait 5 years before replacing positions vacated through the SERP. It is a strong priority of mine to implement this plan as soon as the budget permits.
We are responsible for ensuring that students and staff are safe, and we must protect the college from undue liability. Thus, we also want all departments across the college to have staffing levels sufficient to accomplish their assigned responsibilities.
In order to adhere to these basic budget and staffing principles, it’s important to put our staffing resources where the need is the greatest. We also want to analyze staffing needs carefully and consider other options for accomplishing the work more efficiently and effectively.
These are the considerations for a building staffing plan that will enable us to respond to whatever funding situation we face.
Accreditation Midterm Report
Our midterm accreditation report is due this March. This report is required of all colleges in the third year after the self study and team visit. We must update the status of all team recommendations and the Planning Agendas from our Self Study. The Planning Agendas are the issues we determined ourselves that we should address. Dr. Wright has coordinated the development of this report and it is on schedule to be approved by the Board at the March meeting. You can look at in on our accreditation webpage.
Work is scheduled to begin this summer on the Below Grade Water Intrusion Project. Water flows underground through our campus naturally. Over the years it has caused damage to our infrastructure and buildings. The State agreed that this project is extremely critical to the continued life of the campus facilities, and as a result, they are paying for most of the costs. Mainly, the project will divert the water now flowing through the campus around the campus. Probably more significantly, it will support repair of the damage that has occurred over the years and waterproof underground utility tunnels. These tunnels are under every original building—Buildings 1 through 9. The areas slated to be completely replaced are the pond deck, the stairs leading to the pond from the main quad, and the two staircases between the quad and the first floor of Building 1. Because this project impacts so many parts of the campus, we are also required to make ADA changes. You will see new ramps and elevators and remodeled restrooms. The project is expected to take 18 months.
Science Modular Project
We are proceeding apace with the construction of our science modulars on the north part of the campus. However, some time next week the contractor will need to access underground utilities in an area outside the construction site. This will mean blocking the sidewalk between Building 14 and Building 2, behind the Smith Center. The work is expected to last one week. Keep in mind that whenever digging occurs near utilities, accidents happen. We should be ready in case we lose power or internet access.
As you recall, this time last semester the elevator in Building 1 suddenly stopped working. It was determined that the problem was the failure of the hydraulic jack that makes the elevator operate and that significant and disruptive work would be needed to replace the jack. We decided it would be best to undertake that work during the winter break, and as a result we all had to use the stair to reach the upper floors in the building for the whole fall semester. During the break, the jack was replaced, but there were some complications during the repair that caused delay. Before we can use the elevator, we must also have it inspected, a process that requires scheduling once the repairs are complete. The inspection is scheduled for this morning, and we anticipate the elevator will be available for use on the first day of classes. If there is further delay, we have a plan.
I would like to conclude my speech by expressing my respect for all of you at Ohlone College. I love working here because of you. We have accomplished a lot together in a relatively short time.
- We passed the largest bond measure in the state for the last election—over twice as large as our last bond measure
- We have managed our enrollment to respond to whatever surprises the state brings us
- We have increased non-apportionment revenue significantly
- We have built a terrific and sustainable campus and used it to the advantage of the community
- We have opened a glorious building designed to serve students better
- We’ve held a fragile campus together long enough to have the means to fix it
- We’ve sustained high quality instruction despite losing over 16% of our fulltime faculty
- We have overcome accreditation sanction, and
- We remain in fairly good fiscal condition despite an economic downturn.
Unlike other schools in our district and across the state,
- We have been able to avoid painful layoffs of faculty and staff
- We have improved in all measures of the state’s Accountability Reporting for Community Colleges and are above the state average across the board, strong evidence that we are doing a great job for our students
- We have a great place to work with a warm and caring college community, and
- We have excellent standing in our community.
But there is much more to do. Having the funding to reinvent this college is a wonderful opportunity for us all and at the same time an enormous responsibility. It will take our knowledge, time, and best thinking to design the college of the future. I am confident that working together we will achieve our goals. The bond offers us the resources to make our facilities live up to and enhance the great work we do for our students and community. Ohlone is an outstanding Learning College that contributes a great deal to our community. The next few years will be bright indeed, and I am excited about working with all of you to make our dreams and plans real.
Before I close, I want to thank all of those who contributed to the speech and especially Sarah Daniels, who prepared and presented the slides. Believe me—I know they make all the difference. Thank you for listening.
And now, I’m delighted to share some news. The Theatre and Dance Department has put together a short but dazzling sneak preview of the upcoming Time Machine, playing Friday February 11. I saw it opening night and enjoyed it thoroughly. Look for it on YouTube next week. Enjoy!Skip plugin notice.
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