State of the College Spring 2013
January 25, 2013 / Dr. Gari Browning
- Ohlone College President's Office

Text of the speech follows:

Welcome and Introductions

Thank you, Madam Chair [added: Vivien Larsen, 2013 Chair, Board of Trustees], for that kind introduction.   And welcome to the Spring Semester 2013 State of the College presentation. 

In addition to Chairwoman Larsen, I would like to welcome other members of the Board of Trustees Teresa Cox, Jan Giovannini-Hill, and our newest member, Trustee Kevin Bristow.  I am enthusiastically looking forward to the good work that the College and the Board will be able to do together during this year and years to come.  Thank you for your support.

I would also like to welcome members of the Ohlone College Foundation Board, Chairman Bob Douglass, Vice Chair Rakesh Sharma, and Foundation Board member Brad Hatton.  Thank you for being here today and for helping Ohlone.  We value your friendship and appreciate your support.

New Hires

Now I'd like introduce you to the newest members of the Ohlone family.

  • Maria Tanya de Guzman, Regional Specialist, Gallaudet
  • Jacob Esquibel, Facility Maintenance Mechanic I
  • Lynn Hickson, Desktop Support Technician II
  • Abby Hirashiki, Case Manager, Tri-Cities One-Stop Career Center
  • Jesus Jimenez, Student Services Assistant, Tri-Cities One-Stop Career Center
  • David Orias, Interim Assistant Director of Facilities
  • Gina Riccitelli, Case Manager, Tri-Cities One-Stop Career Center
  • Trisha Tran, Case Manager, Tri-Cities One-Stop Career Center
  • Elaine Trujillo, Bond Purchasing Agent and Contract Analyst

Administrative Changes

And now some administrative changes:

Mike Bowman, Dean of Institutional Research & Planning, and Admissions & Records of late, will resume his research and planning duties fulltime next month.  His assistance will be essential as we prepare for our accreditation site visit for spring 2014.  We are in the process of identifying an interim solution for the A&R responsibilities and a permanent one by summer.

Eddie West, Dean of Counseling and International Programs will leave us for a position in Washington, D.C.  We thank him for all the great work he has done for Ohlone and we wish him well.  Wayne Takakuwa will serve as Interim Dean of Counseling during the search for a new dean.  Eddie's creative and excellent oversight of our international programs will be missed, and we will be seeking a way to sustain and continue to grow these programs in accordance with our plans.

Another loss to Ohlone was Dr. Joanne Schultz, who is now the Vice President of Administrative Services at Merced College.  Dr. Schultz served at Ohlone for 16 years, and we certainly wish her the best.  George Kozitza, retired Vice President of Business Services at Mt. San Jacinto College, joins us as interim while we seek a replacement for this role.

Staffing and Hiring

Limit Hiring

Again this year, Ohlone will limit hiring to replacing essential positions, including these just mentioned and fulltime faculty retirees.  Where we hire faculty will be researched by the Faculty Position Committee, and they will offer their recommendations to me.

Removing "Band-aid"

With these changes, we are very close to removing our band aid completely with the idea that we won't have to ask administrators to take on double or triple workloads as we have over the past two years.  Thanks to them and the patience, extra effort, and support of the whole college community, we have made it through a very difficult financial period while adhering to our standard of excellence in all things we do.  Thank you all!

President's Office Staff

I am happy to report that both Sarah Daniels and Shelby Foster are back in my office full time.  During their absence the support for the Board of Trustees and the President's Office functions were ably cared for by Diana Garza and Rebecca Gray, but I want to extend a big welcome back to Shelby and Sarah!  And again I thank Sarah for the spectacular job she does in creating the slides to accompany this presentation each semester and for making me look good.

Speech Topics

Today I'm going to talk about the budget, what I see as some strings that will be attached to it, and where we are with our budget.  I also want to show how all the efforts you are engaged in are part of a whole—how they are integrated into the single purpose of improving Ohlone.  I'll also update you on progress on our strategic goals, and finally you will hear a presentation on Measure G from our new architects.

First, the 2013-14 State Budget

For nearly five years, in every state of the college speech, I have asked you to hold on a little longer, told you that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, that funding was about to turn around, to have hope, to stick together, and to have courage. Each time you rallied and stayed positive with me.  Well, let me tell you, there's light!

Over the last four years the Community College system budget has been reduced by $888 million.  Colleges have absorbed the cost of 252,000 unfunded FTES and turned away another 129,000.  Colleges have reduced the number of class sections offered by as much as 15%.  There has been no cost of living increase since 2007, resulting in a loss of 18.3% in buying power. Student fees have increased from $20 per unit in 2008-09 to $46 per unit, representing a 130% increase in 5 years.  The impact on access to higher education has been profound.

Proposition 30

But the news now is good!  Finally, it looks like we will have some relief from the unrelenting budget cuts we have endured.  We thought of the passage of Proposition 30 as great vote of support for education by California citizens and as a way to halt the cuts we had suffered.  For this year, that's true, but the news appears even better than that, with the forecast for improvement of the economy.  Modest to steady growth is predicted over the next 5 years.

Governor's Budget Summary

Earlier this month we heard about the Governor's budget proposal for 2013-14.  Although we don't know exactly what it means for Ohlone just yet or how the money will be distributed, we do have some insights on the Governor's expectation for the economy and the direction the Governor wishes Community Colleges to take.  These are the strings I mentioned.

Although the state is not back to the $2.1 billion surplus of 2007-08, for the first time since then there is no structural deficit in the current fiscal year or in the proposed state budget for next year.  The change is due to the increased taxes to the state, helping us correct the deficit for this year and next.  Proposition 30 raises income taxes for high income earners through 2018.   State spending will increase 5% resulting in support for education—half the state spending—and the expansion of Medi-cal.  The Governor is choosing to support education, including higher education.

Community College Share of Proposition 98 Funds

The Governor proposes that the Community College share of Proposition 98 money will be $597 million, up from $5.8 billion to $6.4 billion, with more significant Community College increases in future years.

Here's how it breaks down.

  • A shift of Adult Education and apprenticeship programs from K-12 to Community Colleges, accounting for $315.7 million of the increase in our share of Prop 98
  • $197 million in an undesignated increase in apportionment  
  • $179 million to pay down deferred apportionment
  • $49.5 million of Proposition 39 monies which must be used for energy saving projects and programs
  • A $16.9 million increase in online education 
  • An education protection account that will back fill funds when revenues fall short of estimates

Governor's Multi-Year Plan to Rebuild Community College System

The funding increases are coupled with significant policy reform--a multi-year plan to rebuild the community college system.  Some key elements of the plan are:

  • Stack of books.Moving Adult Education and apprenticeship programs to Community Colleges, which are better equipped to educate the adult learner
  • Empowering the California Community Colleges Board of Governors to determine how the undesignated and deferred apportionment increases will be allocated.  That's the $197 million and $179 million. The Board of Governors could allocate the funds to categorical backfill, restoration of FTES, deferral buy down, or a COLA. 
  • Designating the apportionment funds to increase completion, specifically:
    • Decreasing the time for students to complete degrees or to transfer                        
    • Increasing transfer rates
    • Imposing a 90-unit limit
  • Changing census accounting to completion accounting phased in over several years

Some Insights into Governor's Vision for Reform But…

We have a few details on how the Governor is envisioning these reforms and policy changes might be structured and what some of the implications might be, but we have far more questions than answers.  The following points will illustrate some of the areas of proposed changes and some of the issues to be worked through.

  • All students would be limited to 90 units of course work subsidized by the state.  That is, they would pay the $46 per unit fee until they hit 90 units.  Then they would pay the full cost per unit, which is estimated at $190 per unit.  Unclear is whether this change would create a two-tiered system in which only those students who could afford it could exceed the unit limit.
  • Students interested in receiving a Board of Governors' fee waiver would be required to complete the application for federal financial aid, a FAFSA.  The idea here is that the larger federal financial aid award would encourage more students to attend full time.
  • The Governor would like to increase online courses, focusing on high demand, quick filling, prerequisite courses that most students need. He is thinking of a centrally run program, with a single platform and central portal.  This emphasis on increasing online courses in community colleges is complemented by the recent approval of the first online CSU degree, which is part of a system-wide initiative.  These changes will cause us to look at distance education differently and will have implications for accreditation.
  • The proposal to move Adult Education and Apprenticeship programs to the Community Colleges has some interesting detail as well, but much to be worked through. 

Keep in mind that these proposals are in the first stages of discussion.  You've heard me say every year, there is nothing certain about the January budget proposal except that it will change between now and July 1.  We do expect a little more clarification of the details once trailer bill language is introduced.  In the meantime, we will have the Legislative Analyst Office budget analysis by the end of the month.  Legislative hearings will continue until the May Revise on May 14th, so the picture will become clearer and clearer as we approach the start of the fiscal year.  The budget is expected to be approved on time. Let's talk a little about the budget and Ohlone.

Governor's Budget and Ohlone

We don't know yet how the state budget will help us.  We used about $900,000 of our reserves to make it through last year.  This year we will use another $1 million.  While it's true that we have been generating power and energy cost savings from the Fremont solar array since July, and we are working on more solar at Newark, we are still facing annual increases in other fixed costs such as mandated benefits and step and column.  If we continue to tap our reserves to make up for our continuing shortfall, we will use approximately $1.4 million in 2013-14 and $1.8 million in 2014-15, requiring us to dip into our 5% required reserve.  Remember that these reserves are not automatically replenished.  Once they are spent, we have to save them up again.

Although the Governor is not expecting a structural deficit in next year's state budget, this will be the second year Ohlone will have one.  We have a good buffer, but it is difficult to count on increases from the state that will be sufficient and not so restricted in their use that we can apply them to ongoing, and in some cases, increasing expenses.  For instance, we are feeling the impact of having a hiring freeze in place for 5 long years, and we will need to shore up staffing in several areas of the college as a result. 

We will be scheduling budget forums to inform you as the Ohlone picture unfolds.

Student Success Initiative

You will see commonality between the Governor's proposal for policy changes tied to his budget and the Student Success Initiative.  In fact, the initiative has been called the model for reformation of the Community College system.  So let me address its history, mission impact, status, and funding implications. 

Last year, as a way to reduce community college education funding levels, a legislator introduced a bill that would have changed the basis for the community college funding formula from an FTES count taken at census date, which is about 20% into the semester, to counting FTES completions at the end of the term.  Both the Chancellor's Office and the Community College League of California realized that such a change would impact colleges with high numbers of at risk students disproportionately, so they suggested forming a group to research and review how to increase completion rates among community college students.  This group was the Student Success Task Force, which issued 22 recommended changes to improve the success and completion rates of our students and to reward students who make progress toward their educational goals.  Following the Board of Governor's acceptance of the task force report, SB 1456--the Student Success Act-- was approved, and implementation of the recommendations is now underway. 

Under the requirements, new students who have completed college orientation and assessment and developed education plans, as well as continuing students in good academic standing who have not exceeded the unit limit, will have priority for registering before students who do not meet these criteria.  Students will be required to begin addressing preparation deficiencies in their first year, and as part of their education plans, will have to declare a major early.  Consequences for not adhering to these rules include loss of financial aid support and registration priority.

There are also changes to the community colleges as a system.  All colleges will be required to give priority registration to active military, veterans, foster youth, EOPS students, and DSPS students.  There will also be a system-wide prioritization of courses offered.  These courses will focus on the community college mission of transfer, basic skills, and Career and Technical Education.  Professional development resources for faculty will be directed at basic skills instruction and student services.  The autonomy and oversight of the Chancellor's Office will expand.  Colleges will be required to align existing student services resources to support the student success directives.  Accountability will be implemented through a student success scorecard.  Overall, one of the consequences of these changes will be to move us toward a state-driven system and reduce local autonomy.

Currently, statewide implementation groups are developing proposals for Title 5 Matriculation revisions, a new allocation formula, and revisions to data-reporting requirements.  Beginning 2015-16, allocations will be based on the previous year's data.  However, the cost of implementation of the changes has to be borne by the colleges with their existing funds.

Fortunately, Ohlone has been adhering to most of these new requirements all along, and this semester we implemented the new registration priorities.  Our outcomes in the Accountability Reporting for Community Colleges demonstrate that we are achieving excellent results.

Integrated View on College Improvement

Each semester I have asked you to continue to support each other and work together.  I especially appreciate the Ohlone attitude that is never "we-they."  If we can weather such a storm as we have endured over the last 5 years and still be a cohesive community, things can only get easier.

One way you have worked together is to get chores like Program and Services Reviews, PIOs (or Program Improvement Objectives), and Student Learning Outcomes done.  Rather than disconnected tasks, these are parts of a whole effort to strengthen our college. 

There is a tendency to look at these as separate tasks that are unconnected to institutional improvement in student learning and college operations.  You may not know that they are related to accreditation.  Working on one part at a time, it may be hard to see the integration.

The matrix shows how our strategic goals, standing committees, and the accreditation standards connect.  Accreditation covers mission and planning in Standard I; the primary purpose of the college, educating students, in Standard II; resources in Standard III; and leadership and governance in Standard IV—all areas of the college.  And we have strategic goals that pertain to each one.  Evaluating our programs and services through Program Review assures quality and continual improvement and is a requirement of accreditation.  And in Program Review we establish linkages between PIOs and how they will achieve specific college-level goals and objectives. 

And you can also see how our governance structure aligns.  Our committees line up with the strategic goals and the Standards, providing the way to get things done.  The roles of College Council and the Faculty Senate are central.   College Council oversees institutional planning and the standing committees you see, and the Faculty Senate assures the integrity of our academic program—Accreditation Standard II.

A look at Student Learning Outcomes provides a good example of this interconnectedness.  The Faculty Senate has a SLOA Committee, which helps faculty establish SLOs.  The committee is composed of deans and faculty across the college with all divisions represented.  Program Review and course and program SLOs are driven by faculty and deans.  The strategy we use is "Get it Done Day."

Measure G

Another example is our Measure G construction.  We started with our Educational Master Plan to make sure we made student learning our first priority.  From our Strategic Plan, we considered the needs of our community and what programs would be most important to grow for the future, and about how much our student population would grow in years to come.  We integrated our technology needs through our Technology Plan.  Finally, we developed a Facilities Master Plan for the Fremont campus and later a District Facilities Master Plan that included Newark and the e-campus.  As we begin to design new buildings, we can be sure our planning was thorough and we looked at the future from many perspectives.

Accreditation  

An important aspect of the planning I describe is its openness to outside input.  Our long-term goals are created through an assessment that is both internal and external.  We take into account the state budget, accreditation recommendations, community input, the economy, and especially the needs of students.  Student needs assessments include transfer requirements, the future job market, college readiness, predicted numbers of students coming into our college, course enrollment patterns, special populations, financial need, and much more.  We strive to be open and responsive to these external forces, and to interact with them.  I believe we succeed.

The focus of the Accreditation standards is to constantly improve student learning and achievement.  Because of our integrated approach, we are positioned well to start our accreditation self evaluation.  The standards require us to respond to two basic questions: To what extent is the college meeting its mission and the educational needs of the district? and How can we do it better?

To answer the first question, we assess all we do.  We assess how well we are achieving the college goals and objectives in our Strategic Plan.  We assess the current educational needs of the community through our environmental scan data and by asking community members how we're doing. We evaluate all of our programs and services through annual Program and Services Reviews.  We assess how well students are learning through SLOs and achievement measures—all as part of Program Review.  We ask students, staff, and faculty to assess us through regular institutional surveys. 

The accreditation process requires us to perform college-wide self evaluation to determine how well we are meeting the standards and to develop plans for things we need to or want to improve. This is an internal process that is complemented by a visit by an external team of our peers.  This team assesses the college against the Accreditation Standards and makes its recommendations.

These various assessments help us identify what to improve.  We address these areas through our various plans--SLO improvement strategies, accreditation improvement plans, PIOs, and our Strategic Plan.  All of these have action plans which spell out the steps to take to implement the improvements, and then we assess the results.

So the processes are integrated and intended to lead us to one end—improvement.

Ohlone's Values

Before I share a few highlights of our progress on the results of all this planning, I'd like to remind everyone of Ohlone's values that we bring to action through our goals.  Our values:

  • We provide lifelong learning opportunities for students, college personnel and the community.
  • We open access to higher education and actively reach out to underserved populations.
  • We promote diversity, inclusiveness and openness to differing viewpoints.
  • We maintain high standards in our constant pursuit of excellence.
  • We value trust, respect and integrity.
  • We promote team work and open communication.
  • We practice innovation and actively encourage risk-taking and entrepreneurship.
  • We demonstrate stewardship for our human, financial, physical and environmental resources.

Ohlone's Goals

Consistent with these values, our 8 strategic goals target improvement in everything we do.  Each year the College Council engages in assessment of how well we are achieving these goals and related objectives.  Just this week the Council recommended adjustments and updates to the objectives and suggested which ones needed specific action plans, to be incorporated later this semester. 

Goal 1 is to improve student learning and achievement.

Student learning is defined as the skills, knowledge, and abilities students gain as a result of a specific educational experience.  The college is doing an excellent job in assessing student learning and determining ways it can be enhanced, and we have met the accreditation timeline in reaching the Proficiency and Sustainable Levels the Commission has set.   In a joint meeting last fall of the Curriculum Committee, the General Education Committee, and the Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment Committee (a group composed of 40 deans and faculty) we explored how all of these efforts are integrated with accreditation Standard II.   Over the past year, the SLOA Committee has facilitated over 20 faculty presentations of assessment work, which have resulted in robust dialogue about teaching and learning outcomes.  We anticipate another 10 presentations this coming semester and to continue on with 10 each semester into the future.  I have heard more than once that these presentations are inspiring and represent some the best work we do.

In addition to the excellent progress on SLOs, we have made strides on measures of student achievement.  Student achievement is defined as the completion of a course of study—a degree, certificate, or transfer.  We exceed the state average in overall student achievement, and we rate #1 among our peer colleges [added: see chart at right]. 

Ohlone has already achieved its objective to be at or above the state average in student success in basic skills courses by about 4% above the average.  And we are well ahead of the state rates, by 6 to 10%, for moving students from basic skills courses into higher level courses. 

We have met and exceeded our targets for number of transfers to UC and CSU each year, and we transfer close to 300 additional students to other four-year universities.

While we have met our goal for the number of degrees awarded, we will be reworking this target to stretch us to award even more degrees and certificates.  Depleted staffing slowed down the efforts of our Completions Committee, which is critical to this work moving forward.

Although the percentage of students taking 12.0 units or more per semester declined as a result of offering fewer classes recently, we are still exceeding our goal by almost 3%. Restoring course offerings should help.

An area in which we continue to be quite strong is our relations with local K-12 districts.  Our shared goal is improving transition to Ohlone for local high school students.  We have continued regular meetings and planning with Fremont and Newark Unified Districts and have extended our collaboration to New Haven Unified School District, where we draw a surprising 900 students to Ohlone each year.  A specific improvement is the approval by our English Department to accept the English Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) taken by students in 12th grade at Logan High School as a waiver of the English Placement Test and for direct acceptance into our Freshman Composition course.  We anticipate extending this agreement to all area high schools.  We are also planning, in cooperation with Newark Unified, to move our College Connection program to the Newark campus to enhance access for students at Newark Memorial High School. 

And some exciting news--In support of these efforts to ease the transition from high school to Ohlone College, the Foundation will be considering providing scholarships for Ohlone-bound high school students.

Goal 2 is to support the economic vitality of the community with programs that address employment needs.

We have completed a strategic plan for Career and Technical Education, and we regularly assess the needs of local employers.  We have updated our Environmental Scan to ensure we have taken the latest economic situation and recovery into account.  We are also in ongoing discussion with local agencies to enhance curriculum focused on emerging industries, including green technologies.  An example—last semester students in the Home Energy Retrofit Occupations program completed a Building Performance Analyst and Sales course.

Ohlone's Tri-Cities One Stop Career Center can point to numerous successes in preparing dislocated workers for new employment and assisting them in securing those jobs.  And Ohlone is part of a consortium with other Bay Area colleges for a new grant to strengthen college capacity to help dislocated and unemployed adults upgrade skills and get jobs.  Our involvement will be mostly in the areas of biotechnology and IT.

Goal 3 is to provide continuous learning and professional development for all staff, faculty, and administrators. 

Efforts include implementing new training software, and we are now in the process of promoting participation in that training.  This past semester, our Human Resources and Contract Education areas collaborated to offer 24 employees a 6-week course in ASL, better equipping them to help our deaf and hard of hearing students.  We are looking at organizing existing leadership development opportunities to improve access for everyone.  And the Human Resources department is helping classified staff create professional development plans. 

Goal 4 is to use all of our resources responsibly, effectively, and efficiently to maximize student learning and achievement. 

This goal has a number of objectives related to how we use fiscal, physical, human, and technological resources.

Fiscal Resources

First and foremost, we are making a comprehensive effort to direct our resources to enhance student learning and achievement.   The fiscal health of the district is fundamental to our ability to educate students.  We have made great efforts to preserve our fiscal stability with good results.  An example is that, to date, we have saved district citizens $11.8 million in property taxes by refinancing a portion of the Measure A bond.  Our strong credit rating enabled us to do this. 

We are about finished with Measure A projects and funds.  We did a great job of adhering to the requirements of how we spend our bond money, and we are continuing to meet that standard with Measure G money.  You will hear more about the Measure G implementation shortly.

Foundation

At the college request, the Ohlone College Foundation is becoming self sustaining, which will free up college funds now supporting the Foundation function for other needs.   The Foundation is also stepping up to help us with our strategic plan.  This shift is a significant one.  It means that rather than the fund-raising efforts of the Foundation being focused solely on scholarships, there will also be increased emphasis on the college improvement goals.  That help will take many forms from supporting some of the Measure G projects to increasing support for improvements to college programs and services for students.

Facility Rentals

We are taking a more focused approach to renting college facilities to ensure fees always cover expenses and to apply those funds systematically to maintain facilities and pay personnel costs associated with the rentals.  Our approach is to centralize rentals and adhere to common principles that are fair to renters and of benefit to the college as a whole.

International Programs

As part of the band aid year, we drew some personnel support from our international programs.  Now we need to make sure we continue to increase enrollment to meet the targets of our international plan.  We need to ensure student outreach remains strong and sustain partnerships with our sister institutions abroad.  Recall that not only does the international program enrich the diversity of our college community, it brings significant revenue into the college that helps with the bottom line—last year that amounted to $1.6 million--over $6 million over the past few years.  Think about it!

Information Technology

In the IT area, we plan to maintain classroom technology, update it regularly, and improve services to students through technology.  Measure G funds afford us the opportunity to maintain technology standards in the classroom.  We recently replaced 200 computers in classrooms and labs and approximately half of all faculty computers, and the wireless network in Fremont was expanded.  However, funding and implementing a systematic updating of technology was not accomplished due to budget constraints.  Now, through the initial round of Measure G funding, we've created a "Technology Endowment" that sets aside $10 million for systematic updates starting in 2017. 

Services to students were improved through the implementation of an online parking permit website and the replacement with a completely online system for the outdated card-based system for student payments for printing.  We also implemented a student debit card that serves as a student identification card, as well.

In the fall the college issued a Request for Proposal for projects to develop the frontage property along Mission Blvd.  The deadline for submittal of proposals was just this week, and we have some proposals to consider.

In order to improve what we do continuously through our planning processes requires careful use of our resources in the form of people, facilities, technology, and money.  Overall, we are doing an excellent job in meeting this goal.

Goal 5 is to lead and educate the community in environmental sustainability. 

Specifically we intend to employ sustainability principles for college facilities and operations.  Since we identified this goal, the State of California, the Community College Chancellor's Office, and many others have issued refined guidelines, challenges, and commitments in the area of sustainability and greenhouse gas reductions.  The concept of environmental stewardship has become the standard for community colleges.  As we move forward with new construction and renovations, we will be adhering to new Chancellor's Office guidelines as a standard.

We have identified several campus efforts focused on sustainability, such as Earth Week clean-up and an improved nexus between the Sustainability Committee and the District's Facilities Team to increase campus awareness around our "green pledge" and its principles.  To support innovation in sustainability and environmental friendliness, the Foundation has established a sustainability endowment to provide professional developmental opportunities.  The fund has dollars available for distribution.

Overall, we are modeling environmental sustainability in college policies, procedures, and practices across the board.

Goal 6 is to enhance interaction with and acceptance of diversity throughout the college. 
English Learning Institute

We are increasing the number of opportunities students have at Ohlone to learn about other cultures.  For example, last semester, the English Language Institute (ELI) and anthropology faculty teamed up on a joint learning project, in which cultural anthropology students mixed with ELI students in a great experience of intercultural sharing and exchange.
 

World Forum

And we are continuing the tradition of the World Forum.  District Attorney Nancy O'Malley addressed the college last semester on the international problem of human trafficking.  Our next World Forum, scheduled for Wednesday, March 6th, will feature Julie Sammons, who will speak passionately on "Designing for Planet Earth: Innovation Inspired by Nature." 

Study Abroad

Another way we enhance intercultural awareness is through our study abroad program, which provides opportunities for students to learn about other cultures first hand.  Since we identified this objective, 157 students have participated in the study abroad program, living and studying in Australia, China, Egypt, Southeast Asia, Ireland, Italy, and Greece.  This coming June English faculty will be leading a program in London and Paris.  More than 30 students are registered for the 4-week program.  We are planning to increase this participation by adding to the number of programs we offer by establishing more agreements with partner institutions.

Moving forward we plan to develop agreements with partners that provide for bona fide student and faculty exchanges.  For example, while we intend to expand our commitment to funding summer teaching experiences overseas for Ohlone faculty, we also wish to host visiting faculty from abroad.  To that end, we anticipate welcoming 2 faculty from our long-standing partner, the Zhejiang /jə-jæŋ/ Vocational Academy of Art, in fall 2013. 

International Student Program

Our International Student Program continues to develop, and grow in diversity.  Last fall Ohlone was host to international students from 37 different countries.  This is up from approximately 30 countries just a few years ago.  In addition to our strong presence of students from mainland China, we are seeing rising numbers of students join us from such countries as Japan and Indonesia.  We intend to diversify our student population further still by exploring the potential for institutional linkages in Latin America, and by broadening existing relationships in Vietnam.

International Student Mentor Program

An opportunity for faculty and staff to learn about other cultures is our popular International Student Mentor program, which will mark its third year of facilitating friendships and sharing between international students and Ohlone faculty and staff.  Over 80 students and dozens of Ohlone faculty and staff members have taken part in this program since it began.

Goal 7 is to increase access to higher education for under-served and under-represented populations in our district.

Traditionally, under-served groups have included Hispanics, African-Americans, and Native Americans.  Based on the most recent census data, our student population of African-Americans exceeds the community population by 1%, for Native Americans we are even, and the Asian and White student populations essentially mirror district population percentages.  Hispanics are the only student population that is underrepresented compared to the district population, but we are making progress.  Hispanic enrollment at Ohlone has consistently increased over the past five years, and in 2011-12 Hispanics made up 16.2% of Ohlone College students compared to 18.5% in the district. The gap between district population and college enrollment for Hispanics has now shrunk to only 2.3%, compared to gaps of 4.8% for 2010-11 and 6.6% in 2007-08.  Clearly the college is making progress to remove Hispanic students from the "under-represented" designation.

We have targeted for improvement student rates in retention and successful course completion for underserved groups.   Hispanic and African-American students at Ohlone are below the statewide retention rate, but above the statewide rate for successful course completion.  Although Hispanic and African American students come to Ohlone less prepared than other groups, we know that they catch up considerably as they move through our courses and programs.  Nevertheless, we continue to focus to improve their retention.  For Native Americans we are above the statewide average on both measures.

Goal 8 is to engage the college community in active, continual institutional improvement.
Improving Communication

Improving communication processes is an ongoing goal for College Council and the administration.  Publishing meeting minutes right away, the Co-Chair's regular announcements about what the College Council is doing, and the budget and other forums are examples of these efforts. And collegial partnerships across Student Services, Academic Affairs, and Administrative Services have led us consistently to beneficial and informed decisions for students and the welfare of college as a whole.

Measure G Projects and Prop 30

Engaging students in college improvement efforts has yielded fantastic results in the form of their strong support for Ohlone's Measure G bond, and more recently in their outpouring of support for Proposition 30.  This effort was further enhanced by local legislator, Senator Ellen Corbett, who participated with us in a roundtable discussion of Propositions 30 and 38 in the context of the future of higher education.

Community Partnerships

Partnerships with the larger community are also the focus of attention through periodic reports on the status of the college and Measure G projects and regular postings on our college website of just about everything we do.  And we continue to make regular improvements to the accessibility of college data available on the Research and Planning and President's web pages.

Improvement of Planning Process via Integration

To address accreditation recommendations targeting our planning processes, we have improved the integration among the Educational Master Plan, the District Facilities Master Plan, the Technology Plan, and the International program plan with our Strategic Plan.  We have made progress in connecting planning and budgeting.  Through a recent comprehensive assessment of our planning processes, the Process Assessment Committee identified the need to revise our Program Improvement Objectives process to work more smoothly with the budget planning process.  The PIO process has been strengthened by involving budget managers at the program or department level and by streamlining how we allocate resources for PIOs. 

Decisions using Data and Evidence

And one area where we are doing well in my view is in using data and other evidence as the basis for decisions.  Some examples--We have used enrollment projections and other data in our Measure G planning; we use data to complete our Program and Services Reviews and as the basis for PIO funding, and we pay attention to the Accountability Reporting for Community Colleges to identify areas of needed improvement.  The Faculty Position Committee considers data to determine where we need to hire faculty; setting goals for our strategic plan is very data-driven; and determining where to hire back staff after the SERPs relied on extensive data analysis.  We decide what programs to start and which ones to expand in part based on job projections included in our Environmental Scan.  Basic Skills improvement started with examination of data to determine where to focus efforts and funding.  We use student demand and needs to prioritize which courses to cut, or as we go forward, to add.  We are assessing progress on our strategic goals by examining data.  We are discussing and using data to make good decisions.  Evidence-based decision-making is a growing part of the Ohlone culture.

I just listed dozens of accomplishments--that are yours.  Congratulations for the enormous impact you have on our students and our community!

Improvements

We are in year three of our strategic plan.  As we go, we are learning, refining the plan and the processes, and making concrete improvement in the college.  There are more improvements that are products of our good work and are consistent with, but not directly related to, our goals.  Here are a few examples of what we've accomplished during the fall and where we are headed this semester:

Health Sciences Programs

We are pleased to report that the health sciences programs are maintaining their excellent record of graduates passing the state licensure examinations.

Faculty are impressing upon students the value of community service.  Our Physical Therapist Assistant and Registered Nursing students are helping senior citizens in Newark by offering health assessments and giving flu shots.  Respiratory Therapy students assessed the respiratory capacity of participants in an American Lung Association event.

The Student Health Center received, and is already putting to good use, a mental health grant to assist and train faculty to deal with student issues.

Administrative Procedures & Board Policies

Administrators, faculty, and staff across the college are busy revising and updating college Administrative Procedures.  This effort complements the effort of our Board of Trustees to complete the first four-year cycle of updating our Board Policies.  Policies set the general standard and direction for the college while procedures spell out how those standards are carried out. 

Codes of Conduct

Two areas of focus for procedures are developing and augmenting our Codes of Conduct for all employees and students and reinforcing our emergency action plan.  We are publicizing our values and standards for trust, respect, and integrity.  College Council will be discussing throughout the semester specifically how we address cyber bullying and hate speech.  We will be discussing processes for handling such incidents, training for faculty and staff response, processes for supporting victims, and any legal constraints we must take into account.

Emergency Response

We are solidifying emergency response and action plans to ensure we are ready for any campus incident or disaster.  To this end, we are revitalizing the Alert U system—the system we use to communicate to employees and students in emergencies--reviewing our safety information, updating our emergency response plan, and conducting an incident response table top exercise next month.

Revitalization of Fremont Campus

And finally, an area of great success and progress is the revitalization of our Fremont campus with the use of Measure G funds.  With the success of Prop 30, the encouraging news on the state's economy, and the Governor's promise to increase our funding over the next few years, it seems appropriate that we will have a fresh start on our campus, as well.  We will be demolishing buildings in the center of the campus, replacing them with new ones, and renovating others—a truly fresh start on our whole campus.  We may celebrating Ohlone's 50th anniversary in one of our new buildings!

Throughout the fall semester we have been busy working on Measure G.  Many of you have been involved in this very exciting progress.  If you haven't been, there is still time.  You could help plan Ohlone for the next 50 years!

Introduction: Representatives from Cannon Design and Anderson-Brulé Architects

At the beginning of the semester, we were at the point of hiring our master architects to help us revitalize the Fremont campus.  After a very thorough and careful search process, the successful team was Cannon Design and Anderson-Brulé Architects, which together bring us extensive experience designing colleges and universities across the country and a clear understanding of working in a collegial environment.  Before I make my concluding remarks, I have the pleasure of presenting two important members of this team to you. 

I would like to introduce Carey Woo, Project Manager from Cannon Design, and Pamela Anderson-Brulé, Project Director from Anderson-Brulé Architects, to update you on the Master Architect and Design Phases of our Measure G projects.  You're going to hear about process and progress on the buildings we will be replacing in the academic core of this campus.  Please join me in welcoming them.

*** [30-minute overview from Carey Woo and Pamela Anderson-Brulé, then Dr. Browning speaks again.]

Thank You

Thank you for enlightening us on the Measure G progress and how we will move forward.  Nice job!

So you can see that the process we are using to recreate the Fremont campus is careful, collegial, and comprehensive.  Many of you have participated in Measure G through workshops, focus groups, or committees.  Our results to date are impressive and a clear expression of a collective vision that is uniquely Ohlone.  You know what the next steps are.  I can't wait!

In closing, I always like to give you a few messages to take away, discuss, and share with colleagues.  The important points today are:  the budget situation is really positive but there are changes coming to how we operate.  We have lots of questions about those changes but few answers.  The work you have been doing is critical to our college improvement and part of a whole.  Students are reaping excellent concrete results from your efforts.  We are in good shape for Accreditation.  Measure G is on the move, and it's a really exciting time! 

Ohlone is a great college because of you.  I continue to be honored to be your president.  Thank you.

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