State of the College Fall 2014
August 22, 2014 / Dr. Gari Browning
- Ohlone College President's Office

Greg Bonaccorsi, Ohlone College Board of Trustees Chairman, introduced Dr. Browning.

Text of Dr. Browning's speech follows:

Welcome

Thank you, Mister Chairman.  Welcome everyone to the fall 2014 semester and the State of the College presentation.

Board of Trustees

Members of the Board of Trustees.I would like to welcome members of the Board of Trustees, Board Chair Greg Bonaccorsi (who you just saw) and Trustee Vivien Larsen. Thank you for your support and especially for being here today. I would also like to mention the trustees who are unable to be with us today: Board Vice Chair Rich Watters, Trustee Teresa Cox, Trustee Jan Giovaninni-Hill, Trustee Ishan Shah, who is our newest trustee, and Trustee Garrett Yee, who is on military leave from the Board serving in Kuwait.

Foundation Board

Members of the Ohlone College Foundation Board.I would like to welcome members of the Ohlone College Foundation Board. Please hold your applause—Steve Cho, Sylvia Jimenez, Anita Pirrone, Ron Sha, Lou Willett, Jim Wright, and Maria Vera-Yee. We also welcome our Chairman Dr. Rakesh Sharma and Julie Zhu, Vice Chair.  Thank you for coming today and for your dedication to helping Ohlone. Your commitment to assisting the college with its strategic plan and to supporting our students is very much appreciated. Thank you.

College Connection

Students in Ohlone's College Connection program.Finally, I want to acknowledge our College Connection students who are here today and those watching from the Newark campus. Good morning!

New Hires

New Faces at Ohlone College.Now I’d like introduce you to the newest members of the Ohlone family. Again, please hold your applause.

  • Michelle Dimmett—Student Success Coordinator
  • Terry Exner—Accounting Instructor
  • Larissa Favela—Speech & Communications Instructor
  • Vanessa Gainey-Vejar—Enrollment Services Specialist I
  • Darline Gunsauls—Associate Dean, Deaf Studies
  • Susan Gutkind—Dean, Counseling & Special Programs
  • Daniel Hester—Senior Office Assistant, Campus Police
  • Janiece Jarman—Community Services Specialist
  • Jennifer Jovel—Sociology Instructor
  • Krista Lane—Senior Office Assistant, Campus Police
  • April Merritt—Confidential Assistant to the Vice President, Administrative Services
  • Michael Navarra—Theatre Instructor
  • Binh Nguyen—Director, One Stop Career Center
  • Tessa Noriega—Learning Resources Technician
  • D'Fonda Simpson—Enrollment Services Specialist I
  • Daniel Smith—Music Library Tech-Coordinator
  • Shyam Sundar—Biology (Anatomy & Physiology) Instructor, and
  • Rosalind Toliver—Enrollment Services Specialist I

Welcome!

Changes and Promotions

Staff on the Move: Promotions, Transfers, and Status Changes.And we have several position changes and promotions:

  • Cassandra Harrah—Enrollment Services Specialist II
  • David Panales—Confidential Assistant to the AVP, Human Resources
  • Kathleen Schoenecker—Administrative Systems Analyst, and
  • David Schurtz—Facilities Maintenance Mechanic II

Congratulations!

Overview

Today’s major topics include…as always—the budget, accreditation, strategic planning, our new equity plan, the latest on Measure G and the Frontage Property, Board Priorities, important updates, and some of our recent accomplishments.  

Budget

On to the budget—

In the big picture, the economy is definitely improving. Nationally more jobs are available now than since 2001, and the national unemployment rate is at 6.3%. California has regained all but about 25,000 of the jobs lost during the recession, but they pay less on average than before. Adjusted personal income growth is estimated at 3.1% for this year and 4.1% next year. Housing is improving in the state, and while we still have one of the highest unemployment rates at 7.8%, it’s heading down.

Funding for higher education including community colleges is also improving. California Community Colleges will receive almost 400 million dollars in new funding, including 140 million to restore enrollment by 2.75%, and another 170 million of categorical funding for student services. There is a very modest 0.85% COLA in the state budget. Colleges will also receive 148 million in monies that can be used for instructional equipment or deferred maintenance at the discretion of the college. Categorical program funding is money that must be spent on particular student support services. Of the added 170 million dollars I mentioned, 100 million is for the Student Success and Support Program, formerly known as Matriculation, and 70 million is for Student Equity Plans. There is an additional 30 million of categorical funding for Disabled Students Programs and Services. And there is nearly 500 million that will reduce the state’s deferred payments to schools.

There is a new funding formula proposed that would go into effect in 2015-16, which calls for colleges with larger numbers of underrepresented students to receive more funding and for restoration money to be focused on classes within the community college primary mission of transfer, career technical education, and basic skills. Stay tuned!

What does all this mean for Ohlone?

We at Ohlone, like every other college I have talked with, are not confident we can restore enrollment that quickly. In fact the state originally proposed 3% in restoration, but reduced it to 2.75% at the caution of the colleges. We have set our restoration target at 2.3%, and we hope we can achieve that level of enrollment.

Our funding is attached to that enrollment number. As you know, when the state sets an enrollment target for us and we reach that target, it raises our apportionment cap to that level. If we fail to hit our target, the level we do achieve determines our funding going forward. In this case, restoring 2.3% of our enrollment will leave 0.45% of our potential on the table. A budget built on what we hope is a realistic enrollment level of a 2.3% increase protects us from overspending, but does not prevent us from aiming higher. We have built back course sections that were reduced during cuts and added new sections according to students’ needs. The days of turning students away because classes are full are over, and we are back to trying to increase enrollment.

I anticipate that this will be the case for most colleges in the Bay Area, as I am hearing that some are down as much as 8% below last year. It’s the old story—when the economy is down and we are short funded, demand for classes is up. When the economy is healthy and dollars are available, demand is down. You can help by getting the word out that Ohlone has added classes, and students can register for the classes they need to meet their educational goals. Construction is not limiting our offerings, and plenty of parking is available. We are still an excellent choice!

The money for Student Success and Support Programs, Student Equity Plans, and Disabled Students Programs and Services is only restoring funds to the 2008-09 levels in Student Services. It is not really an increase. Additionally, there are new strings attached to these funds in that they will be allocated based on achieving certain outcome measures and the college providing matching funds.

There are some concerns associated with our future fiscal picture, as well. First, Prop 30, the temporary tax bill, is, well, temporary. The sales tax portion ends in 2016, and the income tax increase ends in 2018. And there is widespread concern that the Department of Finance assumptions about tax revenues are optimistic, meaning that at the end of the year we may not receive the allocation from the state that we have been promised. And CalSTRS has an unfunded liability of 74.4 billion dollars. Employees and employers are going to be paying for that shortfall. The impact to our district budget is about 800 thousand dollars between now and 2016-17, growing to a total cost for STRS to the district of 2.6 million in 2020-2021. That represents 5% of our current General Fund budget!

The salient points for the budget are that we must work together to do everything we can to restore enrollment and that our needs exceed our allocation. You may have noticed that we mailed an abbreviated newsprint version of the class schedule to district households. That’s one thing we are doing to attract students. We are also beefing up our advertising in general. And we are doing our best to let everyone know that despite construction and new spaces for classes in temporary buildings, class availability is great.

We should also keep in mind that while there are definitely increases for us in the state budget, the flexible portion of it depends on enrollment increases. The rest is almost entirely restricted to services for students, equipment, and maintenance. And costs are continuing to increase. After 5 years of cost cutting and reductions, we find that our needs exceed the funding that has been restored.

Accreditation

And now Accreditation—

Target with arrow in the center - Ohlone Accreditation.

Ohlone College Accreditation Certificate.The Result

As you must know by now, the result of our two years of preparation for our accreditation visit and all the work we did prior to those two years has really paid off! On July 3rd, I received word that Ohlone’s accreditation had been reaffirmed for another six years with no sanction. We satisfied all previous recommendations and received 8 commendations. We have 3 recommendations to meet the standards, which we will need to report on by March 15th. And we have 4 more recommendations to improve effectiveness, which we will address in our midterm report.  The college meets the Commission required policies and US Department of Education regulations, except the relatively new one requiring institution-set standards.

This is the excellent outcome we were striving for! We were one of 7 colleges reaffirmed out of the 18 the Commission took action upon in June. Six were put on warning and five were put on probation. Some of our neighbor colleges, including West Valley, Mission, Evergreen Valley, and San Jose City were among those sanctioned.

Recommendations to Meet the Standards

We are and have been working on the recommendations we received to meet the standards, for instance, Recommendation #1 regarding institution-set standards. In the spring the Faculty Senate approved such standards for student achievement. We must now devise and apply a method to compare our programs and institutional outcomes to that measure.  For Ohlone, this will mean a shift in our mindset. We have always compared our performance to our targets or goals for improvement. We set our sights on being above the state average, our peer colleges, or in the top ten of all colleges in the state. We have even set benchmarks or targets for ourselves that did not rely on comparisons to other colleges so we could aim higher than the rest. Now we must compare ourselves to a standard below which we don’t want to fall. The advantage to this recommendation is that it will help us use consistent metrics at both the college and program levels.

Recommendation #2 has two parts. Ohlone has taken the first step to provide consistent services for all students regardless of the location or mode of delivery for their classes by beginning to analyze where there may be pockets of students without access to services. For example, how many students attend classes at night exclusively and do not have access to services online? Although we do not need to duplicate services for every possible student situation, we do need to ensure all students can access services somehow.

The second part of this recommendation is to prove, with data other than satisfaction surveys, that students who receive our services do better. This unique recommendation requires us to develop and implement program-level student achievement data and ensure that Student Services engages in division-wide dialogue, data analysis, and decision-making based upon that data to demonstrate services support student achievement.

This will be the most difficult recommendation to resolve by March when our report is due. It means that we will have to devise and apply a reliable method of tracking the usage of student services by individual student and compare students’ learning and achievement to that usage. We anticipate that the data will show that the services increase student learning and achievement as we have with personal development courses, but we must analyze and discuss the data thoroughly to be sure. If we need to make changes to improve services, there will be very little time to do so.

The third critical recommendation is to include effectiveness in producing student learning outcomes in the evaluations of faculty and others directly responsible for student progress toward achieving those outcomes. Negotiations for this one are underway.

Recommendations to Improve Institutional Effectiveness

We have 4 additional recommendations to satisfy by our midterm report, due in three years. One is related to how we address our goals and communicate about them. On the surface, it seems like this area would be a strength for Ohlone, but as I read deeper into this recommendation in the team report, much of it is related to setting institutional standards. If we say, for instance, that we want our retention rate as a college to be at a certain level, we want to look at each program’s retention rate to ensure all programs are above our standard. If a program’s retention rate is below our standard, it’s appropriate for the Program Improvement Objective or PIO to address that issue and for the college to allocate resources to implement the PIO. We also want to disaggregate that same data by student group—ethnicity, gender, and disability—at the college and program levels, for the same reason. This will help us track how we achieve our college retention goal and ensure we allocate resources effectively to improve student learning and achievement.

We have already included disaggregated data in our academic Program Reviews for this year, and we will be identifying logical metrics and standards in other areas to assess their performance and meet the accreditation recommendations.

While our planning processes were complimented throughout the team report, we did receive a very astute recommendation. Fortunately, it comes just as we are embarking on the creation of our next strategic plan. While we are very good about regularly assessing and reporting out progress on our strategic objectives, we need to be able to point to how we achieve each objective. Already in the works for our next plan, we will be creating action plans for all objectives.

We must provide more stable funding for regularly replacing and updating library and learning resources. Although we have had a line item in our budget for a couple of years now, the team felt that the college was not allocating sufficient resources to the library. There may have been some confusion created by the Foundation’s purchase of textbooks for students to borrow that led the team to believe we were relying “almost entirely” upon donations for our book purchases, but regardless, we will need to review our book allocation going forward. Given that our budget process calls for an annual review and adjustment of every department’s budget according to the previous year’s expenditures and the coming year’s needs, we will want to consider carefully how we provide permanent funding for this area. Overall, the team report reflected very favorably on our library and learning support services.

We must coordinate all tutorial services incorporating mandatory tutor training, faculty outreach and referral processes, tracking of sessions, and an assessment of the effectiveness of the services.  Again the team seemed to like what they observed about our tutorial services, but they thought they could be organized better. Our services would also be strengthened by adding a software program that would inform instructors and tutors about specific students’ needs.

We must continue to work to implement our staffing plan in order to ensure a sufficient number of full-time faculty to support all of the College’s educational programs and services.  As we know, the number of full-time faculty is low when compared to colleges of similar size. The team felt that resources to support the Faculty Hiring Plan goals need to be a priority.

A word about recommendations… Having peers look closely and evaluate how we are doing has enormous value in strengthening our college, bringing fresh perspectives, and sharing solutions to common problems. Every comprehensive evaluation results in recommendations, and I am confident that the ones we received will enhance our college.

Our Commendations

The team commended Ohlone in eight areas. Colleges typically receive two or three commendations, but then, this is Ohlone. In several areas where other colleges typically receive recommendations, we received praise. We were commended

  1. for our exemplary academic programs and services for Deaf students and for our equal integration of Deaf administrators and faculty into the campus community
  2. for providing an ombudsperson in Student Services to assist students with grievances and self-advocacy
  3. for “Learning College Week” and “Get It Done Day” as an example of campus-wide collaboration, and commitment to a culture of shared responsibility for institutional effectiveness and student success
  4. for our commitment to environmental sustainability as evidenced by our solar fields on both campuses, our LEED Gold and Platinum building certifications, and for arriving at Net-Zero level for our Newark site
  5. for our comprehensive Technology Master Plan, an area where many colleges receive a recommendation
  6. for the establishment of an endowment fund to sustain information technology, another area of common recommendations
  7. for our Planning and Decision-making documents created in response to the prior teams’ recommendations
  8. and finally, one more area where most colleges receive recommendations and one we are especially pleased about, for the College and Board creating a Board Member Guide and implementing Ohlone College Trustee Orientations to support effective transitions and on-going education and development for Board members.

The Standard on fiscal resources has been an area of serious Commission concern over the past few years of economic difficulty and the reason some colleges have been sanctioned. Fiscal health, especially addressing audit findings and considering the long-term fiscal impact when negotiating contracts, are common topics for recommendations and sanctions. We are fiscally healthy, have not had any negative audit findings, and have just heard that our excellent credit rating has been reaffirmed by the bond rating agencies—and believe me, these agencies look at everything! We have handled our long-term finances prudently and considered impacts when we take on long-term financial obligations. The team report describes our fiscal management as “very prudent” and acknowledges that we maintained services despite the state budget problems. More importantly it recognizes that our approach supports student learning and protects our programs and services. All this is true, so I hoped for a commendation here too.

Strategic Planning

The coming year, 2014-15, is the last year of our current strategic plan, and we have just 10 of the 45 original objectives in the plan left to accomplish. The College Council has reviewed these remaining objectives and made a determination for each. Three (3) will be complete by the end of the year, 5 will be folded into the next plan, and 2 will be rethought. 

This year, as we are completing our current strategic plan, we will be creating our next one. The process, already underway, features a massive assessment that starts with an Environmental Scan. An Environmental Scan includes comprehensive data about Ohlone’s district population, economy and housing, higher education and public policy, community colleges, our staff and students, student success, and courses and sections. It provides the basis for an analysis of community needs and college outcomes in meeting those needs, both expressed in a data-oriented document.

As part of the assessment phase, we review our current goals and objectives to determine what we need to redesign or carry over to the new plan. We also take into account our accreditation recommendations and any plans we made as part of our self-evaluation report. We look at the results of Program and Services Reviews, particularly PIOs.

Next we gather and analyze College, Board, Foundation, and community input and identify gaps between performance and expectations. We also review and revise our mission statement and create a new vision for the next 5 years. We make sure our values statements are current and reflect our principles.

Strategic Planning Cycle.

Finally we set new goals and measurable objectives, and establish action plans. You probably remember previous planning summits where we gathered to do this. The summit will be held in the spring. Then it’s time to draft a new strategic plan and secure college and Board support and approval of the plan by June of 2015. College Council, as our institutional planning body, will lead us through this process.       

Student Equity Plan

I envision a major theme of our new strategic plan to be student and staff equity. This is consistent with the Ohlone vision, mission, values, goals, and slogan, all of which express our commitment to serving our diverse student body.

  • The Vision Statement says, “Ohlone College will be known throughout California for our inclusiveness….”
  • The Mission of the college says we promote “…an environment where student learning success is…supported….”
  • Our slogan is “A world of cultures united in learning.”
  • One of our values is “We promote diversity, inclusiveness, and openness to differing viewpoints.”
  • A college goal is to “enhance college-wide interaction with, and acceptance of, diverse peoples….”
  • Another goal is to “increase access to higher education of under-served and under-represented groups….”

Through the leadership of the Board of Trustees and to ensure the integrity of our statements, the College Council began to research how we are doing in the area of equity. We spent time at nearly every meeting this past year discussing this topic. We started last August when we received a report on the data for the Accountability Reporting for Community Colleges or ARCC last August. From there we began reviewing student achievement data disaggregated by ethnicity, gender, and disability and asked some key questions. In response to the data presented, the Council asked for more data and in November and December reviewed that, as well. At the January retreat we reviewed good practices for helping underrepresented students succeed, prioritized groups in need of attention, and discussed the effectiveness of our current programs. The Council appointed a work group to review retention and success data for underrepresented student groups and make recommendations for improvement. The Council also looked at staffing levels and engaged in a discussion about faculty and staff diversity. Later that month it heard a report on our recruitment and hiring practices. We then discussed data that compared Ohlone’s staff diversity to that of the Bay 10 college districts and ways to address it.

The Board of Trustees also had an opportunity to review the diversity data during a workshop designed for that purpose, and they reiterated that equity should be a college priority. In the spring, the Chancellor’s Office informed colleges that they would be required to submit a new three-year Student Equity Plan due November 21. The Plan required that we determine whether students are succeeding at equitable rates and whether all cohorts are tracked to measure outcomes. Colleges must make plans to remedy any inequities.

Once again we were ahead of the game, and earlier this week at the College Council Retreat, we identified which practices would address the areas where our students need the most assistance and where we want to focus our efforts. We looked at survey data and discussed ways we might get a clearer picture of our campus climate.  We reviewed our practices and looked at best practices.

You’re probably wondering what the data says. First of all it validates that the college’s student population reflects the diversity of our district very closely. This is a dramatic improvement from 2008 when the proportion of Hispanic students at the college was 4-5% below the district proportion. We attribute this change partly to our efforts at outreach and recruitment.

Overall our students do well, but of course we want them to do even better. To find out details yourself, you can plan to attend one of our College Council meetings early this semester or look at the Research and Planning page on our website where we will be posting our findings. The College Council meeting minutes provide detail about our discussions, as well, and I just saw Alison’s College Council update—another great way to keep up. Please get involved. As the Statewide Academic Senate puts it, “Everyone has a role to play in supporting student learning and achievement, but faculty leadership is imperative.” 

Despite the extremely compressed timeline for preparing the Student Equity Plan, colleges can look forward to receiving some funding for plan implementation. For us, the timing coincides with our strategic planning process, which will be an advantage. The Plan will help us raise college awareness of the data pertaining to the representation, success, and support of historically underrepresented student populations, especially for those impacted disproportionately as indicated by the data.  

Measure G

Academic Core

Progress continues on Measure G projects, as you can see around campus. Since January we have selected our construction partner to build the Academic Core buildings. That company is Sundt Construction, which has excellent experience. We also finished the design phase for these buildings and determined that we were over budget and needed to do two things to bring costs back into range for the whole of the Measure G budget. We value-engineered the design and changed things that would not compromise the main purpose of the buildings or impact their appearance significantly. We are also watching costs on other projects carefully to identify savings where we can. From my perspective, we need to value recheck every project as part of our responsibility to use bond money efficiently.

Newark Portables

We are in the process of constructing and equipping 34 classroom modulars totaling 40,000 sq. ft. below Hyman Hall and 13 more totaling 14,000 sq. ft. on the Newark Campus. There are currently 67 class sections planned in the Newark modulars with enrollments totaling over 2,000 students. Of the total 1,076 sections offered this semester, 570 are on the Fremont campus, 286 are at Newark, 130 are online, and 90 are offered off campus, mostly at local high schools.

Fremont Portables

As you know, the occupation of these temporary buildings on this campus planned for fall has been postponed to spring. Work to complete the details of the project will be finished in September, and we will move into all modulars in January. We will provide moving coordinators to assist you. The postponement was caused by a 10-day delay in construction. Ten days may not seem like a lot, but our schedules are timed pretty precisely, and that was enough to throw things off.

South Parking Structure

Work on the South Parking Structure is proceeding nicely, and so far they have poured 2,600 cubic yards of concrete, 675 cubic yards of concrete footings plus 11,000 cubic yards of structure with more on the way. There will be 900 parking spaces there once that project is complete in fall 2015.

Ohlone Pony 2

During this construction we will have enough parking for everyone, partly because we have shifted a significant part of our enrollment to Newark. And breaking news!—we are purchasing a 15-seat electric van to be dubbed “Ohlone Pony 2” to pick you up from your car and take you to your building.

Infrastructure Projects

Over the summer we have been replacing utility infrastructure that extends up the middle of the campus from Olive Way to the north side of Building 2. That project includes new electrical lines, water, and data to accommodate the needs of our new construction and central plant. We have done as much work as possible during the summer, and the rest will be completed in down times during the semester and next summer. Last weekend we converted our data center to the new location in Hyman Hall, and all seems to be working well with that project.

Athletic Fields

Most recently we selected CW Driver as the company to construct our baseball, softball, and soccer fields. All will have synthetic field turf, and there will be a new field house built to accommodate restrooms and other facilities. The project is due to begin in summer 2015 and finish in phases to allow the athletic teams to use the fields in the earliest possible season for their sport.

Demolition

Plans are in the works to design remodels of Buildings 5 and 9, making these spaces much more modern, functional, and student-oriented. We also look toward demolition of Buildings 1, 2, and 8, with soft demolition—that is removing everything that can be removed—in spring, followed by knocking down those buildings in the summer. The center of the campus will be fenced off to allow this work to occur, and we will be creating paths around the work for several years to come.

Sculpture Donation

To complement the Academic Core, we are anticipating the wonderful donation from Fremont Bank of a sculpture of Native Americans from Ohlone and other local tribes. The work is by Bay Area artist Mario Chiodo, and it will be placed near the center of campus surrounded by garden seating to allow viewers to appreciate it to the fullest.

Measure G Communication

As we get deeper into our construction, we are making every effort to keep you and students safe and informed. One recent change to improve safety is the separation of construction from student and staff traffic. We anticipate using Pine Street primarily for the construction vehicles needed for the South Parking Structure, the Athletic Fields, and the Academic Core buildings. We have already worked out an agreement with AC Transit to reroute the buses to Witherly Lane. You may have noticed a new stop sign there, also intended to improve safety.

As for information, expect regular changes and updates as the construction phases occur. Vice President Ron Little produces a newsletter to help keep you informed about specific projects; Gilbane is responsible for keeping the Measure G construction website up-to-date, and PIO Patrice Birkedahl sends emails to Announcement to inform you of construction impacts to the campuses. You are also encouraged to attend Facilities Committee meetings where Measure G is always discussed in detail, and College Council meetings, where updates are presented frequently. You can get your questions answered in either one of these forums. There is also a Measure G update at every meeting of the Board of Trustees, and if you can’t attend you can always watch the video of the meeting online.

I make frequent presentations to community groups about Measure G projects and progress and answer any questions attendees may have. We are currently planning to hold regular forums for our neighbors to ensure they have an opportunity to have their questions answered and express any concerns they may have.

Space Considerations

During this period we will need every square inch we have at our disposal. As you are probably aware, we notified Kidango of our decision to discontinue our lease agreement for the Child Development Center building at the end of May 2014 until the Academic Core is completed and is fully operational.  Our decision was based on two factors, the need for classroom and other operational space, especially as we restore enrollment, and the potential safety risk of having others, especially small children, around construction. We have come to a similar decision about the Flea Market, and the tennis courts will eventually be needed for parking or lay down.

Patience

I realize that keeping you informed may help you anticipate what’s to come, but it doesn’t ease the upset and disturbance construction causes. We are in for dirt, noise, interruptions, and inconvenience, but in the end we will have an excellent learning and working environment that will serve our students well. I ask for your continued support and patience.

Frontage Property

This past semester we got further than ever before in our efforts to use the frontage property to ensure a funding stream for the college that is not at the mercy of the state. The Board voted in favor of a ground lease agreement with Carmel Partners to construct a mixed-use project of 300 residential units and some retail space on our property along Mission Blvd. The agreement also includes a 60-year lease plus a 30-year option, a minimum annual base rent of $600,000, CPI adjustments every 5 years, and a one-time 1.2 million dollar payment to the District upon securing project financing, and all improvements and their design are subject to District approval. The project is now working its way through the city approval processes, which will take about a year to complete.

Board Priorities       

The Board of Trustees has identified priorities that will assist us in accomplishing many of the tasks I have mentioned.  They include monitoring and supporting student access and success with particular focus on

  • student learning outcomes and discussing evidence of student learning;
  • reviewing and discussing disaggregated retention and persistence data to increase transfer and graduation rates of underrepresented students; and
  • reviewing and discussing presentations on student success on strategies for increasing access and success for historically underrepresented and underserved populations.

Another Board priority is to continue to participate actively in its own professional development by

  • supporting and encouraging participation in professional organization activities and events; and by
  • building a cohesive team among the Trustees, and between the Trustees and the President, through open communication and Board workshops.

They also plan to monitor the development of strategic and long-term planning by

  • approving a balanced budget that eliminates the College’s structural deficit;
  • reviewing and discussing strategies to strengthen a self-sustaining Ohlone College Foundation;
  • reviewing and participating appropriately in the development and approval of the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan;
  • reviewing and discussing progress reports from staff on the accreditation recommendations; and
  • approving the accreditation report due March 2015.

They will continue to oversee quality implementation of Measure G.  To accomplish this they will review fiscal management, planning and implementation procedures, and processes for bond projects.

And finally, they will advance initiatives that affect the Ohlone Community College District and its students through legislative advocacy by

  • reviewing the League’s and Chancellor’s Office recommendations and resolutions and taking action as appropriate; and by
  • interacting with local, state, and federal legislators to promote the Ohlone Community College District and advocate for community college initiatives.

Campus Safety

Ohlone administration and especially our Campus Police wish to keep our college safe and protected from the types of crimes we hear about regularly in the news, like school shootings. Prior to the shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007 that killed 33 and wounded 25, there were relatively few reports of mass or multiple school shootings. Since then, there has been a marked and steady increase in these incidents, and since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, there have been 34 school shootings.

Ohlone wants everyone to be prepared to respond in case of active shooters on campus or other emergencies. We are developing emergency response plans and tactics and providing training. Training includes how to respond to shooters and other types of violence, crisis response techniques, how to recognize precursors of violence, and intervention techniques. We have an emergency response team in place and we are coordinating with the Fremont and Newark police departments.

Here’s what you can do to be prepared for an emergency.

  • Make yourself familiar with the emergency procedures available on our college website.
  • Always have your classroom or office keys with you and urge others to do the same.
  • If severe violence occurs, lock your door and notify Campus Police.
  • If you are not in a room or office, seek shelter immediately and urge others to do the same.
  • Inform Campus Police or other authority where you are and who is with you.
  • Tell them what you are able to observe or hear.
  • Provide information that will assist police and emergency personnel.
  • Stay in place until you are told it is safe or you must move to avoid injury.

Other efforts to improve safety on campus include the purchase and placement of easy-to-use Automatic External Defibrillators or AEDs. They are located strategically around the campus should you ever need to use one, and I hear they nearly operate themselves.

We also have enlisted the help of student escorts to assist you in getting to your cars throughout the construction period, especially at night. Just call Campus Police at 510-659-6111, and they will send an escort if one is available.

And we have hired several lifeguards to keep swimmers safe. If you have purchased a $10 fitness card allowing you to swim in the pool, you will be happy about the new lifeguards and our expanded lap swim program.

Finally, Ohlone supports the new Violence Against Women Act or VAWA, and we are striving to comply with all parts of the act.

There’s a lot going on to assure your safety at Ohlone. Please look for more information and updates on safety and emergency response on the Ohlone website.

Triple S-P

Triple S-P stands for Student Success and Support Programs and is typically used to describe the state mandated services previously known as Matriculation. Triple S-P mandates services for colleges to provide support for student success and represents a state wide commitment to improving success.  These services include Orientation, Assessment, initial and comprehensive Student Education Plans, Counseling and Advising, and At-risk Follow up services. A big difference between Triple S-P and Matriculation is that orientation is now required prior to students registering in classes.

Separate from and preceding Triple S-P, state requirements to restrict repeatability of courses and proscribe priority registration were implemented at Ohlone.

Student Services and IT have been working hard over the last year to implement and comply with the required services of Triple S-P, and we are working to submit our plan due this October.

International Programs and Services

Our international program continues to thrive. We have experienced a steady increase in enrollment, both in degree-seeking students and English Language Institute students, over the past few years. In 2013, enrollment jumped to 385 students, about a 7% increase over previous years. Last spring, we were able to maintain that level and slightly increase the enrollment to just under 400 students. For this fall semester, we have 405 enrolled in degree courses, up over 50 students since 2011. That means about 4.7% of all students enrolled at Ohlone are international students. 

The majority of our students come from Asia. China is still predominant with about 48% of our international students coming from the Mainland. As we start this term, students from 37 different countries will be enrolling in Ohlone classes.  Countries that are newly added this year are Italy, the Netherlands, Nigeria, and Mauritius. Proportionately, our biggest increase came from the country of Malaysia.

This summer, Ohlone renewed its commitment to faculty exchange by sending 8 Ohlone faculty to China for short-term instruction at several institutions. These faculty came from various departments including Music, Theater, Computer Science, English, and History.

The faculty mentor group continues to provide strong support for our international students. Over 100 international students have benefitted from this program in the past three years.  The faculty and staff who volunteer their time help new international students adjust to a new culture and academic environment.

Accomplishments and honors

I’d like to provide you now with updates on some of our successes and future endeavors.

Foundation

Of course, the Ohlone College Foundation continues to support the college well. The Foundation received several generous donations since January.  One for $10,000 came from the grandparents of two Ohlone College students, and a second $10,000 contribution came from an Ohlone international student’s sponsor. In honor of their 50th anniversary, Fremont Bank donated $10,000 in addition to their continuing and very generous support of Ohlone. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (I triple-E) donated $2,500 for female and underrepresented students to provide an engineering solution to different humanitarian needs. The East Bay Community Foundation/Evelyn Henderson Scholarship for Deaf Students has awarded us a $7,500 grant. The CIO Scholarship Fund, a group of Silicon Valley Chief Information Officers, donated $11,500 to support STEM-related programs at Ohlone College. The gift will be used to start an endowment to support tutoring, course and lab setups, and general technology and science lab upgrades.  And currently the Foundation is working with a recent Ohlone College retiree on a major donation to establish a Faculty Professional Development Fund which will increase support for full and part time faculty professional development.

The Ohlone Promise, established last year with 16 students, was expanded this year to 20 students.  You will recall that the Ohlone Promise is a two-year “full ride” scholarship available to seniors graduating from public high schools in our district.  In total, the Ohlone College Foundation awarded 98 scholarships last year totaling over $132,000. The Foundation hosted a Scholarship Reception in May to honor these recipients, and Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison served as Master of Ceremonies.

What incredible help the Foundation provides us!

Grants

We continue to be awarded grants. Ohlone’s grant to continue the Tri-Cities One Stop Career Center was renewed by the Alameda Workforce Investment Board (WIB), and we have a new director that I introduced earlier.   

Ohlone recently received a grant from the United Way, and we are working with the organization, Growth Sector, to develop an accelerated math track for engineering students. Through our Growth Sector connections, we are partnering with Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Labs for internships for these students.  We are also working to develop a similar partnership with NASA Ames.  Finally, we plan to apply for two Department of Labor grants to further enhance and support this initial endeavor. 

Programs

ACCE Award

We continue to receive recognition for our programs. The Community Education Department was awarded the “Program Recognition Award” for our Cisco Western Academy Support and Training Center Program from the Association of Community and Continuing Education (ACCE).  Only two schools in the state received awards this year. We received ours for providing an innovative program that supports and trains Cisco academies across California, Nevada, and Arizona, using a self-supporting fee-based model.  This is the second ACCE award we have won in two years.

Journalism Awards

The Ohlone College Monitor Newspaper won a total of nine awards at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ Statewide Convention this past year, including four 1st place finishes and the coveted General Excellence award.

High School Theatre Festival 20th Anniversary

The Ohlone College High School Theater Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary in the spring. High school students from all over northern California, including Fremont and the extended Bay Area participated in this event. This year we had 27 high schools with 846 students registered, the most ever, and 90 judges. This festival is the largest in northern California and second largest in the state.

Biotechnology Center Award

The Ohlone College Northern California Biotechnology Training Center was one of two programs nominated for the Education Innovation award from the East Bay Economic Development Alliance. The awards recognize groups and companies that are instrumental in advancing the region’s culture of innovation and for contributing to regional prosperity. The center has worked hand-in-hand with Ohlone College’s academic program and collaborated with other colleges in the region to prepare a well-trained workforce for the life science industries in the Bay Area, maintain a steady pipeline of science students transferring to universities, and offer professional development to secondary education and community college faculty.

Students

Our students continue to stand out, as well.

Baseball

Our baseball team finished the 2014 season with a 25-11 record and reached #4 in the CCC Baseball Rankings.  All 10 of the team’s sophomores moved on to 4-year universities, 7 of those to continue their baseball careers.  The Renegade baseball team also excelled in the classroom with 17 players finishing with a 3.0 or higher GPA in the fall and 13 in the spring. Ten (10) Renegades were voted to the Coast Conference All-Conference Team.

Softball

The softball team earned a team GPA of 3.2 during the competition season last spring.  Along with their academic strength, they qualified once again for playoffs and reached the Super Regionals Tournament, making this their 24th season qualifying for the post season. 

Transfer Students

In data released in March, the number of fall 2013 Ohlone students transferring to a CSU increased to 408, representing a 19% increase.  Those same students entered a CSU with an average GPA of 3.10, above the statewide average of 3.05.

Ohlone College students who transferred to a CSU in fall 2012 persisted to fall 2013 at a 90% rate, above the statewide community college rate of 87%.  Additionally, those 343 Ohlone transfer students had an average first-year CSU GPA of 3.07, compared to the statewide average of 3.03.

Puente

Twenty-seven of thirty-one students in our 2013-14 Puente cohort successfully finished the two preparatory courses for Freshman Composition, and all of them continued on to enroll in that college-level course. In the spring, 26 or 96% finished the course and 21 or 78% succeeded. This success rate is above the college wide average of 72-73%.

Student Artwork

Last semester, at the request of Assembly member Bill Quirk, the art work of 9 of our Ohlone students was put on display in his office in Sacramento.

Student Award: Officer of the Year

And Ohlone student, Sergeant First Class Jason Manella, was selected as the 2013 Army Non-commissioned Officer of the Year and was recognized for his accomplishment by the Board of Trustees in March.

Faculty and Staff

Our faculty and staff have some great accomplishments to brag about too.

Associate Degrees for Transfer (ADT)

Congratulations are in order for Ohlone faculty and staff who have had 21 Associate Degrees for Transfer, also known as the “guaranteed transfer degrees,” approved by the Chancellor’s Office. The college has not only met 100% of the degree goal it established with the Chancellor’s Office, but Ohlone is one of only eight colleges statewide to have gained approval for at least 21 of the new degrees.

iPad Teaching Activities

ESL faculty member Vicki Curtis' iPad teaching activities have been selected to be included in the book iPads in Education for Dummies by Sam Gliksman. Mr. Gliksman is well-known for his blog, workshops, conference presentations, and books on using iPads in educational settings. Ohlone College will be mentioned in the book as well.

2014 Phi Theta Kappa All-California Academic Team

Ohlone’s Senior Safety Officer James Keogh was selected by the Community College League of California as one of 68 top community college students for the 2014 Phi Theta Kappa All-California Academic Team. Team members are selected on the basis of grades, leadership, and community service.

2014 California Community College Coaches Achievement Award

And our very own Coach Donna Runyon received the highly prestigious 2014 California Community College Coaches Achievement Award.  This peer-nominated award honors coaches who show exemplary participation, dedication, and contributions to their chosen sport. Coach Runyon has coached community college softball for 35 years, the last 27 of those at Ohlone. She has led the Renegades to post-season play 25 seasons and claimed conference championships 13 times, with an amazing nine-year streak from 2003 to 2011. This past season she hit 900 wins. For Donna Runyon this award recognizes her lifetime of dedication and achievement as a coach and mentor to her players, as well as the service and leadership provided to the community and to Ohlone College. 

Ohlone’s 50th Anniversary

Ohlone’s 50th Anniversary celebrations are coming in 2017-18! Shairon Zingsheim and Patrice Birkedahl are beginning to plan some exciting activities. It should be great timing with the opening of our Academic Core buildings that same year.

Closing

And now, thanks to all who provided information or reviewed today’s presentation, and kudos once again to Sarah Daniels for her great slides that always enrich what would otherwise be a very long speech.

And finally, I want to thank and credit all of you with the magnificent work you have been doing. Your involvement in Measure G planning is transforming this campus into a 21st century learning environment. Your work not only to produce a comprehensive self evaluation report for accreditation but your efforts to make Ohlone truly worthy of the many commendations we received are remarkable. Please continue your excellent work, and have a great semester.

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