State of the College Spring 2016
January 22, 2016 / Dr. Gari Browning
- Ohlone College President's Office

Vivien Larsen, Ohlone College Board of Trustees Vice Chair, introduced Dr. Browning.

Text of Dr. Browning's speech follows:

Welcome

Thank you, Madam Vice Chair.   Welcome everyone to the spring 2016 semester and the State of the College presentation. 

Board of Trustees members.

I would like to introduce members of the Board of Trustees—Vice Chair Vivien Larsen, who just introduced me, Trustee Greg Bonaccorsi, Trustee Ishan Shah, and Student Trustee Rahul Patel.  Thank you for coming today and thank you for all your dedicated support for Ohlone and our students. I would also like to mention the trustees who are unable to be with us today:

  • Board Chair Richard Watters,
  • Trustee Teresa Cox,
  • Trustee Jan Giovaninni-Hill, and
  • Trustee Garrett Yee. 

Ohlone College Foundation board members.

I would like to welcome members of the Ohlone College Foundation Board.  Please hold your applause to the end.  Board members please stand as I say your name and stay standing. 

  • Rakesh Sharma, Board Chair;
  • Julie Zhu, Board Vice Chair;
  • Steve Cho;
  • Sue Dziedzic;
  • Gloria Fuerniss;
  • Brad Hatton;
  • Ron Sha; and
  • Jim Wright.

Thank you sincerely for your support of our students, faculty, and programs and for taking the time to come today.

ASOC members.The executive officers of the Associated Students of Ohlone College have joined us today.  Please stand so we can welcome you.

I would like to introduce Dr. Dave Marken, Superintendent of the Newark Unified School District.  Dr. Marken, please stand. Welcome and thank you for being here this morning. 

The Ohlone College Connection program is a unique partnership where high school teachers work with a cohort of high school seniors on our campuses. This year’s College Connection students are watching from the Newark campus. I would like you to join me in giving them a warm Ohlone welcome.

Members of the President's Advisory Committee talking at a table.

Finally, this semester for the first time we have invited members of the President’s Advisory Committee, which include community leaders from local business and industry, local government, universities, school districts, non-profit organizations, religious groups, and police and fire departments.  I would like you to please stand and let us thank you for being here.

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. We have some hires that are position replacements:

  • Bill Clontz—Athletics Technician
  • Robert Dias—Director, Bond Construction/Capitol Projects (funded by Measure G)
  • Charmaine Do—Director, Community Education & Workforce Development
  • Brotati Guha—Instructional Assistant, English Learning Center
  • Oscar Guillen—Director, Facilities Maintenance & Operations
  • Myra Mills—Confidential Human Resources Specialist (due to a reorganization)
  • Jeremy Mull—Radio Station Technician
  • Steven Reeves—Director of Technology Services
  • Amy Rios—Community Services Specialist
  • Brian Rodriguez—Safety Officer I
  • Tijan White—Enrollment Services Specialist I

We have one new position:

  • Ruben Aviles—Custodial Supervisor, Swing Shift

And we have been able to hire some positions because of one-time Student Support Services and Programs (SSSP) and Student Equity funding:

  • Tony Bui—Learning Resources Technician I
  • Sonali Dhru—Junior Programmer/Analyst
  • Chris Hayashida—Applications Administrator and
  • Matthew Ng—Senior Institutional Research Analyst

Welcome!

Staff on the Move at Ohlone College.And we have several position changes and promotions:

  • Lynn Hickson—IT Support Lead Technician
  • April Merritt—Assistant to the President
  • Quan Nguyen—Administrative Systems Analyst/Applications Administrator
  • Charles Outing—Systems and Network Technician
  • Jipssee Sayalit—IT Support Technician I

Congratulations!

Interims

Dr. George Kozitza has been assisting us as Interim Vice President for Administrative Services while we search for a permanent VP.  George has done an excellent job with both our business services area and Measure G and the other areas that report to him.  Thank you, George.  The position closed this week, and we anticipate having a new VP onboard soon. 

Dr. Leta Stagnaro continues to serve as the Interim VP of Student Services in addition to being the Vice President of Academic Affairs.  Needless to say she is busy but continuing to do a wonderful job.  I want to thank you for all the support you have been offering her.  The VP Student Services position closes February 17th.

Overview

Today I’ll be talking about what’s going on at the college and what we can anticipate this semester.  You’ll hear an update on Measure G projects, information on the Governor’s January budget proposal, progress on the Strategic Plan, development of our culture of inclusiveness, and a few of your many successes that make us proud. 

Measure G first.

Measure G

[Start video transcript.]

In fall we celebrated the opening of our spectacular new parking structure.  However, we had some unexpected issues with the elevators working properly.  In addition to problems programing the elevators, the drainage on the top level was not quite right, resulting in rain water leaking into the elevator shaft.  Now the elevators are up and running.  The good news is that these repairs did not cost the District any money, nor did they impact our warranties. 

Construction of the Academic Core buildings was to have started in October, but we were delayed by legal challenges to a similar contract type used elsewhere in California. Ohlone, like other community colleges with construction projects, employed a bidding method that allowed us to factor in the experience of the construction company along with the lowest bid, and bring the construction firm on early to work closely with the architects.  A contract using this method, known as Lease-Lease Back, was challenged in court and found to violate the state requirement that colleges accept the lowest bid.  As a result, we were advised to restart the process of selecting a construction company.  This, combined with a five-month delay from the Division of State Architect, means that, barring any other unforeseen delays, construction is scheduled to get underway in April.  This delay pushes our opening date from fall 2018 to spring 2019. 

Progress on the athletic fields continued through the fall and the winter break, but rain has delayed the opening of the baseball and softball fields until late March or early April, depending on the weather in January and February.  We do expect on-time completion of the soccer field in August.

The swimming pool was emptied and its renovation began in December.  The improvements include evening out the pool depth to match our program needs, which will also save water, chemicals and energy.  And the deck will be completely replaced along with some other renovations.  We anticipate completion by August.

In the meantime the bugs in the portables on both campuses have been worked out and, by all reports, these facilities are meeting our teaching needs well. 

[End video transcript.]

So you can see progress is a little uneven, but we’re getting there.

Outages

We experienced a few outages over the winter break as a result of construction.  Several minor shut offs and interruptions to our service were due contractors inadvertently disrupting power, gas, and water lines. In some cases data was also impacted due to loss of power in the area. Most of these interruptions were minor in nature and services were usually restored quickly.

Major campus wide shut downs were planned during the first two weeks in January to help us prepare for upcoming construction or to complete the final phase of the Utility Infrastructure Upgrades.  They facilitated new power and gas service to the campus by PG & E. Due to lack of power, data networks were also temporarily impacted. Gas was shut off to Building 19 to facilitate the installation of a new meter in that building.

As we begin construction of the Academic Core, there will undoubtedly be more interruptions, and some of them will impact you and your students.  Please be patient but don’t hesitate to communicate to us about any problems you encounter.  We will be working to keep you informed about construction.  We have another newsletter for you today, so please remember to pick it up. 

To help students find their way to classes, administrators will be taking turns directing students the first few days of the semester.  We will also have some signage at key locations to assist them.

Now the Governor’s preliminary January budget.

Budget

Governor's Preliminary January Budget

The state’s revenue outlook is positive again for the coming year.  The Governor’s priorities are paying down debts, and addressing poverty and climate change.   Education is still doing well although not as well as last year.  The Proposition 98 minimum guarantee is estimated to grow to $71.6 billion in 2016-17, and community colleges are likely to receive the traditional 10.93% plus some additional one-time funding. 

Reaction to the Governor’s proposal from the community colleges is mixed at best.  There is concern about the lack of ongoing money in favor of one-time and restricted money.  The COLA, estimated at 2.99% in late fall, was much lower in the Governor’s budget at just .47% and about half of the 1.02% we received last year. 

The budget proposes a 2% system-wide increase for access, that is, ongoing money to continue to restore availability of classes.  You will recall that last year there was 3% for enrollment restoration.  The formula that is applied put our share last year at about half that—1.6%, so it’s likely our potential increase will be closer to 1% for the coming year.  Roughly half of community college districts, especially in Northern California and including Ohlone, we will have trouble increasing enrollment and capturing those additional funds.  There is some discussion about returning to the previous restoration formula which allowed colleges to recoup declining FTES over three years.  More on enrollment in a minute.

Last year Ohlone received $4.5 million in discretionary money for Mandated Costs reimbursement.  This year just a fraction of that amount is proposed—approximately $518,000. 

There is no new money for new faculty, technology, campus safety, or strengthening the Chancellor's Office. Although there is more funding for the Student Success and Support Programs or SSSP and Student Equity, these programs system wide haven't spent what they were given this year.  As we can attest, it takes time to hire staff and implement plans.

For community colleges, there is additional one-time money to support workforce development, CTE Pathways, and Basic Skills.  There is funding for maintenance and instructional equipment, once again with flexibility for college districts to determine how to divide up the money among maintenance, equipment, and drought response.  There is also a little money added for the purpose of enhancing data security.  The institutional effectiveness program and energy efficiency projects continue to be funded under the Governor’s proposal.  There are several other categories that continue to receive funds including Cal Grants.  Lottery revenue should be about the same as last year at one million unrestricted dollars.

Future years look less bright. Proposition 30 (the temporary sales tax increase) ends December 2016.  Employer contribution rates for STRS and PERS will experience huge increases over the next several years with colleges being required to contribute 20.4% and 19.1% respectively by 2020-21.  And STRS has a recent estimate that indicates these new contribution rates are probably not sufficient to pay off the system's liability. Required contributions may increase even more.

Analysis of the budget proposal for individual colleges is just starting, and we will know more about how next year’s funding is likely to end up in a few weeks.  In May the picture will be clearer, but between now and then there are the Legislative Analyst’s and legislative committee reviews. 

Enrollment

For 2015-16, as predicted, it does not look like we will be able to meet our FTES cap, much less grow enrollment by the 1% I mentioned.  As of yesterday, our FTES total was 3174, including about 275 that are non-resident and therefore do not count toward our funding target.  That’s 166 FTES below last spring at this point in the enrollment process.  This shortfall is despite increased recruiting and advertising efforts.  I’m hearing that other colleges north and south are down compared to last spring by 2½ to as much as 8%.  At this point we are down about 5%.

We have been anticipating that this year, 2015-16, will be a year of restoration, which means our funding would be stabilized at the 2014-15 level for one year.  We plan to count the majority of the 2016 summer FTES in the 2016-17 fiscal year, giving us an opportunity to meet our annual base FTES allocation for that year.  If we are unable to meet our current base, it will be reset next year at whatever level of FTES we achieve, and our funding will decrease accordingly.  At this point in time we are uncertain that enrollment will be sufficient for us to sustain that funding level.

Frontage Property

So even when there is a good level of state money available, our funding continues to be unpredictable because of our reliance on state priorities.  The need to develop other non-state funding is still critical to us. The Board of Trustees understands this dilemma well. 

Under the Board’s guidance, we reached out to the members of our local community who had voiced objections to the development of our frontage property.  All who spoke at previous board meetings were invited to participate in a meeting in September of the President’s Advisory Committee, along with its regular members.  The topic for discussion was “How can we use our frontage property to the best advantage for the district?”  Concerns about traffic and Mission San Jose schools were reiterated, but about 35 ideas were offered, ranging from using the property for a dairy program to mixed use housing and retail.  In response, the Board of Trustees expanded the list of potential projects and is planning to reissue a Request for Proposal this spring to develop the property.

International Programs and Services

A good source of non-state revenue is our International Program.  This semester we expect our international student enrollment to approach the 500 mark; 100 students are taking intensive English courses in the ELI program, and 400 students are matriculated into Ohlone’s credit courses. This marks the 8th straight year with an enrollment increase. 

The majority of our students are still coming from Asia with China still the leading source of students, both for Ohlone and the United States as a whole. Students from over 40 different countries have found their way here to pursue their studies at Ohlone. The steady increase in enrollment is due in part to Ohlone’s increase in global awareness, but our growth is mostly due to the hard work of Ohlone faculty and staff as they support the international students we have on campus. Our international students come from a variety of sources: community connections, word of mouth referrals, web-based media, and institutional relationships.

International programs enjoy success with the support and involvement from the college as a whole. The International Mentor Program has thrived for 10 semesters, and 229 international students have participated in the program during their first semester at Ohlone. Our faculty and staff serve as role models for these students, and they will continue to provide much needed support to the 75 new international degree students in spring semester.

Each year a number of Ohlone students have the opportunity to participate in Study Abroad trips. Already this spring, a group of 16 Ohlone students travelled to London and Dublin under the direction of faculty member Michael Smith. At the end of this semester, English professors Melanie Fernandez and Tracy Virgil are planning a study-abroad trip to Stockholm Sweden and surrounding cities.

And now on to Strategic Planning.

Strategic Planning

At the College Council retreat in the fall, members created an action plan for most of our strategic objectives and continued to refine and add to those plans at this week’s retreat.  The action plans include measurable outcomes, which is how we will know we have achieved the objective; the action to be used to make the improvement; the timeline and milestones; the responsible parties; and the resources needed.  Specific groups are working on similar action plans for the various plans we included under the strategic umbrella, like Student Equity and Equal Employment Opportunities.

While we are just now beginning to implement some of these action plans, there is significant progress we can point to in the meantime. 

We are making good progress on our goal to improve learning and achievement. 

  • We anticipate progress on our objective to increase the percentage of students achieving degrees.  In 2015 we awarded 891 degrees, 30% more than in 2014. This number includes 151 associate degrees for transfer (ADTs), up from 43 ADTs in 2014.  We also awarded first-ever degrees in economics and history. 

  • We are making progress on our objective to increase success rates in distance education courses from 67.2% to 68.0%. One semester does not make a trend, but in spring 2015 our distance ed success rate was 68.2%, already above our target.  With the availability of new distance ed resources on the Teaching and Learning website, we may have to increase this target rate significantly.

  • Ohlone is one of the top-ranked colleges in moving students who start below transfer level in math on to complete a college level math course.  Still math faculty are trying new methods to improve the rate from 46.1% to 51.1% and meet our objective in this area.  The Ohlone Math Gateway (OMG) pilot program features students completing 4 math courses in 2 semesters, combined with good connections with faculty, math applications to engineering, cool projects, and the benefits of studying with a group of other students.  Results to date are very promising. The success rate of the pilot group in Algebra 2 was 90% compared to the previous three-year average of 58%.  For trigonometry the success rate was 95% compared to 56%.

  • We have a parallel objective in English—moving the success rate of students who started below transfer level and completed a college-level course from 52.0% to 57.0%.  In an accelerated program similar to the one I just described in math, English faculty are also improving completion rates in reading and writing. The completion rate for two cohorts in accelerated English 151RW improved from 27 to 49% and 31.8 to 63% compared to students in the traditional classes.  This improved completion rate is a good start on transitioning students in basic skills through transfer level English.

  • Our efforts to provide structures to increase cross-disciplinary communication to improve student learning and achievement have started with the establishment of the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC). The website features sections on student equity, support for students, best teaching practices, educational technology, learning center resources, and the Professional Ohlone kNowledge Directory or POND.
     

  • Partly because of an accreditation recommendation, partly because we have moved a significant number of our classes to Newark, and partly because we have increased impetus and funding through SSSP, services to students have increased, allowing us to make measurable progress on another objective.

  • And as planned, we have migrated SLO assessment to a database platform that shares and disaggregates data.  Course Assessment in a Box will now be database driven and accessible anytime and anywhere. It was launched earlier this week at Get It Done Day.

Diversity and Inclusion

The last few semesters Ohlone has focused increasingly on diversity and inclusion.  Although we were a little ahead of the curve on this topic, as usual, these issues have now captured the nation’s attention.  I know that many of us have watched with both interest and concern at the events across the country that cause us to reflect on what we can do to help engender fairness and justice in the areas of race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disabilities, veteran status, gender identity, and other marginalized groups of people.

Because we have a special responsibility as an institution dedicated to education, and our diversity is a source of pride, we need to think about these issues even more. 

I am pleased to say that Ohlone’s Vision, Mission, Values, and Goals declare our position in each of these areas.  In our vision and value statements we make clear our intention to be known for our inclusiveness; in our mission statement, our multicultural environment and our recognition of the diverse community we serve are noted. The Board of Trustee goals also emphasize issues of diversity and inclusion.  Three of our strategic goals very clearly state our intended direction.  That these issues are repeated throughout our core plan is not an accident; it underscores the importance of these topics to the College as a whole and its leadership.

A quick walk around our campus shows you the world of cultures we speak of proudly.  But it bears repeating that we want our students and our employees to feel welcome here, and we seek to provide them with what they need to be successful.  So it’s important for us as an institution to let everyone—student, employee, and community member—know that our commitment to creating and continuing to manifest a welcoming environment is genuine.

One of these goals, to increase College and community understanding of, and sensitivity to, diverse cultures and perspectives, is receiving a lot of support and attention.

  • The International Education Committee is developing some great new ideas for the World Forum.

  • We are planning to conduct a campus climate survey of students, faculty, and staff as a tool to help us achieve this objective.  We want to evaluate the campus climate, collect information about institutional practices, identify strengths and areas for improvement, track progress on diversity efforts, and disaggregate perceptions by different social identities.

  • We have a start on increasing the total number of courses that satisfies diversity requirements for transfer and associate degrees.  Faculty member Mark Brosamer and the International Education Committee led a workshop as part of this week’s activities designed to start a conversation about why we should want to internationalize our curriculum, and how we might begin doing so. 

  • In response to input from the communities we serve, we are establishing a task force to analyze the need for an ethnic studies program and the impact it could have on improving access and performance of underrepresented students.  I have invited sociology professor Dr. Jennifer Jovel to chair this task force and she has agreed.

Continuing our emphasis on inclusion, we have a goal to create an understanding of, and commitment to, equity across the College that ensures access and success for underrepresented and disproportionately impacted students. 

  • The Student Equity Workgroup, charged with furthering and implementing the Student Equity Plan activities, is making progress.  A revised plan was submitted to the Chancellor’s Office in December.  I’ll give you the highlights shortly.

  • Through the efforts of Renee Gonzalez from Student Activities, former astronomy student Nabeel Naqvi, ASOC members, 7 faculty members, and a number of administrators, Ohlone hosted a superb, Exploratorium-style science fair at Newark.  The event featured 26 student-built exhibits; 8 experiment stations; lots of hands-on activities; keynote speaker Dr. Stephan Kane who is a San Francisco State professor and known as the “planet hunter,” a panel of Ohlone faculty experts in STEM disciplines; a star party; a hydroponics display; and more.  This very effective outreach activity attracted an estimated 2700 young students and their parents from local schools.

  • Another activity to address this objective focuses on mindset intervention.  Omid Fotuhi, Project Manager and Researcher at Stanford University’s Interventions Lab, will come to Ohlone next week to interview a sample of our students about their transition from high school to college as part of the College Transition Collaborative, which looks at social belonging and student success.  Following the interviews, he will meet with faculty, staff, administration, the Student Equity Workgroup, the Basic Skills Committee, the SSSP committee, and ODIAC—which is our diversity inclusion committee.   We hope to learn from these interviews about effective mindset interventions that increase the success of underrepresented students.

  • We also have extensive outreach activities underway.  We are increasing bridge classes for EOPS students, high school seniors, and adult school students and activities that bring students on campus to learn about specific programs like the Ohlone TV station open house, campus tours for HS students, and tours of the Newark Center for high school students interested in health sciences.  Other activities in the works that will help students coming to Ohlone include additional transition classes, coordinated services for adults with disabilities, and online pathways for adult school students.

We have a goal to provide access to high quality courses and programs that meet the diverse educational needs of the community. 

  • One way we are ensuring that we are in touch with these needs is by increasing two-way communication through ongoing community engagement. We are continuing the meetings of the President’s Advisory Committee, inviting a variety of community leaders to inform us how to better meet the educational needs of the community.  Some of the members were able to join us this morning.  The fall semester’s topics were the frontage property and identifying barriers that are stopping local students from enrolling at Ohlone.  We have held 4 meetings so far, they are well attended, and participant response is overwhelmingly positive. We have collected many fresh ideas from these meetings.

  • Other venues for gathering information on the educational needs of the community include continuing presentations and Q&As for community groups. We have offered these interactions over the past 7 ½ years as part of our efforts to stay in touch with the community we serve. 

  • We also collect community information through public comments at Board meetings, member interaction at Foundation Board meetings, and our comprehensive Environmental Scan which covers district demographics, information on university transfers and local K-12 students, local income and educational levels, jobs and industries, and various projections. 

  • We are making progress on our objective to increase the access and use of student services. In the fall the number of counseling appointments increased over last year by 8%, the use of the transfer center services increased by 16%, and 3% more students were served by DSPS.  Some of these increases are the result of implementing the SSSP requirements.

Our goal to use resources effectively includes staff, funding, technology, and facilities.

  • Of course the hiring of 16 new faculty directly addresses staffing needs and one of our accreditation recommendations.  This addition will allow us to make the biggest jump to date toward our target.  However, this year will bring more retirements, of course, so as we move forward toward our goal, we must realize that our total gain will be less than 16.  And, unlike last year, the Governor’s budget does not include any money for more hiring.

  • We are moving forward on the information systems that support college effectiveness and efficiency.  With the help of SSSP funding and to meet the goals of that plan, we have been able to hire a junior programmer and an applications administrator to allow us to implement, manage, and administer new applications.  And we are able to collect data more effectively thanks to these systems. We are also developing a framework to use our existing systems effectively and leverage these systems to improve the services we provide to our students. To establish a baseline, we will be embarking on an assessment of our technology infrastructure. We want to ensure technology is available when needed, flexible enough to support our initiatives, scalable to address growth, and reliable. 

    The Technology Committee, co-chaired by Professor Jeff O’Connell, is working on the district’s 2016-2020 Technology Master Plan. The committee intends to complete the work this spring to give time for our shared-governance processes to provide recommendations and endorsement. Through this master plan, we will have a modern technology infrastructure in time for the completion of the Academic Core.

    We are employing IT Services’ processes to administer Canvas, our new course management system.  Support of the technology platform will now rest with IT Services, and we will rely on the Teaching and Learning Center to provide training on Canvas features.  I heard this week’s training was spectacular!  With the support of Blackboard, our current course management system, ending this spring, this new distribution of tasks will allow us to take advantage of the skills of our TLC experts and IT professionals. 

  • With the addition of our new Director of Maintenance & Operations, Oscar Guillen, we are already addressing our objective of improving the maintenance of our facilities.  Mr. Guillen and the facilities staff are assessing utility components for age and functionality, designing a preventative maintenance plan which will address systems failures before they occur, improving facilities service and visibility to the District by establishing communication protocols, and partnering with the Facilities Modernization office—Measure G—in order to participate in the decision-making process for equipment selection to plan for its proper maintenance.

  • And we are implementing our goals of the Equal Employment Opportunity Plan approved by the Chancellor’s Office in July.

    We hosted an Open House Job Fair for adjuncts with the idea of inviting potential adjuncts to learn more about Ohlone, meet with division deans, and be interviewed on the spot, thus fast-tracking the hiring process. So far this event has proven very successful for our spring hiring as well as building our adjunct pools.

    To help put our plans into action, we have created the Ohlone Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (ODIAC).  The committee is in the early stages of forming and determining its initial goals.  It has reported its progress to College Council in the fall and again this week.

    We are implementing new campus wide activities and strategies to promote cultural awareness. Over the fall semester Human Resources conducted a number of workshops and activities that help fulfill this objective including “There’s a Veteran in your Classroom,” “Chicana ‘Her-story,’” “After Making the Hire— Promoting Inclusion,” and the “Faculty Diversity Summit,”  This week’s sessions included “Hiring the Best While Developing Diversity in the Workplace.”  More are planned for this semester.

    ODIAC is hoping to have a few events this coming term that underscore our interest in the social issues that surround us and which are part of our world.  If you have particular concerns or suggestions, please send them directly to me or the chairs of ODIAC, Shairon Zingsheim and Jeff Dean. 

Other activities underway that will help implement the EEO Plan include:

  • participation in the California Community College Diversity Job Fair later this month,

  • providing copies of the book Whistling Vivaldi to staff and faculty for 2 upcoming discussion groups both hosted by ODIAC,

  • sending a team of faculty, staff, and administrators to the recent northern California Chancellor’s Office training held at De Anza College, and

  • bringing speaker Brian Copeland to campus for Black History month.

And our searches for fulltime faculty and staff include a broad array of advertising venues to attract large and diverse candidate pools.

We have taken several steps to address our final goal to increase engagement of the college community about institutional effectiveness.

I’ve mentioned the new Teaching and Learning Center as an innovation that encourages creativity in the classroom and beyond.

The Student Voices project adds a new dimension to cross-campus communication, as do the faculty professional development activities promoted by the TLC.

CSEA and Human Resources have teamed up on a project to help the college community become better acquainted and feel recognized.  It’s called “Meet me at Ohlone” and is based on the “Humans of New York” project.  It recognizes classified staff and managers and parallels the Faculty Senate’s “Faculty of the Month.” 

We are working to strengthen and clarify our internal communication processes to ensure there is an avenue for the college community to provide input into decisions that impact them.  A task force of College Council has reviewed our shared governance documents to make sure they reflect how we want to communicate and that they are consistent with one and other. Discussion of this topic will continue through this semester.

And IT Services has developed a master calendar that will be piloted this semester.  This long overdue calendar will help us schedule and share campus meetings and events.

It has been our practice to use “Announcement” to email information about college and department activities.  This is great, and we encourage you to continue to use Announcement this way, but we are finding that we need an email address that will distinguish this type of information from messages that are more critical in nature.  Starting this semester, the administration will be using “Ohlone Notification” as the official email to communicate to the college community about service interruption and restoration, compliance issues and disclaimers, mandated notices, and other critical communication.

It’s exciting to have so many good ideas in the works and even some funding to do them!  Now we just have to find the time.

Safety

Under the direction of the Chief of Campus Police John Worley, the college is developing a Master Safety Plan.  The preliminary draft includes campus police services, emergency preparedness, emergency operations, security systems, IT security, campus safety, Title IX compliance, risk management, and training.  We will begin discussion of this draft this semester.  The College Council and the college as a whole will consider the arming of officers on campus as part of our safety planning process. 

Update on the Student Equity Plan

Thanks to the hard work of the Student Equity Workgroup, we submitted a revised Student Equity Plan last semester as required.  The revision involved lots of changes to the template, process, and data, and another short submission timeline, and we needed to plan how to spend nearly twice as much money as before. 

As we provided the newly required data on low income students, foster youth, and financial aid access, we also updated the information we had submitted last year, and we learned some good things in the process. We learned that at Ohlone Hispanic/Latino and Filipino groups persist better than the college average; that is, they return from one semester to the next and year to year.  Hispanic/Latino students at Ohlone earn degrees at a rate higher than their proportion of the college enrollment.  And success rates for Hispanic/Latino, African American, Pacific Islander, and Native American students at Ohlone are all in the top 2 or 3 compared to the other 20 colleges in the Bay Area. 

I received an exciting bit of data just this morning.  Our Hispanic/Latino enrollment is up .8%, bringing their percentage to 23.5—now the second largest student group at Ohlone.

In spite of this encouraging news, our improvement goals in these areas did not change.  We refined planned activities and added new ones.  A new STEM learning community called A-squared-pi (A2π), focused particularly on African American and Pacific Islander students, is in the works.  Under consideration for the Puente 2nd year experience is a learning community featuring an environmental studies class paired with an English class.  Increased opportunities for mentors is among the activities, with the Tri-Cities One-Stop Career Center helping to provide industry mentors for underrepresented students.  Ohlone faculty and staff attended Umoja workshops and brought back ideas to help us refine our plan to implement this program in fall 2016.  And recent research on the ethnicity of students in Basic Skills courses will allow us to increase embedded tutors in the courses with the most underrepresented students.

There are some new ideas on the horizon.  We are paying attention to new findings on assessment and placement and how we might use assessment results to shorten the time it takes students to get to college-level math and English.  We are also exploring opportunities to offer Basic Skills courses to high school students, something we have not been permitted to do before, but something that will accelerate student progress.  We are talking about a Learning College Week for students to help them prepare for college—a great idea from Professor Andy Bloom.  And I have recommended we institutionalize the highly successful Science Night, which reached out to kids and parents from Newark and Fremont schools. 

In addition to adding new activities, we’re making progress on the ones that were planned already.  The new Veterans’ center, located on the first floor of Building 5, will open this spring and will provide enhanced services to this group of students.  The TLC continues to add professional development resources related to the needs of our diverse student population on campus and within the various learning environments.  I mentioned a project underway called Student Voices where students record their own stories, allowing us to gain a deeper understanding of their circumstances.  We are beginning to consider disaggregated achievement data in our Program Reviews, and we’re planning to disaggregate SLO data as well. 

The Student Equity Workgroup’s 15-16 members are each assigned to an activity to ensure that it is implemented and facilitated.  And, since we made the completion of the Student Equity goals one of the objectives of our Strategic Plan, the College Council will consider their achievement as part of their annual assessment of strategic goals.  

Coordination of Student Equity, SSSP, Basic Skills

As you can see, we have many efforts aimed at student and staff equity underway currently, each with different requirements and reporting and spending deadlines.  To ensure projects are consistent and integrated appropriately, and that we leverage and coordinate all project funding (a total of $4M in one-time money) to the benefit of our students, we have instituted a group made up of representatives from the Student Equity Workgroup, EEO/ODIAC, Basic Skills, SSSP, and College Council to meet each semester.  We will use our Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) website as a communication vehicle in between meetings.  Program Improvement Objectives (PIOs) identified through Program and Services Reviews will be the source of activities going forward, which allows everyone to be involved in planning how we use this funding to improve student access and performance. 

The Student Equity Plan is much more than a response to a requirement.  Yes, it’s great to have some money to extend our efforts to improve achievement of underrepresented students.  But money alone could not engender the enthusiasm I have seen for helping these students succeed.  The widespread commitment for this effort and the EEO Plan, ODIAC, and the activities designed to help students in need of support illustrates how important their success is to all of us at Ohlone.

Accomplishments and honors

And now I’d like to tell you about some of the exciting accomplishments of the year so far.

Welcome Day

We started the fall semester with almost 200 students in attendance for Welcome Days in the week before classes started, 50 of whom came to the first ever Welcome Day at our Newark campus. The ½ unit class provided information about college success and also gave students information about campus resources such as the Health Center STEP UP program, Financial Aid, and the Transfer Center. Students got to tour the campus, meet with peer mentors, and talk with faculty and staff.

Transfer Day

Transfer Day 2015 was held on the Newark campus in September. Students had the opportunity to visit with representatives from different CSUs and UCs, as well as in-state private schools and some out-of-state colleges. There were 45 4-year schools in all, and over 800 students attended. Students and university representatives alike had great feedback. Many of the reps commented on how welcoming and accommodating everyone was and how knowledgeable the students were about university admission, which speaks well of our college efforts.

EOPS

EOPS published a year book called The EOPS Journey. The publication features EOPS students wearing graduation gowns and draped with EOPS stoles. The intent is to give a visual tool to motivate, inspire, and encourage the students to embrace their educational journey.

Ohlone Photo

The Chancellor’s Office selected one of Ohlone’s photographs to be part of a permanent display with all the logos from California Community Colleges around the state.  Our photo, a picture of a young woman in front of a KOHL microphone, is exhibited on the wall in the Chancellor's Office complex. 

Class project

Toward the end of last semester, students in Professor Katie Frank’s ceramics classes made several of the lamp posts near the pond into totem poles.  While we are in construction mode particularly, their vitality and color is delightful.  Take a look!

Foundation

This year's 31st Annual Ohlone College Golf Tournament was a great success, breaking all previous fundraising records. A sold-out field of 140 golfers braved 104-degree heat. Over 200 Ohlone students, faculty, staff, and administrators, and many community members helped with the tournament.  The event raised nearly $100,000 for Renegade Athletics and other academic programs throughout the College.

The Norton Family donated $4,000 towards the Ohlone Sign Theatre in honor of the late Audree Norton, actress and Ohlone College Professor Emeritus. This donation builds on other recent gifts to the Deaf Studies Department, including $4,000 from Niles Rotary for new Deaf Studies Lab computers, as well as $11,000 for the Shelley Lawrence Interpreter Preparation Program (IPP) Award, bringing the total Deaf Studies donations this year to over $19,000.

Ohlone college alumni, Margaret E. Brooks, recently passed away bequeathing Ohlone College a gift of $50,000. A resident of Fremont, Ms. Brooks attended Ohlone College in the mid-70s. This generous gift will provide scholarships for high-achieving yet financially needy students.

Last June the Fremont Bank Foundation made a major gift to the Ohlone College Foundation to commission a sculpture of a Native American celebration for the Academic Core. A full-scale clay model of the sculpture is nearing completion.  Next will be the creation of molds from the model leading to the bronze casting later this year. Final installation of Mario Chiodo’s sculpture is planned to coincide with the completion of construction.

As a result of a presentation by Professors Jeff O’Connell and Rose Margaret Itua and the OMG program at a recent Foundation Board meeting, Google recruiter and Foundation Board member Sam Sepah has begun working to bring Ohlone female students to Google to encourage their interest in engineering.

Athletics

Congratulations to our Women's Soccer program as the Coast Conference South division champions with an 8-0-2 conference record.  Quite a few of our student-athletes were recognized this year, including as the Conference player of the year, the Conference Attacking player of the year, and several named to the 1st Team All-Conference squad.  And finally, our Coach Larry Heslin was named the Coast Conference Coach of the Year.  (Just think how good they will be with a new field!)

Our student athletes are truly student athletes.  Of the 53 players on our baseball team this fall, 35 finished with a 3.0 or higher GPA (5 of them with 4.0’s). And of the 729 units they attempted, they passed 707 of them.  The total team GPA was 3.14.

Now this semester’s tasks.

Reorganization

We will also hire a new Executive Director.

This year we have identified an Institutional Improvement Objective or IIO to strengthen our community outreach and relations.  Several departments on campus have a leadership role in this effort: College Advancement, the Foundation, and connections to our business community through the Tri-cities One-Stop Career Center and Contract Education.  My plan is to bring these areas together under an Executive Director, who will also lead Foundation operations, and provide oversight of College Advancement, the One-Stop Center, and Contract Education through their existing directors. 

I believe there is potential synergy and increased efficiency in bringing these college services together.

Graduation

Last year’s graduating class was the biggest ever—an increase of 32% over the previous year.  In the fall of this year we awarded degrees to 73 students and another 130 applications await review.  We don’t have a count for spring yet, but this number is similar to what we had last year at this time.  We are therefore anticipating another large turn-out in May.  To make sure we fit well into the gym, we will be limiting guest tickets to 4 instead of 6 per graduate. We are also looking into the possibility of a live webcast of graduation and using the Smith Center for overflow.

50th Anniversary

Our 50th anniversary year is approaching in 2017, and there is a committee planning a number of events to celebrate it.  We also have the benefit of the extensive research into Ohlone’s history provided by former VP Jim Wright.  Here are a few highlights we are recognizing.

  • On December 7, 1965, the creation of the Fremont-Newark Junior College District was approved by a 74% vote margin, well above the required 66.7%. 

  • The first Board of Trustees meeting was held January 3, 1966. 

  • Ohlone’s classes were first offered beginning September 1967 at the temporary campus site at the Serra Center on Washington Boulevard. And

  • The first Ohlone graduating class received their degrees in June of 1968.

Look for more milestones as the anniversary year approaches.

Conclusion

As you can see, we moving!  I am thrilled about our progress on equity, student success, and inclusion, and I’m really excited to add new faculty members to our talented staff.  Thank you again for your dedication to our students.  Please keep up the great work!

I also want to thank my new assistant, April Merritt, and Shelby Foster for creating and producing the slideshow, and the Ohlone Broadcasting Department for producing the Measure G slides, in particular.  I also thank all of you who provided information for this presentation. 

Thank you for coming and have a great semester!

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