View the current Faculty of the Month.
- Matt O'DOnnell - May 2016
- Jennifer Hurley - April 2016
- Carol Morodomi - March 2016
- Jeff Dean - February 2016
- Thomas Holcomb - December 2015
- Robin Kurotori - November 2015
- Yvonka Headley - October 2015
- Barbara Duggal - September 2015
Learn more about the Faculty of the Month program.
May 2016 Faculty of the Month
Entertainment Design Technology
Our Faculty of the Month for May is a Bay Area native.
He received his BA from San Jose State and an MFA from the University of Washington School of Drama.
After grad school and completing an internship at the Old Globe Theatre in Diego, he met with Ohlone emeritus faculty member, Mark Nelson, and began his long association with Ohlone College.
In 1985, he designed the lighting for his first Summerfest musical and has continued from there, off and on, as an adjunct faculty member for the next 15 years. During this time he lived in Los Angeles and would travel the Hwy 5 corridor to design shows and work with Ohlone students to install and implement his designs.
In between Ohlone shows, he the good fortune to land a job with legendary jazz keyboardist and bandleader Chick Corea. For the next 8 years, he was on tour working as the lighting designer and production manager for The Chick Corea Elektric Band (yes - that's how its spelled!). This was a dream job that allowed him to "see the world," meet jazz and music legends, and meet and work with people from multiple countries and cultures - his favorite thing about touring.
In 1993, he was lucky again to meet the literal "Girl Next Door" and love of his life, Ellen. They married in 1995 and in 1998 Ellen gave birth to their lovely daughter, Fiona.
Partnering with Ellen, and capitalizing on her design, executive, and business skills they formed The Point Source, a production company for live events. Together they created designs and spearheaded productions for high-profile award shows and corporate events with such clients as The Getty Museum, Lucasfilm, and The Electronic Entertainment Expo.
If you haven't already guessed, our May Faculty of the Month is Matt O'Donnell.
He joined the Ohlone faculty full time in 2008 as Director of the Entertainment Design and Technology Program in the Theatre and Dance Department. Matt enjoys working with an awesome team of fellow faculty and staff who together create theatrical and dance productions that offer wonderful creative opportunities for students.
He enjoys traveling, seeing live music and performance, playing tennis (but it's been a while…); spending time with Ellen, Fiona, and their two dogs Terra and Bodie; as well as taking walking trips to Half Moon Bay and the occasional snow trip.
Ohlone has been a very important part of his life and continues to be a great place to come to work each day. Matt is very appreciative of this honor and he and his colleagues would like to see all of you at the theatre!
April 2016 Faculty of the Month
I've been teaching English full-time at Ohlone since 2001, and the opportunity to teach community college students has been one of the biggest gifts of my life. I believe that our very institution furthers the cause of social justice. We are truly a place of do-overs and big dreams. I am so proud to tell people that we have almost the entire world represented inside our doors. These students, from so many cultures and with so many stories, have been my teachers over the past 15 years.
My most current and most beloved project has been the work I've been doing to further Ohlone's first accelerated basic skills class, a class that I co-created with Alison Kuehner. This class is close to my heart because it rests on the assumption that our most struggling students are capable of the most rigorous college coursework. My students are debating whether teachers who cheat for their students on standardized tests are acting out of courage or cowardice, and whether or not addiction is caused by poor choices, lack of connection, or something else. They argue their positions with fervor, pointing out passages in complex readings, arguing with and listening to each other, while I watch, amazed and yet not surprised.
I live in a bungalow in Alameda with my husband, Dan, and my chihuahua-dachshund, Cyrus, my baby! When not teaching, I can be found doing hot yoga, or hiking with my family, or spending time reading in the garden, which we recently replanted with all California natives.
March 2016 Faculty of the Month
Physical Therapist Assistant
We are so fortunate that Carol is a member of our Ohlone family. She was born and raised in Walnut Creek and is considered a Nisei or second generation Japanese American. She graduated from California State University, Fresno with her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Physical Therapy. She currently is in a doctorate program and will receive her Doctor of Physical Therapy in the summer 2016.
She joined the Ohlone College family in 2005 as the academic coordinator of clinical education, establishing clinical relationships withhospitals and physical therapy practices throughout the state of California for the physical therapist assistant program. Additionally, Carol teaches Orthopedics and is a member of the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program Advisory Board and the college's Professional Development Committee. She is a member of the Northern California Clinical Education Consortium and represents Ohlone's PTA program for the development, implementation, and support of quality clinical education for Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant students.
Carol is a strong believer in giving back to her profession. She encourages the growth and training of clinicians to become clinical instructors to mentor students from Ohlone's PTA program. She was a part of Ohlone's PTA Program Accreditation and is proud that Ohlone's PTA students have achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the national physical therapy exam for the past 8 years.
Prior to joining Ohlone College, Carol worked in clinical practice and business management holding the title of VP of Operations for a national rehabilitation organization. She was also a founder of a start-up in the Bay Area.
In her leisure time, Carol enjoys traveling,gardening, figure skating and volunteering. As a prior competitive figure skater, she tries to get back on the ice as much as possible. Carol and herhusband are volunteers and foster parents to a local animal rescue. In the last 3 years, they have fostered 10 dogs, (not all at the same time) until each found their loving forever homes. At home, they have two rescues, a Maltese and a Miniature Poodle that are part of the family.
Jeff was born and raised in Los Angeles and is a third-generation product of the California community college system. After dropping out of high school, he went on to attend East Los Angeles College, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of San Francisco.
He was hired as an adjunct instructor at Ohlone in January 1995 and began as a full-time member of the English Department in August 1996. Although he has taught a wide range of courses, he has focused his attention in recent years on teaching transfer-level composition, helping to get students familiar with the expectations they will encounter when they transfer and undertake their upper-division work.
Outside of his classes, he has served on many committees, including the Equivalency Committee and Faculty Senate. He currently serves as an Ohlone representative on the President's Advisory Committee, which fosters the relationship between Ohlone and its surrounding community members, and is co-chair of Ohlone's Diversity and Inclusiveness Advisory Committee. He has also edited many Ohlone College documents and served as a mentor to newly hired faculty. He is a strong believer in faculty involvement in College activities beyond the classroom and is grateful that his mentors encouraged him to participate in College-wide issues.
Even before his enrollment as a student at a community college, he was a strong believer in the transformative power that a community college education can have on anyone who is eager and ready for the opportunity to benefit from what it offers. In his case, a key benefit is the ability to re-invest what he was given as a student and offer that back into the system as a committed faculty member.
Outside of Ohlone, he formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Queen of the Holy Rosary College for the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, and now serves as a board member of its successor institution, the Center for Education and Spirituality.
In his leisure time, Jeff enjoys hiking, studying homiletics, and reading mid-20th century crime fiction, among other obscure subjects.
December 2015 Faculty of the Month
Thomas K. Holcomb is a Professor of Deaf Studies at Ohlone College in Fremont, California where he teaches both Deaf and hearing students in courses on Deaf culture, Deaf education and ASL/English Interpretation.
Holcomb's family-his parents (also national leaders in Deaf Education and the Deaf Community), grandparents, children and grandchildren are all Deaf. With over 30 years of teaching experience, as well as several publications, training packages, and DVDs to his name, Holcomb is considered a leading authority on Deaf culture. He has presented in 45 states and many different countries, including Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Japan and Sweden. His academic credentials include a bachelor's degree from Gallaudet University, a master's degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a PhD from the University of Rochester.
Tom is the author of the DVD/Student workbook "A Sign of Respect" used in all of our intense beginning level ASL classes. He also produced the DVD "See What It Means" which explains a lot about the differences in Deaf and hearing cultures. In 2013, after years of research, Tom had his book "Introduction to American Deaf Culture" published. It is being used nation wide in many Deaf Culture classes.
Tom is very popular with his students and has been a strong co advisor of the ASL Club for many years. An interesting fact is that Tom's mother, Mabs Holcomb, was teacher in the Deaf Studies and ITT Department before taking over as the Director of the GURC (Gallaudet University Regional Center) at Ohlone College. During his tenure at Ohlone College, Tom has written and directed several outstanding plays focusing on Deaf culture. Whenever there is an issue in our Deaf Community, Tom is always asked assume a leadership and or advisory role.
Bunny Klopping mentioned to me that she has known Tom since he was a little boy, in fact she used to babysit for him. His father and her father played on the same famous Gallaudet University basketball team called the "Five Iron Men." She described him as fun, kind, smart, known world wide, and a great asset to Ohlone. I agree, Bunny!
November 2015 Faculty of the Month
Join me in a congratulating Robin for some well-deserved recognition of her contribution to our Ohlone community. Here are some Robin factoids:
- Graduated UC Davis with teaching credentials in Physical Education and Life Sciences.
- Taught PE and Biology, and coached gymnastics and swimming at Mission San Jose andNewark Memorial High Schools in the 80s.
- Masters in Kinesiology / Exercise Physiology from CSUH
- Started at Ohlone College in 1981 teaching Aerobic Dance, swimming, aqua exercise, weight training and step aerobics.
- Adjunct faculty at that time while I taught full time PE and Biology at Mission SanJose HS and Newark Memorial HS, and then PE at Snow and Graham Elementary schools.
- Traveled with the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America teaching and certifyinggroup exercise instructors in several countries around the world.
- Wrote my first bit of curriculum in 1984 for an Aerobic Instructor Certification Prep course (it was the height of group exercise, leg warmers, and thongs and instructors were in high demand) Haven't stopped since!
- o Many of the graduates from that course still teach in some of the more prestigious fitness clubs in the area.
- Co-taught Fitness for Life with then Athletic Trainer Leta Stagnaro
- Left Ohlone in the 90's when the dot-com commute from Pleasanton to Fremont was taking close to an hour. (Wait, what?)
- Worked in the private fitness and medically-based fitness arena at ClubSport Pleasanton and LifeStyleRx in Livermore: personal training and group exercise.
- Came back on board in 2007 (thanks to an alert from Lottie Bain that an opening existed) as full time Health and Wellness coordinator for a new department that had not yet been created. Visionary dean retired, along with the new department concept.
- Teaching various PE courses (favorite class is indoor cycling), Women's Health, Contemporary Health, Online Fitness for Life (same class as the 80s only fully online - "yeah, professor, I ran the mile in 3 minutes!" )
- Enjoyed participation on Professional Development Committee, Ohlone Foundation, Golf Tournament committee, PTA Advisory Board
- Joined the Curriculum Committee in 2010. Became Chairperson in 2014.
- Coordinate the Ohlone Employee Fitness and Wellness Program
- Work with an amazing group of professionals in the Total Health and Wellness Center in Newark. Creativity, excellence and generosity of spirit guide the team of physical and health educators to create and teach innovative and challenging courses that help students improve mental and physical health.
- Live in Pleasanton with husband of 34 years (Craig), son (Cameron), two dogs (Rex- Chihuahua mix and Casey - Shepherd mix). Daughter Kimberly lives and works in Sacramento.
- Love my road bike and morning swims (when it is warm outside!)
October 2015 Faculty of the Month
Academic Counselor for Student Athletes
Yvonka first came to Ohlone in 2000 to work evening adjunct counseling hours.
She then relocated to work as a fulltime counselor in one of the most impoverished communities in Florida. After just one year of employment at Palm Beach Community College, her work with students in the glades region of south Florida earned her the college's Student Retention Award in 2003. A few years prior, she was the counselor for a program at Mission College (Santa Clara, CA) that received a California Community College Exemplary Program award from the Board of Governors.
She has over 15 years of experience as a counselor primarily working with traditionally under-served and under-represented student populations (EOPS, CalWORKs, TRiO, migrant workers, and Umoja programs). She says she's drawn to helping those populations because she would have qualified for three of those programs; she was raised by a teenage mother who never completed high school and she's the only person in her family to earn a degree. She says that as a counselor, the aforementioned student groups, has taught her to quickly establish rapport and trust with her students, then consistently "follow-up and check-up" on them because you genuinely care about their success. "Students from historically under-represented backgrounds tend to be a bit guarded and may not seek out resources on campus, so I sometimes walk them to places like the Health Center for the first time and introduce them to staff; that's what it often takes before they entrust the next person with sensitive, often embarrassing issues." In fact, that was the case with her. Instead of seeking resources like counseling, tutoring, and financial aid, she dropped out of college. Lucky for us, she returned to college and earned both her bachelor's in English and her master's in counselor education at San Jose State University. So, again, coming from a similar background as many of her students, she understands a lot of their challenges and barriers, including those self-imposed ones. Therefore, she has recently joined the Student Equity workgroup and SSSP committee with a goal of helping to develop and implement programs/resources to better serve the populations that need moresupport on campus. Currently, the counselor for Ohlone's nearly 200 student-athletes, she says that another goal of hers is to develop successful strategies for more student-athletes to desire and strive to become "scholar-athletes" who will become eligible for academic scholarships as well as athletic scholarships.
Yvonka has been a case manager and career counselor for dislocated workers through the City of Sunnyvale, a Director of federal TRiO Programs and Ohlone's Tri-Cities One Stop Career Center Director, but her passion to help students first-hand, brought her back to counseling. She has been a fulltime counselor at Ohlone since 2007. She has served on College Council, Transfer Advisory Committee and the Faculty Prioritization Committee.
September 2015 Faculty of the Month
Learning Resource Center / Library
Barbara has an MLIS from SJSU, and a MA from UCLA in Folklore & Mythology (a much misunderstood discipline that is actually the conflation of behavioral science with literary & cultural studies). This gifted Librarian also has a BA in English from Hunter College, CUNY, however, she assures me she hails from the Lower East Side. She is definitely not an Upper East Side snob!
She is active on several committees, most notably the Student Award Committee Co-Chair for the last 5 years and the Technology Committee.
I asked her a few questions…and summarizing her answers in any way would be a disservice to the Ohlone family.
Jim: How does one prepare for the "No Holds Barred" world of CCC libraries?
Barbara: Tending bar in jazz clubs is the best training I had for running a college LRC reference desk-it should have qualified as an internship in my LIS program. Of course, instead of pouring liquid spirits to music (and other entertainments) we serve up pints of info, tech & tools… And how isn't that, at least most of the time, just a little bit fun? (If we're not having a little fun, I say we all go home.)
Jim: I see…so would you consider yourself a solo act?
Barbara: There are a lot of moving parts to a library and I think them best run by staff that works like mates in a well-rehearsed show band, so I am tickled pink to sing back-up [way back] to the brilliantly conceived improvisational styling's of Kathy Sparling and KG Greenstein, and of course the whole Crew.
Jim: Is it ok if I beat box next time I am in your library?
Jim: Ok… anything else our Ohlone family should know?
Barbara: Random facts…(documentation upon request):
- Lived in seven major American cities.
- Job history (partial list): pre-teen unlicensed child care worker; busgirl; underage cocktail waitress; short-order cook; copywriter; manager/publicist for 8-piece R&B band (jazz trio; 5-piece wedding ensemble…) weave production expediter; bartender, waitress; bartender, waitress; Folklorist; Research Associate/Project Manager; Inner-city high school English teacher; corporate live-event script supervisor; inner-city middle school Teacher Librarian; Newark Center LRC.
- Couldn't be here if husband, Vimal, had not agreed to change his life and everything else to move north so I could help launch a new campus (and add another urban notch to my belt); thank you for still reading to me in the kitchen every night.
- Independent Reading List: Currently working through some top flight international mysteries. Praying that Elena Ferrante is hard at work on something, anything, and then something after that.
- Believes that learning to detect and manage bias in the media to critically evaluate, as well as navigate, the digital future is perhaps the greatest challenge of this generation; thus one of ours to best prepare them.