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News & Information

Click 2012 News Items

15 Full-Time Faculty Positions to Be Filled by Next Fall

15 New Faculty HiresCabinet has completed its review of the prioritized list of full-time, tenure-track faculty positions to be filled by next fall. President Scroggins said the hiring process will begin immediately for the top 15 positions.

The disciplines are: Fire Technology, CIS (Security & Networking), Earth Science (Oceanography & Geography), Foreign Languages (Italian), Kinesiology & Athletics (Women’s Basketball), Engineer Design Technician, Child Development, Counseling (General), Counseling (DSPS), Business Law, Learning Assistance (Writing), History, Chemistry, Fine Arts (Beginning Drawing), and Nursing.

To promote a speedy recruitment process, division deans will take the lead in facilitating the process with appropriate training from Human Resources. Instruction VP Ginny Burley and HR VP Annette Loria will coordinate this effort. (Posted 12-19-11)

College Receives “Loss Control Pays”
Award for Risk and Safety Efforts

Karen SaldanaCongratulations to Safety, Health Benefits & Risk Management Director Karen Saldana, who recently accepted the 2010-11 ASCIP “Loss Control Pays”
incentive award on behalf of the college for the proactive use of loss control programs and measures. The plaque, presented by the Alliance of Schools for Cooperative Insurance Programs, comes with a $1,500 cash award, which will be used to further implement Mt. SAC’s loss control strategy.

At the December Board of Trustees meeting, Administrative Services VP Mike Gregoryk recognized Karen’s efforts and achievements, noting that the measures implemented resulted in a $250,000 reduction in insurance premiums for the college over the past three years.

“This award represents significant effort from not only Risk Management staff, but from staff across the college who are dedicated to risk control efforts that make the campus a safe place for students, staff, and the public,” he said.
(Posted 12-19-11)

Administration Building Transition
Nearly Completed

Administration Building Renovation in Final Stretch
Administration Building Renovation in Final Stretch
Administration Building Renovation in Final Stretch

The last boxes are being carried and much unpacking is under way today, signaling the near completion of the departmental transition to the newly renovated Administrative Building (4). Except for Mail Services, all building tenants have moved in and are getting settled.

The tenants are: Instruction, Human Resources, Administrative Services (Fiscal Services, Purchasing, Payroll, Campus Operator), Marketing, Communication & Public Affairs, Grants, Research & Institutional Effectiveness, Printing Services and Mail Services, which will be the last tenant to be moved during the holiday break.

In addition to these offices, the building contains spacious conference rooms for collegewide use, staff lounges, restroom facilities, and generous furnished open spaces for visitors and networking. The contemporary interior design and décor present an inviting ambience. Stop by when you get a chance. (Posted 12-19-11)

Rosanne Bader Elected Board President

Rosanne Bader Elected Board PresidentAt its annual organizational meeting on Dec. 14, the Mt. San Antonio College Board of Trustees elected Rosanne Bader as president, Dr. Manuel Baca as vice president, and Fred Chyr as clerk. They will serve a one-year term, effective immediately, establishing policy and guiding the state’s largest single-campus community college through tough economic times due to ongoing state fiscal woes.

Elected to the board in 2003, Bader was reelected in 2007 and 2011. In 2007, she was elected to the California Community College Trustees Board, which makes recommendations about educational policy issues pending before the state Board of Governors and the California Legislature.

Baca was elected to the board in 1999 and reelected in 2003, 2007 and 2011. He is a career educator with over 30 years of experience within the state university and community college systems. Currently Baca teaches government and business law/management at Rio Hondo College. He was recently reappointed to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, which sets policy and provides guidance for the 72 districts and 112 colleges that comprise the system.

Chyr has been a Mt. SAC board member since 1995 and is currently serving his fifth term. Chyr has more than 25 years of experience in marketing educational institutions and businesses in Southern California. Currently, he is the chief marketing officer for the University of La Verne. He is also a member of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership.

The other Mt. SAC trustees are outgoing President Judy Chen Haggerty, Dr. David K. Hall, and Student Trustee Bruno Hernandez. (Posted 12-15-11)

Student Nursing Chapter Earns State Recognition

Student Nursing Chapter Earns State RecognitionCongratulations to the Mt. SAC Chapter of the California Nursing Students Association for receiving the state association’s award for “Outstanding Community Health Project.” The chapter was recognized for its "Pediatric Health Promotion Day." Faculty advisors are Denise Condra and Arleen Fiorito.

Mike Goff Named Conference “All-Sports Coach of Year”

Mike Goff Named Conference 
“All-Sports Coach of Year”Head Women's Track & Field Coach (and Head Men's Cross Country Coach) Mike Goff was named been named South Coast Conference All-Sports Coach of the Year. Goff led the Mounties to a conference, SoCal and State Championship in Women's Track and Field last season. Although the Women's Track and Field Team had no individual state champions, the depth of the women's team propelled them to a co-state championship with conference rival El Camino College.

Mt. SAC Singer Is Member of Sing-Off Winning Quintet

Avi Kaplan, photo by BillboardPentatonix, an a cappella quintet created a week prior to auditions for "The Sing-Off," walked away with the NBC show's trophy, $200,000 top prize, and a Sony Music recording contract Monday night. The group, with a trio of childhood friends from Arlington, Texas, at its core, forged a human-electronic sound in the a cappella competition to emerge victorious over two other finalists: the all-male 16-member Dartmouth Aires and Urban Method, an octet that married rap with a cappella singing.

As a quintet—one of the smallest groups in the show's three seasons—"it took a little while for everyone to find out exactly what their role was,” says male lead Scott Hoying. “Since it's one voice for bass, one voice for the beat, we were able to work on making the most out of what we had."

No one can be prouder of Pentatonix than Mt. SAC Choral Program Director Bruce Rogers, and that’s because one of the singers—Avi Kaplan (r, photo)—is a member of Bruce’s award-winning Chamber Singers and Singcopation vocal jazz ensemble. “I am just thrilled for Avi and the group," says Bruce. "They are so talented, and they were indeed the best group. They deserved to win.”

In a recent Daily Bulletin article, Avi shared that he always wanted to become a professional a cappella singer. It’s an ambition he took so seriously that he drove four hours from a Central California town to audition for the Chamber Singers after hearing them sing at a 2004 USC music festival. “They absolutely changed the way I sing and inspired my passion to do it for the rest of my life,” he said.

Congratulations to Avi, Pentatonics and the Mt. SAC Choral Program. To read the full Daily Bulletin article, click here

Foundation Interim Director Brings Wealth of Experience

Lisa Sugimoto photoMt. SAC welcomes Lisa Sugimoto as the interim executive director of the Foundation, temporarily filling the vacancy left by Richard Morley, who recently accepted a similar position at Irvine Valley College.

Having just retired from Pasadena City College, where she was vice president of college advancement, Lisa says her immediate priorities at Mt. SAC are to recruit new board members, identify potential major donors, promote the Foundation on campus, and direct the search for a long-term Foundation director.

She brings a wealth of experience to her interim position, having served California’s community colleges for 34 years. At PCC, Lisa served as president/superintendent for a year during a very challenging presidential transition. She also served as vice president/assistant superintendent for student and learning services at PCC for six years and previously was dean of counseling/student development and student support services at Long Beach City College for 14 years. Earlier in her career she served as the articulation officer/counselor at Cerritos College.

Lisa earned an M.S.Ed and an MBA at USC and a doctorate in educational leadership at UCLA. Her dissertation earned her the Mertes Award for Excellence by the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA) and the UCLA Educational Leadership Achievement Award. She has also served as an ACCCA board member and president.

We welcome Lisa to the Mt. SAC family!

Trustee Baca Reappointed to State Board of Governors

Manuel Baca PhotoCongratulations to Mt. SAC Trustee Manuel Baca, who has been reappointed to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors for another two-year term. Having served since 2009, Dr. Baca fills one of two faculty seats on the board, which sets policy and provides guidance for the nation’s largest higher education system, consisting of 72 districts and 112 community colleges with an enrollment of 2.6 million students. A Diamond Bar resident, Dr. Baca has served on the Mt. SAC Board of Trustees since 1999 and has held a number of administrative and faculty positions at Rio Hondo College in Whittier.

Administrative Team Wall

3-million Grant Awarded to Establish Cybersecurity CenterAs you enter the lobby of Founders Hall, you’ll notice a new feature gracing the wall across from the photo display of the college trustees and president. It's a photo display of the college’s senior administrative team, including the vice presidents, deans, and the chief technology officer. Employees, students, and visitors can now put a face to the core functions that operate and serve the college community.

$3-million Grant Awarded to Establish Cybersecurity Center

3-million Grant Awarded to Establish Cybersecurity CenterA consortium of West Coast organizations led by Mt. SAC has been awarded a $3-million grant over four years from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish the only cybersecurity center in the region. The grant will enable Mt. SAC to establish and operate a regional center in cybersecurity from 2011 through 2015 and support CyberWatch West programs. While similar centers have been established in the Midwest and on the East Coast, this is the only center located on the West Coast.

In addition to Mt. SAC, the CyberWatch West consortium includes: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; California State University, Dominquez Hills; California State University, San Bernardino; and Whatcom Community College in Washington. Initially, faculty from 16 additional community colleges and universities throughout California, Oregon and Washington will be involved in the center’s activities as will industry partners and professional associations.

The CyberWatch West Center will address challenges and concerns in education and the business industry, specifically the shortage of security professionals. The center will also address the lack of business and team-work skills among information technology professionals as well as enhance cybersecurity curriculum at many higher education institutions.

According to Jaishri Mehta, Mt. SAC CIS professor and the center’s principal investigator, research indicates that the financial impact of cyber crime on businesses worldwide is as much as $1 trillion annually. As a result, additional digital personnel are needed for the 21st century, she says, adding that U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that employment of computer network, systems, and database administrators is projected to increase by 30 percent from 2008 to 2018, faster than the average for all occupations.

“Our overarching goal is to strengthen and build an information security workforce and produce a greater number of highly qualified information assurance professionals in Western United States,” Mehta said.

The consortium members will collaborate to share best practices, methodologies, curricula, course modules and materials, and provide student cybersecurity competitions and faculty training and support to colleges who want to develop cybersecurity/information assurance programs and curriculum. (Posted 11-18-11)

Mt. SAC Football and Men's Soccer
Capture Conference Championships

Football ChampsAfter earning back-to-back No. 1 national rankings last year, the Men's Soccer and Football Teams finished their 2011 regular season campaigns with respective wins and conference championships. The Football Team defeated cross-town rival, Pasadena City College (27-14) to finish the regular season with a 9-1 record, a No. 1 play-off seed and their fifth consecutive conference championship. The team will take on El Camino College (8-2, play-off #4 seed) tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. at home. The winner of this game will move on to the Southern California Championship Game.

The Men's Soccer Team also defeated crosstown rival Pasadena City College (1-0) to finish the regular season with a undefeated record of 18-0-3 and a 34-game undefeated streak. This represents the third consecutive South Coast Conference Championship for Head Coach Juan Sanchez. The team will most likely receive the No. 1 play-off seed and a bye in the first round. Play-off time and opponent to be determined at a later. (Posted 11-18-11)

Jastrab Named Conference Football Coach Of The Year

Student Refund ATMs  Installed Across CampusHead Football Coach Bob Jastrab has been named the “Conference Coach of the Year” for the fifth consecutive year by the Southern California Football Association. In seven seasons as head coach, Jastrab has compiled an incredible record of 71 wins and 14 losses (.835 winning percentage). He has guided the Mounties to six consecutive conference championships, five consecutive bowl game championships, four consecutive Southern California Championships, two consecutive state championships and two consecutive national championships. Congratulations Coach Jastrab! (Posted 11-18-11)

Juan Sanchez Named Conference
Soccer Coach Of The Year

Student Refund ATMs  Installed Across CampusHead Soccer Coach Juan Sanchez has been named the SCC “Conference Coach of the Year” for the seventh time. In his ninth season, Sanchez has guided the Mounties to seven SCC Championships, two state championships, and a national championship. He has twice been named NSCAA West Region Coach of the Year ('07 and '09) and SCC “All-Sports Coach of the Year” ('03-'04 and '09-'10). (Posted 11-18-11)

Student Refund ATMs Installed Across Campus

Student Refund ATMs  Installed Across CampusThe HigherOne ATMs are now installed around campus to enable students to access their refunds and financial aid funds quickly and conveniently next term.

ATMs have been installed at six campus locations—two in the Student Services Center and one each in the Student Life Center, the Library, the Bursar’s Office, and the Technology Center (Bldg. 28). The machines are equipped with Braille instructions and headset jacks to accommodate the ADA population, and the on-screen instructions are provided in English and Spanish.

Beginning this week (Nov. 14), students will receive the Mt. SAC CARD at their residences, which they must activate immediately. This “ATM system” is the preferred method by which the college will distribute refunds, financial aid, and scholarship funds to students, beginning in the Winter Intersession (January).

Alternately, students have the option to receive their refunds via direct deposit to their personal checking accounts, or by a paper check. All transactions will be administered by HigherOne, which is the preferred vendor partnering with Mt. SAC in an effort to reduce the volume of checks Mt. SAC cuts annually to students (approximately 60,000) and to save some $35,000 in administrative costs.

While the ATMs are primarily intended for student refund transactions, anyone can withdraw funds with their bank ATM card. However, a $3 processing fee applies. For more info about the refund program and the Mt. SAC CARD, visit (Posted 11-15-11)

Student Research Conference Nov. 19

SCCUR 2011 Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research, Sunday, November 19, 2011 Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, CA 91789. Website http://sccur2011.mtsac.eduThis Saturday, Mt. SAC will host the Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR), which provides a forum for the presentation of the best research, scholarship, and creative activities of undergrads in the region and encourages communication of innovative achievements across disciplines—arts and humanities as well as social, natural, and applied sciences. SCCUR is open to the campus and the public. You can register in advance online or onsite on Saturday at the Natural Sciences Complex. For conference info and registration, click here. (Posted 11-15-11)

Flying Team Captures Regional Honors, Headed to Nationals

Flying Team Captures Regional Honors, Headed to NationalsThe Mt. SAC Flying Team recently captured second-place honors at the annual Pacific Coast Intercollegiate Flying Association’s Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference, earning them an invitation to the national SAFECON competition in Kansas next May.

Ninety-eight competitors from six colleges and universities competed in five flight events and five academic events. First-place winner Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University hosted the competition at its campus in Prescott, AZ.

In addition to ranking second overall, Mt. SAC brought home the prestigious Safety Trophy and held onto the Top Two-Year School Trophy for the 21st consecutive year. Mt. SAC students received 22 individual awards, including first-place finishes in the Instrument Flight and the Preflight Inspection categories.

Congratulations to Professors Robert and Linda Rogus, who co-chair Mt. SAC’s nationally ranked Aeronautics Department. (Posted 11-14-11)

Student-Vets Praised At Veterans Day Ceremony

Student VetsScores of students and employees gathered in the Social Sciences Complex courtyard today to commemorate Veterans Day. They did that via an outdoor ceremony that acknowledged the contributions of Mt. SAC student-veterans in protecting world freedom and democracy.

“They are our heroes and ‘sheroes,’ and we commend them for selflessly putting their college education on hold to serve our country,” said Veterans Services Specialist Heather Rains, who organized the ceremony. As part of her personal tribute, Heather introduced her grandfather, Charles Beasley, who is a decorated Vietnam veteran, who served 20 years in the Air Force. He was also the first flight engineer to serve on AC-130 gunships.

Against a colorful, patriotic backdrop of flags, red-white-blue balloons and flowers, each speaker lauded military students and veterans in general. Speakers included VP Student Services Dr. Audrey Yamagata-Noji, Mike Drake, president of the campus Veterans Club, and Lien Reveles, a student/Veterans Club member and wife of an Army serviceman.

Concluding the ceremony was a musical tribute--a moving bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace”--by Learning Assistance Math Professor Martha Hall. Afterwards, the audience and guests enjoyed refreshments at the nearby Veterans Resource Center. See photo gallery for photo highlights. (Posted 11-10-11)

Board Approves One-Time Increase for Managers, Supervisors and Confidentials

Presidental Award Winners, names within the attached paragraph.The Board of Trustees on Oct. 26 approved a one-time, 2% salary increase for managers, supervisors, and confidential employees, retroactive to July 1 and expiring on June 30, 2012. The increase will be reflected in the Nov. 30 paychecks. This increase comes on the heels of a 2% ongoing salary increase approved for the faculty in August.

The board also approved the ability to “opt out" or waive the district's group medical plan. Employees choosing to opt out must provide annual proof of continuing health coverage under a comparable group medical benefit plan. Employees choosing this option must purchase dental, vision and life insurance through the district.

Finally, the board approved changes to bereavement leave for these employees: a maximum of five days’ leave of absence without salary loss, or seven days’ leave of absence if travel of more than 200 miles one way is required. (Posted 11-3-11)

Flexible Spending Program Open Enrollment Starts Nov. 21

Presidental Award Winners, names within the attached paragraph.Open enrollment for the Section 125 Flexible Reimbursement Programs is soon approaching, and those participating employees wish to remain in the plan, must re-enroll each year. The Flex program is a money-saving way to pay for eligible medical or dependent day care expenses with a flexible spending account that deducts pre-tax dollars from one's paycheck.

An American Fidelity representative will be on campus on Nov. 21-23 and 28-30 as well as Dec. 1, 2, 6 and 7 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at a location to be announced. Those who plan to enroll or renew their enrollment, must make an appointment with the rep by calling American Fidelity directly: (866) 523-1857.

During this enrollment period, information will be available about the disability, cancer and life insurance products that American Fidelity offers Mt. SAC employees.

For more information, visit online or contact Karen Pilling at ext. 5478 or Hawk Yao at ext. 5522. (Posted 11-3-11)

Doug Todd Named Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year

Presidental Award Winners, names within the attached paragraph.Mt. SAC’s Doug Todd has been named the 2012 South Coast Conference Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year. Doug led the Mounties through yet another outstanding season, having just captured the SCC championship.

This represents the eighth time he has garnered this regional honor. Todd has captured more state championships (10), conference championships (23) and Conference Coach of the Year title (22) than any other coach in Mt. SAC history. He has also been named the State Cross Country Coach of the Year three times. (Posted 11-3-11)

Forensics Team Kicks Off Season Strong

Presidental Award Winners, names within the attached paragraph.The Mt. SAC Forensics Team kicked off the season with strong performances, winning the 2nd Place Sweepstakes Award for overall performance and earning 19 individual awards in a broad range of categories at the recent Pasadena City College Watson-Lancer Speech and Debate Tournament. These categories included Novice Duo-Interpretation, Open Impromptu, Novice Persuasive, Open Extemporaneous, Speech to Entertain, Parliamentary Debate, Programmed Oral Interpretation, Prose, Thirty three Mt. SAC students attended. The team was coached by Communication Professors Jeff Archibald, M. "Shae" Hsieh, and Danny Cantrell. Congrats to all!

Presidential Award Winners

Presidental Award Winners, names within the attached paragraph.Math Department recipients of the first Presidential Awards for Teaching Excellence display their certificates (l-r) Professors Dolores Chavez, Heidi Parra, Gary Long, Melody Summers, Christine Sun, Cameron Troxell, Kambiz Khoddam, and Phebe Hosea. Headed by Gary, this team won the award for excellent work in teaching/learning basic skills courses and in aligning course sequences.

Specifically, their project was aimed at increasing success rates in two developmental math courses--Pre Algebra (Math 50) and Elementary Algebra (Math 51)--using two fundamental treatments: providing student access to professor-created educational math videos and proactively striving to create a sense of community. The awards were given at the Fall Convocation by President Scroggins.

The Curriculum and Pedagogy Award went to Electronics Professor Jonathan Hymer for performing excellent work at the program or course level that has led to improvements in curriculum design or course delivery.

Administration Building Renovation in Final Stretch

Administration Building Renovation in Final Stretch
Administration Building Renovation in Final Stretch
Administration Building Renovation in Final Stretch
Administration Building Renovation in Final Stretch
Administration Building Renovation in Final Stretch
Administration Building Renovation in Final Stretch
Administration Building Renovation in Final Stretch

Finishing touches are being applied to the Administration Building, which has been under renovation for nearly two years. The last work stations are being installed, and the main stairwell is due to arrive any day—the last major structural element to be installed. The contemporary design of the building is quite impressive, with translucent glass walls and a massive skylight, which allow for natural sunlight to permeate the public areas of the upper floor.

Plans are for departments to start moving into the completed edifice in early December over a series of weekends. Resident divisions and departments include Instruction, Human Resources, Administrative Services, Fiscal Services & Accounting, Purchasing, Payroll, Marketing & Public Affairs, Research & Institutional Effectiveness, Grants, Printing Services, Mail Services, and the Campus Operator.

The two-level building also contains a number of large conference rooms, employee lounges, restrooms, and the campus’ central mail room. (Posted 10-27-11)

Black College Summit Focuses on Transfer

Black College Summit Focuses on Transfer
Black College Summit Focuses on Transfer
Black College Summit Focuses on Transfer
Black College Summit Focuses on Transfer

More than 100 students, most from Mt. SAC and San Diego City College, participated in the 6th annual Black College Summit on campus last week. This year’s summit focused on transfer, giving the students the opportunity to hear first-hand from university representatives and transfer students on how best to achieve their goals. Attendees were welcomed to the annual event by President Bill Scroggins and VP Audrey Yamagata-Noji, and they heard inspirational words from Marlita Hill, a dance and forensics standout at Mt. SAC who transferred to a university near Baltimore. Today she is an author and dance instructor for LAUSD.

Participants learned the “ins-and-outs” of financial aid, the importance of preparing themselves academically for transfer, setting realistic academic goals, and the “do’s and don’ts” of transferring, based on the experiences of a panel of recent Mt. SAC alumni who made the transition successfully.

Congratulations to Career & Transfer Services Director Heidi Lockhart and her entire team for another successful summit. (Posted 10-19-11)

Emergency Drill and Notification Test Set Oct. 20

Get the Message LogoGet ready to shake out today when Mt. SAC participates in the Great Southern California Shakeout earthquake drill. The action all starts at 10:20 a.m. with evacuations drills planned for the Student Services Center as well as Building 30. Employees are encouraged to review emergency procedures and practice “drop, cover and hold” exercises once they get notified through the college’s emergency notification system at 10:20.

Employees who have signed up for the college emergency notification system will receive a test message. Haven’t signed up yet? There’s still time to visit your portal and indicate the method you prefer to be notified. (Posted 10-19-11)

Campus Focuses on Health

Campus Focuses on Health
Campus Focuses on Health
Campus Focuses on Health

How do you open wide and say "Ahhhh-some"? Ask any of the hundreds of students and employees who filled the Health Careers Center courtyard to take in the annual Health Fair, sponsored by Student Health Services. They were able to get their blood pressures taken, cholesterol and glucose levels screened, and even get a dental checkup--all free of charge. Also on hand were local health professionals, who provided information on a wide range of issues, including basic nutrition, sexually transmitted diseases, and chiropractic care. (Posted 10-13-11)

Community Welcomes President Scroggins
at Campus Reception

Community Welcomes President Scroggins
Community Welcomes President Scroggins
Community Welcomes President Scroggins
Community Welcomes President Scroggins
Community Welcomes President Scroggins
Community Welcomes President Scroggins

Scores of community dignitaries, college employees and student leaders gathered in Founders Hall on Sept. 27 to officially welcome Dr. Bill Scroggins as the ninth Mt. SAC president.

Against the colorful backdrop of a slideshow displaying images of “Bill” at different stages of his life, Board President Judy Chen Haggerty introduced the CEO, noting how he has “come full circle” from his humble beginnings as a graduate of La Puente High School in 1965.

“He’s enjoyed a successful career in higher education across California and has now returned to his roots in the San Gabriel Valley to take the help at Mt. SAC,” she said. “My fellow trustees and I are so pleased to have Bill here to lead us through fiscally challenging times and to also build upon the 65-year legacy of excellence that has long been our trademark.”

Dr. Scroggins thanked everyone for their show of support and went on to assure them that he was up to the challenge of building on the Mt. SAC legacy, despite the fiscal challenges ahead. He concluded his remarks by engaging the audience in a pep rally-like cheer of confidence that the best days for Mt. SAC lie ahead.

Among those dignitaries attending the festive event, catered by Sodexo, were Assemblyman Curt Hagman, Walnut City Manager Rob Wishner, Walnut Mayor Nancy Tragarz and fellow councilmembers Tony Cartagena and Mary Su, La Puente Councilman Dan Holloway, Baldwin Park Councilwoman Marlen Garcia, Cal Poly President Dr. Michael Ortiz, Walnut Valley USD Larry Redinger, Mt. SAC Foundation board members Mike Shay and Steve O’Sullivan, and Industry Manufacturers Council Executive Director Don Sachs.

President Scroggins greeted the many guests and introduced them to his wife, Lina, a professor at Los Angeles Trade Tech, and their adorable daughter, Elizabeth, who stole the attention from her parents throughout the evening. —CB (Posted 9-30-11)

Tsunami Relief Donation

Mt. SAC’s Anime Club, advised by James Gonzales of Event Services, recently donated $400 to the Japanese embassy to help with the international tsunami relief effort. James, who has close ties to Japan, has served as advisor to this club for the past 12 years. The club held what is known as a “maid café” this past spring and is planning additional fundraisers over the course of the year. Pictured (l-r): Eduardo Arias, Monique Vasquez, James Gonzales, Marcela Mesa, George Plata, and Elyse Campos.

Lightning BOLT Strikes Mt. SAC

Always in our Memory
Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt

Nearly 1,000 people jammed the east side of the campus stadium to see, hear, and photograph the fastest human in history, Usain Bolt of Jamaica. The 25-year-old reigning Olympic sprinter graced the Mt. SAC track today to conduct a clinic and shoot footage for a TV commercial for his corporate sponsor, Puma.

The Mt. SAC track and field teams were among the throng of hooting and cheering fans—some of whom participated in the clinic under Usain’s instruction.

After his motivational pep talk and bantering with Mt. SAC head track coach Doug Todd, Usain struck his trademark lightning bolt pose and headed to a tent to sign autographs on just about everything that fans presented to him, including Bolt posters and banners, track shoes, T-shirts, relay batons . . . and—wouldn’t you now it—a pair of underwear!

“This was a great community event that brought everyone together from our campus and neighboring schools, track clubs, and people from the local neighborhood who admire Usain and appreciate the sport of track and field,” says Doug, who emceed the event. “I want to thank all the Athletics staff and the various college departments that helped us pull this event off. It was indeed a team effort and a historic moment.” —(Posted 9-27-11)

What’s in a name? PE is now “Kinesiology”

Physical Education” just isn’t good enough anymore! Well, actually it’s the name that’s become obsolete and falls short of capturing all that the discipline now embodies. The Instruction Office has announced a name change for the P.E. Department to “Kinesiology & Athletics Department,” and with that comes the renaming of the division as well by the same name.

“This important change has been made primarily in response to the evolution of the discipline and its degree requirements, and it reflects the shift in the type of instruction and emphasis of the discipline within the UC and CSU systems,” says VP of Instruction Ginny Burley.

The name change is now in effect and will be reflected on campus signage and in campus directories, class schedules, and the college catalog (with the “KIN” course prefix designation).

In addition to offering health science and physical conditioning curricula, the division is also the umbrella for Mt. SAC’s award-winning Dance Department and its legendary athletics program, which has been recognized as the state’s best among community colleges by the National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators.—(Posted 9-27-11)

Mt. SAC’s UC/CSU Transfer Rates Jump 62%

Mt. SAC’s Transfer Center staff is celebrating the results of a statewide report that ranks Mt. SAC among the top 10 (#6) in student transfers to University of California and California State University campuses during the 2010-11 academic year. Mt. SAC transfers to state universities totaled 1,746 transfers last year (vs. 1,077 in 2009-10), representing a 62% increase.

Mt. SAC transfers to UC campuses increased by nearly 25% from 318 in 2009-10 to 396 last year. This represents a bump up in ranking from 12th to eighth place among California community colleges.

“UC transfers overall from all community colleges increased by 8.7%, so our 25% increase is quite substantial and is indicative of the great work that everyone is doing here at Mt. SAC,” noted Career & Transfer Services Director Heidi Lockhart.

Mt. SAC transfers to CSU campuses increased by a whopping 78% from 759 in 2009-10 to 1,350 last year. This moved Mt. SAC from ninth to fifth ranking in the state.

“This huge increase is largely attributed to the CSU system not accepting midyear transfers in 2009-10,” Heidi notes. “As for this year, however, our considerable increase of 78% is particularly noteworthy when compared to the overall 51% transfer increase among all community colleges.”

The state’s top three transfer institutions were Orange Coast College with 2,274 students transferring, De Anza College with 2,121 transfers, and Santa Monica College with 2,063. By far, Santa Monica boasts the highest transfer rates to UC campuses with 1,009 from the class of 2011.—CB (Posted 9-26-11)

Governor Signs Fee Hike Delay Legislation

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed ABX132, which will delay the proposed $10 community college enrollment fee increase from winter term 2011-12 until summer 2012 under the Tier 1 trigger reductions. When effective next summer, the per-unit enrollment fee for California residents will jump from $36 to $46. Without this deferral, colleges would have had to implement the fee increase midyear, thereby placing administrators in the untenable position of trying to collect higher fees from students who had already completed registration for spring classes.

“While we sincerely hope that the state’s economic recovery eliminates the need to pull these budget triggers, we also want to ensure that our response is as sensible as possible for the students counting on us for education and retraining,” said the state Community College Chancellor’s Office in a formal statement.(Posted 9-21-11)

Happy Anniversary!

Image of doll sized graduation gown and stack of moneySeptember 16 marked Mt. SAC’s 65th anniversary. It was on this day in 1946 that the college opened its doors to the first 635 students (majority Anglo male) on a sprawling campus whose buildings had been previously used as military medical facilities.

Indeed times have changed. We just opened the 65th academic year to some 60,000 students (majority Latina), who navigate a 420-acre campus dotted by state-of-the-art educational facilities with cutting-edge technology.

There’s one very important thing that hasn’t changed over time, and that is our ongoing commitment to student success and achievement—a trademark legacy of excellence that has continued across six decades. Today we rank among the state and nation’s top institutions of higher learning. We’re proud of our heritage of extraordinary achievement across all disciplines, whether it be athletics, aviation, the humanities, the sciences, or the arts.

Everyone is to be commended for recommitting themselves each and every day to continuing this wonderful legacy. Here’s to 65 years of excellence and distinction!

Board Ok’s $144.8-million Budget for FY12

Image of doll sized graduation gown and stack of moneyAt its Sept. 14 meeting, the Board of Trustees adopted the college’s 2011-12 budget. It assumes revenues totaling $137.4 million while expenditures are estimated at $144.8 million, resulting in a projected structural budget deficit of $7.4 million.

Administrative Services VP Mike Gregoryk noted that the budget includes an unrestricted general fund balance (also known as “reserves”) of $25.4 million. This includes $3.2 million awarded to the college for enrollment growth achieved in the previous fiscal year, over $2.4 million in savings from unfilled vacant positions, and $2.3 million from unspent departmental budgets across the college).

Gregoroyk also noted that midyear state budget cuts will more than likely take effect, causing the structural deficit to increase.

“Fortunately our reserves are healthy enough to ensure that we can meet payroll in the event of cash flow problems with the state,” he said. “We will not have to borrow funds as will some other college districts will have to do under such circumstances.”

Gregoryk commended the entire Mt. SAC community for its hard work during these difficult budgetary times and encouraged continued fiscal discipline and collaboration in identifying ways to ensure Mt. SAC’s fiscal stability. Looking ahead, he said work is already under way to develop the 2012-13 budget and continue the collegewide effort to review all programs and services.

Here are the links to the budget presentation made to the trustees on Sept. 14:

(Posted 9-15-11)

Financial Aid to Mt. SAC Students
Hits All-Time Record—$51 million!

Students meeting at Student Life Center receiving information for Financial Aid.Here’s one for the record books: Mt. SAC distributed over $51 million to financially qualified students—an increase of 141% from 2007-08. Of that total, more than $36 million was in the form of Pell Grants, while $9.5 million was in Board of Governors Fee Waivers.

Financial Aid Director Susan Jones reports a whopping 58.1% of the 21,567 students receiving financial aid were granted a state Board of Governors Fee Waiver (which totally covers their enrollment fees).

Jones’ office received and processed a record 34,716 financial aid applications over the past academic year—up 97% from the 17,608 applications filed in 2007-08.

And here’s the clincher: As of Aug. 31—just a few weeks into the new academic year—the Financial Aid Office has already received 30,476 apps—clearly demonstrating the growing need for student financial assistance due to the strained economy.

To read Jones’ Financial Aid Information Report, as presented to the Board of Trustees on Sept. 14, click here. (Posted 9-15-11)

Performing/Fine Arts Season Launched

Theater Performance from 2010 Season.Artful Inspiration is the theme for the 2011-12 performing and fine arts season. Mt. SAC’s creative arts divisions offer a full array of exhibitions and performances, including four intriguing art exhibits, four theatrical productions, dance presentations, as well as a plethora of vocal and instrumental performances by students and faculty members.

The season gets under way with Michael Falzone's Examined retrospective exhibit of improvisational sculpture, painting and collage work. Free exhibit runs now through Oct. 14 at the Mt. SAC Art Gallery Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday evenings from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Check out the full season’s offerings at our new Performing Arts/Tickets website:

(Posted 9-15-11)

Welcome Reception Planned for Bill Scroggins Sept. 27

The campus community and special guests are invited to the official welcome reception for President Bill Scroggins on Tuesday, Sept. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Founders Hall. Hosted by the Board of Trustees, the event is themed, “Returning to His Roots,” signifying Bill’s return to the San Gabriel Valley, where he grew up, attended local schools, including Mt. SAC. Dignitaries, campus leaders, employees, and students are expected to attend. (Posted 9-14-11)

Foundation's Richard Morley Heading to Irvine Valley

Having just wrapped up Mt. SAC’s biggest and most successful scholarship fund-raising campaign ever, Richard Morley is leaving his post as executive director of the college’s foundation on Sept. 22 to head fund development at Irvine Valley College. He is also leaving behind an operation that is in a robust financial position and poised for the next level of growth and accomplishment.

A farewell reception is planned for Richard on Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. at the Foundation Office, Bldg. 12A on the north end of campus.

Richard began his tenure at Mt. SAC as interim executive director in 2008 after serving as the director of development for Community Care Health Centers, the largest nonprofit health care provider in Orange County. Previously, he served as director of corporate and foundation relations for the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, an $18-million adult learning /workforce development agency in Chicago.

During his fruitful tenure at Mt. SAC, Richard immediately cleaned up and updated donor data bases, instituted online tracking systems, and got the foundation’s operational house in order. He also broke new ground in the area of alumni outreach by utilizing technology and social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn) to connect with over 17,000 Mountie alumni across the country. In addition, he worked with the new foundation board leadership to strengthen community partnerships and expand the donor base. This resulted in increased funding for scholarships and various unfunded academic and student support projects of the college.

Richard coordinated the donation of the Sophia Clarke home to the foundation, which was sold with proceeds benefitting the scholarship endowment. (Clarke is a long-time Mt. SAC patron, whose name graces the campus theater). Richard also helped secure the donation of a Gulfstream II jet—valued at $1.3 million—from an anonymous Hollywood star. The aircraft is used to train aircraft maintenance students.

But his greatest fund-raising success by far was raising more than $1.1 million during the Climb Higher/Osher Matching Scholarship Campaign—exceeding all previous efforts by the college. Based on these results and the 50/50 matching arrangement, 100 deserving Mt. SAC students will be guaranteed a $1,000 scholarship annually in perpetuity.

The Mt. SAC Family congratulates Richard on his accomplishments and wishes him all the best in his next mission at Irvine Valley. (Posted 9-14-11)

State Chancellor Applauds Student Fee Hike Deferral

California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott has applauded the state Legislature's recent decision to delay implementation of a midyear student fee increase to next summer if state revenues fall more than $1 billion below projections and trigger cuts. The increase from $36 to $46 per unit was originally proposed for the 2012 spring term.

"I congratulate the Legislature for passing this bill (ABx1 32) that defers until summer a $10-per-unit fee increase in the event that midyear budget cuts are deemed necessary,” the statement said. “Without this change, colleges likely would have to implement the fee increase with only a couple of weeks' notice, and adminstrators would be placed in the untenable position of trying to collect higher fees from students who had already completed registration for spring classes. This bill, if signed by the governor, gives colleges and students adequate time to prepare for increased fees if they become necessary."(Posted 9-12-11)

Another Student Makes Cut on TV Talent Competition

Mt. SAC Chamber Singers and Fermata Nowhere member Avi Kaplan and his group, Pentatonix, will face off against 15 other a cappella groups for a shot at the top prize on the new season of “The Sing-Off” competition, which premieres on Monday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. on NBC-TV.

The weekly show airs through December 4, when the champions will be crowned. Pentatonix is vying for the top prize—$200,000 cash and a recording contract with Sony Music. Avi sings bass and is very excited about the opportunity to win. The entire Mt. SAC Music Department and the rest of the campus will be cheering them on.

Another Mt. SAC student, Jordan Casanova, glided her way into the finals of the highly popular So You Think You Can Dance competition last spring.

Mt. SAC Marks 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Tragedy

Always in our Memory
Always in our Memory
Always in our Memory
Always in our Memory
Always in our Memory
Always in our Memory

Hundreds of employees, students, veterans, Fire Academy cadets, and local public safety officers participated in the campus commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Beginning with a Public Safety Color Guard procession, the 40-minute ceremony featured remarks by Student Services VP Audrey Yamagata-Noji (who also served as emcee), A.S. President Alex Mendoza, Speech Professor and military veteran Mei-Ling (Shae) Hsieh, and Mt. SAC 52nd Fire Academy Commander Alberto Aranda, who delayed his college education to serve in the Iraq War.

Audrey set the tone of the ceremony in the Student Life Center by reminding everyone that this “was a defining moment, a time of remembrance.”

“Today Mt. SAC pauses to pay respects to the lost and those who suffered loss as a result of the horrible tragedy that changed the world and our lives forever,” she said. “We honor those brave rescuers who lost life and limb trying to do the humane thing in saving their brothers and sisters – represented today by the Mt. SAC Fire Academy cadets, Fire Engine Company 146, our Mt. SAC Public Safety officers and the L.A. County Sheriffs. We also honor those brave service men and women who risked or lost their lives—represented today by our student veterans and others currently serving in the military. We will honor them today through words from the heart and music deep from the soul.”

The ceremony music came from the souls of two students, clarinetist Dwayne Burrell and pianist Sally Kuk, who performed Amazing Grace, as well as two employees, Sandra Bollier and Patricia Hamilton, who led the audience in singing the Star-Spangled Banner.

Like a pied piper, a bagpipe player led the flag-waving crowd from the Student Life Center down the “miracle mile” to the destination point under the clock wall of the Building 26 quad. There many more students and faculty lined the balconies and listened to final remarks, sang the National Anthem and observed the release of a dozen white doves into sunny sky, symbolizing peace and hope.

Afterwards everyone enjoyed refreshments, inscribed their sentiments on the Wall of Remembrance, and just savored this moment of honor and reverence. —CB (Posted 9-8-11)

Fiscal Challenges Top List of College’s Priorities

classified school employees week luncheon
classified school employees week luncheon

At the faculty plenary session of Convocation Day, President Bill Scroggins outlined key priorities going forward. Not surprisingly, the college’s financial stability topped the list.

With the state’s fiscal woes escalating, Scroggins noted that community colleges will likely face an additional $70 million in revenue cuts midyear, which would trigger an additional tuition hike for students statewide to $46/unit as well as additional class section reductions at Mt. SAC. He also noted the need for ongoing review of college operations, programs, and services to identify additional ways to do more with less and enhance efficiencies across the college.

“This is a transition year for all of us and particularly for me as the new president,” Scroggins said. “Our financial position will be stable, but not balanced. And we remain committed to reducing our structural deficit, which we’ve already done by nearly $5 million.”

Administrative Services VP Mike Gregoryk said that budget constraints will impose a “new normal” in the way the college operates. As an example, he cited the situation where custodial resources will be “stretched to the max” as new buildings come online without hiring additional personnel.

“The new normal may be that some classrooms won’t get cleaned every day,” he cited. “Another new norm for the custodial group is the fact that they’re now working in teams and following standard cleaning protocols.” Facilities is considering the feasibility of consolidating instructional space during the summer months so that underutilized buildings can remain closed, thereby reducing cooling and electricity costs.

Regarding student success, the president applauded the college’s gains in completion rates, but called for more integration and balance in the interface between program design and student support services.

At the Classified session, Scroggins underscored the value that Classified employees bring to the table with regard to running the entire college operation and providing student support services.

“You are the backbone of our institution,” he said. “Based on the recommendations of the accreditation self-study, we will double our efforts to listen to you better, engage you more, and enlist your participation in the affairs of the college.”

Scroggins announced his intent to establish an Employee Assistance Program, which would help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely impact their work performance, health, and well-being. He also affirmed his commitment to maintain open and transparent communication with all employees and welcomed their feedback and input on all college matters.

The remainder of the day was devoted to FLEX Day professional development training for both faculty and classified employees. (Posted 8-29-11)

1st Winners of Teaching Excellence Awards Recognized

classified school employees week luncheonPresident Bill Scroggins presented the first series of the President’s Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning at Fall Convocation on Aug. 26.

This newly established program offers monetary awards in three categories: Outstanding Curriculum and Pedagogy ($2,000 to the winning department budget), Outstanding Basic Skills Efforts ($2,000 to the department), and Personal Innovation—a $1,000 Mt. SAC Foundation award to a faculty member who collects and uses SLO assessment work and shares his/her successful teaching practices beyond Mt. SAC to other colleges and throughout the recipient’s professional discipline.

The curriculum and pedagogy award went to Jonathan Hymer, professor and chair of Electronics & Computer Technology Department, for performing excellent work at the program or course level that has led to improvements in curriculum design or course delivery. Specifically, Jonathan and his faculty team developed an exceptional relationship with industry and academic partners and modified existing curriculum and outcomes to stay abreast of the changing needs of employers and the preparation preferences of our articulating institutions. As a result, the Electronics Department became the first Career & Technical Education (CTE) program to add a course in customer relations to its certificates as recommended by industry advisors.

The basic skills award went to a team of professors in the Mathematics Department: Dr. Gary Long (project manager), Dolores Chavez, Phebe Hosea, Kambiz Khoddam, Heidi Parra, Melody Summers, Dr. Christine Sun, and Cameron Troxell. They performed excellent work in teaching and learning basic skills courses and in aligning course sequences. Specifically, their project was aimed at increasing success rates in two developmental mathematics courses--Pre-Algebra (Math50) and Elementary Algebra (Math51)--using two fundamental treatments: providing student access to professor-created educational math videos and proactively striving to create a sense of community. The videos provided a scaffolding structure to student success, while a sense of community provided the spirit to embrace that opportunity. Engendering a sense of community was aided by adding an online component (via Blackboard) to the course; this strategy provided additional student interactions, learning by writing, and collaborative encouragement. Additional components of the action plan included the use of graphic organizers, distributive practice, class-time management, and frequent feedback.

“We applaud these first recipients and their exemplary efforts in modeling innovative teaching and learning as well as their individual and collective commitment to student success,” the president said. “Going forward, we encourage others to participate, especially candidates for the Personal Innovation Award. We want to share your successful teaching practices with colleagues at other institutions.” There was no recipient for the Personal Innovation Award in this first series. (Posted 8-29-11)

Campus Celebrates 65th Anniversary at BBQ

Employees celebrated Mt. SAC’s 65 years, “a legacy of excellence,” at an outdoor BBQ, co-sponsored by the Mt. SAC Foundation, President’s Office, and Schools First Credit Union. The cuisine was prepared by Sodexo, the campus’ new food service contractor. Everyone had a great time sharing summer vacation adventures and plans for the new academic year. See "Re-living Moments" photo gallery to see all the fun! (Posted 8-29-11)


Farewell to Dyrell

classified school employees week luncheon

Associate Dean of Counseling Dr. Dyrell Foster has bid farewell to Mt. SAC, heading to his new post as Dean of Student Services at Rio Hondo College, effective Sept. 5.

Dyrell came to Mt. SAC over six years ago as the new Student Life Director and has made an indelible imprint on many, many students as well as colleagues. Dyrell established the Aspire program (a support program for African-American students), started and taught the student Leadership Development Program (LEAD), shored up the Associated Students and Inter-Club Council, mentored countless students, and cultivated student leaders.

It seems that personal milestones occur in pairs for Dyrell. In the same year, he married the love of his life, Tami, and earned his doctorate at USC. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed Associate Dean of Counseling. Now this year, another pair of blessings: a new job and a new baby on the way!

We wish Dyrell all the best and thank him for his years of dedicated service to the college and students. (Posted 8-29-11)

Trustees Approve Faculty Contract with 2% Salary Hike

At its regular meeting on Aug. 24, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved a three-year negotiated agreement between the District and the Faculty Association, which goes into effect retroactively from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2014.

In June, the FA and the District reached tentative agreement on all contract issues, including an on-schedule salary increase of 2% plus a $755 annual increase to the District’s contribution toward faculty health benefits. On an annual basis, that will increase the District’s contribution from $9,745 to $10,500.

The cost to the District for the salary and benefits increase totals $1.1 million. The board report noted that the District had analyzed the financial impact of the agreement on the current and subsequent fiscal years, and “is confident in the District’s ability to maintain fiscal solvency.”

Beyond salary and benefits, the agreement also addresses such issues as faculty workload/office hours, adjunct faculty rehire rights, intellectual property rights and distance learning, lab parity, leaves of absence, faculty evaluation procedures and personnel files, and health and safety. See summary of agreements: click here.

FA President Jennifer Galbraith informed the trustees that ratification ballots had been mailed to all FA members. Ninty-five percent of those who responded voted to ratify the new agreement.

“The FA believes that the agreement is a fair agreement that focuses on accountability and is in the best interest for the faculty, students, and the District,” she said.

Alternately, the trustees rejected a $76,532 reclassification and pay scale adjustment proposal for eight confidential and management positions. The trustees stated that while the reclass and pay adjustments appeared to be appropriate and justifiable, the timing was not right, given fiscal uncertainty. They also said the proposal should be part of a broader districtwide reclassification analysis involving all employee groups. (Posted 8-25-11)

Fall Enrollment Up 4% . . . so far

Despite a substantial reduction in class sections, fall enrollment has increased by 4%, according to preliminary data.

In a first-cut analysis presentation to the Board of Trustees, Enrollment Management Dean George Bradshaw reported that 25,632 full-time credit students were enrolled for the fall semester as of Aug. 24. He noted that 25,632 students had registered for classes, compared to 24,626 last fall, representing a 4.18% bump.

Of this number, 15,323 were part-time credit students (up 12%), and 10,309 were full-time (down 5.8%). Fall credit class offerings dropped by 4%, from 2,941 in 2010 to 2,824.

George noted that these numbers will fluctuate as more students continue to register and as students typically add and drop classes during the initial weeks of the semester.

According to the Instruction Office, 533 class sections were eliminated across all academic divisions, representing 10,291 seats lost. Sections reduced by division: 31 in Arts Division; 37 in Business; 44 in Technology & Health; 45 in Natural Sciences; 81 in Physical Education; 104 in Humanities & Social Sciences; and 191 in Continuing Education.

This week, it was reported out of Sacramento that state revenues will likely fall short of projections, which could trigger additional midyear cuts for community colleges and yet another enrollment fee hike for students. California-resident students are currently paying $36—$10 higher than they did all of the past school year. (Posted 8-25-11)

Dog Bed Donation

Mt. SAC’s Greyhound Rescue Program received a donation of eight dog beds worth $720 from the Canidae pet food company in Norco and Doggie Loungers of Studio City.

The beds will be used in the program, which rehabilitates Greyhound racing dogs. The dogs are cared for by veterinary technician students during a three-to-four-week stay at the college until the dogs are adopted. The program typically cares for 20 to 24 Greyhounds per semester.

Pictured (l-r) are: Doggie Loungers owner Richard Saba, Canidae Customer Service Manager Diane Matsuura, and Agricultural Sciences Veterinary Lab Techician Darlene Vale. (Posted 8-24-11)

First Presidential Teaching Excellence
Awards to Be Given at Convocation

To highlight current accomplishments in teaching and learning and to encourage faculty to continue to strive for excellence in these areas, President Scroggins announced the establishment of the President’s Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching and Learning, which will be awarded annually.

The first round of awards will be presented at the Fall Convocation on Aug. 26. The program offers monetary awards in three categories: Outstanding Curriculum and Pedagogy ($2,000 to the winning department budget), Outstanding Basic Skills Efforts ($2,000 to the department), and Personal Innovation—a $1,000 Mt. SAC Foundation award to a faculty member who collects and uses SLO assessment work and shares his/her successful teaching practices beyond Mt. SAC to other colleges and throughout the recipient’s professional discipline.

While the turnaround for applications was quick for the first round, the timing of the award presentations at convocation is in alignment with the upcoming year-long emphasis on assessment and improvement of student learning, said Scroggins. (Posted 8-18-11)

Campus Food Services Preparing for Re-opening Aug. 29

classified school employees week luncheon
classified school employees week luncheon
On Monday, Aug. 29—the first day of the fall semester—employees, students and visitors will be greeted with a fresh, new menu of food and beverage offerings by the campus’ new food service provider, Sodexo. Over the past few weeks, construction crews have been working around the clock, renovating the Mountie Grill and the Campus Café with a major face lift. Meanwhile, Sodexo has been planning menus with the intent to offer a wider selection of food options, including healthier choices.

World of Wings (WOW) will take over the Mountie Grill, offering a wide variety of chicken wings, sandwich wraps, and chopped salads, in addition to a revamped breakfast menu. The Campus Café is being upgraded and rearranged, with a new grab-and-go pre-packaged food section placed where the cashier station was located. Cafeteria-style offerings will continue, and a new “Subversions” made-to-order sandwich bar with freshly baked bread (like Subway) will occupy the area where the beverage machines were.

“The new décor and facelift will make the dining room more inviting and infuse excitement,” says Diane Keate, Sodexo’s district manager assigned to Mt. SAC. “We want everyone to have a pleasant dining experience at all of our food locations and concessions.”

During the week of Aug. 22, Sodexo will host “tastings” of their lunch cuisine, which will also be available for purchase. Those tasting dates will be announced via campuswide e-mail. (Posted 8-18-11)

Osher Matching Scholarship Campaign Exceeds $1M Mark

Mt. SAC proudly announces the successful end of its year-long Climb Higher/Osher Matching Scholarship Challenge, which generated over $1 million and entitled the college to over a half-million dollars in matching funds from the Bernard Osher Foundation. The interest earned on these endowment funds will guarantee over 110 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each for students in perpetuity.

“This represents a remarkable accomplishment by our employees and donors and great news for our deserving students,” said Richard Morley, executive director of the Mt. SAC Foundation, which oversaw the campaign.

State Chancellor Jack Scott and Dr. Paul Lanning, president of the Foundation for California Community Colleges, issued a joint letter commending Mt. SAC, noting: “Our words of congratulations are not nearly as powerful as those of the students whose lives will be forever changed, thanks to this program. As one scholarship recipient so eloquent stated, ‘A $1,000 award is significant to any full-time student, but this scholarship carries with it a meaning that cannot be measured in money. It means that there are well-respected individuals who share my belief that the most worthy investment is in the investment in education.’”

The Climb Higher/Osher Matching Scholarship Challenge represented the biggest scholarship fund-raising campaign every conducted at Mt. SAC. The Osher Foundation matched every dollar raised by 50 cents. (Posted 8-18-11)

Convenient Online Health Benefits Fair Now Available

Concurrent with Mt. SAC’s Health Benefits Open Enrollment Period, CalPERS has rolled out a web-based “virtual health fair” as an alternative to hosting an onsite health fair. Simply log on to the CalPERS site, and go to the Video Center and click on the link for the 2012 Webinar on Health Plan Design, Rate and Benefits Changes.

“This webinar is a convenient, cost-efficient alternative to onsite health fairs,” notes Mt. SAC benefits Account Clerk Karen Pilling. “It provides employees and their dependents the opportunity to interact with expert representatives of each of the CalPERS health plans and obtained the desired information. The webinar offers on-demand video and downloadable materials regarding the 2012 health plans, providing our employees with convenient 24/7 access from home or the office.”

Mt. SAC’s Health Benefits Open Enrollment Period runs through Oct. 7. Benefits changes go into effect Jan. 2, 2012. (Updated 9-13-11)

Health Benefits Open Enrollment Period Ends Oct. 7

Open enrollment for Mt. SAC’s employee health benefits is running now through Oct. 7. This is the opportunity for employees to make changes to their current medical, dental, and life insurance coverage.

Those who want to change their health or dental plan carrier, add or delete dependents to/from coverage, or add or increase their MetLife supplemental insurance coverage (up to $500,000) must make an appointment at the Health Benefits Office in Human Resources, Bldg. 16E. Employees whose last names fall within A-K should call Hawk Yao at ext. 5522; and those whose names fall within L-Z should call Karen Pilling, ext. 5478. Auxiliary Services employees should call Jean Pierce at ext. 5162.

Employees who do not wish to change their current health benefits elections don’t have to do anything at this time. Their current health plans will remain in effect for the 2012 plan year, and an updated Benefit Statement will be sent to to them for review and signature in February.

Everyone should have received CalPERS open enrollment packets at their home addresses. You will note that Mt. SAC’s open enrollment period (Sept. 12-Oct. 7) precedes CalPERS’ (Oct. 10-Nov. 4) in order to ensure a timely and smooth transition. Refer all questions to Karen Pilling, ext. 5478.

Here is the 2012 Health Benefits Summary document, which includes benefit offerings and programs, insurance information, and rates: Click here. (Updated 9-14-11)

Planetarium Launches Fall Season with Spectacular Shows

The Mt. SAC-Randall Planetarium is launching its fall season with some spectacular shows, under the new leadership of Planetarium Director Heather Jones.

The fall season runs Aug. 19 through Dec. 17 and will feature 50-minute shows each weekend except Thanksgiving. Two shows will be presented on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 and 8:30 p.m.

The fall lineup features: The Magic of Astronomy, Wonders of the Universe, Star Tales, Stars of the Pharaohs, Halloween Happenings, and the holiday favorite, Season of Lights. Heather presents live narration for each show, which is open to the public and for private groups.

For event and ticket information, go to the planetarium’s newly designed website: 8-18-11)

Fall Convocation/Flex Day and
65th Anniversary BBQ Set Aug. 26

Opening Meeting PanelFall Convocation (opening meeting) and Flex Day for faculty and classified staff will be held on Friday, Aug. 26 at the Clarke Theater as a prelude to the opening of the fall semester on Monday, Aug. 29. The faculty session will begin with a continental breakfast and sign-in from 7:30 to 8 a.m. in the courtyard, followed by the plenary session from 8:15 to 9:30.

Faculty will then have the opportunity to attend professional development breakout sessions across campus from 11:30 to 12:45, followed by mid-afternoon academic division/department activities from 2 to 3 p.m.

The classified staff plenary session will run from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Clarke, followed by afternoon workshops.

All employees are invited to a “welcome back” barbeque at Founders Hall, where the campus community will celebrate Mt. SAC’s 65th anniversary.

“We want to bring everyone together in a spirit of unity and celebration on this Convocation Day,” said President Bill Scroggins. “While this will continue to be a work day, most campus offices will be closed for business a good part of the day to allow employees to engage and benefit from the various training opportunities and information sessions.”

He noted that key offices that support student admission and registration activities as well as general college operations will remain open. — Posted 7-27-11

Administration Building Nearing Completion

Building remodelThe finishing work is under way in the Administration Building (4), according to Facilities Planning & Management Director Gary Nellesen. Despite delays in the massive renovation effort, steady progress is being made in preparation for a fall completion and move-in.

While the finishing work proceeds, furnishings and workstation elements are expected to arrive in late August with installation scheduled afterwards.

“We thank everyone for their patience during this lengthy renovation effort,” says Gary. “We have dealt with a number of contractor issues and other obstacles along the way, but we are confident that completion is very near.”

Departments and divisions that will occupy the building include Administrative Services, Instruction, Human Resources, Printing Services, Central Mailroom, Marketing, Communication & Public Affairs, Research & Institutional Effectiveness, and Grants. The building contains several large-scale conference rooms, designed to accommodate the campuswide need for meeting space. — Posted 7-27-11

Reyes' Health Careers Team Captures National Medals

Photo of the Health Careers teamMental Health Professor Mary-Ellen Reyes' Health Occupations Students of America team has done it again! Rivaling against some 7,000 competitors from across the nation, all 10 Mt. SAC participants ranked among the top finalists at the recent HOSA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim. In addition, the Mt. SAC team won four silver and three bronze medals in Creative Problem Solving. Congrats to Mary-Ellen and her talented team!

Sodexo to Provide Campus Food Service

Effective July 1, Sodexo Campus Services will provide food services for the Mt. SAC campus community.

The company will manage the Campus Café, Mountie Grill, Common Grounds, Express Stop, Prime Stop, Short Stop, Mountie Stop, and the Café Office as well as provide catering services, College for Kids meals, and daily lunch service for the Child Development Center.

The company will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner offerings and operate the convenience stores across campus and also provide catering services to the campus. Carl’s Jr. will continue to operate next to the Campus Café for the remaining year of its contract.

Employees and students will find some exciting and innovative changes in Sodexo’s food offerings, including a “grab-and-go” packaged food section, a made-to-order sandwich bar with freshly baked bread (similar to Subway), a World of Wings concession, and an array of healthy-choice options.

The weekly menu offerings will be posted on Sodexo’s website customized for Mt. SAC, which will be linked to Mt. SAC’s Campus Connection homepage. In addition to menus, the site will provide nutritional information, tips, and resources to enable employees and students to craft balanced diets for themselves.

In addition, the Mountie Grill will be extensively renovated while the Campus Café will be moderately renovated over the summer months to accommodate additional food stations and improve customer traffic flow. The Campus Café will remain open during construction, but the Mountie Grill will be closed until the fall semester opens on August 29. — Posted 6-21-11

Mt. SAC Employees Earn Degrees of Success

Although the pomp and circumstance of Mt. SAC’s 65th commencement ceremony is over, we now celebrate the academic success of the college’s employees who earned degrees to advance their professional pursuits. We congratulate the following employee grads who noted their achievements:

Richard Cruz, Grounds Supervisor | A.A., Horticulture, A.S., Sports Turf & Park Management, Mt. SAC
Andrea Rothman, Food Lab Technician/Teaching Assistant | A.S., Hospitality & Restaurant Management, Mt. SAC

Carlos Arredondo, High School Outreach Specialist | B.A., Business Administration/Accounting, Cal Poly, Pomona

Clarence Banks, Educational Advisor | M.A., Public Administration, Cal Poly, Pomona
Jamie Phillips, Agricultural Sciences Professor | M.S., Agricultural Education, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Solene Halabi, French Professor | 2nd M.A., Cross-cultural Education

Madelyn Arballo, Adult Basic Education Director | Ed.D., Educational Leadership, Cal State Long Beach
Juan Carlos Astorga, TRiO Programs Director | Ed.D., Community College Leadership, Cal State Fullerton
Liza Becker, ESL Director | Ed.D., Educational Leadership (with honors), Cal State Long Beach

Eula Gray: beloved adviser to retire after 40 years

Eula Grey working with studentWhen you enter the Student Life Office, there are plenty of smiles on the students’ and faculty’s faces surrounding Eula Gray. That’s because the dedicated student relations specialist charms everyone who walks through the door with her smile and folksy parental manner. She has been part of the Mt. SAC family for nearly 40 years—one of the longest-serving employees—and will finally retire on Aug. 1.

Eula has had a full-circle connection with Mt. SAC. In her youth, she was a student here and spent one year working for the Los Angeles Job Corps Center for women in the testing and education department. While out of state for her undergraduate studies, she worked part time for General Telephone & Electric, now known as Verizon. Eula found her way back to the campus and has stayed ever since, returning as a clerical specialist and 32 years later moving up to her current position, in which she oversees student clubs and organizations among other myriad tasks.

Eula fondly recalls when the Mt. SAC campus was small and Marie Mills was serving as the college’s first and only female president. During her tenure spanning four decades, the college has gone through seven presidents. She especially loved the family-oriented campus atmosphere, where everyone knew each other.

“I saw this college evolve from a small neighborhood college to the institution type,” she says. “It was to change with the times . . . to expand and evolve and to be progressive. Just life education. I’ve seen many types of students and I have enjoyed serving every one of them who has walked through the office door for help, food, and encouragement. That’s something you don’t always find in the classroom.”

“Eula has been like a mom to many of these students, dishing out her no-nonsense advice, balanced with compassion and love,” said Student Life Director Maryann Tolano-Leveque.

For her many accomplishments, Eula has won numerous awards. In 2004, she earned the “Inspiring Woman Award.” In 2008, she received the Academic Senate’s “Outstanding Classified Award.” This year, she was recognized at the recent Classy Awards Ceremony for 40 years of her life’s work at Mt. SAC.

Eula has been married for 38 years and reared a son, daughter, and nephew, all of whom are now adults. Her retirement plans include writing self-help articles for parents, which is something “close to my heart.” She also plans to travel around the United States and possibly relocate.

“I probably have too many plans, but I’m just going to do them one day at a time,” she said. “I’m going to set my own schedule and pace. I just want to enjoy nature and the rest of my life.”

Eula has also shown interest in lobbying in California state government as an advocate for education, because “community colleges are an important entity for students. They’re here to prepare students for life and for higher levels of education. The best students always come from community colleges.” —Vinzon Llm (edited and posted 6-16-11)

Mt. SAC Bids Farewell to 47 Retiring Employees

Retirees from Mt. SAC
Mt. SAC is saying farewell and extending best wishes to 47 faculty, management, confidential, and classified employees, who have collectively provided 1,131 years of distinguished service to the college. We thank them for their contributions to the legacy of excellence that is the hallmark of the college. (Shown above, clockwise: Karen Naveda, Susan Jones, Sheryl Hullings, John Gardner, Maria Luisa Fuller.)

Margie Arambula—12 years of service as a Learning Lab Coordinator
Paul Bjork—34 years of service as a Lead Computer Operator
Herbert Bjornberg—20 years of service as a Skilled Crafts Technician
Maribel Buono—11 years of service as a Senior Systems Analyst/Programmer
Kathy Calkins—36 years of service as a Music Professor
Mario Caputo—17 years of service as an Earth Sciences Professor
Diana Casteel—20 years of service as an Executive Assistant to the President
& Board of Trustees
Marilyn Castillo—16 years of service as a Secretary
Gary Cravens—32 years of service as a Public Safety Officer
Shirley Dent—41 years of service as an Admissions & Records Clerk
Martha Diaz—38 years of service as an Educational Advisor
Celine Dougherty—11 years of service as a Clerical Specialist
Ardean Downs—35 years of service as a Veteran Services Specialist
Michael Falzone—10 years of service as a Fine Arts Professor
Bob Farris—20 years of service as a Business Professor
Paul Fernandez—12 years of service as a Custodian
Luisa Fuller—10 years of service as a Learning Assistance Professor
John Gardner—35 years of service as a Mental Health Professor
Robert Gomez—30 years of service as a Public Safety Officer
Joanne Greenspan—22 years of service as a Curriculum Specialist
Andrea Heard—38 years of service as a Senior Systems Analyst/Programmer
Kathy Henkins—24 years of service as an English Professor
Sheryl Hullings—36 years of service as a Programmer/Analyst, Adjunct Professor, Information Technology Project Leader, and the Director of Enterprise Application Systems.
Jose Jimenez—13 years of service as a Computer Facilities Supervisor
Susan Jones—36 years of service as a Supervisor and now Director of Financial Aid
Terry Krider—30 years of service as a Respiratory Therapy Professor
Christina Magoni—36 years of service as a Skills Lab Support Specialist
Joseph Magoni—7 years of service as a Mechanic
Doug Martin—22 years of service as a Math Professor
Jodine Martin—19 years of service as a Clerical Specialist
Paul Mercier—30 years of service as a Senior Systems Analyst/Programmer
Charissa Moskus—36 years of service as an Administrative Secretary
Arline Mues—25 years of service as a Test Administration Clerk
Rosemary Nahas—10 years of service as a Special Projects Coordinator
Karen Naveda—29 years of service as an Administrative Secretary
John Nixon—7 years of service as Vice President of Instruction and College President & CEO
Carol Norton—20 years of service as a Learning Assistance Professor
Joy Olayiwola—11 years of service as a Nursing Professor
Odette Richardson—36 years of service as a Research Assistant
Stephen Runnebohn—24 years of service as the Dean of Humanities & Social Sciences
John Shepherd—30 years of service as an Aircraft Maintenance
& Manufacturing Technology Professor
Joanne Valencia—23 years of service as a Clerical Specialist
Katherine Van Natter—37 years of service as an Admissions & Records Clerk
Doris Wang—29 years of service as an Account Clerk
Larry Watanabe—19 years of service as a Physical Education Professor
Christine Willey—11 years of service as a Senior Systems Analyst/Programmer
Irma Zuniga—31 years of service as a Counselor
— Posted 6-10-11

Scroggins Named 9th Mt. SAC President

Photo of ScrogginsDr. William (Bill) Scroggins has accepted the Board of Trustees' offer to become Mt. SAC's ninth President & CEO, effective July 1. He has been serving as Superintendent/President of College of the Sequoias in Visalia since 2006. Scroggins' selection brings to a close an intensive and thorough presidential search process.

He brings a wealth of experience to the position. In addition to serving as a college executive officer and administrator for 11 years, Scroggins comes from the faculty ranks, where he spent 26 years as a chemistry professor at El Camino and Chabot colleges. He became well known throughout California for his work with the state Academic Senate, having served as president from 1997 to 1999.

In alignment with Mt. SAC's student success initiative, Scroggins led College of the Sequoias in instituting and revitalizing important academic support functions, such as the Writing Center, the Math, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Program, the First-Year Experience Learning Communities, as well as faculty and staff development. Under his leadership, the college also launched initiatives similar to those in place at Mt. SAC, including mandatory orientation, first-day attendance and interventions for students on academic probation.

"Having known Bill for a number of years, I'm confident that Mt. SAC will be in good hands," said President John Nixon, who will retire next month. "The campus community will get to know more about Bill as the time of his arrival approaches and at the campus welcoming reception in the fall. Until then, I invite everyone to join me in wishing him much success during these difficult times for public education throughout California."

Dr. Nixon thanked Human Resources Vice President Annette Loria and those who served on the Presidential Search Committee for their "diligent efforts in making this a smooth and productive process. And, much appreciation goes to our employees for their interest and engagement and for sharing their candid impressions of the finalists with our trustees." — Posted 5-13-11


"The Classys"—Awards Show Honors Employees & Achievements

the classified senate presented the classy awards to honor classified employeesthe classified senate presented the classy awards to honor classified employees

Drawing on the "Mountiewood" theme again this year, the Classified Senate presented the second annual "Classys" to honor classified employees for their collective service to the college as well as individual achievements. The show, held at the Clarke Theater, crowned a week-long "Classified Appreciation Celebration" at Mt. SAC.

the classified senate presented the classy awards to honor classified employeesThe Oscar-style ceremony was planned by the Classified Senate Recognition Committee, co-chaired by Donna Lee and Marchelle Nairne-Proulx. The program was emceed again by Clarence Brown and featured lively music by CliffNotes and Sandra Bollier.

In addition to recognizing employees for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 years of service, the Senate also added Classified Excellence Awards in 11 categories. The winners were: Laura Martinez, College Leadership; Jose Briceno, Campus Improvement; Darlene Vale, Citizenship; Jeff George, Best Attitude; Dena Schumaker, Creativity & Innovation; Karen Naveda, College Appreciation; Marlene Ward, Rookie of the Year; Anna Acosta, Outstanding Achievement; Caridad Oppenstein, Commitment to Student Service; and Donna Lee, College Excellence.

the classified senate presented the classy awards to honor classified employeesSpecial video tributes were presented for longtime employees Paul Mercier (35 years), Ron Boerem (35), Ardean Downs (35), and Eula Gray (40).

Also recognized were employees who passed away this year and retiring employees, including President John Nixon, who received the Joe Mountie Lifetime Achievement Award. — Posted 5-26-11


Academic Senate Names "Employees of the Year"

photos of employees of the yearThe Academic Senate has named five "Employees of the Year," including those in three new award categories. The honored employees are:

  • Biology Professor Carmen Rexach, "Outstanding Faculty Award"
  • English Professor Margie Whalen, "Outstanding Full-time Instructional Award" (new)
  • Biology/Human Sexuality Professor Naluce Morris, "Outstanding Adjunct Instructional Award" (new)
  • Business Professor Amrik Dua, "Outstanding Department Chair"(new)
  • Library & Learning Resources Dean Meghan Chen, "Outstanding Manager Award"
  • Biological Sciences Lab Tech Ana Jara De Araya, "Outstanding Classified Award"

The selections are based on nominations from across the college which note extraordinary achievement, dedication, as well as significant contributions. — Posted 5-26-11


College to Implement 4/10 Workweek to Save Costs

As a cost-saving measure, Mt. SAC will shut its operations down on eight consecutive Fridays, beginning on Friday, June 24 and ending on Aug. 12. Employees will transition to a 4/10 workweek in staggered shifts (10 hours per day Monday through Thursday), beginning Monday, June 20.

The college's general public business hours will remain in effect: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but only Monday through Thursday. The Student Services Center, Community Education, the Library, and SacBookRac will operate under their respective summer hours, but will close on Fridays.

For employees, a minimum 30-minute uncompensated meal lunch break is included in this 4/10 workshift, and it must be taken at about the midpoint of employees' workday. The meal is not "waivable" — that is, employees may not work through the meal period to leave work early prior to their schedule end time. A 20-minute paid rest period for every four hours worked is also included.

Those who are unable or choose not to work a 4/10 schedule must make arrangements with their immediate supervisor, dean, or vice president for alternate options. For example, one may choose to work eight-hour shifts Monday through Thursday and take eight hours of vacation or compensatory time per week to meet the 40-hour workweek obligation. Any alternate arrangement must meet the needs of the students, department, and/or district.

The college initiated the 4/10 workweek last summer and saved about $100,000 in energy (primarily air conditioning) costs over the eight-week period.

Click here for more information. Click here for the 4/10 Work Week FAQ. — Posted 5-18-11


65th Commencement Set for June 17

photo of graduates promoting the 65 annual commencementAll are invited to the 65th Commencement Ceremony on Friday, June 17, at 6:30 p.m. at Hilmer Lodge Stadium. Preparations are well underway to make this milestone event an inspiring celebration of academic excellence and achievement.

California State Controller John Chiang has graciously accepted the college's invitation to serve as commencement speaker. He is currently serving his second term in office, and his charge to the graduates should be particularly interesting in the context of the economic strain felt across the state.

On a celebratory note, Mt. SAC will honor NFL Super Bowl Champion and Community College Hall of Famer Antonio Pierce as the 2011 distinguished "Alumnus of the Year." Antonio emerged from the streets of Compton to become a star athlete at Mt. SAC, transferred to the University of Arizona, and went on to enjoy a celebrated career in professional football. Today he is an NFL analyst for ESPN and works with inner-city youth.

The ceremony will also feature musical selections by Fermata Nowhere and the Mt. SAC Wind Ensemble, as well as a tribute to the retiring faculty and deans.

Following commencement, the Mt. SAC Foundation will host a faculty and staff celebration at the Reception Tent, which will be located at the south end of the stadium.

All faculty members are reminded that participation in commencement is mandatory (absence must be approved by President Nixon). Faculty and participating managers must be in line at the stadium by 6:15 p.m., as the processional will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m.

Employees who cannot attend the ceremony will be able to view it live on the college website. Details for accessing it online will be provided later. — Posted 5-19-11


Staff Get a Taste of Italy at Classified Lunch

classified school employees week luncheon

Scores of classified employees got a taste of Italy yesterday and were served by their managers at the annual Classified Appreciation Luncheon in the Student Life Center.

After chowing down on baked lasagna, ribbon pasta, chicken parmesan, chicken alfredo, salad, and cupcakes, the staff enjoyed a raffle giveaway of terrific gift baskets, plants, and sports tickets.

"This annual luncheon is a fun way of expressing our appreciation for classified employees and for what they do every day to run the college and serve our students," said Humanities Associate Dean Jim Jenkins, who heads the Management Steering Committee, which sponsored the event. "There was an outpouring of support and participation by the managers who wanted to demonstrate their appreciation. We just love doing it!"

And before the last morsel was eaten, everyone paid compliments to chef Lila Belinski and her skillful team for the delicious cuisine.

Another meal will be served to night shift classified employees on May 20. — Posted 5-18-11


Job Shadowing Boosts Appreciation of Classified Employees

managers participate in "Appreciation of Classified Employees" program during Classified Employees week.

There's nothing like walking in someone else's shoes to appreciate what he or she does. That's what happened today when managers shadowed classified employees for a portion or all of their workshifts. The on-the-job experience was an element of the Appreciating Classified Employees (ACE) program, organized by California State Employees Association (CSEA) state headquarters as an awareness-raising activity in conjunction with Classified Appreciation Week at Mt. SAC.

The volunteer managers "punched in" at the start of the shift and worked alongside their assigned classified mentors, who showed them the ropes to what they do every day and then assigned the managers specific tasks to complete.

"You really get to appreciate the knowledge, experience, and troubleshooting skills that our employees must have to do their jobs well," said Associate Dean of Counseling Dyrell Foster, who shadowed HVAC Technician Art Gonzalez. He and Dyrell had just finished draining condensation pans from the air conditioning system at the Science Laboratories Building (60).

Over at the Maintenance Building (47), Dean of Learning Resources Meghan Chen and Human Resources VP Annette Loria observed as Landscape Technician Johnny Jauregui demonstrated how a sweeper truck and skip loader work. Afterwards, the ladies got behind the wheels and operated the vehicles per Johnny's precise instructions.

The various working teams covered a broad range of trades and functions. They included Custodial Services Manager Ken McAlpine and Adult Basic Education Director Madelyn Arballo, who were teamed with Child Development Specialist Kathy Dorr; Facilities Assistant Director Bill Asher with Counseling Clerk Specialist Katherine MacDonald; Madelyn Arballo with Mailroom Operator Clarence Tagarao; Technology & Health Associate Dean Jemma Blake-Judd with Tutorial Program Specialist Eva Figueroa; Bill Asher and Energy Services Manager Art Cadena with Telecom Technician Marcell Galatiano; Meghan Chen with Electrician Sam Lam, Facilities Project Manager Ruben Avila, and Lead Mechanic Brian Bishop; Annette Loria with Locksmith Rick Tackett, Plumber Steve Wolters, and Lead Custodian George Gutierrez.

At lunchtime, all participants convened and shared their experiences. Managers underscored their appreciation for the opportunity to experience first-hand what classified employees do. Some even expressed amazement at the quantity and complexity of work that their "mentors" must handle each day.

"The beauty of this experience is that it raises one's level of awareness of the many ways that classified employees contribute to the success of students," said CSEA 262 President Laura Martinez, "whether it's ensuring students have a clean, comfortable learning environment or that they have a place on campus where their young children are cared for. Programs like ACE remind us of the value that we all bring to the workplace at Mt. SAC and how all unique functions collectively make the entire institution work efficiently and effectively."

Mt. SAC was one of few community colleges selected to participate in the ACE program this year. Typically the program is targeted at K-12 districts. — Posted 5-17-11


Rogers’ Vocal Groups Win International Honors

Congrats to Music Professor Bruce Rogers and his Chamber Singers and Singcopation, who just returned from the International Choral Competition in Reno, sweeping first-place honors in every category they entered.

The Chamber Singers placed first in the Sacred Music Category, the Mixed Choir Category, and the Chamber Choir Category. The Singcopation jazz vocal ensemble earned the top score in the entire competition, winning the Grand Prix award. The singers also received a special award for the most outstanding performance of a song, “Testimony,” written by Dana Glover and arranged by Kerry Marsh.

These latest honors top a very long and growing list of national and international awards that both distinguished groups have earned over the years, including Downbeat magazine’s ranking of Singcopation as the nation’s best collegiate vocal jazz group, and the Chamber Singers winning the “Choir of the World” title in Europe. — Posted 5-12-11

Juan Carlos Astorga Named Top Alumnus

Photos of Juan Carlos AstorgaCongrats to Juan Carlos Astorga for being honored recently as Alumnus of the Year by the Cesar Chavez Celebration Committee at UC San Diego. He was selected for exemplifying the spirit and values of the famed Chicano civil rights leader, most notably his commitment to community service, personal sacrifice, determination, respect for life, innovation and compassion for the needy.

Juan Carlos has been working in higher ed in both public and private sectors for over 17 years. At Mt. SAC, he wears several hats in Student Services: director of TRiO Grant Programs, director of the Upward Bound Program, and director of the new Achieving in College, Ensuring Success (ACES) Program, which is a student support program similar to EOPS.

Juan Carlos earned his BA in ethnic studies and psychology at UCSD and his master’s in education (emphasis in multicultural counseling) at San Diego State University. This month, he will complete his Educational Doctorate in higher education (specializing in community college leadership) at CSU Fullerton. His research focus is on leadership engagement and the academic success of undocumented students in the community college system.

At UCSD, Juan Carlos was the first assistant dean of student affairs at UCSD Sixth College. He also served as assistant director/program coordinator at the Cross Cultural Center, and worked at the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services. — Posted 5-12-11

Ag/Sci Building Dedicated

Ag Builiding Dedication composite of speech, event tents, and community checking out animal facilities.

Scores of community and campus supporters turned out to witness the dedication of the most modern, state-of-the-art Agricultural Sciences Complex around . . . and it occurred here at the Mt. SAC campus.

Legislators, community leaders, ag/sci professionals, students, faculty and administrators dished out high praise for the 52,000-square-foot, three-building complex. The facilities will offer cutting-edge horticultural, agricultural and animal sciences instruction to thousands of Mt. SAC students today and well into the future.

The centerpiece—the 34,000-square-foot Agricultural Sciences Building—was the newest facility completed and was officially opened today. College trustees, President John Nixon and Natural Sciences Dean Larry Redinger cut the ceremonial ribbon to the building, which represents one of the last projects to be built with Measure R funds.

Speakers included Professors Dave Lannom and Dawn Walters as well as animal sciences students Laurie Jutzi and Linda Hicks.

Guests toured the building, which features state-of-the-art veterinary labs and an animal hospital, a kennel, classrooms and conferences rooms, as well as administrative and faculty offices. They also enjoyed a delicious buffet prepared by Catering Services. — Posted 5-06-11

Financial Aid Staff Celebrates Transfer Scholarship Wins

How does one outdo herself? That's the challenge that Financial Aid Director Susan Jones and Veterans Services & Scholarship Coordinator Desiree Marquez now face since they set the bar so high in the fierce competition for the nation's most coveted college transfer scholarship.

For the past four years, they and Honors Program Director Carolyn Kuykendall have provided guidance for students competing for the Jack Kent Cooke University Transfer Scholarship. This award provides up to $30,000 annually to 60 deserving community college students across the nation who plan to transfer to universities of their choice to complete their bachelor's degrees. Beyond grades and campus involvements, the evaluation process assigns considerable weight to the all-important essay questions that the applicants must respond to. In the end, a Mt. SAC student was selected each of those four years, setting a record.

The staff team set a new precedent last year with Mt. SAC producing not one, but two JKC scholarship winners.

How do you outdo yourself? Well, the team did it again this year with back-to-back JKC awards going to honor students Lisa Bastio and Rene Kouassi. They emerged as winners in a highly competitive pool of 785 community college nominees across the nation.

"We were absolutely thrilled with the results," says Desiree. "We are so proud of Lisa's and Rene's selections and the fact that the college was able again to win two awards in the same year."

"All of this speaks to the strength and quality of the nominations we send forward each year and to the quality of instruction provided here at Mt. SAC," says Student Services VP Audrey Yamagata-Noji. "I'm very proud of my team, who facilitate the process, and the students, who actually put in the hard work of preparing strong, compelling essays."

With the bar now set so high, how does one top this? The staff team sighs and says they'll think about that later. "For now, we're just savoring the moment," says Desiree. — Posted 5-05-11


Eric WHO? Kaljumagi Wins State Honors

Congratulations to Academic Senate President Eric Kaljumagi for receiving the WHO (We Honor Our Own) Award from the California Community College Association at its spring conference in Newport Beach. He was honored for his contributions to the Mt. SAC Faculty Association, where he served on the contract negotiation team for several years and also served as treasurer. By virtue of his Senate presidency, he sits on the Faculty Association Executive Board. Eric is also a math professor with the Mt. SAC Learning Assistance Center. — Posted 5-04-11

Where Past and Future Meet

Where post-WWII row buildings once stood, there is now a sterling new Design Technology Center springing up and nearing completion. The 69,000-square-foot facility will consolidate computer-based design programs such as animation, architecture, graphic arts, photography and geographic information systems. This final Measure R project is due for completion next year. — Posted 4-29-11

Sen. Huff Discusses State Budget

Photos of Bob Huff, and students speaking to Bob Huff

More than 100 political science students and their professors turned out for a town hall meeting with state Senator Bob Huff to hear about current budget negotiations and to air their concerns and frustrations. Huff, who sits on the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education, shared his own experiences as a community college student at Santa Barbara City and Imperial Valley colleges and said he empathized with Mt. SAC students' struggles.

The Republican senator, whose district incorporates the Mt. SAC campus, discussed the ongoing budget negotiation process in Sacramento as well as the impending fee increase for community college California residents from $26 to $36 a unit, effective in the fall. — Posted 4-29-11

Vitullo Awarded Highest Forensics National Honor

John Vitulo holding awardCommunications Professor John Vitullo was recently presented the Distinguished Service Award by Phi Rho Pi for his contributions to the national forensics organization for community colleges. It is the organization’s highest honor for a speech coach, recognizing John for his many years of service on the Executive Committee as well as other responsibilities.

John was among a team of Mt. SAC faculty who coached the Mt. SAC Forensics Team, which captured the national title at the recent Phi Rho Pi National Tournament. Moreover, the team won first place Individual Events Sweepstakes , first place Overall Sweepstakes as well as the Sylvia Mariner Perpetual Sweepstakes Award for earning accumulative points—an honor Mt. SAC last won 12 years ago. In all, the Mt. SAC team won 27 individual medals, including seven golds in the categories of Prose Interpretation, Speech to Entertain, Communication Analysis, and Persuasive Speaking.

This marks Mt. SAC’s seventh overall national title at Phi Rho Pi, having previously won the distinction in ’94, ’98, ’00, 01, ’03, and ’06. The team was recognized as the top community college at the university-level national tournament in ’99, ’02, ’04, and ’07.

Joining John on the winning Mt. SAC coaching team were Jeff Archibald, Ken Klawitter, and Shae Hsieh. Congratulations!

Rogers & McIntosh Featured for Teaching Excellence

Rogers and McIntosh holding schedules of classes with article about their award winning groupsChoral Professors Bruce Rogers and Bill McIntosh are the faces of teaching excellence on the back cover of the Summer Schedule of Classes. These musical magicians are national and international award winners who make harmonious magic at the wave of their batons.

Bruce is Director of Choral Activities and conducts the renowned Mt. SAC Chamber Singers and the vocal jazz group, Singcopation. Bill conducts Fermata Nowhere, the Concert Choir, and vocal jazz group Frontline. Read about their accomplishments on the class schedule cover.

The summer schedule is a tribute to teaching excellence—as part of the “Legacy of Excellence” series that will be featured on each of the schedule covers throughout the college’s 65th anniversary academic year. The fall covers will feature student success; the winter, changing campus technology; and the spring covers, the changing campus landscape.

Ag-Sci Complex Dedication Set May 6

Rogers and McIntosh holding schedules of classes with article about their award winning groupsAll employees are invited to the public ribbon-cutting ceremony for Mt. SAC's state-of-the-art Agricultural Sciences Complex, which opened this semester. The ceremony will start at noon on Friday, May 6 in the courtyard of the new facility. Presentations, tours, and a festive reception will highlight the event. The $29-million, four-structure complex contains laboratories and classrooms for the horticulture, animal sciences and registered veterinary technology programs.

We’re Being Framed!

Rising above the green fencing at the corner of Bonita and Walnut is the first visible framing for what will become Mt. SAC’s long-awaited Early Childhood Education Center.

When completed next year, the 33,000-square-foot complex will consist of four buildings, including child development classrooms, labs, observation spaces, offices, meeting and conference rooms, children’s meal prep and service spaces, and all the playground and activity amenities required to support a full-service childcare program for over 160 children.

The center will consolidate Mt. SAC’s child development instructional program and its childcare operation under a single roof—ok, roofs!

Mt. SAC Wins 9 Design and Communication Awards

Rogers and McIntosh holding schedules of classes with article about their award winning groupsThe Mt. SAC Marketing & Communication Team took home nine PRO Awards, given by the California Community College Public Relations Organization for excellence in marketing, design, and communication—covering print, broadcast, Web, and public relations and advertising campaigns. The team placed first in four categories: Class Schedule, Commencement Program, Feature Story, Student Viewbook.

Mt. SAC captured second-place honors for print advertising, photography, annual report, and before/after makeover of a project (Community Ed fee-based class schedule). Mt. SAC’s college catalog placed third. Over 300 entries were judged by a panel of professional experts from across the nation.

"This extraordinary accomplishment is the result of true teamwork, talent, creativity, skill, and professionalism," noted Marketing & Communication Director Clarence Brown. "Thanks to the writers, designers, proofreaders, production coordinators, and the admin support to make all of this happen. We share these honors with the client organizations that we serve across the college."

The design team consists of John Lewallen, Linda Lundgren, Greg MacDonald, and Jeffrey George. Writers/editors were CB, Mike Taylor, Jill Dolan, and admin support is provided by Sue Hothi.

Eatman’s Design Students Place in Local Competition

Congratulations to Interior Design Professor Elisabeth Eatman for her effective mentoring and teaching, which has led to students Keiry Perez and Alyssa Jeong placing in the top six at the 19th Annual 1:2 Student Competition of the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles Chapter. The students won $1,000 cash scholarships.

As the only two-year college to place this year, Mt. SAC competed against several notable four-year design schools such as the Art Institute, OTIS College of Art and Design as well as CSULB and Woodbury University. This year’s competition focused on designing the high-speed rail travel experience for the 21st-century American. More specifically each team conceptualized the interior of its own high-speed rail car and designed the travel environment of the future.

Music Students Pass the “Barr”
To Play in National Honor Band

Congratulations to Music Professor and Wind Ensemble Conductor Dustin Barr for preparing four students who were selected to perform with the distinguished National Collegiate Honor Band. The band performed in Seattle recently as part of the College Band Directors’ National Association Conference.

The Mt. SAC musicians were selected by audition from a pool of over 300 applicants from colleges and universities across the nation. They are members of the Mt. SAC Wind Ensemble: trumpeter Michael Hammerton, French horn player Michael Edwards, euphonium player William Shay, and clarinetist Dwayne Burrell, who also selected as concertmaster of the Honor Band.

Mt. SAC 65th LogoMt. SAC at 65:
A Legacy of Excellence

This year marks Mt. SAC’s 65th anniversary, and there’s much to celebrate! The anniversary theme is “A Legacy of Excellence,” and the new anniversary logo and brand will be reflected on the college’s informational materials, publications, and the college website.

“’Excellence and distinction’ has been the Mt. SAC brand for over six decades,” said Marketing & Communication Director Clarence Brown. “Over these many years, our college has cultivated a culture of excellence, and it is manifested in all that we do as an institution—from our instructional quality to the physical landscape of the campus. Our record of state, national and international achievement across all major disciplines is quite remarkable and well known.”

College Schedule Cover Photo showing new logo designThe “Legacy of Excellence” anniversary theme will be illustrated on the class schedule covers for each academic term, featuring a “then vs. now” graphic depiction of how things have changed over the years. The summer schedule cover will contrast academic instruction. The fall cover will contrast student success. The winter cover will contrast technological changes. And the spring cover will contrast then-and-now views of the campus.

Founded in 1946, Mt. SAC is California’s largest single-campus community college district, with over 60,000 credit, noncredit, and community education students.

Toni Albertson’s All Stars Shine at Journalism Competitions

Before Toni Albertson set foot on campus a few years ago, the journalism program at Mt. SAC was virtually gasping on a respirator. There had been numerous futile attempts to revive the dying program. But since Toni took over the reins as journalism professor and faculty advisor to The Mountaineer, the program has bounced back to robust health and continues to achieve unprecedented success.

The once obscure publication has now garnered widespread notoriety in recent years, earning state and national awards. Over the past 10 weeks, Mt. SAC journalism students won 25 awards at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges state convention and 20 awards at the CCMA competition. Substance magazine won the JACC’s General Excellence Award for the fourth consecutive year.

On May 1, Substance won the coveted “Maggie Award” (see photo) for being judged the best college magazine by the Western Publishing Association. That honor comes with a $1,000 cash award for Mt. SAC’s journalism program.

In March, Toni’s all stars competed against peers from colleges and universities across the state at the California College Media Association’s annual competition in Hollywood. The Mountaineer won the top prize (the General Excellence Award) as well as honors for best overall design.

Individual students won awards at all of these competitions in a wide range of categories, including best news story, feature writing, sports coverage, editorial and opinion writing, design, photography and even cartooning.

Congrats to Toni and her stellar team of student journalists. Shine on! —Updated 5-2-11

Allison Frickert Selected NEH Summer Scholar

Asian History Professor Allison Newman Frickert has been selected as an NEH Summer Scholar from a highly competitive national applicant pool to attend one of 21 summer study opportunities supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. She will participate in an institute titled, “The Historical and Cultural Development of Modern India.” The four-week program will be conducted in Delhi, Agra, and Varanasi, India.

"I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to spend a month studying with some of India's top scholars, because it will greatly enhance my ability to teach both World and Asian history," said Allie. "Given India's resurgent and growing global influence, I believe it is vital that Mt SAC provide opportunities for our students--California's future leaders--to better understand a region that will play such vital poltical and economic roles in the 21st century. My participation in this institute will also be a cornerstone towards building an Asian Studies program here at Mt SAC, which I hope will provide interdisciplinary education and resources about all the rich and varied regions of Asia."

Among the many topics to be discussed at the 21 seminars and institutes are: ethnomusicology, American material culture, development of Eurasian studies, Mayan history and culture, African-American history and biography, Native Americans in the South, and cultural unity and diversity in Southeast Asia.

Mary-Ellen Reyes’ Health Students Win Medals

Congratulations to Psychiatric Technician Professor Mary-Ellen Reyes for her effective mentorship and advisorship over the Mt. SAC team that won medals at the Health Occupations Students of America State Leadership Conference recently in Sacramento.

Our competitors won three gold, four silver and three bronze medals in the Creative Problem Solving category. In addition, To Mounties merged as finalists in the Kaiser-Permanente Healthcare Issues Exam, where more than 500 competitors vied in this single event.

Each year, the Mt. SAC team wins top medals in both state and national HOSA competitions.

Budget Task Force Begins Its Task

The President’s Advisory Task Force on Fiscal Planning has begun the daunting task of addressing the college’s huge fiscal challenges for the next academic year in anticipation of massive projected state revenue shortfalls.

Over the ensuing months, the Task Force will assess programs and services and recommend ways to reduce expenditures and operate more efficiently in a way that preserves educational quality and jobs to the extent possible. These programs and services will be evaluated against the college’s core mission as defined by the state Legislature, focused on transfer, career technical education, and basic skills, combined with a heightened expectation for student outcomes or success.

“This process will require all departments and divisions to take a hard look at what they do, how they do it, what they must do, what they can stop doing, and what they can do less of,” said Administrative Services VP Mike Gregoryk, who chairs the Task Force. “We want to engage employees across the college as well as students in this critical process.”

The assessment will be coordinated by four teams—under the leadership of Mt. SAC’s vice presidents—who will evaluate programs offered by Instruction, Student Services, Administrative Services and Human Resources.

The Task Force will use the findings from this assessment to compile a report, consisting of analyses, conclusions and recommendations—all of which will advise the president and the college trustees in their critical budget decisions going forward.

The President’s Advisory Task Force on Fiscal Planning is composed of employees and college leaders: Mike Gregoryk (chair), Linda Baldwin, Ginny Burley, Diana Casteel, Jason Chevalier, Sarah Daum, Jennifer Galbraith, Jean Garrett, Aida Ghorbani, Art Gonzalez, Luisa Howell, Johnny Jauregui, Eric Kaljumagi, Alexandra Leon, Denise Lindholm, Terri Long, Annette Loria, Kerry Martinez, Laura Martinez, Art Morales, Bill Rawlings, Liesel Reinhart, Joan Sholars, Michelle Williams, Audrey Yamagata-Noji.

The Task Force will meet again on April 20 (Building 6-160), May 4 (Building 6-160), and May 18 (Founders Hall). All meetings run from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Our View: Invest in state's community colleges

San Gabriel Valley Tribune | April 3, 2011

Prescription for a Golden State trying to regain its pre-eminence as a creative world economy? Invest in the most efficient, accessible job-training machine ever created, its magnificent community college system, the best one ever conceived in this nation or anywhere else.

Prescription for economic disaster? At the point when that economy and job growth are on the verge of recovery after a devastating recession, slash the community college budgets, go with an all-cuts budget, lessening available classes to the point where some 400,000 students will be unable to even enroll next year, much less be able to transfer to the state's two university systems.

Yet disaster is precisely the option California, by default, is choosing.

Yes, given the huge budget deficit still facing the state - $15 billion is one current estimate, after the Legislature did push through some spending cuts - everything, as they say, is on the table. And everything should be. That's the only way to get to the solvent fiscal place we need to be.

There are also some changes to the way we have traditionally run California's community colleges that unfortunately probably need to be made even in a shakily recovering economy. Tuition is now such a good deal at $26 per unit that a resident student can carry a full load of classes for just $390 a semester. Even with the already planned boost to $36 a unit, that semester will cost $540 in tuition, still an amazing bargain in a world of $25,000-plus semesters at the best private universities in the state. (Books and materials, of course, especially science and technical texts, can cost more than the tuition bill. Point is, the tuition bill is still a real bargain.)

Even if tuition had to go up to the $50-per-unit range, we could understand, and we believe the community colleges would still be doing their job.

But the forecast that an entirely new $800 million reduction to the budget of the state's 112 community colleges will be forced by the budget debacle means that thousands of classes across California will simply be unavailable for students to take. Hundreds of instructors will be laid off. And hundreds of thousands of California young people at the entry point into higher education and the careers that makes possible will find their dreams deferred.

That would affect not just them. When it comes to the California economy, we are all in this together. Education creates jobs. Affluence begets affluence. What happens in our community colleges affects all of us.

Citrus. Mt. SAC. PCC. Rio Hondo. Our local community colleges are at the heart of higher education in the San Gabriel Valley and Whittier areas. Other parts of California have the same relationship to their own colleges - they are simply key.

Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature must work with Gov. Brown to stave off the severest cuts to our colleges. Not to do so would be devastating to economic recovery. Again, we must do so practically. Perhaps the time has come to create the two-tiered tuition system for the CCC some have long been advocating anyway: Lower unit prices for younger students coming into college, higher for those with bachelor's and master's degrees already who are either bolstering their knowledge for fun or looking to increase their skill level or prospects for career growth.

But make it happen. As CCC Chancellor - and former PCC President - Jack Scott said last week, "If just 2 percent more of California's population earned an associate degree and 1 percent more earned a bachelor's degree, the state's economy would grow by $20 billion. We have to remember that funding for higher education in California is not a cost, but an investment."

Climb Higher Scholarship Campaign Hits 70% Mark!

Students standing next to Campaign PosterMt. SAC’s Climb Higher: Osher Matching Scholarship Challenge has indeed climbed higher. Recently the campaign celebrated a significant milestone—reaching 70% of the $1.3-million campaign goal.

“This is a critical milestone,” noted an elated Richard Morley, Mt. SAC Foundation executive director. “This means that 91 scholarships of $1,000 each will be available in perpetuity for financially needy students. Moreover, when we reach our total goal, we’ll be able to award at least 132 scholarships indefinitely.”

That’s because the Bernard Osher Foundation has teamed up with Mt. SAC and agreed to match 50 cents for each dollar contributed to the Climb High campaign till the end of June. Those funds will go into an endowment fund and collect interest, thus providing substantial scholarship funding for years to come.

“We’re in the final stretch of the campaign and the June 30 clock is ticking,” Morley said. “So we urgently need all employees to rally behind the campaign and give whatever they can. I’ve said it over and over that it matters less how much you give. What matters most is that you give.”

For campaign information, giving options, and to make a contribution, click here.

Budget Scenarios Outlined

March 4, 2011—Mt. SAC leaders today reviewed the status of the 2011-12 state budget and its possible effects on the college’s financial status. President John Nixon and Administrative Services VP Mike Gregoryk noted the latest development—failure of the state Legislature to put a set of proposed tax extensions on the ballot for a special June election, thereby eliminating the least impactful budget scenario.

“With this least-impact scenario, we could have avoided extensive class reductions and employee layoffs,” Nixon noted. “But with that scenario now eliminated, coupled with dwindling tax revenues for the state, the much-worse alternate scenarios make layoffs a real possibility for us.”

Scenario 1 (no longer an option) assumed a $3.8-million state revenue reduction for Mt. SAC for the 2011-12 academic/fiscal year—resulting in a net reduction of approximately 1,200 full-time equivalent students, FTES.

Scenario 2 (the most probable one) assumes a much larger $9.1-million revenue shortfall for Mt. SAC, possibly resulting in a reduction of 2,600 FTES. Scenario 3 (the worst one) assumes a whopping $16.1-million net revenue reduction, affecting some 4,400 FTES.

Over the ensuing months, the President’s Task Force on Fiscal Planning and its working teams (under the oversight of the college VPs) will develop recommendations for budget reductions, cost savings and even income generation. “This process will require all departments and divisions to take a hard look at what they do, how they do it, what they can do less of, and what they can stop doing,” said Nixon. “Our bottom line in all of this is to serve students the best we can and to preserve jobs.”

Some budget reduction considerations include a 4/10 summer work schedule and retirement incentives. In response to questions about possible work furloughs and salary reductions as opposed to job eliminations, Nixon said these and other options will be explored by the task force and would require discussions with the employee unions.

Both Nixon and Gregoryk urged employees to stay engaged, informed and involved in the process, as it runs parallel to the sluggish state budget process. Today’s budget presentation is available in PowerPoint format by clicking here. It contains a glossary of financial and budgetary terms, an outline of the budget scenarios, answers to most frequently asked questions, and an outline of measures already taken to address the looming deficit.

Nixon and Chancellor Disappointed Over Tax Extension Failure

President John Nixon joined state Chancellor Jack Scott in voicing disappointment over the failure of the state's elected leaders to place a tax extension proposal on a June ballot. California’s 112 community college campuses are already reeling from $400 million in budget cuts proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The likelihood of facing an $800-million-or-more, "all-cuts" solution would have a devastating effect on college operations statewide and deny access to more than 400,000 students—roughly the same number enrolled in the entire California State University system.

"Without a June special election on Gov. Brown's tax extension proposal, the chance of an all-cuts budget is highly likely," said Scott. "An $800-million reduction would be unprecedented and an absolute tragedy for our students, faculty and staff as well as a deep blow for our economy."

Earlier Nixon noted that if the tax extension did not occur and if Proposition 98 (the community college funding formula) were suspended, Mt. SAC could realize a $14.2-million shortfall—offset to $8.7 million after applying the $10 enrollment fee hike, which the Legislature approved a little over a week ago. (The Legislative Analyst's Office recommended even higher fees—up to $66 per unit—if an all-cuts budget is approved.)

“There’s no question that this level of revenue shortfalls will force us to think differently about how we serve our students, which we remain committed to doing,” Nixon said. “So we’re going to rely on the ideas of everyone on our campus as to how we can maintain educational quality, preserve jobs and stay committed to our mission.”

A few weeks ago, Nixon announced the formation of an ad hoc President’s Advisory Task Force on Fiscal Planning, which will develop recommendations for institutional change and expenditure reductions, based on a comprehensive assessment of all programs and services—guided by the college’s core mission, which the Legislature is defining as transfer, career technical education and basic skills. The task force has already begun meeting and will be acting with greater urgency given new developments in Sacramento.

"It's not only the students who are hurt by the continued erosion of funding for higher education," said Chancellor Scott. "The state's future economy is damaged, too. If just 2% more of California's population earned an associate degree and 1% more earned a bachelor's degree, the state's economy would grow by $20 billion. We have to remember that funding for higher education in California is not a cost, but an investment."

Risk Management Efforts Recognized

Alliance of Schools for Cooperative Insurance Programs CEO Paula Tanguay presented a $10,000 Excellence in Risk Management award to Board President Judy Chen Haggerty in recognition of the college’s efforts in safety and risk management. Joining in the presentation are (l-r) President John Nixon, Administrative Services VP Mike Gregoryk, Trustees Fred Chyr and Manuel Baca, Safety & Risk Management Director Karen Saldana, and trustees Rosanne Bader, Patrick Martinez (student), and David Hall.

22 Faculty Granted Tenure

The Board of Trustees recently granted tenure to 22 faculty members across a wide range of academic disciplines. Before receiving tenure, they were working under their third contract with the college and were evaluated against a set of rigorous policies, requirements and standards.

Following are the professors who now join the ranks of some 400 tenured Mt. SAC faculty:

Hansel Alvarez, English, Literature & Journalism; Lloyd Aquino, English, Literature & Journalism; Michelle Boyer, Nursing; Ema Burman, Learning Assistance; Michelle Dougherty, English, Literature & Journalism; Marlene Gallarde, Sociology, Philosophy; Daniel Garcia, Air Conditioning & Welding; Dirk Hagner, Fine Arts; Martha Hall, Learning Assistance; Laurie Hartman, Commercial & Entertainment Arts; Anthony Henry, Child Development; Phebe Hosea, Mathematics, Computer Science; Anabel Perez, Counseling; Hector Rivas, Commercial & Entertainment Arts; Oscar Romero, Nursing; Michelle Sampat, Learning Assistance; Sarah Scott, Biological Sciences; Michelle Stewart-Thomas, Sociology, Philosophy; Lyssette Trejo, Counseling; Jaime Uranga, Electronics & Computer Technology; Elizabeth Uyeki, Librarian; and Kisha Williamson, Child Development.

GET THE WORD: Employees Sign Up for Emergency Notification

If a tragic event were to occur on campus, would you get the message? Well at last count, some 1,400 employees and 5,600 students would get the word---almost instantly!

That's because they have signed up for Mt. SAC’s emergency notification system, Connect-Ed. Implemented late last year as part of an ongoing effort to provide a safer campus environment. the system allows authorized personnel to quickly notify subscribers of campus emergencies and campus closures via voice, text, and e-mail messages.

While participation is voluntary, students, faculty, and staff are urged to sign up for the service online and to indicate their preferred means of notification. Personal contact information must be provided via a link on the Mt. SAC portal, which is secure and protected. Contact information is confidential and the system will not be used for purposes other than emergency notifications.

Risk Management Director Karen Saldana encourages more employees to participate. “The system will be used to alert college employees and students in the event of a threat to personal safety on campus as well as campus closures,” she said. “It’s one of the best, and most timely, methods of communicating we have during an emergency.”

Five Presidential Finalists Make Their Case

The lights are out and cameras off for the March 8 Meet the Presidential Candidates Open Forum. All five finalists (four female, one male) took turns separately under the spotlight of the Clarke Theater stage, making their case for becoming the ninth Mt. SAC president. Employees, students, trustees, and community members observed and took notes either in the theater or at their desks via live webcasting.

The finalists were:

Dr. Virginia Burley, VP of Instruction, Mt. SAC
Melinda Nish, VP of Instruction, Orange Coast College
Dr. William Scroggins, President, College of the Sequoias
Dr. Andreea Serban, President, Santa Barbara City College
Dr. Audrey Yamagata-Noji, VP of Student Services, Mt. SAC

Each finalist had 40 minutes to introduce him/herself and answer prepared questions about their vision, their leadership and communication styles, the budget crisis, classified employee participation in college governance, community relationship cultivation, and student success.

Following the forum, employees and students were encouraged to forward their opinions about the finalists to the Board of Trustees. The trustees interviewed each candidate on March 10 and plan to announce their selection at their April 20 meeting. The new president is expected to take office on July 1.

Fiscal Planning Advisory Task Force Announced

Initiative will encourage campuswide involvement in resolving budget challenges

In an effort to involve all campus constituencies in the budget mitigation process, President John Nixon announced the establishment of an ad hoc President’s Advisory Task Force on Fiscal Planning. The task force will have balanced representation from the three unions, Academic Senate, Associated Students, Confidentials, and management and will be an expansion of the membership of the Budget Committee.

Administrative Services VP Mike Gregoryk will chair the task force, which will develop recommendations for institutional change and expenditure reductions, based on a comprehensive assessment of all programs and services—guided by the college’s core mission, which the Legislature is defining as transfer, career technical education, and basic skills, combined with a heightened expectation for student outcomes, or success.

The task force will ask the four area teams of the college—Instruction, Student Services, Administrative Services, and Human Resources, under leadership of the vice presidents—to conduct comprehensive assessments of all programs and services, resulting in a written report that includes analyses, conclusions and recommendations for change and expenditure reductions. These reports will advise President Nixon and the trustees in their critical budget decisions going forward.

For more information about the task force, click here.

Conference Focuses on Student Success

Mt. SAC faculty, administrators, staff, and students participated in a two-day conference that examined student success held on Feb. 10-11 at Cal Poly’s Kellogg Conference Center.

Participants included members of the Basic Skills Committee and the Student Preparation and Success Council.

“This conference marked a critical step in our campuswide initiative to dialogue and explore the notion of student success in an in-depth and substantive way,” said Student Services VP Audrey Yamagata-Noji, a principal organizer and facilitator for the conference. “We reviewed the college’s current efforts in the area of student success, studied existing data, and began to define what Mt. SAC means by student success.”

Eleven topics related to student success were explored with a focus on the developmental aspects of student learning, student engagement, and clarifying students’ college expectations. The topics, in priority order, were:

  1. Achievement of student’s own goals
  2. Engagement
  3. Completion of basic skills sequence
  4. Employability
  5. Persistence
  6. Transfer
  7. Degree completion
  8. Utilize resources
  9. Global citizenship
  10. Retention
  11. Awards and Achievements

As a result of the conference’s value, a fall flex day on student success is being considered.

Nixon Receives ACCA’s Highest Honor

President John S. Nixon was honored recently for his 30-plus years of service in public education with the Harry Buttimer Distinguished Administrator Award from the Association of California Community College Administrators.

The award is ACCCA’s oldest and most prestigious award, symbolizing the qualities for whom the award is named—integrity, principle, compassion, strong leadership. The award also recognizes Dr. Nixon’s contributions to colleagues and the profession as well as to Mt. SAC and the community.

He was nominated for the award by Students Services VP Audrey Yamagata-Noji and the nomination was unanimously supported by the Buttimer Committee. Dr. Nixon became the third Mt. SAC president to receive the award in its 25-year history, now joining previous recipients Dr. Jack Randall and Dr. William Feddersen.

Dr. Nixon, who is retiring in June, has devoted over 30 years to public education, and he remains a leader in the community college sector, having served on and chaired a number of statewide policy committees and associations relative to community colleges and higher education in general.

Budget Dominates Spring Opening Meeting

Discussion of state budget impact on college operations dominated both the Classified and Faculty Spring Opening Meetings.

“The state’s spiraling fiscal situation does not bode well for the public sector,” said President John Nixon, who outlined three fiscal impact scenarios ranging from bad to worst. Scenario A paints a gloomy picture in which California’s community colleges would see revenue cuts of $400 million for 2011-12. That translates to a $9.1-million reduction for Mt. SAC. However, a proposed $10-per-unit increase in student enrollment fees would offset that reduction, for a net deficit of $6.4 million for Mt. SAC. This scenario assumes that the state’s voters in June will pass an extension of various taxes scheduled to expire mid-year. “For Mt. SAC, Scenario A, while bad, is the more manageable one,” said Nixon.

Scenario B assumes that voters may reject the tax extension and Proposition 98 (the community college funding formula) would be suspended, resulting in Mt. SAC realizing a $14.2-million shortfall—offset to $8.7 million after applying the proposed $10 enrollment fee hike. “Under Scenario B, we would all feel the pain,” said Administrative Services VP Mike Gregoryk.

Scenario C, developed by the state Legislative Analyst’s Office, attempts to shore up the gaps with some cost-saving measures for community colleges. This scenario imposes a 90-unit cap on student credits and an increase in student fees from $26 per unit to $66 to realize an additional $170 million in state revenue. In addition, the Legislative Analyst suggests the elimination of state subsidies for intercollegiate athletics to save $55 million.

“There is no question with the cuts coming down that we are going to have to think differently about how we serve our students,” said Gregoryk. “So we’re going to rely on everyone’s ideas on how we can maintain educational quality, preserve jobs, and stay committed to our mission.”

Some of the measures to deal with the funding shortfalls at Mt. SAC may include the further reduction of classes, an extended hiring freeze, and the possibility of another 4/10 schedule during the summer. The prospect of an early retirement incentive will be evaluated.

CSEA leaders urged classified employees to stay engaged, informed and involved to help protect jobs and preserve educational opportunities for students.

In the larger context going forward, Nixon observed that the budget pressures may force the state to redefine the mission of community colleges, as some believe that they "try to be all things to all people."

“The financial crisis has created a very difficult fiscal situation at both the state and national levels, "Nixon said, "but I believe we can persevere and get through this with the best thinking and cooperation of everyone at the college.”

Families “Cash In” at Financial Aid Fair

Cash for College Event
The threat of rain couldn’t deter nearly 600 students and their families from attending the Ca$h for College event held on campus on Feb. 26.

The event, one of several held countywide in the past month, provided one-on-one assistance for college-bound students to complete and file the complex Federal Student Aid and Cal Grant financial aid forms for the 2011-12 academic year.

The event also helped students maximize their financial aid prospects by meeting the early financial aid deadlines. The event was open to all area high school seniors, regardless of the college they plan on attending.

Financial Aid Director Susan Jones said many of the parents were grateful for the assistance in completing the complicated paperwork. Jones added that while California community colleges remain a bargain at $26 a unit, students still need help with living expenses and books.

“Financial aid is now more important to many students that ever before,” said Jones. “For many students, it can mean the difference between attending or not attending college.”

The event was co-sponsored by Senators Ed Hernandez and Gloria Negrete-McLeod and Assemblymembers Norma Torres, and Curt Hagman.

Mt. SAC students returned to campus Monday to begin the spring semester. Nearly 6,000 students had their first Federal Pell grant checks ready, totaling $7.4 million—he largest amount disbursed at the beginning of a term in the college's history.

Accreditation Reaffirmed

Mt. SAC recently received regional reaffirmation of accreditation for the maximum allowable duration of six years from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

“This is great news for Mt. SAC as we prepare to celebrate our 65th year,” said President John S. Nixon. “The commission’s findings and decision are yet another validation of the commitment, professionalism, and exemplary work continually demonstrated across the college. We achieved the reaffirmation of accreditation without qualification or exception, which is a significant accomplishment.”

The commission visited the campus last fall, marking the culmination of a two-year campuswide self-evaluation process that assessed the quality of instruction, programs and services the college provides its students. The analysis, based on a set of rigorous standards, was compiled in a 332-page self-study document, prepared by a team of faculty, staff, and students across the college.

In reaffirming accreditation status, the commission commended Mt. SAC for the high quality of its educational programs, the planning, budgeting and review processes applied to these programs, and the use of data to demonstrate success with retention and success of at-risk students.

Also praised were Mt. SAC’s innovative programs that support student success, particularly library and learning support programs. Moreover, the commission commended the college for maintaining overall financial stability through sound fiscal management in difficult economic times.

“The effort that our employees put into optimizing student success is clear within our own self-study analysis and the commission’s validation of it,” Nixon noted. Mt. SAC is required to submit a midterm report in 2013 on the college’s progress on ACCJC’s recommendations for improvement, and prepare for another reaffirmation review in 2016.

To read Mt. SAC’s self-study report, visit