State of the College Spring 2015
January 23, 2015 / Dr. Gari Browning
- Ohlone College President's Office

Richard Watters, Ohlone College Board of Trustees Vice Chairman, introduced Dr. Browning.

Text of Dr. Browning's speech follows:

Welcome

Thank you, Mister Vice Chairman. Welcome everyone to the spring 2015 semester and the State of the College presentation. 

Board Members.

I would like to introduce members of the Board of Trustees, Vice Chair Richard Watters, who just introduced me, Trustee Vivien Larsen, and Student Trustee Daniel O’Donnell. Thank you for your support and dedication to the college.  I would also like to mention the trustees who are unable to be with us today: Board Chair Greg Bonaccorsi, Trustee Teresa Cox, Trustee Jan Giovaninni-Hill, Trustee Ishan Shah, and Trustee Garrett Yee, who is scheduled to return from military leave in June.

Foundation Board Members.

I would like to welcome members of the Ohlone College Foundation Board.  Please hold your applause to the end.  Please stand as I say your name—Dr. Rakesh Sharma–Board Chair, Julie Zhu–Board Vice Chair, Christopher Brown, Steve Cho, Sue Dziedzic, Brad Hatton, Sylvia Jimenez, Wing Lam, Anita Pirrone, Ron Sha, Jennifer Toy Harrison, Lou Willett, and Jim Wright. Thank you for your continued support of Ohlone College.  And thank you especially for helping our students, faculty, and programs.

I would like to thank Dr. Jim Morris, Superintendent of the Fremont Unified School District, for coming today. 

Also I am pleased to welcome Newark Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Dave Marken. 

Having both of our district’s superintendents with us today underscores our shared commitment to educating our community’s students.  Thank you for both for being here. Please stand.  Join me in welcoming them. 

New Hires

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

  • Tony Bear--Radio Station Technician
  • Silvia Bustamante--Executive Assistant, Business Services
  • Laticia Dyer--Special Programs Assistant, DSPS
  • Michael Moore--Confidential Assistant to Vice President of Academic Affairs
  • Tim Ngo--IT Support Technician II
  • Nasser Noei--Director of Application Services
  • Dana Pope--Job Placement Specialist
  • Maria-Ana Robertson--Lab Technician, Biotechnology
  • Michael Sewell--Facilities Maintenance Aide
  • Lorelei Small--Learning Resources Technician II
  • Connie So--Student Services Assistant, and
  • John Worley--Chief, Campus Police & Safety

Welcome!

Position Changes and Promotions

And we have several position changes and promotions:

  • Alex Lebedef--Director, Purchasing, Contracts, Auxiliary Services, and Hazardous Materials Coordinator
  • JoyDawn Olla--Accommodations Services Specialist, and
  • Jackie Vetter--Newark Campus Site Coordinator

Congratulations!

Overview

I’ll be covering several important topics today.  They include the latest on the budget and an enrollment update.  There are some really big initiatives to undertake this semester topped by the development of a new strategic plan for 2015-20 and our Accreditation follow-up report.  I’ll give you some other important updates and a look at Measure G projects.

The Budget First

Governor Brown referencing school funding poster.The Governor’s 2015-16 Budget Proposal, while prudent, reflects national and state economies that are both–finally–making and sustaining, gains.  The stock market has fully recovered from last year’s lows, and capital gains are anticipated to be robust.  Real estate markets continue to reflect positive price gains, especially in California and, of course, in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Job markets are rebounding.  Low energy prices are fueling consumer spending, which adds to the positive economic cycle.

In California, the combination of Proposition 30 (passed in 2012) and the strong economy has driven General Fund revenues to record levels resulting in increased state government spending.  The lion’s share of these additional revenues adds to the K-12 and community college Prop 98 base.

This is really great news—news that has been a long time coming!

These positive indicators, of course, must be tempered with a few caveats, especially the expiration of parts of Prop 30 in 2016-17 and the required increase in employer contributions to CalSTRS and CalPERS.

The STRS employer rate goes from 8.25% in 2013-2014 to 19.1% in 2020-2021.  The PERS employer rate goes from 11.44% to 20.4% during the same period.  In that our budget consists of 85% personnel costs, these increases have serious ramifications to future fiscal stability.

During the recent recession, the California education sector took more cuts than any other segment of the State Budget.  The Governor’s 2015-16 Budget Proposal clearly demonstrates his commitment to restore these reductions.  This focus on restoring funding to education—at the expense of restoring other areas of the State Budget— may represent a risk as legislators in Sacramento debate the Governor’s Proposal over future months, and may mean that amount is shared across more services than just education.

California Community Colleges are slated to receive 10.95% of Prop 98 funds in the Governor’s Proposal.  According to Chancellor Brice Harris, this is the first time in two decades that the priorities of the Governor–and ostensibly of the Legislature—have aligned with those of the community college system.  He is referring to the Student Success Support Programs, the Student Equity Plans, Adult Education, the Baccalaureate pilot, and other initiatives.

Here’s what is new for California Community Colleges in the Governor’s Budget:

  • $125 million of one-time funding to pay down the backlog of State mandate claims
    • These one-time funds can be used for deferred maintenance, instructional equipment, or other one-time costs.
  • $92 million to pay for a statutory COLA increase of 1.58%
  • $106.9 million to fund enrollment restoration and growth up to 2%, about 23,000 additional FTES system-wide.
    • The 2014-15 Budget directed the Board of Governors to adopt a growth formula that gives priority for these funds to districts identified as having the greatest unmet need in adequately serving specific student groups.  There are inherent shortcomings in the formula that have since sparked debate in Sacramento and among the colleges.  So stay tuned!
  • $100 million to augment Student Success Support Programs (Triple S-P)
  • $100 million to implement local Student Equity Plans allocated based in part on measures of disadvantage, such as a district’s poverty and unemployment rates
  • $125 million for an apportionment augmentation to help community colleges get ahead of imminent increases in costs such as STRS and PERS contribution payments.
    • This is the least defined part of the Governor’s plan for community colleges.  The $125 million would represent an unallocated base increase of approximately 2% to account and prepare for increasing operating expenses in the areas of facilities, retirement benefits, professional development, converting part-time to full-time faculty, and other general expenditures.  Because the Governor did not justify these monies, they are the most vulnerable part of the proposed Community College budget.

Also included in the Governor’s Proposal:

  • $48 million of one-time funding to support the Career Technical Education Pathways Program at the Chancellor’s Office.
  • $29.1 million for the expansion of apprenticeship programs across the system. 
  • $500 million for an Adult Education Block Grant--According to the Governor’s proposal, Adult Ed programs serving the highest needs populations will have priority for these funds.
  • $39.6 million of Prop 39-California Clean Energy Jobs Act funds for the implementation of energy efficiency projects. 
  • And not in the Governor’s Budget Proposal—again-- is a statewide school facilities bond.  The high passage rate for school bonds supports the argument that local communities are willing to support these efforts in lieu of Sacramento. 

That is a big picture, and very preliminary, look at the Governor’s 2015-16 Budget Proposal that was released on January 9th.  As is usual in the fiscal cycle in January of every year, the programmatic and implementation details remain to be fleshed out as Legislative Committees begin to debate the proposed budget in earnest.  In early February, our own finance team will begin to share more specifically how the Governor’s Budget Proposal would impact our college given the most current information out of Sacramento.

What we can say at the moment is that the Governor’s proposed budget favors colleges that are growing and does not address the fiscal needs of colleges that are not currently in growth mode to the same extent.  This impacts Ohlone and most Northern California colleges where the state economy is the strongest.

You’ll recall that, for the current academic year, the state budget includes 2.75% for enrollment restoration.  We determined the most we could add back would be 2.3%, and even this is proving challenging.  Also recall that the funding the college receives for enrollment restoration is our only source of ongoing increase other than COLA, and it is how we pay for restoring class sections.  Last year the state’s percentage for enrollment restoration was 1.6%.  Because Ohlone’s enrollment last year was softening, in order to hit that target, we used the 363 FTES from summer 2013 and another 543 FTES from summer 2014.  That is out of a 7888 FTES total.  More than half of the summer FTES we applied to 2013-14 was taken from 2014-15. Ideally we would apply only the FTES generated within a fiscal year to fund that year.

This year the picture looks similar.  In fall we generated 3660 FTES—less than 1% above last fall.  This semester we built a larger offering in hopes of growing, but even so, as of yesterday we are just 1.6% above last spring.  That number should get a little better by census, but it is unlikely we can hit the 2.3% target for the year I mentioned without taking a good amount from summer 2015.  This pattern indicates that we are not growing at a rate that keeps pace with state restoration funding.  And the pattern is not sustainable in the long run. 

Other northern, central, and southern California colleges, including Merced, Butte, Irvine Valley, College of the Redwoods, Antelope Valley, and Modesto Junior College are experiencing an enrollment lag or decline more severe than ours, some as a result of implementing new Triple S-P requirements.  Other colleges are experiencing double-digit growth.

There is a general principle mentioned several times in the Governor’s proposal that may reduce our funding compared to other colleges.  College districts with the largest historically underrepresented populations and those with the highest poverty levels and the highest unemployment are to receive larger shares of various allocations.  This is the same principle that has been applied to K-12 funding based on their student populations.  Our district population, like many in the Bay Area, is better educated and more affluent than other areas in the state.  However, unlike many other Bay-Area community college districts, Ohlone is dependent on state apportionment.  San Jose/Evergreen, San Mateo, West Valley/Mission, and Marin districts are all Basic Aid meaning they have property tax income that allows them to be free of concerns about state allocations and to spend more per student. The combination of these circumstances means we must continue to manage our resources prudently.

I am sure that you did not miss the part of the budget proposal that read, “$125 million to fund facilities, retirement contributions, professional development, converting adjunct to full-time faculty, and other expenses.”  Assuming these dollars make it to the final budget, which may not happen, we would need to be sure we address significant increasing STRS and PERS costs before we commit this money to additional faculty positions.  Still, given our extreme need to hire additional full-time faculty beyond the numbers that are retiring, I am confident that we will be able to hire at least one more faculty member beyond the three I announced before the break, and two more is probably doable. I will rely on the same information the Faculty Prioritization Committee used to make its recommendations this year to determine where the need is greatest.

Classification Study

The Board of Trustee’s stated goal for all district employees is that they be compensated at least at the mean compared to other colleges for the position they hold.  In order to do this, we have to align job descriptions with those of similar colleges.  In the fall I described the process we are following to ensure that our job descriptions and compensation are comparable to those of similar Bay Area colleges.  Since it has been so long since the last time we performed such a study, we are finding some areas for classified staff and administration that need to be addressed.  A salary survey for faculty is the next step in the study. 

This Semester’s Tasks

Our heads are spinning with the number of mandates coming from the state legislature.  We have had extraordinarily short turnarounds for Triple S-P, the baccalaureate pilot, and the Student Equity Plan, in addition to the Accreditation follow-up report, which I am going to talk about.  We continue to be engaged in the statewide efforts involving workforce development, adult education, and CTE requirements.  The latest is an institutional effectiveness plan, which would require us to have and report on college goals for student outcomes, fiscal stability, accreditation, and compliance with state requirements, among other things. 

Student Success and Support Program

The Student Success and Support Program or triple S-P (SSSP) is now well underway.  It parallels the former Matriculation program and has several components designed to ensure students succeed in completing degrees and certificates or transferring.  I would like to provide you with an update on Ohlone’s progress in putting these services in place for all students.  Overall, we are moving ahead nicely with the assistance of the Information Technology Department.

  • Assessment—Incoming students take placement assessments to determine the level to begin their English, math, and ESL coursework.  Assessment instruments and services were already in place under Matriculation but needed to be refined to better support prerequisites and ease of use.
  • Orientation—All new students, rather than only those who elect to do so, are now required to attend an orientation session to help them navigate the community college requirements and services.  Students who do not complete orientation are blocked from registering.  Continuing students, high school students, students taking only one class for some purposes, and students with previous degrees are exempt.
  • Counseling & Advising—Our system to track services to students, SARS, has been improved to ensure the accuracy of both counseling contact counts and Chancellor’s Office reporting requirements. 
  • Educational Planning–The Student Education Plan, now required of all students, is the largest challenge facing community colleges.  Our plan involves piloting this spring and an anticipated rollout in fall.  In the interim, counselors are using the current system.  We are implementing Student Planner and are piloting workshops this year to help students develop effective ed plans. 
  • Follow Up and Support for Basic Skills students and students on probation--We are continuing to provide outreach workshops and counseling and are researching campus-wide contact software to better link early alerts from instructors to tutoring and counseling resources.

Pilot Baccalaureate

Last month Ohlone applied to participate in a statewide pilot program for community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees.  After careful research and consideration, we determined that the most appropriate degree for us to mount would be a Bachelor’s of Science in Respiratory Care.  Despite having an award-winning program, stellar faculty, a new facility, and 100% passage rates on the licensure test consistently, Ohlone was not selected.  We are certainly disappointed!  However, the decision likely rested on geography since the colleges selected to offer the degree in this area were Modesto JC to the east and Skyline to the west.

Student Equity Plan

We have been working feverishly to prepare and submit our Student Equity Plan to the Chancellor’s Office, which we did last month.  Between March and the December deadline, the college was required to assess 5 student success indicators for disproportionate impact on underrepresented groups--a statistical definition provided by the Chancellor’s Office.  The indicators are Access, Course Completion, ESL and Basic Skills Completion, Degree and Certificate Completion, and Transfer.  Where such impact was identified, the college was required to create a goal and action plan to remedy the disparity.  Ohlone chose to expand its efforts to address student groups who, while not disproportionately impacted, fell below the institution-set minimum standard for that particular metric.  Our goals reflect plans to address both categories.  Although I won’t go into detail, each goal has specific activities that are intended to achieve it and has budget associated with it.  I encourage you to read the plan on the website.  Here’s an overview.

The Ohlone College Equity Plan employs several major strategies--For the target groups, the college will expand its learning communities.  To increase overall success, the college will implement or increase the effectiveness of program review by using data disaggregated by student group,  will increase the services offered through tutoring, and will expand the scope of its Learning Resource Centers.

Included in expanding the scope of the Learning Resource Centers is the coordination and expansion of support services on the student services side and the academic resource centers on the instructional side as a combined learning support system. Particular emphasis through the Student Equity Plan will be to target the identified underrepresented student groups for these services. Because Ohlone regards itself as a Learning College, professional development will be an important element of this strategy.

Given this equity plan, our previous goals, and the results of our E-scan analysis, I envision a major theme of our new strategic plan to be equity. This is consistent with the Ohlone vision, mission, goals, and slogan, all of which express our commitment to serving our diverse student body.

As I reported to you in my last speech, the timeline for preparing the Student Equity Plan was unrealistically short, especially if anything of quality and usefulness was to be produced.  Fortunately, we were able to meet the deadline and submit a plan that contained a great deal of good analysis and ideas from the college community.  It will need more refinement, but the good news is that we will be able to continue to adjust it as we see what works for us.  We also have funding this year to implement the goal activities I just described.  And the Governor’s proposed budget includes funding for 2015-16.  I encourage you to participate in this plan!

Accreditation

Another external requirement is the Accreditation Follow-up Report, due this semester.  You remember, of course, that we did great in our last Accreditation review.  Our Accreditation was reaffirmed and we received 8 commendations for the good work we do.  We also received recommendations and are required to respond to 3 of them by March 15.  I believe we are addressing them effectively.

Recommendation 1 is to establish and implement institution-set minimum standards for student achievement.  We established these standards back in April and have been incorporating them into our Program and Services Reviews.  An example of one of our institution-set standards is a 69.1% minimum student passage rate for all courses.  The target we are shooting for as a college is 73.0%.  As we all know, some courses are inherently more difficult for students than others, and students in all institutions have lower success rates for these hard courses than for other courses.  Math is the most called-upon example of a difficult subject, but the sciences and many other disciplines cover challenging concepts.  For instance, in 2013-14 the success rate for chemistry courses was 68.53%--below the institution-set standard by a slim 0.57%.  So for the chemistry department, they would need to create a plan to bring the success rate above the standard by writing a PIO to accomplish that.  Each department will scrutinize their course and program success rates and follow a similar process to improve student achievement if indicated.   

This sequence is what we are required to do to satisfy Accreditation Recommendation #1, and we are already implementing both the data and the improvement steps through Program and Services Reviews and Program Improvement Objectives (PIOs). 

Recommendation 2 is to provide consistent services to students regardless of class location or mode of delivery (think “online” versus “in person”) and to demonstrate that services enhance student learning and achievement.  In order to address this recommendation, we analyzed where and when students take classes, what services are available to them, and how they access services.  We have used the results to ensure that services are available to all students. We have also collected data on student use of services and compared it to their achievement data.  We are continuing to identify ways to collect better data and data on a wider range of services, but the data we do have shows that services seem to impact achievement positively.  The recommendation also requires us to ensure that Student Services engages in division-wide dialogue, data analysis, and decision-making based upon that data.  That analysis and discussion have occurred.

Here are some highlights from the data analysis:

In EOPS

  • Virtually half of all EOPS students are Asian.
  • Grade point averages for EOPS students were only average in 2009 but have been consistently rising and are now substantially better than average.

DSPS

  • In the past five years the number of students accessing DSPS services has declined 30%.
  • After consistently being below the college-wide average for GPA, DSPS students’ average GPA for 2013 aligned with the average GPA.
  • 2013 saw DSPS course completion or success rate approximate the college-wide average for the first time in five years.

Veterans

  • Veterans take and complete more units than average.
  • Veteran course completion or success rates have been lower than the college-wide average four of the past five years.

Financial Aid

  • Both the percentage of students accessing financial aid services and the percentage of students enrolled receiving financial aid have almost doubled since 2009.
  • The GPA for financial aid students tends to be slightly below the college-wide average.
  • Forty-eight percent of financial aid students are enrolled full time, the lowest rate in five years.

Counseling

  • Since 2009 the percentage of students accessing counseling services has increased from 27% to 37%.
  • Students who access counseling have a slightly higher than average GPA.
  • The average number of units attempted and units completed is higher than average for students who use counseling services.
  • Persistence rates, based on semester to semester enrollment, are much better for students who have accessed counseling services than the college-wide average.

Transfer Center

  • The average GPA for students using the Transfer Center is substantially higher than the average student GPA.
  • There was a 25% increase (403 to 508) in the number of Ohlone students transferring to CSU in 2013 compared to 2012.

Assessment

  • One-fourth of all math assessments are into the lowest basic arithmetic courses.

This is good information to help us in key areas. 

We are already implementing changes that increase the availability of services to all students.  For example, after reviewing data, Student Services offices are now open more hours to directly serve our students and community, including extended evening hours, Friday hours, and extra hours during enrollment.  Additionally, more Student Services staff have been deployed at Newark and Hyman Hall at the start of this semester in an effort to accommodate increased enrollment at those locations.

Recommendation 3 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.  The recently ratified UFO contract includes language that should meet this Standard. 

Recommendations to Improve Institutional Effectiveness

We will need to satisfy 4 other recommendations by spring of 2017—now just 2 years away.  Efforts to launch a new strategic plan next year will dovetail with the required changes.  One relies on institution-set standards, and applying them to Program Review as I described, will take us miles in meeting this recommendation.  We have also disaggregated Program Review data by student group, that is, gender, age, ethnicity, and disability.  Programs are comparing this data by student group to the institution-set standards to identify areas in the greatest need of attention. 

Non-academic areas and services are in the process of identifying their own metrics and standards in order to assess how they are performing.  These metrics and standards will become the basis for their data-driven improvement in the form of PIOs and action plans.  Having action plans for all improvement objectives will allow us to demonstrate how we are achieving our college goals—a deficiency mentioned in the team report.

We will be providing regular funding to support the replacement of library and learning resources.  We must coordinate all tutorial services incorporating training, faculty outreach and referral processes, tracking of sessions, and an assessment of the effectiveness of the services.  Our new academic resource center with support from the Student Equity Plan, will help to strengthen tutoring once we open the Academic Core buildings.

Another recommendation we must report on in 2017 is implementation of our staffing plan.  Specifically we need to show progress in restoring the number of full-time faculty we have in the classroom, a number which is low when compared to colleges of similar size.  In 2013, in response to three years of state-imposed reductions to enrollment, we re-benched our projected need from 152 to 141 faculty.  We have been hiring every year, but faculty continue to retire.  So although we made progress last year by hiring 4 faculty beyond what retired in the previous year, this year doesn’t look as promising.  We are hiring for the 3 who retired as of July 2014, and probably two more as I mentioned, but we are still waiting on enrollment totals to determine exactly how many additional faculty we can hire for next year.  We will need to find a way to make progress on full-time hires in order to satisfy this recommendation.

In addition to external mandates, we have several of our own projects that we need to address this semester. 

Staff Equity

An area we want to pay attention to is staff diversity.  While our student population reflects our community’s ethnic distribution well, the same is not true of our faculty, staff, and administration.  This is partly because our staff is relatively stable, especially full-time, tenured faculty.  Also our applicant pools, despite our most conscientious efforts to attract diversity, do not typically reflect the ethnic make-up of our district.  The good news is that we hire the vast majority of our full-time faculty from our more diverse adjunct faculty.  The College Council has examined data on the ethnicity of our employee groups, understands our recruiting and hiring processes, and has expressed commitment to increasing staff diversity.  We are becoming more diverse, but progress is slow.

Strategic Planning

This year we are wrapping up our 2010-2015 Strategic Plan.  Each year we have assessed progress on our goals and objectives, and in the fall I told you we had just a few objectives left to achieve.  At this juncture, we have completed the final assessment of that plan and will use the information as we build our new 5-year goals and objectives. 

In addition to reviewing our current plan, we collect data about our local community and beyond to inform ourselves of the forces and needs relevant to planning future direction.  Information about the community at large, our students and staff, student success, and courses and sections forms the Environmental Scan.  A special task force has reviewed the report and identified areas Ohlone could or should address—gaps between needs and what we are doing currently.  This gap analysis provides major direction for our planning efforts.

Because we want to consider as much information and as many perspectives as possible before we set goals, we also assess the Accrediting Commission’s recommendations, any Actionable Improvement Plans we created as we wrote our Accreditation self study, and results of Program and Services Reviews in the form of Program Improvement Objectives or PIOs, Institutional Improvement Objectives or IIOs, and Student Learning Outcomes.  We scrutinize the Educational Master Plan, the Student Equity Plan, the Triple S-P, and other key planning documents.

The issues we have identified so far through the various assessments include the following:

  • Challenges to growth opportunities including space, ongoing construction, declining high school graduation rates, and other demographic changes
  • Socioeconomically, educationally, and technologically diverse student body bringing less prepared students
  • Timely realignment of CTE programs with industry needs and the need to adapt to advisory committee recommendations, the labor market, and emerging technologies
  • Persistence, retention, and success rates of underrepresented students, which will be assisted by our renewed attention to student equity
  • Need for non-apportionment revenue, a continuing and critical dilemma
  • Access to classes and student services by evening, weekend, and online students, already improving as we add classes and expand services for these students
  • College communication, especially making sure that everyone is aware of how and why we do things, and providing an opportunity for their input
  • Classes for concurrently enrolled high school students in need of increase
  • Access to programs for female students and for students from underrepresented ethnic groups, one of our Student Equity goals
  • Common Core impact—predicted to result in better prepared students and a possible need for us to adjust our curriculum to respond
  • Attracting and supporting older students, predicted to increase by 100% in coming years
  • Staff diversity
  • Alignment of staffing with projected needs, particularly full time faculty
  • Systematic updating of technology
  • Achieving LEED gold certification for new buildings as planned
  • Increasing data-based accountability seen in new federal and state requirements, accreditation, and Chancellor’s Office mandates

By grouping these issues, themes that emerge are

  • Student learning and achievement
  • Increasing diversity
  • Career and Technical Education
  • Equity
  • Growth and
  • Resources—fiscal, physical, technological, and human

These themes offer a start for building the strategic goals.

Earlier this week the College Council met to review college value statements, examine the results of these various assessments, and move from the themes identified through the gap analysis and other assessments to goal topics. 

As we move forward, all members of the college community will be surveyed.  The Ohlone College Foundation will have an opportunity to provide input on the college direction.  And next week the Board of Trustees will participate in a workshop on the strategic plan.  In early March we will invite community leaders to offer input and direction, as well. 

As you may remember from previous planning processes, this semester we will apply this foundational information at a college-wide summit to identify goals and brainstorm college objectives.  This year, in preparation for the summit, we will conduct a forum to familiarize the broader college community with the collective findings of the assessments.  With the product of the summit, we will attempt to finalize goals and select the most critical objectives to include in the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.  The Board will be asked to approve the plan in June.

Measure G

As you returned to the college this week or last to help with the move into modulars, you probably noticed that we now have a green fence cordoning off an enormous portion of the campus right in its middle.  And you are probably wondering what is going on behind that fence.  Well, I plan to show you!

[Start video transcript.]

From this vantage point you can see the scope of our construction projects.  Buildings 1, 2, and 8 are about to undergo soft demolition.  That means that between now and summer anything—anything!—that can be removed from these buildings will be.  As soon as the semester is done, the buildings will be knocked down.  No explosions.  Sorry!  Because the removal will include asbestos, some of the work will be done on weekends to ensure the highest possible level of safety for our staff and students.

Construction of our new South Parking Structure started in January a year ago.  The award-winning design by Steinberg Architects is just what we asked for in terms of being terraced into hillside, being open and natural looking, fitting well with the other buildings and landscape, and providing lots of parking—over 900 spots including some for faculty and staff.  The construction is going fabulously well; it is under budget and due to finish on time for use in the fall.

Outside the green fence we have added 40,000 square feet of temporary portable buildings on this campus in addition to the 15,000 at Newark which opened in the fall.  The new modulars include general classrooms, science labs, offices, a photo lab, a mail room, a student lounge, and restrooms.  I am particularly taken with the nice landscaping.  Until we move in to the new buildings in spring 2018, we think the space will provide a comfortable and practical learning environment, undoubtedly more accommodating that the buildings we are demolishing!

Over the summer, work to replace the existing utilities infrastructure occurred.  This work included water, sewer, and main electrical and gas pathways.  These changes support the modulars and the central plant for the new buildings.

To make way for construction, we are removing twenty-two eucalyptus trees and a few pine and walnut. No olives have been or will be removed.  They will be undergoing some needed professional pruning in the near future, however, which will make them healthier.

From this view you can glimpse the athletic fields, which will be completely redone with artificial turf and crowned by a new field house.

Lastly, this video was produced using the latest technology—a drone!  And I want to thank Joel Heyne, project executive with Gilbane, and especially Patrick Downey, Gilbane South Parking Structure and Utilities Project Manager, who used his personal “toy” to shoot this video.

[End video transcript.]

Wasn’t that exciting!  Since the fence will be up for several years, I hope to give you a peek at what’s going on each semester.

So to give you the big picture of the Academic core, here is how the buildings will look before…during…and after construction.

And on this map you see how much of the campus will be impacted over the next several years.

In addition to the major construction, we have concept plans under discussion for Building 5, Building 9, the swimming pool, and for terraced parking on the north side of the campus.  Construction of a greenhouse at the Newark campus is going as planned, and the portables there are working well. 

Information on the construction and way-finding is being provided through various means.  Our public information officer Patrice Birkedahl sends construction updates to the campus periodically to keep you informed of changes and events that may impact you.  We post a construction blog that is updated frequently as campus conditions dictate.  Ron Little produces a monthly newsletter that describes the progress and coming construction work.  We now have a new Ohlone Pony to help you get around during construction—all the way up the hill to Key A.  The route has been published in this month’s newsletter, available as you exit this presentation. Be sure to pick one up!  You’ll recall that we also have a cadre of student escort officers to help us get around.  And we continue with Facilities Committee meetings, presentations to College Council, and regular and extensive updates to the Board of Trustees and the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee.  All of these meetings are open to the college community, and we want your input, so please attend.

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

I know that the next few years will be a challenge for all of us.  I was particularly heartened to see how hard and collaboratively everyone worked to get the modulars up and running for the start of the semester.  Despite our best efforts to communicate events that may impact you and your classes, everything is moving quickly and there will be times we miss things.  Please understand.

Overall, this semester is an enormous milestone in transforming the Fremont campus.  It marks the beginning of an open and cutting-edge learning environment for us all.  I am extremely excited to see the work begin.  So as I tell myself, I ask that, whenever you are frustrated by the noise, dust, vista, or interruptions, that you imagine how magnificent this campus will be in 2018 and for the next 50 years.

A little about non-apportionment revenue
Frontage Property

Disappointing news—We have learned recently that Carmel Partners, the developers chosen to build up the frontage property, have withdrawn from the project.  As you know, the primary purpose for developing the property is to provide a much needed income stream to the college that is independent from the state allocation.  Such an income would allow us to keep classes and services consistently available to students and worry less about the strings attached to our funding and the next downturn in the economy.  We are in the process of determining next steps for the property and will keep you posted as we learn more. 

International Programs and Services

Our international program continues to thrive and provide us with an important source of non-apportionment income.  We have experienced a steady increase in enrollment (in both degree and English Language Institute or ELI) over the past few years.  Each semester, the increases are a bit more significant.  This spring we will reach a total international enrollment of 485 students, 385 of them degree seeking students, and the ELI will reach an enrollment of 100 for the first time in its young history.

The majority of our students come from Asia with China still the leading source of students, both for Ohlone and in the United States as a whole.  As we start this term, students from 40 different countries will be enrolling into Ohlone classes.  Countries that are newly added this semester are Iran, Ukraine, Palestine, Nigeria, and Morocco.

As Ohlone continues to grow in enrollment figures, we are making strides in global visibility.  We are becoming an institution that international students and organizations are placing high on their lists.  For prospective students, Ohlone is often one of their top choices when considering community colleges in California, and overseas institutions are now seeking out Ohlone and are making visits to our campus to develop institutional relationships.  Already this month, Ohlone has had visits from two quality institutions in China.  Delegations came to campus to meet Ohlone administrators and to finalize institutional agreements.

Such relationships help us not only in terms of enrollment but also in the development of other international program initiatives such as faculty exchange. The overseas faculty exchange program is still a priority and we are in the planning phases as we prepare to send Ohlone faculty to China and Viet Nam in early summer.

Study Abroad continues to thrive with a just-completed trip to Italy and planned trips to Baja California and Panama City this semester.   Mark Brosamer has taken the lead in this program and is doing a fine job so far.

International programs can only enjoy success with the support and involvement from the college as a whole. The faculty mentor group continues to provide strong support for our international students, and key people at overseas organizations take special notice of this program as they determine which institutions to send their cohort groups to.  International students now see community colleges as a strong option and pathway as they eventually pursue their undergraduate degrees within the UC or CSU system. Thanks to the excellent work of the faculty, staff, and counselors, Ohlone has a strong reputation for helping international students succeed, both at Ohlone and at their transfer institutions.

Board Priorities

The Board of Trustees is working on priorities to assist in accomplishing many of the initiatives we have before us.  They include monitoring and supporting student access and success with particular focus on student learning outcomes and strategies for increasing access and success for historically underrepresented and underserved students.

Trustees are actively pursuing their own professional development by attending conferences and training sessions and participating in Board workshops on important college topics. 

They have provided us with strong support for fiscal stability, and they are engaged in discussions of the strategic planning process, the accreditation follow-up report, Measure G, the Student Equity Plan, Triple S-P, and the College Foundation.  They are also working to advance political initiatives and legislation that affect the Ohlone Community College District and its students.

Accomplishments and Honors

And now I’d like to share with you some of our successes over the last semester.

Foundation

A record $80,000 was raised at this year’s 30th Annual Ohlone College Golf Tournament, a 54% increase over the last year’s high water mark.  The Foundation has designated $50,000 to be used to support college athletics and $30,000 to support other college programs.  

An anonymous donor is giving $400,000 to the Foundation for scholarships, the largest scholarship donation in the Foundation’s history!  The gift will enable the Foundation to create a permanent scholarship endowment to support the Ohlone Promise, the full-ride scholarships to Ohlone for graduating high school seniors within the district. 

Retired Vice President Jim Wright and his wife Nancy have established the Wright Family Fund.  They have made an initial donation of $18,000 and an additional five-year pledge of $20,000 for a total commitment of $38,000 through 2019.  The major emphasis of the Fund is to support Faculty Professional Development.  Another portion of the donation will help establish a permanent endowment to one day assist with the ongoing operations of the college and the maintenance of its facilities.

Grants

In the area of grants, Ohlone College is partnering with Growth Sector, a statewide workforce intermediary, in offering full-time, summer research internships to 15 students who are STEM majors. These students will work at NASA-Ames research institution on a variety of projects such as space exploration, aerospace, and engineering.

In Deaf Studies--Gallaudet University Regional Center has extended its contract with Ohlone College until 2020. 

Programs

Our programs to help students continue to be noticed.  We have been listed as one of 9 innovative programs for Entertainment Design and Technology in “Entertainment Designer Magazine” with a link to more information about our program. 

Our new Communication Lab has opened at the Newark campus providing another great resource to assist our students.  The Lab is focused on Public Speaking students but any communication classes can find useful resources and valuable student mentors there.

We have received funding from the United Way for a math acceleration program for students pursuing engineering.  This program will allow students to move from Algebra II through the first semester of calculus in just two semesters. 

DeafTec is partnering with Ohlone BioTech and California School for the Deaf to create a career pathway for Deaf students interested in entering the BioTech and STEM fields.

Beginning this semester Ohlone College will be one of six community colleges participating in a partnership with “UC Berkeley Pathways to four-year universities.”  The Transfer Center will have increased advising and support from our UC Berkeley representative, the use of the UC Berkeley logo as a tool for international and local marketing, and the possibility of low cost UC Berkeley summer courses in the future. 

Top Awards for Ohlone

Ohlone has been successful in getting yet another picture posted to the Chancellor’s Office webpage.  This one is a back-to-school banner that shows off the diversity of our student population. 

The Ohlone College Monitor won First Place for On-Site Opinion Writing, First Place for Column Writing, and Second Place for Feature Story Writing at the recent Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ NorCal conference.

Ohlone’s exceptional Online Program was listed as #7 in the Top 40 Online Community Colleges for 2014-15.

And Ohlone was named #8 on the list of the Top 30 Community Colleges in the United States in the October 2014 edition of the Chinese magazine “College Student.”  Ohlone was selected on the basis of high transfer rates and transfer agreements with UCs.

Students

Already in the top 10% of community colleges statewide for degrees awarded and transfers, Ohlone witnessed a substantial increase in program awards at the close of the 2013-14 academic year.  Six hundred eighty-five (685) degrees were awarded compared to 545 last year, and there were 821 certificates awarded compared to 271 last year. That’s 1506 program awards in 2013-14 compared to 816 in 2012-13. 

I could go on congratulating you on your accomplishments, for there are many more to mention, but the time is short and you have other activities to attend. 

Closing

I wish to thank, once again, Sarah Daniels, who even after retirement produced the excellent slide show that accompanied my remarks today.  And again thank you to Gilbane for filming and Gary Kauf, Nizar Ahmed, Hansuk Sohn, and the rest of the TV staff for recording and editing the Measure G video, and the members of the administration who added their expertise to this presentation. 

Whenever I have the opportunity to speak about Ohlone, I am never short of great accomplishments and exciting new initiatives to share.  But at the heart of every success is our students.  I congratulate you for keeping students as the focus of all you do.  I realize there are many projects we must undertake to continue to be the high-performing, well-respected institution we are, and I appreciate your efforts.  Still I want to thank you most for your dedication to teaching and learning and for your commitment to students.  Keep up the great work!

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