State of the College Fall 2015 August 28, 2015 / Dr. Gari Browning - Ohlone College President's Office

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

Text of Dr. Browning's speech follows:


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

I would like to introduce members of the Board of Trustees--Chair Greg Bonaccorsi, who just introduced me, Trustee Vivien Larsen, and Trustee Ishan Shah. Thank you for your commitment to Ohlone and for your continued support. I would also like to mention the trustees who are unable to be with us today: Board Vice Chair Richard Watters, Trustee Teresa Cox, Trustee Jan Giovaninni-Hill, Student Trustee Rahul Patel, and Trustee Garrett Yee, who has recently been assigned to the Pentagon.

Board of Trustees 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; Greg Bonaccorsi (Foundation Board member and Trustee); Christopher Brown; Steve Cho; Brad Hatton; Sylvia Jimenez; Ron Sha; Jennifer Toy Harrison; and Jim Wright. As always, we really value your support of our students, faculty, and programs. Thank you.

Ohlone College Foundation Board members.

I would like to introduce Dr. Jim Morris, Superintendent of the Fremont Unified School District. Dr. Morris, please stand. And welcome to Newark Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Dave Marken. Dr. Marken. Thank you both for coming today.

Finally, 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 here in the audience this morning and watching from Newark. I would like you to join me in giving them a warm Ohlone welcome.

New Hires

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

  • Nabeel Atique - Associate Professor, Mathematics
  • James Barton - Safety Officer I
  • Sandra Chacko - Assistant Professor, Anthropology
  • Chris Dela Rosa - Associate Vice President of IT
  • Jennifer Greene - Theater Operations Technical Assistant
  • Jamie Johnston - Safety Officer I
  • Michael Leib - Director of Tutoring
  • Wendy Lin--Alternative Media-Assistive Technology Specialist
  • Joel Magdaleno - Staff Interpreter II
  • Margaret McKenzie - Assistant Professor, English
  • Gage Rodriguez - Staff Interpreter II
  • Luz Andrea Sanchez - Student Success Coordinator
  • Lisa Wesoloski - Assistant Professor, Chemistry
  • Alexander White - Gardener-Groundskeeper III, and
  • Andrew Wise - Instructor, Mathematics


Changes and Promotions

And we have several position changes and promotions:

  • Miguel Mendoza - Facilities Maintenance Mechanic I
  • Melissa Stewart - Curriculum and Schedule Coordinator
  • Rosalind Toliver - Enrollment Services Specialist II and
  • Kendra Keller--Instructor, Interpreter Preparation Program, on a one-year assignment



We welcome Robert Dias as our Interim Bond Construction Director and congratulate Dave Schurtz who will be serving as Interim Director of Facilities and Shaun Vetter as Interim Director of Information Systems.

Dr. George Kozitza has joined us to fill in as Interim Vice President for Administrative Services while we search for a permanent VP. George brings a wealth of experience, with 14 years in the same role at other colleges, and a fresh perspective. He has been able to hit the ground running-at top speed!


I'll be covering several important topics today. They include the latest on Measure G projects, how the budget will affect us, the newly approved Strategic Plan, how we plan to extend our culture of inclusiveness, and a few of your many successes which bring Ohlone recognition.

Measure G first.

Measure G

Construction photos combo #1.

[Start video transcript.]

The Fremont campus has been transformed over the past few months and must look dramatically different to you if you have been gone over the summer.

In January we had just constructed the green fence around what will be the Academic Core, which includes the new Learning Commons, science building, arts building, classrooms, and lecture halls. From January to May soft demolition of Buildings 1, 2, and 8 occurred. Building 2 was shrink-wrapped to allow for safe abatement of hazardous materials, a process that took place during the spring semester. Ohlone students were barely finished with finals when the backhoes and dump trucks rolled in to start tearing apart the campus. Building 2, the music building was the first to go. These buildings came down quickly and Building 2 was demolished by late June. Building 1, the old administration building, did not give up easily. The beams holding up these floors were thick and well supported, but eventually it too was destroyed. Finally Building 8 was attacked.

The demolition was mesmerizing. Maybe some of you watched via the 4 live webcams pointed at the site. Sometimes these dinosaur-like machines seemed to resort to brute force. Some of you have told me that having these buildings disappear was a little emotional, evoking fond memories. I get it. It was strange to see my old office being torn up and then gone.

On the south side of the campus exciting things were happening all summer. The South Parking Structure continued to take shape. Now we have a finished, 5-level structure that is terraced beautifully into the hillside. It's exactly what we asked for-900 spaces, plenty for faculty and staff, two places to enter, easy access to the top of the campus, and a beautiful turnaround where students can be dropped off. Inside you will have vivid reminders of the level on which you left your vehicle in the form of nature graphics. The structure opens Monday, on budget and on time. The ribbon cutting is planned for September 9th at 5:00 p.m.

Another earthshaking project is the complete revamping of our athletic fields-finally. Lots of earth has been moved around to reshape the hill. And we were able to recycle the dirt from the parking structure to save time and money. We will have 3 completely new artificial turf fields-baseball, softball, soccer, and a field house. We're doing our best to time completion of the fields to accommodate the athletic seasons.

As you can see from this unique vantage point, Olive Way is intact. Our first Measure G project, the south solar panels, is working well and saving us a lot of money.

Now on to progress on the Academic Core project. Demolition over the summer has been quick and clean. It's amazing to see how efficiently materials have been loaded and hauled away. Work should be substantially complete today with a few technical issues related to the removal of the existing foundations and shoring up the hillside below Main Street still outstanding. This may extend the final completion into early September.

I'm sure you are anxious to know when construction of our new buildings will begin. Building on a hillside such as ours is always complicated and it took a little longer to get all the approvals than we thought. But construction of the new heart of our campus will begin in just over a month!

Like our parking structure, the Academic Core buildings are already winning design awards. I am impressed by the attention of our architects not just to the aesthetics of the buildings and site, but to their functionality in meeting student and faculty needs.

So you see we have come a long way in a short time. I feel the start of construction in the heart of our campus is a breakthrough moment in the life of our college. You are part of transforming the campus for the next generations. Thank you for your patience during this difficult demolition and construction period. I think we will all find it worth it in the end.

Just in case you missed something, here is an abbreviated version of this summer's demolition.

[End video transcript.]

What do you think?

Construction photos combo #2.

Measure G Newsletter

Measure G Newsletter (top portion).We will be working to keep you informed about construction. Today we have a newsletter for you, so please remember to pick it up. Now that the new parking structure is open, everyone, including students, should find it easier to park on this campus. However, students' previous routines may cause them to search for parking spaces in the lots at the lower end of campus until they become aware of the new structure. They may be a few minutes late as a result, so please keep this in mind the first few days of classes.

South Parking Structure

Front and side of the new Parking Structure.Our goal is to help students find their way to the new structure where there are plenty of spaces. In order to do this, we have implemented a communication plan that includes signage, messaging on the College's Facebook page, emails, messages on the electronic marquee, and two large flashing electronic signs on Mission Boulevard and Pine Street. Once students have parked in the structure, additional signage will guide them around campus. There will be administrators, staff, and peer mentors out to assist as well.

Staff Parking in Lot D

Plenty of faculty and staff parking spaces continue to be available in Lot D, the parking lot immediately adjacent to the portables, which we have designated as staff only.

Construction-related Challenges

Thank you Building 7 and Smith Center employees!As expected, the demolition phase of construction has brought some challenges, especially for faculty, staff, and administrators in Building 7. They had to relocate this summer to avoid the noise, and power and water interruptions, only to return to a building without air conditioning-which unfortunately was during the recent heat wave. They continued to work to serve our students despite the heat. So, to all of you in Building 7, on behalf of the College thank you for sticking it out and thank you for putting students first.

We learned from the experience in Building 7 that power outages, including those caused by demolition or construction, can require full resets of our AC systems. This week we had a similar AC outage in this building which greatly inconvenienced the Smith Center faculty and staff. This time we were better able to resolve the issue. Many thanks to the Smith Center staff for your tolerance of the situation.

There will be more challenges as we move into the construction phase of our Academic Core project. Please keep focused on the outcome. Despite our best efforts to anticipate and fix problems and communicate what we know, there most likely will be issues that impact you and your classes. Everything is moving quickly and there will be times we miss things. It's not because we don't care. Please don't hesitate to let us know if something is a problem. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

The Budget

As you have heard, the State's Community College budget is the best we have had in quite a while, one that is not likely to be repeated any time soon. With the exception of a few bumps, the overall news for Ohlone is good. Here's how we're benefiting.

Ongoing money

For 2015-16, funding to the California Community Colleges to restore past FTES cuts is $156.5 million, or 3% for the system, with priority given to districts identified as having the "greatest unmet need" given certain criteria. Based on these new criteria, Ohlone is eligible for only 1.6% restoration. However, our current enrollment numbers are lagging behind last year's, and we do not anticipate being able to meet the growth target for this year. Unless we achieve our target, our base amount will remain the same as last year and we will not qualify for this restoration money.

Despite new and creative course configurations and continued recruiting and advertising efforts, enrollment is down across the board. Other colleges in the area are experiencing the same thing with enrollment flat compared to last year, or down, one college by 25%.

The enrollment difference for us for this fall is about 1.0% or 31 FTES compared to last fall at this time. If you look at the total for the year, however, the picture is bleaker. Because we used almost all of our 2015 summer FTES to achieve our 2014-15 apportionment, we are starting this year with 250 fewer FTES. So we are more like 4% down. We will still be able to maintain our apportionment base at last year's level, but it will not allow us to qualify for the 1.6% growth allowance.

We are considering a year of restoration, which means our funding would be stabilized at last year's level for one year. This strategy will allow us to push the 2016 summer FTES into the 2016-17 fiscal year, giving us an opportunity to meet or exceed our annual base FTES allocation for that year and rebalance our summer FTES reporting. If we are unable to meet our current base, it will be reset next year at whatever level of FTES we achieve.

The state budget includes a Cost of Living Adjustment of 1.02% that translates into approximately $430,000 for Ohlone.

There is also approximately $1.85 million added to our base to assist with increasing operating expenses including facilities, STRS & PERS increases, and technology. The projected cumulative costs of PERS and STRS increases to our district for 2016 to 2020 total about $3.2 million. We are required to submit a plan to show how we will pay for the increases through 2020-2021.

There is an estimated $432,000 for Ohlone to add full-time faculty. This funding is accompanied by an increase to the Faculty Obligation Number or FON. This amount funds 5 to 6 new full-time faculty positions. We plan to hire 15 new faculty this year, 10 of which are new positions.


There is a significant amount of one-time money in the budget to spend on one-time needs. The largest amount, $4.5 million, is for mandate reimbursement-unfunded mandates the College had to pay, over the past few years, for operating expenses. This money will allow us to take care of some long-time needs including College-approved Institutional Improvement Objectives. We will be replacing computers; improving Wi-Fi connectivity; replacing vehicles; adding to professional development funding; and catching up somewhat on sabbatical leaves. Other Institutional Improvement Objectives include safety improvements; marketing and community awareness; and updating our enrollment planning tool.

There's another $1 million to be divided by Ohlone between deferred maintenance and instructional equipment. We will devote $745,000 to instructional equipment and $300,000 to deferred maintenance projects. These dollars can be spent over a two-year period.

Our Student Equity funding in 2015-16 is about $308,000. This money is restricted in its use to close gaps in access and achievement of underrepresented student groups through our Student Equity Plan.

Student Success and Support Programs (SSSP) will also be funded another year at $1.38 million. This money is restricted to implement requirements of SSSP.

There is $231,000 to address Prop 39, the Clean Energy Act, to fund energy efficiency projects.

COLA for Categorical Programs for the system is set at $2.5 million with Ohlone's share to be determined.

There's $285,000 to support EOPS, and Basic Skills funding is at $145,000 to address some improvements for underrepresented students again as articulated in our Student Equity Plan.

And there's funding to support continued development of community college and K-12 consortia efforts for Adult Education. Ohlone is participating in planning how best to meet the needs of adult learners in our community.

Overall, this is a pretty good budget for us.

Non-apportionment revenue

So--you know that when the economy is weak, state funding is reduced but we are asked to serve more students. And when the economy is strong, our students go back to work. The State offers us more funding based on enrollment, but student demand goes down and we cannot take advantage of the growth opportunity for more money. The result is when demand is strongest, we can't afford to offer enough classes. We also have such fluctuation in funding that it's very difficult to plan. Sometimes funding is reduced after the end of the school year, after the money is spent, because State revenues do not come in at the expected levels. What do we do?

Frontage Property

In a recent workshop, the Board reviewed the status of our frontage property and next steps. Once again they acknowledged our need for a steady revenue stream to provide consistent access to our courses and programs. We are competing for students with neighboring districts, most of which are not dependent on State funding because of their property tax levels. And these districts have additional income streams as a result of developing their property. As we move forward to become less dependent on the State, we will be engaging the community at large to tap their ideas and support for using our property to the best advantage.

President's Community Advisory Committee

In March and again in June we hosted our first President's Community Advisory Committee meetings. We invited community leaders from local business and industry, local government, universities, school districts, non-profit organizations, religious groups, and police and fire departments. The meetings were well attended and participant response was overwhelmingly positive. Our next meeting is in September and we intend to ask the members for their ideas and input about how to use our frontage property as a revenue source. And we are inviting our neighbors--all who spoke at Board meetings in favor or against our previous development plan.

International Programs and Services

The Ohlone College International Programs and Services has had another busy year. And we start the fall semester with increased activity and enrollments. The international enrollment for spring 2015 reached an all-time high of 460 students; 365 students were degree seeking and 95 attended the English Language Institute (ELI).

For this semester, we expect an increase as well, as new international students continue to check in and register through this week. ELI will reach 110 students, its highest enrollment in its 8-year history.

Throughout the years, we have enrolled students from a total of 53 different countries, and this year we are excited to add The Gambia, The Netherlands, and Sudan to the list. China is our primary source of these enrollments with about 48% coming from Mainland China. The other top countries of origin are Viet Nam, Taiwan, Japan, and Myanmar.

With this success, awareness of Ohlone College, of its programs, and of its fine faculty and staff is increasing. More international students are seeking us out through the internet and through the referrals by community, friends, and former students. This past year, we formed affiliations with two top high schools in China, and these are likely to translate into additional enrollments.

Once international students find their way to Ohlone, they stay and realize success. For those students in our ELI, 95% matriculate into our degree programs. About 85% of all of our international students complete their units and transfer to university programs within the CSU or UC system.

Another aspect of our international program is faculty exchange. This past summer, we saw an increase in the number of faculty who taught on short-term assignments at affiliate institutions overseas. By teaching overseas our faculty gain new insights in both culture and teaching styles that enhance their skills.

And finally, over the past semester, 36 Ohlone students participated in our study and travel abroad opportunities. Jeff Watanabe led a group on a one-week field based experience to Baja to learn about its natural history. Steve Hanna escorted Ohlone participants to Greece and Turkey on a personal enrichment experience of these two countries. And Carrie Dameron and Gale Carli led a group of nursing students to Panama on an international service learning experience.

International Programs and Services continues to provide us great opportunities to broaden our cultural awareness and to bring in a significant amount of revenue.

As usual, we have a lot to do this semester.

Strategic Planning

Building on the comprehensive assessment of our student and community needs and our progress in meeting those needs, we came together to develop a new strategic plan for 2015 through 2020. In January during Learning College Week, the College Council participated in a retreat to review College value statements, examine the results of these various assessments, and identify goal topics. After the retreat, we surveyed all members of the college community and asked for input from the College Foundation, the Board of Trustees, and the community at large. In April we held a college-wide summit to identify goals and brainstorm College objectives. As a result of these efforts, we updated our mission, vision, and values and identified 7 goals and 42 objectives to achieve over the next five years. The Board approved the plan in June.

Strategic Plan timeline.

New Mission Statement

We now have a new mission statement that better expresses our values and purpose. This statement emphasizes our commitment to meeting the needs of our diverse student body.

Ohlone College responds to the educational needs of our diverse community and economy by offering high quality instruction supporting basic skills, career development, university transfer, and personal enrichment and by awarding associate degrees and certificates to eligible students in an innovative, multicultural environment where successful learning and achievement are highly valued, supported, and continually assessed.

Vision Statement

The new vision statement reads:

Ohlone College will be known throughout California for our inclusiveness, innovation, and exceptional student success.


Under the guidance of the College Council, a task force revised and updated our value statements. The Board of Trustees also provided guidance. Briefly stated, our values are:

  • Excellence--empowering students and employees to achieve their potential
  • Inclusiveness--reaching out to, supporting, and honoring students and staff, regardless of their backgrounds, to fulfill their goals
  • Innovation--generating new ideas that inspire
  • Integrity--emphasizing respect, trust, and honesty in a climate where everyone feels heard and engaged
  • Stewardship--modeling exemplary stewardship for all resources and
  • Success--providing tools and support to assist students and employees in defining and attaining their goals

The following goals and objectives are designed to operationalize our mission, vision, and values. Each has specific, measurable outcomes and, thanks to the work of the College Council earlier this week, action plans that detail how the objective will be achieved. As you will see, we have integrated other plans in their entirety into these objectives in order to ensure a holistic approach to our efforts.

Goal 1

Goal 1 focuses on learning and achievement.

Despite Ohlone constantly being among the best in the State on measures of student achievement, we plan to increase the percentage of degree, certificate, and transfer-seeking students who achieve these outcomes. We have targets for students who come to us prepared for college-level work and for those who do not. We also plan to increase the number of students who transfer to a four-year institution, and to increase course completion rates for all students. Again an area in which we excel compared to all other community colleges, we plan nevertheless to increase the percentage of students who started below transfer level in math, English, and ESL and subsequently completed a college-level course. And, from College Council, we need to do a better job of capturing and sharing what we are doing.

The final objective for this goal is to implement the mandates identified in the Student Success and Support Program plan (SSSP) for Student Services. This is the State mandate that requires that all students participate in orientation, assessment, counseling, development of Student Educational Plans, and other services.

Goal 2

Goal 2 focuses on ensuring that our Career and Technical Education programs prepare students to meet industry needs. To do this, we plan to better connect review of these programs with their advisory committees.

The next three goals address diversity, equity, and access, which together represent the priorities you have articulated throughout the planning process.

Goal 3

Goal 3 focuses attention on increasing College and community understanding of, and sensitivity to, diverse cultures and perspectives. Objectives include increasing campus-wide activities that promote cultural awareness and increasing the number of courses that satisfy diversity requirements. We will implement the goals of the International Programs and Services Plan, as well. And the Equal Employment Opportunity Plan will help us achieve this goal.

Goal 4

Goal 4 is to create an understanding of, and commitment to, equity across the College that ensures access and success for underrepresented and disproportionately impacted students. We intend to increase retention and persistence rates of underrepresented students to the College average and to implement the goals of the Student Equity Plan, which I will talk about shortly. We also hope to drill down past the data to improve individual student experiences.

Goal 5

Goal 5 is to provide access to high quality courses and programs that meet the diverse educational needs of the community. We will increase our knowledge of and response to community educational needs; make sure our programs and services respond to those needs; and increase awareness and usage of our programs and services available to help students succeed in college.

Goal 6

Goal 6 commits us to using our resources effectively. Objectives include staffing (specifically ensuring a sufficient number of full-time faculty), professional development opportunities, non-apportionment revenue, technology systems and infrastructure, facilities maintenance, and sustainable practices. This goal incorporates implementation of the District Facilities Master Plan, which is funded by Measure G; the Technology Plan; and the Equal Employment Opportunity Plan.

Goal 7

And Goal 7 addresses institutional effectiveness through engagement of the College community. We want to promote communication and collaboration across the College, encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, and strengthen relationships within our college community. We plan to have more opportunities for the College to come together.

Institutional Effectiveness Goals

In addition to these strategic goals and objectives, the Board of Trustees set institutional effectiveness goals newly mandated by the State.

Community college districts spend 84.3% of their general funds on salaries and benefits. Ohlone's five-year average is 86.6%. Therefore, our goal is to maintain the percentage between 85.0% to 86.9%.

The average California community college district reserve level is 17.65%, slightly above the recommended level of 17%. Based on this information, we will maintain a 17% reserve.

There are other State-required goals that we consider common sense and that we already follow. These "goals" are really just good practice and do not require us to change anything we are doing. What's new is that we are now required to submit them to the Chancellor's Office in order to be eligible for certain types of funding. Increasing requirements and reports from the State legislature, especially tied to funding, are definitely the trend.

Marketing Plan

As marketing our college becomes much more necessary to boost enrollment, we are shifting how the College Advancement office prioritizes projects and uses its resources. Rather than marketing programs and events on a first-come, first-serve basis at the request of the individual program, the priority will be to direct marketing resources to the advantage of the college as a whole.

One of the recently approved Institutional Improvement Objectives is to increase community awareness of the College and to know and address community needs. We will embark on a branding exercise this year. We are also considering a study of the economic impact of our college on the community and region. And our website is about to be completely overhauled. We are also gearing up for our 50th Anniversary to take advantage of the opening of our Academic Core buildings.


Another area receiving increased attention is College safety. Ohlone prides itself on its history of having a safe campus and on our active steps to enhance campus safety. Again this year Campus Safety is presenting a Brown Bag lunch series for our staff and students on preventing sexual violence, stalking, and domestic violence. And I noticed two safety workshops were available this week.

With support of the Step Up grant, the crisis intervention team has developed a crisis protocol guide. The guide provides valuable information for faculty and staff working with students of risk and concern. Please check the Step Up webpage to find the guide.

To help us get around safely during construction, the Ohlone Pony continues to transport students and staff up and down the hill. In addition, we have acquired a new wheelchair-accessible vehicle. And we continue the Student Escort Officer program where you or your students can call security services to request someone walk you to your car. We are also implementing a Night Administrator on Duty program to assist with any safety concerns. We are rolling out Regroup, our new system on emergency alerts by which students and staff can receive an emergency text message if there is ever a dangerous situation on campus. Please join with me in being alert and vigilant, and report any security concerns to Campus Security immediately.

A new security master plan is working its way through our governance process. The plan brings together the various areas involved in security, with campus police at the top. The plan includes reformatted and updated emergency evacuation plans for both campuses, which have already been tested successfully in fire drills. And Chief Worley has focused the Emergency Planning Committee on planning and preparing our response to emergencies.


To reflect our IT department's purpose to serve the College, they have requested to change their name from Information Technology to Information Technology Services. The Technology Committee structure will also revise its membership to better represent College constituents.

Student Success and Support Program

The Student Success and Support Program or SSSP is now well underway. Last year was the first for full implementation of its mandates. To expand our service to students, we focused on programming and purchases that would:

  • Increase access to information to students and to the staff who help them
  • Expand our technological footprint
  • Integrate services and communication for smoother seams, and
  • Improve data collection and reporting

Since implementing, we have served 5627 students with placement testing, 4924 with orientations, 3115 with comprehensive education plans, and thousands more through counseling and follow up support. To assist with providing our expanded services, we've hired an outreach and orientation coordinator, a student success or "in-reach" coordinator, and an IT analyst, and in the coming semester we expect to have a researcher, an IT programmer, and an IT systems application administrator. We've also added new technology, like Student Planner, Accudemia, and a Registration Readiness Dashboard. These tools help students plan, and provide data for future directions.

Student Equity Plan

In December we submitted our Student Equity Plan to the Chancellor's Office. Our plan is based on research on how various student groups are performing compared either to our largest or best-performing student group. The research identified that our African American student group experiences consistent disproportionate impact across multiple success indicators. Our plan includes specific objectives to address this disproportionality. Because we are constantly striving to improve success for as many students as possible, we broadened the scope of the plan to include additional student groups, those who did not meet our institution-set standards for success. As a result, we expanded our Student Equity Plan goals to include Hispanic and Pacific Islander students.

The plan specifies goals for access, course completion, completion rates in basic skills and ESL, degree and certificate completion, and transfer.

Access is defined as "the percentage of each population group that is enrolled compared to the percentage of each group in the adult population within the community served." Because Ohlone's student population mirrors the community population very closely, we focused efforts to increase enrollment of specific groups--foster youth, veterans, and women and underrepresented students in science and engineering disciplines.

We are looking to provide

  • Outreach to foster youth at local high schools
  • A designated coordinator of veterans' affairs and dedicated space for veterans, and
  • Promotion of careers in science, engineering, and technology to encourage women, African Americans, and Hispanics to enter these disciplines

To bring course completion rates for African American, Hispanic, and Pacific Islander students to a level where they are succeeding equitably, we plan to

  • Explore developing learning communities for African American and Pacific Islander students
  • Explore expanding the existing Puente Program to include a second year experience for Hispanic students, and
  • Identify and apply for grants to benefit Pacific Islander students through our new designation as an Asian American-, Native American-, Pacific Islander-Serving Institution

Activities we plan to implement for improving course completion rates include:

  • Expanding the academic services of the Learning Resource Center
  • Coordinating Early Alert, tutoring, peer mentoring, and peer counseling services
  • Launching the Teaching and Learning Center to support faculty in understanding, accessing, and discovering information that will lead to improvements in student success
  • Expanding the use of embedded tutors, and
  • Providing information to faculty about adversely affected students at the course level and strategies for promoting success among those students

A critical element of the Student Equity Plan is the use of disaggregated data in program reviews to help faculty identify and address issues of disproportionate impact by discipline. Our Program Improvement or PIO process will support these efforts.

To improve completion rates for ESL and Basic Skills students, in addition to exploring the expansion of learning communities, we will consider piloting a program requiring students to enroll in a personal development class. And to improve degree and certificate completion among the identified student populations, students will use the web-based Student Planner to create individual student education plans.

Finally, even though we have one of the highest transfer rates in the state, Ohlone College will maximize new transfer opportunities for students, like our 23 new guaranteed transfer degrees, to promote even higher rates of transfer.

Progress on the Student Equity Plan

At the end of May we received the Chancellor's Office response to our Student Equity Plan, and it was very well received with just two recommendations. In November we'll submit a revised plan that addresses these recommendations.

In order to implement the goals of the Student Equity Plan, we have embedded it into the Strategic Plan as an objective. The College Council serves as the Student Equity Committee because of its commitment to equity and its representative membership. The College Council Co-chair, Alison Kuehner, and the VP of Academic Affairs, Dr. Leta Stagnaro, serve as co-chairs of the Student Equity Workgroup, which is being formed. This workgroup is populated by faculty and staff committed to the success of underrepresented students.

While having specific best practice activities spelled out in a plan is a helpful strategy, improving access and success for underrepresented students will require continued and increased engagement between faculty and students. As a college, we are well aware of the role of faculty play in student success. We also know we need to increase that interaction; one of the stated reasons for replacing our buildings was to create a better learning environment with more opportunities for interaction. You remember our desire to cause "collisions?" Some students, especially those who are first generation or underrepresented, may not feel comfortable reaching out to you. You as faculty can help by learning more about your students and engaging them as individuals.

Staff Equity

Although our student population reflects our desired ethnic distribution well, our employees do not. This is despite an overall shift toward more diverse employees in recent years. Our staff is stable, and people are generally happy working here. Also our applicant pools, in spite of our most conscientious efforts to attract diversity, do not typically reflect the ethnic make-up of our area. While we continue to hire over 70% of our full-time faculty from our more diverse adjunct faculty, progress is incremental.

In addition to focusing on staff diversity, the College is dedicated to providing a welcoming and inclusive work and learning environment. In June the Board approved the District's 2015-2017 Equal Employment Opportunity Plan, with the stated purpose of advancing equity, diversity, and cultural competency. Like the Student Equity Plan, we incorporated it into the Strategic Plan.

To implement the plan, we have established a standing Equal Employment Opportunity and College Diversity Advisory Committee, which will report to me. The committee will be co-chaired by Professor Jeff Dean and AVP Shairon Zingsheim. The charge of the committee is as an advisory body to promote equal opportunity and nondiscrimination policies and to develop ways for us to advance diversity and cultural competency. The combination of efforts will offer strong coordination between attracting a diverse applicant pool and retaining a workforce that thrives in a multi-cultural environment.

We intend to promote learning opportunities and personal growth in the area of diversity. To implement a diversity program, we plan to:

  • Invite to campus events, such as the World Forum, guest speakers from underrepresented groups who are in leadership positions and who may inspire students and employees alike;
  • Provide open house forums for the District's temporary part-time employees to assist them in preparing their application materials for full-time positions, like the workshop offered this week;
  • Conduct diversity dialogues, forums, and cross-cultural workshops and promote cultural celebrations on our campuses;
  • Recognize and value staff and faculty who promote diversity and equal employment opportunity principles;
  • Offer a series of diversity workshops during faculty flex week and classified staff development days;
  • Recognize multilingualism and knowledge of multiculturalism as a desired, and when appropriate, required skill and qualification for employees; and
  • Ensure that top administrative staff support diversity objectives.

I encourage the whole Ohlone family together to help to implement the goals and activities identified in the EEO Plan. I believe by taking these steps Ohlone will become widely known for our welcoming learning environment and inclusive culture. As we develop a new brand and marketing goals, we should consider how we can be known in our community for inclusiveness. There is a multitude of activities we can engage in to promote and send this message throughout our college and community, and I hope you will apply your creativity and innovation to further this endeavor.

The Board of Trustees is working on priorities to assist in accomplishing many of the initiatives we have before us. Highest on their list is supporting student access and success with particular focus on historically underrepresented and underserved students. They are committed to supporting us in these efforts.

Accomplishments and honors

And now I'd like to share with you some of our recent successes.

Community Dialogue on Race and Injustice

The Human Resources Department collaborated with the Speech and Communications Department to facilitate a "Community Dialogue on Race and Social Injustice." Faculty and HR staff led thought-provoking exercises to encourage students, faculty, staff, and administrators to be open with their perspectives on and experiences with race issues. The forum ended with an exercise to display the value of interconnectedness no matter the differences. We plan to offer more of such forums.

Follow-up report

You probably know by now that our Accreditation Follow-up Report was accepted by ACCJC in June. We will need to continue the efforts we promised with an eye on our Midterm Report due in March 2017.


Last May's graduating class was the biggest ever-an increase of 32% over last year. After all these years, we may have finally outgrown the gym. We will be looking at this and seeking your input to possibly reengineer this event.


The Fremont Bank Foundation has made a major gift to the Ohlone College Foundation to commission Mario Chiodo's "Celebration" sculpture for our Academic Core. The sculpture was inspired by an illustration that depicts Ohlone and other Native Americans joining together in celebration. Installation of the sculpture is planned to coincide with the completion of our new buildings and Ohlone's 50th Anniversary.

High School Counselor Conference

In the spring, the Counseling Department hosted its annual High School Counselor Conference, an event that has promoted collaboration between Ohlone and high school counselors in local districts since the early 2000s. The group discussed new student requirements, concurrent high school enrollment, transfer and degree programs, Career and Technical Education programs, and resources available through Disabled Students Programs and Services. By sharing such information with our local high schools, we better prepare and support students as they enter our college.

Freshman Days

Late spring we had nearly 500 incoming high school students participate in Freshman Days on our Newark campus. The students received their orientation, had an advising session to discuss first semester classes, and were able to enroll. At the event we also had a parent information session and staff available to answer questions. As a follow-up we posted an article about Ohlone in the Fremont Unified parent newsletter.

Adult School

The ESL department conducted a successful summer bridge class for adult school students at Fremont Adult School. Of the 25 students who enrolled, 22 finished successfully, and 18 students have indicated a desire to continue into classes at Ohlone.

Summer Bridge for HS Seniors

EOPS and the Basic Skills program hosted a summer bridge program of their own, this one for high school seniors. Students participated in a math boot camp, sessions on available College resources and services, and campus tours.


In the spring the Ohlone College Foundation awarded 91 students a total of over $150,000 in scholarships, $90,000 of which went to recipients of the Ohlone Promise. This scholarship started two years ago for seniors graduating from our district's high schools. It provides a full ride for two years for students who have a 2.5 GPA and some financial need. Our research shows that Ohlone Promise students are outperforming all other students in units attempted, units completed, and GPA.

Enrollment Fee Waiver Program

Already receiving a terrific response, we have a new program to inspire you and your eligible dependents to pursue your educational goals at Ohlone. All enrollment fees for you and your dependents will be waived for classes taken here.

DeafTec Grant

The Deaf Studies Division received the second of three cycles of the DeafTec grant. This grant helps Deaf and hard of hearing students find careers in STEM industries.

Internship Grant

Ohlone College partnered with Growth Sector, a statewide workforce intermediary, in offering full-time, summer research internships to STEM majors. These students worked at NASA-Ames research institution on a variety of exciting space-related projects.

Career Pathways Grant

Ohlone, as part of a consortium of Silicon Valley partners, received a Career Pathways Trust grant. Our group is receiving over $13 million dollars to strengthen connections of K-12 to community colleges and to employers.

Respiratory Therapy

Once again, Ohlone's Respiratory Therapy Program has been chosen by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care to receive the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award. Criteria for selection include holding program accreditation without a required progress report; credentialing success of 90% or higher, and meeting or exceeding established thresholds for credentialing success, low attrition, and successful job placement.

Speech/Communications Department

The Ohlone College Communications Department earned national certification for its Communication Labs and Tutor Training Program. Ohlone is one of just two community colleges in the country to receive this certification.

Women in Engineering

Ohlone College has been approved by the Society for Women Engineers to be a Collegiate Interest Group. We are the first community college in Northern California to have this honor, an achievement for the College and our female students in engineering.


One of the metrics on the Student Success Scorecard is improvement in remedial math; that is, the percentage of students whose first math class was below college level who eventually completed a college level math course. Among 25 colleges deemed to be our peers, Ohlone had the highest performance rate. What's more, both our African American and Hispanic students had the highest rate among our peers and both far exceeded the statewide rates. We are #1 among our peers and #2 compared to all 112 community colleges.


Now is that good enough? Of course not! In the spring faculty members Jeff O'Connell and Rose Margaret Itua led an accelerated math program-four courses in two semesters. The project, Ohlone Math Gateway, or OMG, provided a learning community in which STEM majors experienced a math curriculum applied to engineering and STEM careers. The results were phenomenal! The success rate in Algebra 2 was 90% compared to the previous three-year average of 58%. For trigonometry the success rate was 95% compared to 56%. And students did better in the Introduction to Engineering course. Jeff is now looking at how students are doing in the next math class. Stay tuned on this exciting project.

Ohlone Rating

Ohlone has been recognized by as Number 7 on a list of California's Best Two-Year Colleges for 2015! According to Best Colleges, their higher education experts reviewed nearly 250 2-year colleges in the state, and taking into account key performance indicators such as retention, graduation, and loan default rates, Ohlone College quickly rose to the top.

And more!

And the list goes on and on thanks to all you do.


Here we are at the start of another school year. I find it amazing how much you are able to accomplish each semester. I especially appreciate the innovation you apply to helping students learn and succeed. And you do it so well! Congratulations to all of you!

I want to thank the Ohlone Broadcasting Department for producing the Measure G video, especially adjunct faculty member Nizar Ahmed for creating the video from many sources. And special thanks to Patrick Downey, Gilbane South Parking Structure and Utilities Project Manager, for the drone portions of the film. I also thank and acknowledge all of you who provided information for this presentation.

I wish to thank Shelby Foster for her first production of the slide show. Great job! At the end of this presentation you will enjoy her lovely voice singing lyrics she adapted to the Sound of Music.

Thank you for coming and have a great semester!

Skip plugin notice.

Adobe Reader (free) or other browser plug-in/add-on for opening PDF documents is required to open files on this page marked "PDF".