State of the College Fall 2013
August 23, 2013 / Dr. Gari Browning
- Ohlone College President's Office

Ms. Vivien Larsen, Chair and member of the Ohlone College Board of Trustees, introduced Dr. Browning.

Text of the speech follows:


Thank you, Madam Chair. Welcome everyone to the fall 2013 semester and the State of the College presentation.

I would like to welcome members of the Board of Trustees, Board Chair Vivien Larsen (who you just saw) and Trustee Jan Giovannini-Hill. This year is full of promise and challenges, and I believe we are well prepared for both. There are a number of projects the Board will address this year, and we are looking forward to tackling them together. Thank you for being here today and thank you for your continued support.

Board of Trustees.

I would also like to welcome members of the Ohlone College Foundation Board, Chairman Bob Douglass, Vice Chair Rakesh Sharma, and Foundation Board members Steve Cho, Brad Hatton, Ron Sha, and Lou Willett. Thank you for coming today and for your loyalty to Ohlone. The college appreciates the support and friendship the Foundation offers us. In a recent college survey, close to 95% of faculty and staff responded affirmatively to the statement, “The work of the Ohlone College Foundation supports the goals of the College mission.” It may seem that you are working a bit behind the scenes, but the program funding, endowments, and scholarships provided through the efforts of the Foundation make an enormous difference to the college and the students we serve. Thank you.

The Ohlone Promise scholarship program for high school students.This year Ohlone welcomes 16 students from our local high schools who have earned a full scholarship to Ohlone supported by our Foundation. We call this new scholarship the Ohlone Promise, and it pays tuition, fees, and books for four semesters. We hope to expand this opportunity in the future.

I’m pleased that Dr. Jim Morris, Superintendent of the Fremont Unified School District and a member of the district’s Board of Education, Trustee Lily Mei, have joined us this morning. Dr. Dave Marken, Superintendent of the Newark Unified School District, is also with us today. Thanks for coming.

We appreciate our strong relationship with our K-12 districts, and your presence today is truly valued. We continue to attract a significant proportion of the graduating high school seniors from all of our K-12 districts—21% from Fremont, 27% from Newark, and 32% from New Haven.

I’d also like to welcome the College Connection students attending the Fremont campus. Please stand. And hello to the cohort participating remotely from Newark.

Personnel Changes

New faces at Ohlone - and family of meercats.

New hires

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

  • Josefina Alvarez, Senior Institutional Business Analyst
  • Michael Curran, Kinesiology Instructor and Head Baseball Coach
  • Nancy Dinsmore, Psychiatric, Mental Health, and Medical-Surgical Nursing Instructor
  • Rose-Margaret Itua, Engineering Instructor
  • Farhad Sabit, Director, Business Services
  • Jipssee Sayalit, Computer Lab Coordinator
  • Nan Zhou, Counselor for Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Changes and Promotions

And we have a number of changes and promotions:

  • Heidi Barkow, Student Services Assistant, Admissions & Records
  • Alma Collopy, Senior Office Assistant, Purchasing, Contracts & Auxiliary Services
  • JoyDawn Olla, Interim Accommodation Services Specialist
  • Laura Martinez, Executive Assistant, Kinesiology, Athletics, and Community Education, full time
  • Kathleen Schoenecker, Interim Administrative Systems Analyst
  • Jaya Sharma, Student Services Assistant, Counseling, full time, and
  • Jackie Whitehouse, Executive Assistant, Foundation

Administrative Changes

And now some administrative changes:

Leta StagnaroWith the departure of Dr. Jim Wright as the Vice President of Academic Affairs, we undertook a full-scale search to find a replacement. We had a good pool of candidates, no doubt due to our excellent reputation. In the end, Dr. Leta Stagnaro emerged as the successful candidate and absolute best fit for Ohlone. Thanks to all of you who participated on the VP search committee and in discussions about how we might provide support for Academic Affairs going forward.

To fill the gaps left in Leta’s previous position as AVP of Academic Affairs, and to create a solid support structure for Academic Affairs moving forward, we have implemented the following organizational changes:

  • Moved all academic divisions to report directly to the VP
  • Continued the VP as the Accreditation Liaison Officer
  • Shifted academic leadership in developing the Measure G Academic Core to the VP
  • Replaced the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs position with an Executive Dean position

Mike BowmanThis Executive Dean position will provide leadership for Program Review, enrollment management, program and degree completion, transfer, and support for accreditation, and will serve as liaison to Enrollment Services in the Student Services area. These responsibilities will be added to Mike Bowman’s assignment, and he will continue responsibility for Research and Planning.

  • And finally we assigned onsite responsibility for the Newark campus to an academic dean.

Chris WardenWe added Newark oversight to Chris Warden’s job duties. His new title will be Dean of Kinesiology, Athletics, and the Newark Campus.

You will notice that these changes do not involve moving academic departments from one dean to another. The big changes have to do with administrative responsibilities that are not division specific—Program and Services Review and accreditation, and support for projects where more concentrated or sustained effort is needed, like program and degree completion, developing transfer degrees, and a formalization of the important partnership between Academic Affairs and Student Services in the area of enrollment management.

There will be some back filling needed to support the areas where managers are taking on additional assignments, but overall the plan provides focused support for Academic Affairs and the Newark campus and contributes budget savings for the general fund. As always, we will assess how this arrangement works in real life over time.

Planned SearchesWe are also addressing significant administrative losses in Student Services and a diminished IT staff. In response, we are planning searches in the fall for the Dean of International Programs and Services and the Dean of Enrollment Services. Wayne Takakua continues to provide great leadership and is holding things together quite ably in Counseling. During the spring we are planning a second attempt to fill the critical position of Dean of Counseling.

The Dean of Deaf Studies, Dr. Genie Gertz, accepted a very exciting new position as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Faculty members Tom Holcomb and Nancy Pauliukonis are sharing the responsibilities of Interim Dean while the college does its assessment of that position.

In addition to her role as Director of College Advancement and the college’s Public Information Officer, Patrice Birkedahl will be serving as the Interim Executive Director of the Ohlone College Foundation until we are able to complete a search for a new director to replace Susan Houghton. We have a transition plan in place to ensure that we can follow through with the Foundation projects that are underway, like the upcoming golf tournament on September 23rd.

Today's Topics

Today I’m going to talk a little about the budget--as you know the clouds continue to part. I also want to talk about some noteworthy initiatives and how College Council is working to improve Ohlone. I will be giving you an assessment of our goals, a status report on the ongoing work on the accreditation report, and an update on Measure G progress.

First the budget—

State Budget

The state budget has continued to be steady so far this year. We are seeing restoration of 1.6% in our apportionment which translates into 30 more class sections. This is a step in the right direction, but keep in mind that the system was cut by $888 million over the past 5 years and it will take some time to restore Ohlone’s enrollment to the 2008 level. We have planned the modest restoration into our class schedule for this year, and we are also poised to increase offerings should the opportunity for additional funding arise.

Ohlone’s budget for this year and thereafter looks much better than it has since 2008. For five years we have been holding tightly to our funds to make sure we do not have to compromise the quality of our programs or services or lay off staff. We have continued our hiring frost, closely scrutinizing every vacancy, and administrators have taken on multiple assignments to save money. Doing more with less has impacted all of us, and I thank you for working together and for your extra efforts during this challenging period.

Steady State Budget - list of itemsAt this point we feel a little more optimistic. In 2009, when we were contemplating the impact of SERPs on our staffing levels, the executive team looked at the staffing levels at other colleges, our own staffing, and our unique programs. We determined what would be considered barebones benchmarks in each area to assure that we did not go below basic operating levels as a result of the SERP. We also discussed optimal college wide staffing levels, but as you know we haven’t been able to take any steps in that direction. With the latest reorganization I just described, you can see that we continue cautiously, trying to sustain our work with fewer people. We have to replace mission critical positions, however, so we are moving forward with the positions in Student Services. I’m hoping that as the California economy recovers, it will continue to be reflected in the Community College budget. We need to start rebuilding.

Classification Study

One step that has been on hold for a while is a classification study that will allow us to compare our classified employee compensation and job classifications to other colleges. It is good practice to do one of these studies every 8 to10 years, and we haven’t done one for some time. Relooking at job descriptions in the light of new technology and new ways of accomplishing tasks is overdue. The study will provide data for how we organize staff, optimize our work, and hire staff that reflect our institutional values.

Build Back Our Full Time Faculty

And of course we need to build back our full time faculty. Although we have continuously met the state-mandated Faculty Obligation Number or FON, now at 110.2, faculty numbers have been greatly reduced since 2007-08, from 152 to 113. Having a core of full-time faculty members is essential to maintaining the quality of learning within our courses and programs and faculty involvement in such things as Program Review, Student Learning Outcomes Assessment, and college committees. I have promised not to let the total slip further, and I am committed to finding a way to add back full-time faculty as funding allows.

Student Success Act

The Student Success Act has replaced the Matriculation standards for the California Community Colleges. The new requirements reflect characteristics of successful students—knowing one’s educational goal or major at the start of the freshman year, creating an educational plan, and taking and completing courses on schedule in accordance with the plan—mandates that if not followed result in blocked registration. Beginning in fall 2014, college funding for these services will be based on the college’s ability to deliver them. To meet these requirements, Ohlone has been working since last spring to ensure that all of these functions are in place by April when students to start register for fall 2014.

Student Success Act of 2012


Campus SafetyOne of our top institutional priorities for this coming year is to get safety front-of-mind collectively as a college. While our most recent college survey indicates that approximately 90% of faculty, staff, and students feel safe on campus, we want to make sure that, in this case especially, perception equals reality.

As part of flex week, Vice President Ron Little and Police Chief Steve Osawa provided faculty and staff a refresher course in Campus & Classroom Safety and also reviewed some short-term and long-term actions that the college is undertaking to make Ohlone safer. These include a newly formed Crisis Management Team; increasing the frequency of safety drills; and developing district wide Security Standards. There’s more to come on this topic, so stay tuned.

Dream Act

Support the Dream ActEvery year, over 65,000 undocumented students who have grown up in the United States graduate from high school. Although they have played little or no role in the decision to emigrate or to remain in the United States without legal status, they face tremendous social, financial, and legal barriers. Without a means to legalize their status, they are seldom able to go on to college and cannot work legally in this country. At any time they can be deported to countries they barely know. This wasted talent imposes economic and emotional costs on undocumented students themselves and on the U.S. society as a whole.

Screenshot: California Dream Act Applicaiton web page

California has recently passed legislation making state colleges and universities more accessible for these undocumented students. Ohlone College has 115. Their ethnic breakdown is as follows:

  • 66% Hispanic
  • 15% Asian & Pacific Islander
  • 7% Multi-ethnic
  • 5% White and
  • 6% Unknown

We know there are many more undocumented young people in our community who are not even aware that it is possible for them to attend college. Ohlone is actively reaching out to undocumented students and seeking ways to support them.

International Programs Enrollment

Sphere covered with International Flags.Over the past years International Programs at Ohlone have experienced an increase in enrollment from both degree-seeking students and students who wish to improve their English in our English Language Institute or ELI. These students not only add to the diversity of our student body, they have also, through their tuition, provided much of the non-state revenue we receive. To sustain the growth, we have taken several steps. We have increased contact in China and Viet Nam, taking relationships with colleges and universities there to the next level. In April, an Ohlone delegation travelled to China and Viet Nam on an intensive trip. I was a member of the delegation and was accompanied by recently retired Jim Wright, Vice President of Academic Affairs; Dennis Keller, Faculty member in Music; Bill Sharar, Director of International Programs; and Weihsun Mao, Adjunct Faculty.

Dr. Gari Browning and VP Jim Wright eating with Chinese representatives.The purpose of the trip was to enhance recruiting efforts and to re-establish Ohlone’s commitment to international education. Ohlone increased its presence and awareness in key areas of China by visiting high schools and educational institutions in Dalian, Shenyang, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Suzhou. Some members of the delegation also went to Viet Nam to reconnect with partner institutions in Ho Chi Minh City. The last trip of this kind was in 2009. A portion of recent enrollment increase can be directly attributed to the trip in spring.

And international student enrollment is indeed increasing. This year is showing signs of being a breakout year. The numbers are up 10% since fall 2011. This is an important gain, especially when you consider that other Bay Area colleges are actively pursuing international enrollment.

International Student Enrollment 2002-2013

In terms of diversity, the majority of our students come from Asia. China is still predominant with about 40% of our international students coming from the Mainland. Students from about 40 different countries have attended Ohlone, and countries that are newly added this year include Kenya, Belize, and Syria.

This summer, Ohlone renewed its commitment to faculty exchange by sending 7 Ohlone faculty to China. And in June, three faculty members coordinated a week-long travel abroad experience to London and Paris for 26 Ohlone students.

Study Abroad - London/Paris.In order to more fully support the academic aspect of faculty exchange, study abroad, the English Language Institute, and internationalizing the curriculum, I plan to restore and strengthen the administrative support of International Programs and Services. Eddie West’s previous position will change from a Director level to a Dean. Funding for this will come largely from the international revenue.

College Council

The College Council has been very active. Over the year, they assessed progress on the current Strategic Plan. After broad-based discussion of data and perspectives, they also recommended that Ohlone become a smoke-free district, and we are implementing that decision on Monday. Look for signs around campus and let students know.

College Council members August 21, 2013.

Last fall, before we knew the outcome of Prop 30, we were in limbo regarding what classes to publish in our class schedule, so we determined that it would be better not to print and mail lots of copies of what could turn out to be wrong information. The responses of some students and staff to not having a full-blown class schedule prompted College Council to take on the topic of the future of the class schedule. After much fact finding, surveys, cost analyses, and discussion, the Council recommended that we print a limited number of schedules for spring semester but that we not mail them to continuing students. A task force will continue to assess other ways to get information to students—things like a phone app and the new flip book version of the class schedule on our website—exciting ways to reach our students.

Screenshot of flipbook of Summer/Fall 2013 Class Schedule

At their retreat earlier this week, the College Council reviewed the Ohlone mission statement as required by accreditation. They looked at the standards and sample mission statements from other colleges. A small group will bring back ideas for the Council to consider on how we might improve our mission statement.

List of Council tasks.Another important topic on the list of agenda items for College Council is cyber bullying and hate speech. Last year this issue came to our attention when we had an incident of a faculty member being the victim of cyber bullying by one of his students. The college has responded in several ways, including updating our policies and procedures on unlawful harassment and discrimination, reviewing our institutional Code of Conduct and Ethics, revising the Student Code of Conduct and Discipline procedures, and updating language in the Student Athletes Code of Conduct related to social media behavior. College Council will be addressing this topic further this semester. Our commitment to employees and students who are victims of bullying and harassment is stronger than ever.

Goal assessment

Over the past year College Council reviewed all of the objectives in our strategic plan to make sure we are on track to achieve them. There are 8 goals in our plan, and each is achieved through specific objectives. All of the 45 objectives in the plan were thoroughly evaluated and the progress documented and reviewed by the Board of Trustees. We have been creating action plans to help the college move forward on the unfinished objectives.

Goals 1-4Goal 1 is to improve student learning and achievement.

There are 12 objectives we have identified to support this goal. Nine of them have been met or are ongoing and are being met at this point in time.

Until recently, we have set our objectives to meet the Chancellor’s Office established measures of how well colleges are performing. As you know, Ohlone has exceptional outcomes in the area of student achievement. Based on this metric and some of the distinctive programs we offer, Ohlone was named among the top ten community colleges in the system this summer. This is something to be proud of because it is our accomplishment, and we should not be shy about telling people how really good Ohlone is!

One of our values is to maintain high standards in our constant pursuit of excellence. We are not resting on our laurels with these great accomplishments--quite the contrary. Ohlone is unique, and we have our own definitions of what our standards should be. We want to set the bar high for ourselves rather than relying on the state averages. To that end, we have recently created benchmarks for many of the categories reflected in the Chancellor’s Office data and some that are specific to Ohlone. These benchmarks are designed to push us to improve but still be realistic.

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

Three of the 4 objectives for this goal have been met. The 4th objective is for students to acquire key skill sets and concepts that will help them succeed in the workplace. To address this, we plan to conduct analyses of our CTE courses using Secretaries Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills or SCANS.

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

We have made tremendous strides in achieving this goal, and the assessment of the objectives reflects some of this progress. Still we determined that more specific action plans are needed.

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, and for that reason has 9 objectives spread across the college. Six of the objectives have been achieved, and 3 others required action plans. They included identifying a target amount for increasing our non-apportionment revenue, documenting procedures on how we improve efficiency and effectiveness of services to students through technology, and achieving long-term campus maintenance and capital improvements.

Goals 5-8Goal 5 is to lead and educate the community in environmental sustainability.

Of the 4 objectives in this goal, one has been met and two have been partially met because they rely on Measure G construction for their completion. The other has to do with educating our college community about the value of sustainability, and we have addressed this through activities during Earth Week and Measure G planning.

Goal 6 is to enhance interaction with and acceptance of diversity throughout the college.
Eighty-nine point nine percent (89.9%) of students agree that “Ohlone College personnel treat all students with equal respect regardless of their age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, parental status, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.” And 91.5% agree that “The faculty and staff at Ohlone are sufficiently diverse to meet the needs of students.” An equally high percentage of faculty and staff agree that “The college's policies and practices demonstrate appropriate concern for issues of equity and diversity.” And they find Ohlone to be a positive and supportive environment in which to work. The 3 unmet objectives for Goal 6 involve International Programs and Services, and I have already described how we plan to strengthen that area.

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

We have reached the first of the four objectives for this goal--having a student body that reflects the diversity in the community.

  • The African American population in our community is 3.6%; of our students 5.4%.
  • The Asian/Filipino/Pacific Islander population in the community is 46%; of our students 41.1%.
  • The Hispanic population in the community is 18.5%; of our students 19.1%.
  • And the White population in the community is 28.7%, of our students 24.1%.

A priority for me and for the College is to improve the rate at which historically underrepresented students complete their educational goals. Although our percentages are higher than other colleges in our area and statewide, they are below those of our general population of students. We want these students to succeed, and we have some good programs that work well in helping students meet their educational goals--like learning communities, summer bridge programs, and tutoring. We will be giving special attention to this objective going forward.

Another objective is to increase the percentage of under-represented groups among faculty and staff to a similar status, and we have an action plan to accomplish this over time.

Goal 8 is to engage the college community in active, continual institutional improvement.
We have met the 6 objectives for this goal, but there are other efforts that apply that I will talk about shortly.

Out of our 45 objectives, we have met or are on track to meet 29, and the remaining 16 now have specific action plans to guide us to their completion. We are about two thirds through our strategic plan period, 2010-15, and to date we have completed about 65% of our objectives.


Accreditation highlights

We are moving swiftly to complete our accreditation self evaluation which is due January 15. Teams of faculty, staff, and administrators have researched and produced a draft report that responds to the accreditation standards of institutional quality. A current version will be posted for you to read on the college website in early September. The report is scheduled to be approved by the Faculty Senate and the College Council early in the fall and will go to the Board of Trustees for first reading shortly thereafter. Final approval is anticipated in December in time to publish and submit the report.

Accreditation focuses on four areas—institutional mission and effectiveness, student learning programs and services, resources, and leadership and governance.

Standard I is Institutional Mission and Effectiveness.

Standard IA spells out the scope of our institutional mission and underscores the importance of using the mission statement as a touchstone when making decisions about what the college should and should not take on. It is central to the planning processes.

In 2008 we received a recommendation to establish a regular review process for our mission statement. Since that time we have instituted a formal review process attached to the strategic planning cycle and an annual review of the statement by College Council. We use the mission statement to make key decisions related to the scope of the college.

Standard IB focuses on integrated planning, data-driven decisions, connecting program review and budgeting, and assessing all we do for student learning. We have described how our various planning efforts work together and rely on the same information, assumptions, and principles. And we have created an authentic reliance on planning for budgeting. We have restructured these processes in response to the Commission’s recommendation.

Standard II addresses the heart of the institution, requiring the college to have high-quality instructional programs, student services, and library.

Standard IIA covers requirements for Student Learning Outcomes, a comprehensive GE curriculum and processes for guaranteeing the quality for all courses and programs. This standard also asks that we rely on research on student need to determine what to offer.

Faculty have done an outstanding job to develop and assess SLOs and to use the resulting information to improve our courses and programs. We can also show that our offerings meet or exceed all standards through the integrity of our processes and the excellent outcomes we are achieving. This is the most critical part of accreditation, and it is where we stand out.

Standard IIB deals with services that support student learning, and their quality and required availability regardless of location, time, or delivery method. Services offered must be based on researched student needs.

Again, I believe our report shows we are in good shape on this standard.

Standard IIC requires that the college provide sufficient and high-quality services and library collections to support programs, and that we assure access of materials, tutoring, and computer labs to students and faculty. There is also a requirement that our students receive training in information competency.

The college meets all aspects of Standard IIC.

Standard III requires the institution to use its resources—people, facilities, technology, and money--effectively to achieve the stated mission.

Standard IIIA is about human resources. It covers qualifications for hire, especially for faculty; hiring processes; personnel evaluations; and professional development for all personnel. We must show that we have sufficient staff, faculty, and administrators with appropriate expertise to support the institution. And we must demonstrate understanding of and concern for issues of equity and diversity.

In 2008 we had a recommendation regarding timely and systematic evaluation of all employees. We are in excellent shape now, with 98% of our evaluations complete and the other 2% in progress. As you know, our HR processes are much improved overall since 2008, as well.

Standard IIIB addresses safe and sufficient facilities and equipment that support learning and ways to renew and maintain them.

We are meeting this standard, and with Measure G, the quality of our facilities and the learning environment they provide will be greatly enhanced.

Standard IIIC requires that we have sufficient technology equipment and services that support learning and the college operation. Technology must be maintained and current, and training must be provided.

Again, we meet this standard, and the college is in much better shape in this area, both in terms of technology and services, than it was in 2008. A ten million dollar endowment established with Measure G funds will allow us to maintain the currency of our technology for years to come.

Standard IIID asks that we rely on our mission and goals for financial planning and requires that financial planning be integrated with other planning. The standard also covers fiscal integrity, level of required reserves, planning and caring for long-term liability, audits, internal controls, and tying budget to planning.

I feel confident that we are in excellent shape in meeting Standard IIID.

Standard IV covers governance roles throughout the college. They should be designed to facilitate decisions that support student learning and improve institutional effectiveness. Standard IV also includes the roles and responsibilities of the governing board and the president.

Standard IVA requires college to provide for a collegial environment with opportunity for input from staff and students, especially for decisions that have a direct impact on them. It calls on the college community to work together for the good of the institution and asks for broad-based communication across the campus.

This is another area where we had no recommendations last time. Still I believe we have improved significantly in our collegiality and communication processes, and our relations across employee groups. Surveys indicate that we are doing really well in this area and that College Council is effective. Information from College Council is reaching a wider audience than ever thanks to the co-chair’s regular update called “What’s College Council up to?”

Standard IVB outlines the scope of responsibility for the Board and the President/Superintendent. The Board of Trustees is responsible for establishing policies on educational programs and services and for the financial stability of the college. The Board reflects public interest, acts a whole, protects the institution from undue influence or pressure, and establishes policies consistent with the college mission. The Board selects and evaluates the district’s President and delegates full responsibility and authority to operate the college without interference. It holds the President accountable for doing so.

The President is responsible for guiding improvement of the teaching and learning environment, for planning, budget and expenditures, personnel, adhering to the law, and determining the administrative structure. The President is responsible for communicating with those served by the institution.

In 2008 we received four recommendations pertaining to Standard IVB and a clear message that Board issues had been largely responsible for the college being placed on warning—at that time considered to be a very serious sanction. The recommendations concerned the Governing Board not adhering to its role.

The Board immediately addressed the recommendations to meet the standards and has sustained its efforts ever since. I would also point out that there has been substantial turn-over in the membership of the Board. I anticipate receiving no recommendations in this area.

The self evaluation process provides the impetus to assess everything we do and strengthen any areas that need it. We have amazingly few such areas! One of the side benefits of performing a self evaluation is the push to document what we do, and we have made great headway in updating our policies and procedures.

Self evaluation also provides us the opportunity to tell our story. As I read through the draft of the report, I felt enormous pride in the way Ohlone approaches everything we do. I feel confident of a positive outcome from the team visit and ensuing Commission action.

Measure G

A lot has been going on with Measure G since my last presentation in January. We have worked through the conceptual design phase, the programming phase, and we are almost through the schematic design phase. This means figuring out what will go where, the location of classrooms and departments, and how our buildings and learning environment will function.

Schematic Design PhaseDuring the schematic design phase we are determining the layout of floor plans and the size and shape of the buildings. We have completed the Environmental Impact Report and received public comments. It will go to the Board in October.

Throughout this process, we have taken special care to keep the college vision in mind—for academic programs, classrooms, and social spaces; opportunities for interaction and collisions; and spaces that will entice students to stay on campus and be engaged. The work of this phase has taken many months and has been thoroughly vetted throughout the college community.

Swing Space/PortablesWe are also close to finalizing our temporary operating quarters or swing space with a test of the class schedule just completed to make sure we have appropriate space for our classes. The initial schedule analysis shows we have homes for all but a few of our classes. We will occupy this space for approximately 4 years including the demolition and construction phases. Our goal is to impact students and their learning as little as possible. Please realize that the whole college community will need to accommodate this project, and in the end all will benefit from it. The Swing Space Committee has been working diligently over the past couple of months to develop a global plan to accommodate these needs. The plan will include shifting some courses to Newark and adding modular units to both campuses. Details of the plan will be shared over the next few weeks.

Measure G planning may seem to some of you to be going really quickly, but remember that we set planning concepts for the Fremont campus in the Educational Master Plan way back in 2004. The Facilities Master Plan for the campus was approved in April 2010. With the Facilities Master Plan we demonstrated to voters why we needed Measure G.

Because we are a single college district with one set of course offerings to schedule, our plan needed to include Newark and the eCampus to form a District wide Facilities Master Plan. The planning work we did provided a useful foundation and allowed us to think through the basic needs of the college, but we needed the professional guidance of architects to make our plans specific.

Demolition/Construction Area

Now things are moving forward on a schedule that allows major demolition to occur during the summer of 2015. That may seem a long time from now, but we still have critical steps to take to be ready in time. We will be completing design details for the Academic Core buildings early this fall. Then we need to prepare construction documents for the builder, submit the design to the Division of State Architect (DSA), and obtain required permits.

3D drawing of the new buildings

The Measure G projects will change this college profoundly. The Academic Core project transforms the Fremont campus from discrete isolated buildings to a free flowing learning environment that includes two modern buildings with a new science building, a library and learning resource center, new space for the fine arts, and new classrooms and large lecture halls. To accommodate this vision, Buildings 1, 2 and 8 will come down. Access to and around this new campus core will be eased by a walkway extending along the library and learning resource center, elevators carrying students from the mid level of campus to the Main Street level, and parking near the top of the campus hill. We will no longer be known for our stairs! Additionally, our landscape architects, Meyer and Silberberg, will provide accessible pathways and the informal social and learning spaces we have imagined. The design promises to activate the campus culture in abundant and ingenious ways.

3D drawings of new buildings with areas marked

Our Academic Core Architects, Cannon Design, in association with Anderson Brule Architects, have facilitated numerous meetings with the college faculty and staff in the form of focus groups and workshops, and meetings with User Groups, the Facilities Committee, the College Council, and the Executive Team to understand the vision of the college community and how that vision can be put into modern, sustainable facilities creating the learning environment we have envisioned.

Drawing of new walkways and stairs

Athletic Fields

And after decades of patience, we are finally about to have new athletic fields. Verde Design Architects have been working with the college athletic department to determine the new field layouts and athletic needs in order to get the projects completed for spring of 2015. All the new athletic fields—soccer, baseball and softball—will be constructed with an all-weather synthetic turf that will allow for better maintainability and resistance to ground squirrels. You can see the layout for the fields.

Drawing of new Athletic Fields

Parking Structure

Design is nearly complete on what I consider an absolutely beautiful parking structure concept. The project will provide over 850 diagonal parking spaces on five terraced levels and will provide direct access to the pool deck, gym level, and the Student Services Center. Incorporated into the project will be a drop off circle directly adjacent to the first floor of the Student Services building. Plans will be shared with the college community in early fall.

The construction of the parking structure is planned to take place from spring 2014 to summer 2015. During this 3-semester period there will also be modulars on several parking lots, creating somewhat limited parking. We are in the process of determining peak need for parking spaces in order to minimize impact on students, faculty, and staff.

Terraced Parking Concept

Solar Power

As you may already know, we have greatly enhanced our solar power generating capabilities with Measure G dollars. The solar array on the Fremont campus has been producing clean power for over a year now and we are looking forward to that same level of production at the Newark campus in the coming months. The photovoltaic structure set over parking at the Newark campus is in the process of being finalized. The system will produce the same amount of power as the Fremont campus system, about one Megawatt. The projects will make the Newark campus Net-Zero and will supply approximately two-thirds of the power needed for the Fremont Campus.

Solar facility on the Fremont and Newark campuses.

Measure G Newsletter


Efforts to keep the college community informed and involved continue. Vice President Ron Little has developed a Measure G newsletter detailing progress on the implementation of Measure G projects. The first issue, available today, supplied much of the information I just shared with you.

It is an enormously exciting time to be at Ohlone. Measure G is truly going to transform this campus and serve students well for many years to come. Like anything worth doing, it requires our attention, good ideas, and patience. I can promise that we will be enduring noise, dust, and upset for the next several years—until 2018 when the buildings will be finished. I can also promise it will all be worth it.

Ohlone People

Since I started at Ohlone I have hosted small luncheons with four or five college employees at a time—faculty, staff, and more recently, administrators. The purpose is to provide me an opportunity to get to know you on a one-to-one basis and to offer the opportunity for you to get to know me and one another a little better. At each luncheon, the guests tell about their role and tenure at Ohlone, how they came here, and a little about their personal lives. They also end up saying how they feel about working here. The overwhelming message is that they love Ohlone and love working here because of the people.

Now this could be called anecdotal evidence despite the fact that it is consistent over five years and roughly 326 employees who have attended the luncheon. Survey results about the working environment at the college offer more supporting evidence for this sentiment. At a rate of 92 to 99%, our employee groups agree with statements that they have experienced good relationships with the faculty, staff, and administrators at Ohlone.

Ohlone People collage.

I’ve said a lot this morning about how really great we are. So you may be asking why we are great. I believe it is because we operate from our shared values. Those values go beyond providing access to students, promoting diversity and inclusiveness, practicing innovation, and even beyond being a learning college. We focus our efforts on those things, true, but we also are constantly striving to improve, we behave in a collegial manner and work productively together, we trust and respect each other, and we act with integrity in everything we do. Collegial, Respect, Integrity, Work Ethic, STUDENTS!We are outcome rather than input oriented and we share a strong work ethic. We are fair, we make our decisions supported by facts rather than in response to political pressure, and we use our resources fairly and in accordance with our identified priorities to help students. We expect each other to act in accordance with these values. The other ingredient we all seem to have in abundance is passion about Ohlone, our students, and their success.

It’s time for all of us to take a deep breath and recognize how hard we have all been working. We have sustained an effort beyond our capacity for several years now, and we have been very successful. Let’s celebrate those successes!

Thank you to Sarah Daniels for creating the slide show.

Have a productive day and a wonderful semester!