Campus Connection

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News & Information:2012

Return to 2013 Campus Connection Features

Mt. SAC Honors Program Featured

Honor StudentThe American Association of Colleges & Universities has featured the Mt. SAC Honors Program in the "AAC&U Member Innovations" column of its online newsletter, "AAC&U News." The program was lauded as a model for advanced instruction and learning. Click here for the entire article. (Posted 12/17/12)


Forensics Team Finishes Strong in Fall Championship

Forensics TeamWorking its way to the National Championship next April, the Mt. SAC Forensics team capped a successful fall season by taking the third-place sweepstakes at the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensic Association Fall Championship tournament held Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 at Cerritos College.

With 36 colleges and more than 650 students competing, Mt. SAC students won 28 awards in all, including two first-place honors, two second-place awards, and six third-place finishes. Mt. SAC’s Hester Kim won first place in the junior program oral interpretation event, and Michelle Marin took first in the junior persuasive speaking competition. The Mt. SAC squad was also honored with the Dan Miller Perpetual Sweepstakes Award, which recognizes achievement over many years in the region.

At tournaments in November, the Forensics team trumped the competition, winning 45 awards and far surpassing its competitors. Mt. SAC took the second-place sweepstakes at the Ray Dahlin Invitational on Nov. 9 and second in the overall sweepstakes at the Grossmont Griffin Invitational Nov. 10-11.

The team also competed at the Cal State Northridge Robert Barbera Invitational on Nov. 11 where Kim, a first-year student, won first place in the Novice Programmed Oral Interpretation event. Teammates Michelle Ecarma, Cliff Davis, and Barrett Tate also won gold medals in the parliamentary debate competition.

The team is coached by Communication Professors Jeff Archibald, Shae Hsieh, and Danny Cantrell. (Posted 12/17/12)

Men's Soccer Team Captures 4th
Straight State Title

Men's Soccer TeamCongratulations to Coach Juan Sanchez and the Mt. SAC Men's Soccer Team for winning it's fourth back-to-back state title. This is the first time in the 39-year history of the California Community College Athletic Association soccer program that a team has won four consecutive championships. The Mounties defeated the City College of San Francisco to score this unprecedented distinction.

The Mounties beat the previous record of three consecutive state championships previously held by Santa Ana College. For overall non-consecutive state championships, Mt. SAC is now tied with El Camino College with four titles. Santa Ana continues to hold the overall record with seven titles, followed by Foothill College with five. (Posted 12/17/12)

Wellness Center Promotes Pledge Program for Healthy Holidays

maintain, apple slicesIn an effort to help employees avoid the pitfalls of overindulgence during the holidays, the Mt. SAC Wellness Center has partnered with Kaiser Permanente to launch a campuswide “Maintain Don’t Gain” campaign.

The eight-week program is designed to help Mt. SAC employees shun those unhealthful yuletide treats and keep off the weight. Participants start by making a pledge to choose nutritious foods, eat sensible portions, exercise, and manage stress. They are also encouraged to work together with friends and colleagues on a common goal to keep the pounds off.

For more information and to make the pledge, see the Wellness Center’s web page by clicking here. (Posted 11/20/12)

Mt. SAC to Toast the Holidays

HolidayMt. SAC has always celebrated the holidays in true yuletide style. Below is a list of the fetes scheduled across campus to ring in the holiday cheer.

    • Associated Students Holiday Celebration, Wed., Nov. 28, noon to 1:30 p.m., 9C.
    • Auxiliary Services Holiday Tea, Thurs., Nov. 29, 10 to 11:30 a.m., bookstore, 9A.
    • Administration Holiday Tea, Wed., Dec. 5, 9:30 – 11 a.m., Founders Hall.

“Stability for Now, Growth for the Future”
Is Core Message at Town Halls

Town HallAt yesterday’s budget Town Hall meetings, President Scroggins summed up the impact of Proposition 30’s passage in a single soundbite: “stability now, potential for growth in the future.”

While he noted that Prop. 30’s passage enabled Mt. SAC to dodge an $8.6-million budget bullet that could have resulted in further class and service level reductions, Scroggins underscored,

“We’re not out of the woods yet. But I feel reasonably assured by our situation here at Mt. SAC to say that I will not be recommending any cuts in salary or benefits for the next two years.” “We find ourselves looking ahead to two distinct periods,” he outlined. “We’re currently operating in a climate of stability and will be making short-term decisions based on that premise over the next two—possibly three—years. Going forward beyond this period, we’re aiming for true recovery—a recovery that will enable us to restore class offerings and replace service levels for our students that were drastically reduced due to the state budget crisis. Over the past five years, we have reduced our enrollment by 17% and our budget by $15 million, which are quite substantial, life-altering changes.”

In addition to preventing further cuts equivalent to 7% of the college budget, Scroggins noted that Prop. 30 will provide only a modest cash benefit to the college. It provides $50 million for statewide growth restoration funding—about a 1% increase for Mt. SAC—which could be used to address our pressing needs in basic skills, career courses, and science labs, among others. He said faculty leaders and the Instruction Team will help identify the greatest areas of need.

Much of what happens in moving forward still depends on the pace of growth of the California economy and how much of that growth finds its way into education funding. Scroggins cited forecasts of state revenues being in balance by 2014-15—with perhaps even a slight surplus.

Meanwhile, the college will continue to identify ripe areas for even greater operational efficiency. He cited the effort under way to reduce campuswide use of paper, copying/duplication, desktop printers and toner and the need to rely more on electronic communication. “We can save up to $400,000 a year just by doing this,” he said.

Other medium-term solutions to our budget deficit—$10 million for 2012-13—include paying for retiree medical benefits out of the trust fund set aside for that purpose, funding scheduled maintenance and capital investments in technology from Measure RR bonds to be sold in the next year or two, and finally prudent use of the college’s reserves.

Regarding personnel, Dr. Scroggins said the college is not under a hiring freeze, per se, but under a higher level of scrutiny of vacant positions.

“Before filling a vacancy, we are asking managers to show that it is absolutely essential to do so,” he said. “They must demonstrate the impact of not filling that position on the work unit and the mission of the college. In some cases, we need to consider whether there are alternatives, like a technological solution to getting the work done. Sometimes reorganization is part of the solution.”

Overall, Scroggins noted that Mt. SAC is still more favorably situated financially than many community colleges with a healthy reserve that is needed to maintain critical cash flow and pay the bills during those periods when funding distribution from Sacramento is delayed for whatever reason. The intent is to continue compliance with the board policy of maintaining a reserve that is no less than 10% of the annual budget. (Posted 11-14-12)

Trustee Baca Named President of State Governing Board

Baca PortraitMt. SAC Trustee Dr. Manuel Baca has been elected president of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors for a one-year term. The board sets policies and guidelines for the nation’s largest higher education system, which is composed of 72 community college districts, 112 campuses, and 2.4 million students annually.

"I am honored to be elected to this critical position by my colleagues,” Baca said. "Our board has worked very hard over the past year to implement key reforms designed to improve student success. I look forward to my tenure as president to continue to move the recommendations of the Student Success Task Force forward and to try to restore access for students who have been shut out of our colleges because of recent state budget cuts."

Dr. Baca has served on the state governing board since 2009 and on the Mt. SAC board since 1999. He has served on the state Student Success Task Force and also on the systemwide committee that crafted the California Community College System Strategic Plan.

Professionally, Dr. Baca is a professor of government and business law/management at Rio Hondo College in Whittier, where he has served in various academic administrative positions, including interim president. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at CSU-Fullerton and a doctorate in education at USC.

A Diamond Bar resident, Dr. Baca has been long active in the greater San Gabriel Valley, having served as president of the Kiwanis of Walnut Valley, a member of the 32nd Congressional District’s U.S. Military Academies Advisory Committee, and a charter member of the Chinese American Museum of Los Angeles. (Posted 11-14-12)

Chamber Singers/Singcopation
Wow World Competition in China

Vocal StudentsWith less than two months to prepare, the Chamber Singers and Singcopation bested all but one of the 80 choirs that competed in seven different categories at the prestigious Xinghai International Choral Competition last week in China.

“They were awesome,” says an elated Professor Bruce Rogers, who directs both groups. “At the end of the competition, our groups brought home second-place honors. All of the judges told us that we were extremely close to sweeping all of our categories.”

The respective classical and vocal jazz groups won three Platinum Medals (highest honors), and Bruce says he couldn’t be prouder of his students.

“Our groups are virtually new this year and have been together only for a couple months, and we nearly beat choirs that have been together for a long time,” he noted.

Under Bruce’s leadership, these stellar groups have swept many competitions across the globe. The Chamber Singers were crowned “Choir of the World” in Europe in 2007 and has an impressive record of wins at the various competitions and conventions hosted by the American Choral Directors Association. Singcopation has won renowned jazz festivals (including Reno and Monterey), and has been named best collegiate vocal jazz ensemble by Downbeat magazine numerous times, further entrenching Mt. SAC’s superior international reputation in the performing arts. (Posted 11-14-12)

Astronomy Dome Caps Science Building

Observatory DomeThe long-awaited Astronomy Dome was hoisted into place on Friday, Nov. 9, capping off a project that will take students to the heavens and boost Mt. SAC’s astronomy program head and shoulders above the rest.

Five years in the making, the 23-foot rotating Astronomy Dome will be the central part of the observatory complex when completed next month. It will house the college’s main 16-inch telescope. Six other eight-inch telescopes will also be available for students and the public at the observatory, which will sit on the roof of the Science Laboratories Building (60).

The observatory will be used by astronomy classes and Planetarium events to explore and learn about stars and planets. It will also be open to the public on observation nights and will aid astronomy students in research projects.

A public open is planned for January.

Community Colleges Dodge Painful
Budget Bullet with Passage of Prop. 30

Gov. Brown, Prop. 30 as 54 Yes, 46 no.California public education scored a key victory yesterday as voters passed Proposition 30 by a decisive margin—53.6%. By temporarily raising the state sales tax a quarter-percent for everyone and the income tax for Californians earning over $250,000 annually, the measure will help stabilize funding for the state’s educational system in the near term and prevent draconian education budget cuts that would have been automatically triggered had the measure failed.

Mt. SAC dodged a painful bullet in the form of a $8.6-million cut, noted President Scroggins. “In addition, we now have an opportunity to earn some potential growth funding of 1.5%, which we will need to prioritize to support pressing needs, such as our science labs and our basic skills efforts. However, even with Prop. 30, we’re not out of the woods yet fiscally. We only avoided the avalanche.”

President Scroggins said more details about the impact and implications of Prop. 30’s passage will be addressed at the upcoming campus Town Hall meetings, set for next Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Clarke Theater. Employees are encouraged to attend. The discussion will engage the perspectives of the college's vice presidents as well as the presidents of the Faculty Association, CSEA 262, and CSEA 651.

With Governor Brown’s leadership, Prop. 30 garnered significant and widespread support by the state Chancellor's Office, teacher associations, union groups, school districts, education advocates, media outlets, and students, including Mt. SAC’s own unions, Associated Students, and the Board of Trustees.

Over its seven-year lifespan, Proposition 30 is expected to generate some $6 billion in additional state revenues annually, most of which will be earmarked for K-12 (89%) and community colleges (11%). Approximately $210 million in additional funding will go to community colleges this academic year.

“This should allow us to serve an addition 20,000 students statewide and begin erasing the financial deferrals that have plagued our budgets in recent years,” according to newly appointed state Chancellor Brice Harris. “Although we have a long road back to financial stability, this Proposition 30 victory will allow us to begin serving some of the nearly half-million students we have turned away over the past four years. To the voters of California, our students and staff, we say thank you!”—cb (Posted 11-7-12)

Budget Town Halls Set Tuesday, Nov. 13

ScrogginsThe impact and implications of Proposition 30’s passage will be discussed at the next series of Town Hall meetings, set for next Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Clarke Theater.

The discussion will engage the perspectives of a panel of college leaders, including President Scroggins, the college vice presidents, and the presidents of the Faculty Association, CSEA 262, and CSEA 651.

Employees are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts and questions. (Posted 11-7-12)

Great SoCal “Shakeout” Drills Oct. 18

Drop! Cover! Hold On! with illustrations of a person ducking their head and body under a rigid table, then holding onto the table protected from anything that may fall.Mt. SAC will participate in the statewide 2012 “Great Southern California Shakeout” earthquake drill on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 10:18 a.m.

“This is our opportunity to practice the ‘drop, cover, and hold’ technique to learn how to protect ourselves when earthquakes happen,” said Safety & Risk Management Director Karen Saldana.

Building evacuation drills will be held on campus for Bldgs. 4, 66, and 67A-B. Public Safety will conduct tests of the campus emergency notification system. All employees are encouraged to participate in the drills and to subscribe to the emergency notification system at www.mtsac.edu.

Free Screenings to be Provided at Health Fair

Student receiving an eye evaluationStudent Health Services, once again, will offer its annual Health Fair for students and employees on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Student Health Center (Bldg. 67B) and the adjacent courtyard.

Free dental and vision health screenings will be provided as well as cholesterol and glucose tests (Mt. SAC ID required). In addition, information will be available on fitness, nutrition, cancer, chiropractic care, and sexually transmitted infections.

Community Colleges and CSU Launch
New Transfer Degree Website

Happy StudentThe California Community Colleges and the California State University have launched a new website that provides comprehensive information about the new Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T/AS-T) pathway that lets students earn an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree, with no wasted units. The website, ADegreeWithAGuarantee.com, is the ultimate resource for students and parents to learn about the Associate Degree for Transfer.

“An Associate Degree for Transfer will ease the transfer process for California community college students to transfer to a CSU campus and ADegreeWithAGuarantee.com is the best place for students and parents to get information about this exciting new program," said Acting California Community Colleges Chancellor Erik Skinner.

The key features of the website include:

  • Complete details on how the new transfer pathway works
  • Up-to-date information about the transfer majors available by California community college campuses that are matched to similar bachelor’s degrees at California State University campuses
  • Interactive maps that help students find a campus
  • Application information
  • A degree progress checklist
  • Testimonials from students who have earned an Associate Degree for Transfer and successfully transferred to a California State University campus

"ADegreeWithAGuarantee.com explains how the new transfer pathway works and the many benefits for students to earn an Associate Degree for Transfer," said Ephraim P. Smith, California State University executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. "This is an excellent tool and we're excited to share it with students, parents and the people who will help them make informed decisions about pursuing their bachelor’s degrees."

The Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (Senate Bill 1440, Padilla) became law in 2010 and requires the California Community Colleges and California State University to collaborate on the creation of AA-T and AS-T degrees. Upon earning these degrees, students will be guaranteed admission to a California State University campus with junior standing. While not guaranteed admission to their campus of choice, students will be given priority consideration for admission to a California State University campus that offers a program that has been designated as “similar” by California State University. Once enrolled at California State University campus, students will be able to complete a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree with no more than 60 additional units.

Community colleges offer more than 450 new associate degrees for transfer in 20 of the most popular transfer majors, and more are being added. These degrees provide pathways to more than 300 baccalaureate degrees across the California State University system. ADegreeWithAGuarantee.com will be updated frequently as more degrees become available every term.

Student Success Act of 2012 Is Now Law

Jerry Brown signing lawGov. Jerry Brown signed into law the Student Success Act of 2012, the legislative cornerstone of a California Community Colleges reform initiative aimed at improving educational outcomes for students and better preparing the workforce needed for California’s changing economy.

The legislation authored by Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) will help more students reach their goal of earning a degree, certificate, career advancement or transferring to a four-year institution. Officials said the law will usher in some of the most significant improvements to the community college system in more than a decade.

“Gov. Brown signed this bill into law because he knows it will put more students on the path to completing their educational goals and that will make California more competitive economically,” said Acting Chancellor Erik Skinner. “This bill came from the Student Success Task Force that was convened almost two years ago and is resulting in some much needed changes to the way we educate our students.”

The Student Success Act of 2012 will:

  • Restructure the way student support services are delivered to improve the assistance that students receive at the beginning of their educational experience. The bill targets existing student services resources to support orientation, assessment and education planning services and lays the groundwork to expand these services as more resources become available.
  • Provide that campuses using an assessment instrument for student placement utilize a statewide system of common assessment once available, to improve consistency and efficiency within the 112-campus system.
  • Require colleges receiving student support service funds to post a student success scorecard to clearly communicate progress in improving completion rates for all students and closing the achievement gap among historically under-represented students.
  • Require students whose fees are waived because of their economic need to meet minimum academic standards.

“Our primary goal is to offer students a better path to graduation,” Lowenthal said. “It is unacceptable that more than 50 percent of community college students are not graduating or transferring within six years. This bill is the first step toward a refocused community college system that is rededicated to student success and achievement.”

The law will be phased in over a reasonable period of time as funding allows. Efforts are already underway to implement many of the recommendations of the Student Success Task Force. For more information, click here. (Posted 9-28-12)

Brice W. Harris Named 15th State Chancellor

Brice Harris speakingThe California Community Colleges Board of Governors announced the unanimous selection of former Los Rios Community College District Chancellor Brice W. Harris as the 15th chancellor to lead the 112-college system, the largest system of higher education in the country.

Dr. Harris will begin his duties on Nov. 6 and receive an annual salary of $198,500, plus a standard state employee benefits package.

“Brice Harris is the right person at the right time to lead the California Community Colleges,” said Board President Scott Himelstein. “I’ve known and worked with him for many years, and he is widely respected within the college system. He has the vision and leadership skills needed to navigate these tough fiscal times and keep us focused on improving student success.”

With over 15 years at the helm, Harris was the longest-serving chancellor at the four-campus Los Rios District, which serves more than 85,000 students. Harris previously served as president of Fresno City College, and was a faculty member and vice chancellor in the Kansas City, Mo., community college system.

Harris has served on a host of local, state and national boards and commissions, including the California Community College Chancellor’s Office Student Success Task Force.

Harris did his post-doctoral study at the Harvard University Institute of Educational Management, received his doctorate in education at Nova Southeastern University, his master's in communication from the University of Arkansas, and his bachelor's in communication from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. (Posted 9-28-12)

Students Launch VOTE Drive

i Vote, Y U No Vote? t-shirts worn.More than 300 students came out on Sept. 25 -– National Voter Registration Day -– to register to vote and listen to information about important propositions on the Nov. 6 ballot. Sporting t-shirts designed by Marketing Dept. Graphic Designer Greg MacDonald, Associated Students leaders, Faculty Association reps, and even Joe Mountie helped students fill out the forms. As of Sept. 27, more than 600 students registered to vote on campus , nearing the goal of 1,000! To register to vote online, visit http://registertovote.ca.gov/

(Posted 9-28-12)

Auxiliary Services Accounting Transition
to Fiscal Services Nears Completion

Accounting toolsThe transition of the Fiscal Services Department assuming the accounting functions of Auxiliary Services is expected to be completed on Oct. 1. A year in the making, this restructuring effort is designed to create a more efficient and defined process for business services on campus.

“This transition will streamline accounting functions much better, resulting in greater efficiency, because there will be one business office on campus instead of two,” said former Associate VP of Fiscal Services Linda Baldwin, who is working on the transition project.

Trust accounts have been transferred to Fiscal Services, and new procedures have been developed for handling fundraising and donations. Student club fundraising must go through the Student Life Office and be approved by the Student Services VP. All other fundraising must be approved by the appropriate VP and the Mt. SAC Foundation.

Fiscal Services will also manage the Foundation’s bookkeeping, which was formerly managed by Auxiliary, “but it will be separate from the district,” said Baldwin. “Fundraising accounts can’t go into the district financial records.” (Posted 9-18-12)

President’s Editorial Urges Voters
to Weigh Impacts of Prop. 30

Prop. 30 Apple GraphicThis editorial, penned by President Scroggins, was published in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on Sept. 14.

This November, California voters will be faced with choices on several initiatives. From an educational perspective, the most critical to the future of our students and the state’s economy is Proposition 30. Proposed by Gov. Brown, this initiative would prevent deeper cuts to public education, especially California’s colleges and universities. Like most of you, I don't like the idea of paying additional taxes.

But if this tax initiative fails, it will have dire consequences for community colleges. Without Proposition 30, community colleges throughout the state would face a $338-million cut on top of the $809 million slashed over the past three years. For Mt. San Antonio College, for example, it would mean an immediate hit of $8.6 million and a cut of 7.4% in enrollment or over 3,000 students who would no longer be going to college. The net drop to Mt. SAC enrollment due to state budget cuts would be 24% or approximately 11,000 students with no access to college each year.

Unfortunately, state funding reductions are nothing new for us at Mt. SAC. Like other colleges, we’ve had to adjust by slashing our budgets to the tune of $15 million in the past three years. This included reducing class sections, eliminating part-time and full-time positions, delaying scheduled maintenance, and trimming vital student support services. All of this negatively impacts those who we are here to serve—our students.

It would be easy to suggest that we simply raise our fees rather than ask taxpayers to give more. However, unlike our friends at the California State University or the University of California systems, community colleges don’t set their enrollment fees. The state Legislature does that. And, what people generally don’t know is that the fees we collect do not stay at our campuses but go into the state’s General Fund for reallocation to the campuses based on prescriptive formulas.

Worse yet, ongoing years of budget cuts have severely impaired the ability of community colleges to produce the skilled workforce that our state’s specialized economy desperately needs. If current funding trends persist, the Public Policy Institute of California estimates that by 2025 California will face a shortage of 1 million college degree and certificate holders needed to fuel its workforce. We simply cannot allow this to happen.

We all have heard that “an investment in education is an investment in the future.” For every $1 California invests in students who graduate from college, it will receive a net return on investment of $4.50. The best way to increase state revenue is to improve our educated workforce to fill those skilled jobs that even today go wanting for qualified workers. Mt. SAC educates that skilled workforce. The best way to cut state expenses for social service support programs is to help those folks learn a skill and get a job. Mt. SAC provides those job skills.

So invest in the future of our state knowing that Proposition 30 dollars will meet our local needs in colleges throughout our region, including Mt. SAC. While many investments have risks, voters must decide whether California’s future is worth betting on. The choice is yours on Nov. 6. (Posted 9-18-12)

Mt. SAC Trustees Adopt 2012-13 College Budget

Stacks of coinsAt its Sept. 12 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the college’s 2012-13 general fund budget, which anticipates revenue totaling over $135 million and expenditures of over $145 million, resulting in a structural deficit of more than $10 million. The budget is based on assumptions, recognizing that the fate of Proposition 30 could alter the college’s financial position considerably should the ballot measure fail in November. Prop. 30 is the sales and income tax increase initiative on the Nov. 6 ballot.

President Scroggins noted that Prop. 30’s passage would not generate revenue significant for community colleges, but its failure would be financially devastating for many. For Mt. SAC, it would mean an immediate hit of $8.6 million, and a cut of 7.4% in enrollment or over 3,000 students who would no longer be going to college. Scroggins said the net drop to Mt. SAC enrollment due to state budget cuts would be 24 percent or approximately 11,000 students with no access to college each year. Mitigating this impact would require the college to use substantial reserve funds.

On a more positive note, Administrative Services VP Mike Gregoryk reported that the college’s reserve has been enriched by some $5 million, thanks to a settlement with the City of Industry relative to redevelopment funds owed to Mt. SAC.

“In spite of that, it’s going to be a tough ride for everyone over the next three fiscal years,” he warned. “The uncertain will continue as the state struggles to get its fiscal house in order. So no one is out of the woods yet.”

Gregoryk thanked the campus community for containing expenditures, reducing costs, and for working more efficiently while continuing to serve students. He noted that over the past three years, the college has reduced expenditures substantially by $15 million. (Posted 9-17-12)

Mt. SAC Hosts Workforce Development Forum

Event photos

Even as the national economic recession continues to linger, Mt. SAC hosted the Strengthening Workforce Development in Regional Economies Forum on Sept. 13 at the Founders Hall Conference Center. Representatives from various community colleges attended the forum, which featured presentations by state Vice Chancellor for Workforce & Economic Development Van Ton-Quinlivan and Mt. SAC Trustee Dr. Manuel Baca.

The forum focused on the initiative, “Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy,” which targets regional economies and the critical role that local community colleges play in workforce training and economic development. Presenters also shared strategies for implementing initiative statewide and introduced a new system of collecting and accessing labor market data. (Posted 9-17-12)

Learning Assistance Center
Reports Notable Successes

Learning Assistance Center Director Bailey Smith has reported notable success by the center’s various tutorial services and learning labs in the LAC's Year-End Summary Report for 2011-12... Some highlights:

  • Students at LACSupplemental Instruction improved student pass rates by more than 10%.
  • Online tutoring served 402 students last year—up significantly from 279 served last year—with good student ratings.
  • Tutoring served 4,011 students, who utilized 26,068 tutoring hours (up 15%).
  • Use of online tutoring increased by 30%.
  • The number of Basic Skills students tutored increased by 45%, and Basic Skills tutoring hours increased by 51% over the prior academic year.

To access the report summary, click here. (Posted 9-17-12)

State Board Approves Systemwide
Enrollment Priorities to Increase Student Success

Enrollment Priorities, a student in a classroom setting, with a backpack.The California Community Colleges Board of Governors last week unanimously approved changes that will establish systemwide enrollment priorities designed to ensure classes are available for students seeking job training, degree attainment or transfer and to reward students who make progress toward their educational goals.

New students who have completed college orientation and assessment and have developed educational plans as well as continuing students in good academic standing who have not exceeded 100 units (not including units in basic English, math or ESL) will soon have priority over students who do not meet these criteria. Among these students, active-duty military and veterans and current and former foster youth will continue to have first call on classes, followed by EOPS and DSP&S students.

The regulations will go into effect in the 2014 fall semester. The state’s 72 community college districts maintain discretion to adopt policies exempting certain categories of students from the 100-unit limit, such as those in high-unit majors or programs.

Colleges must being informing current students of the new state policy next spring so those on probation will have an opportunity to improve their academic standing and those nearing the unit cap can carefully plan their remaining courses. (Posted 9-17-12)

Fall Semester Opens;
FT Credit Enrollment Drops 2%

Students walking on campusFull parking lots. New students struggling to navigate an unfamiliar campus. Crowded classrooms. Warm reunions. Triple-digit temperatures. All of these are clear signs that Mt. SAC’s fall semester has officially begun.

And despite the crowded parking lots and overflowing classrooms, enrollment dropped by 2.5% from last fall’s level. As of Aug. 22, 25,000 credit students had enrolled, compared to 27,260 at the same point last year. Of this total, 10,167 were full-time students (down 2%), while 14, 865 were part-time credit students (down 12%).

Fall credit class offerings increased slightly, from 2,824 in 2011 to 2,833 this fall. As expected, high-demand courses closed early. All Anatomy 10A, Chemistry 40 and Chemistry 50 sections were closed by the fourth day of registration. By the time new students had the opportunity to register on day six, there were no seats available in math, history, Political Science 1 or Psychology 1. (Posted 8-30-12)

AmLa Dept. and 2 Professors Win
Teaching Innovation Awards

AmLa Award Winners

The American Language (AmLa) Department and two humanities professors were presented the President’s Awards for Excellence & Innovation in Teaching & Learning at the recent Fall Convocation.

In the Outstanding Curriculum Award category, AmLa received a $2,000 award for its outstanding use of SLOs in its Accent Reduction courses. The SLOs measured students’ self-knowledge of their pronunciation strengths and weaknesses and confidence in communication. The department used the results to facilitate student/instructor communication and create course requirements to ensure basic pedagogical standards. AmLa also utilized resources to establish a digital-recorder library for student use.

AmLa Professor Evelyn Hill-Enriquez shared the departmental award for her “excellent work at the program or course level that has led to improvements in curriculum design or course delivery.”

In the Outstanding Personal Innovation Category, Professor & Psychology Department Co-Chair Stacy Bacigalupi received a monetary award of $1,000 for her outstanding leadership in SLO development in her department and across the college. She was nominated by her department for outstanding work, which included providing samples to her department from other colleges, leading departmental discussions on SLOs and “use of results” following data collection, and for championing SLOs in her department. She was also recognized for leading an “SLO Fun Day” with her department co-chair, Misty Kolchakian.

The ceremony marked the second year for these teaching excellence awards, instituted by President Scroggins last year. They are intended to honor Mt. SAC employees’ outstanding work in student learning outcomes (SLO) assessment in three categories: (1) curriculum efforts, (2) basic skills, and (3) personal innovation. For more information, click here. (Posted 8-30-12)

3 Employees Win First Series
of President’s Champion Awards

Convocation Awards, president and award winners from last year.

One of the highlights of the recent Fall Convocation was the presentation of a new series of presidential employee honors: the College Champion Awards.

These awards were presented to Carol Webster, Teaching/Learning Technology Specialist; Jim Gau, Professor of Computer Information Systems; and Laura Martinez, Secretary for Professional and Organizational Development. Carol received the “Eternal Flame Award,” Jim received the “Burning Bright Award,” and Laura received the “Torch Bearer Award.”

The honorees were presented their awards by President Bill Scroggins, and they enjoyed a pre-ceremony breakfast with the president and the VOICES Committee, which helps select the award winners. In addition, each received a $500 cash award as well as a unique commemorative trophy designed and produced by Art Professor Craig Deines and student Marco Rodriguez.

The College Champion Awards comprise Mt. SAC’s newest employee recognition program. All employees are eligible, and nominations are submitted by employees in the three categories.

Carol was honored for her dedication to improving student success through various e-learning technologies that can be used in both distance learning and traditional classes. She is the primary contact for providing trouble-shooting assistance and solutions for faculty members, particularly regarding Moodlerooms, the new learning management system. Her nominator wrote: “Carol goes above and beyond to help faculty members solve these problems.”

Jim is the faculty adviser to the CIS Computer Club and main coach for the Mt. SAC Cyber Defense Team, winners of the 2012 National Cyber League championships.

His nominator wrote: “Jim quietly does whatever is needed to get the job done. Jim works very hard to create and maintain a quality program and it is obvious by the success of our students and number of schools that are interested in emulating our curriculum into their programs.”

In addition to her Professional Development responsibilities, Laura has become an effective campus leader largely through her role as CSEA 262 president as well as other involvements. Her nominators applauded Laura’s ability to pull colleagues together and not only educating them about the bargaining agreement, but also showing compassion for them: “Working with Laura, who is loyal, dependable and who radiates passion, makes us all want to be better employees.”

For more information about the Champion Awards, click here. (Posted 8-30-12)

New Faculty Members Welcomed

New FacultyNew faculty members were welcomed at Fall Convocation on Aug. 24. They are:

Christopher Briggs, Biological Sciences
Dr. Todd Clements, Chemistry
Jamaika Fowler, Counseling
Jeremy Hart, Counseling
Jamie Hirsch, Fire Technology
James Hutchison, Respiratory Technologies
Stephen James, Industrial Design
Rafaela Jobbitt, History & Art History
Melissa Kauk, Fine Arts
Heather Kokorowski, Earth Sciences & Astronomy (Planetarium Director)
Dr. Tiffany Kuo, Music
Clark Maloney, Kinesiology & Athletics (Men’s Basketball Head Coach)
Paul McLeod, Journalism (Mountaineer Advisor)
Jane Nazzal, Learning Assistance (Writing)
Serena Ott, Foreign Languages
Dr. Nikk Pilato, Music
Eloise Reyes, Counseling (DSP&S)
William Roche, Computer Information Systems
Dianne Rowley, Learning Assistance (Reading)
Cecelia Thay, Child Development
Niki Tran, Interior Design
(Posted 8-30-12)

Convocation/FlexDay/BBQ
Set for Friday, Aug. 24

Convocation Awards, president and award winners from last year.The campus community will come together at Fall Convocation next week to officially launch the 2012-13 academic year with back-to-back employee group meetings on Friday, Aug. 24.

The faculty meeting will convene from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m. in the Clarke Theater, followed by Flex Day professional development workshops, which will be conducted across the campus. A continental breakfast will precede the plenary meeting at 7:30 a.m.

The classified employee meeting will convene from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Clark Theater, followed by professional development workshops. Continental breakfast will be served at 9:30 a.m.

The Faculty Professional Development Workshop Schedule and the Classified Professional Development Workshop Schedule are posted online for easy reference. All employees are being granted release time to attend the plenary meetings as well as the workshops.

In addition to summary remarks on the state of the college by President Bill Scroggins and organizational updates by college leaders, awards and recognitions will be bestowed upon faculty and staff who have made outstanding achievements. One series of awards to be issued is the President’s Award for Excellence & Innovation in Teaching & Learning. Three recipients will be recognized this year: AmLa Professor Evelyn Hill-Enriquez (Outstanding Curriculum & Pedagogy—Individual), the American Language Department (Outstanding Curriculum & Pedagogy—Department), and Psychology Professor Stacy Bacigalupi (Outstanding Personal Innovation).

A new series of presidential awards, developed by the VOICES Committee, will be given to three outstanding employees (faculty and staff) who have embraced the college mission and progressive spirit of the college through “exemplary commitment to our core values, campus pride, and community service.” Each recipient will receive $500 and a commemorative trophy. The award categories are: "Burning Bright," "Eternal Flame," and "Torch Bearer."

All employees are invited to participate in the activities of the day, including the annual Welcome Back BBQ, which will follow the Classified Opening Meeting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Founders Hall. This will give everyone a chance to take a break, enjoy a free lunch, and reconnect with returning colleagues before fall semester classes start on Monday, Aug. 27. (Posted 8-15-12)

Design Tech Center Opens in Time
for Fall Classes; Dedication Set Oct. 24

Design Technology Building renderingSome are already referring to it as the architectural crown jewel on campus. No matter how you regard the new 63,000-square-foot Design Technology Center (DTC, Bldg. 13), it is indisputably a magnificent edifice with an imposing “crown” that illuminates the eastern part of campus at night.

Inside, the instructional facility is just as impressive with a huge WOW-factor! State-of-the-art throughout, the $24-millioncenter features a 400-seat auditorium and high-tech everything! Faculty and department staff are busy moving in and preparing to welcome students on the first day of classes on Aug. 27.

The DTC consolidates computer-based design programs such as animation, architecture, graphic arts, photography, and geographic information systems—which brings together instructional disciplines from the Business, Arts, and Technology divisions.

Employees will have an opportunity to tour the DTC (before the Oct. 24 public dedication) during Flex Day on Friday, Aug. 24.

The DTC is the last project funded through Mt. SAC’s 2001 Measure R facilities bond. (Posted 8-15-12)

E-Brochure Lets Students “Shop”
for Career & Technical Programs

Create your own Info Packet iconThe Marketing & Communication Department launched the new InstantInfo E-Brochure service this month. And even before any formal announcement could be made , prospective students were already “shopping” for programs.

This user-friendly online system allows everyone (particularly prospective students) to explore the many career and technical education programs Mt. SAC offers. With a few clicks of the mouse, users create and print out their own personalized program brochures instantly from the college website.

It’s fast, simple, and cost-effective for the college in that it eliminates the need to design, print, and reprint program brochures over and over, thereby saving the college tens of thousands of dollars annually, notes Marketing Director Clarence Brown. Online content updates are also relatively simple to do, making it possible to keep the information fresh and current at no additional cost.

A value-added feature is InstantInfo’s tracking capability, which monitors user activity and program interest.

CB noted that this pilot effort focuses on CTE programs and the college’s core student support services, for which brochures were historically produced.

“We’ll evaluate the program after the first year and gauge the student experience,” he said. “Then we’ll decide whether to go forward and extend our contract with the vendor for future years. If we decide to do that, we’ll consider expanding the offerings beyond career and technical programs in collaboration and consultation with the Instruction Office.”

CB thanked Business Division Associate Dean Rich Patterson and Technology & Health Division Associate Dean Jemma Blake-Judd for coordinating the laborious content development for the CTE programs with the Marketing Team of Sue Hothi, Jill Dolan, and Mike Taylor—all of whom worked with the InstantInfo consultant to complete this phase of the project before the start of the new academic year. (Posted 8-15-12)

Employee Assistance Program
Helps Everyone to Deal with
Challenges with EASE!

Counseling support woman talking to a male.Have problems coping with problems that affect your work performance? Well Mt. SAC recently announced a new employee assistance program that can help you. Referred to as “EASE” (Employee Assistance Service for Education), this voluntary and confidential program is being offered to eligible employees and their immediate family members only. And it’s provided at no cost to you.

Emphasis is on early identification of problems affecting work performance, consultation with managers, labor representatives, employees and proactive intervention. Among other things, EASE provides personal over-the-phone consultations and a referral service. EASE counselors specialize in family troubles, emotional distress, drug/alcohol problems, job anxieties, stress, grief, loss and transition.

What EASE is NOT is a substitute for the college’s health care plans. But it is a beneficial and effective extension of the provider plans.

Useful workshops will be offered this fall on such topics as “Workplace Etiquette,” “Stress Management,” “Effective Communication,” “Managing Constant Change,” “Mindfulness Meditation,” “Managing Troubled Employees,” “Teacher Burnout,” and “Conflict Resolution.” These will be announced by the Professional & Organizational Development Department. For further info, contact Karen Piling (ext. 5478) or Hawk Yao (ext. 5522) in ithe Benefits Office. (Posted 8-15-12)

mountieAPP to Help Students Navigate Campus on Opening Day

Mountie Joe holding iPad with Mountie AppStudents with smart phones and mobile devices who download the new mountieAPP will be able to navigate the campus easier, keep track of their personal class schedule, and consult the online Schedule of Classes for additional course offerings.

Information about this new, free, downloadable application has been sent to their student portals, and more and more students are taking advantage of the app’s added-value features. They will undoubtedly appreciate the ability to e-mail their professors, check their final grades, track important dates and deadlines, and find out if and why their registration for upcoming terms is on hold.

IT released the app at the end of the spring semester and plans to ramp up the publicity when the fall semester opens. IT is also exploring the feasibility of adding features and services that students said they wanted during focus group discussions. (Posted 8-15-12)

Health Occupations Students Win National Medals

Health Occupations StudentsCongrats to Psychiatric Technician Professor Mary-Ellen Reyes and the Mt. SAC team that won medals at the Health Occupations Students of America’s National Leadership Conference in Orlando recently.

Three of the six Mt. SAC HOSA finalists won bronze medals in the Creative Problem Solving category. The competition drew 7,000 participants from across the country. In addition, Mt. SAC students networked with the Army ROTC, Hospital Corporation of America, the Medical Reserve Corps, the National Consortium for Health Science Education, the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and many others. (Posted 6-26-12)

Campus Panorama

Jeffrey B. George stand in front of College Panorama Photo of the college campus.

Employees and visitors who enter the reception lobby of the Administration Building (4) will notice an impactful, panoramic photo of the campus at dusk. This latest addition to the art décor of the newly renovated building has evoked flattering comments from just about everyone who walks through the front doors.

The spectacular image was taken by our own Jeff George, who is a web designer in the Marketing Dept. by day and a creative photographer after hours and on weekends. The 3’x 10’ visual masterpiece was requested by Campus Operator Rondell Schroeder and Natural Sciences Associate Dean Matt Judd, who secured authorization to have the image enlarged and mounted in the lobby.

The photo now graces the wall behind the row of operators, adding visual beauty to the overall office environment. Jeff’s photography can also be seen in other parts of Building 4 as well as the IT Building (23). (Posted 6-26-12)

College to Celebrate 66th Commencement

Commencement student waving hands in air.Mt. SAC will conduct its 66th Commencement Ceremony at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on Friday, June 15. Thousands of relatives and friends are expected to converge on the arena to witness nearly 600 graduates receive their diplomas.

These ceremony participants represent less than a fourth of the 2,350 graduation petitions filed by students across all four academic terms. The youngest member of the Class of 2012 is 18; the oldest is 65.

The most dramatic change for this ceremony is the orientation of the field staging. It is being shifted to the south end of the field and turned parallel to the bleachers vs. the traditional perpendicular orientation. This is being done to utilize both sides of the stadium seating to accommodate the growing crowds attending the ceremony and to comply with fire, safety, and capacity codes. Also the jumbo screen is much larger than before to enhance audience viewing and sightlines.

One thing that will not change is the inspirational nature of the ceremony itself. It will contain the typical elements, including a flyover and the musical artistry of Singcopation and the Wind Ensemble. The commencement speaker is Manish Jain, Esq. (Class of 2002), and the distinguished alumnus of the year is Harumi “Bacon” Sankatani (Class of 1949), who survived the Japanese-American internment during World War II. Students of distinction and retiring faculty will be recognized. This year’s ceremony marks the first officiated by President Bill Scroggins.

Faculty, staff and commencement officers are invited to a reception following the ceremony. (Posted 6-13-12)

IT Rolls Out mountieapp

Eric assisting student with mountie app, students using the app, and Mountie Joe standing with iPod winner from event.

The IT Team hosted a “release party” on the Student Life Center patio to roll out the all-new mountieapp to students and employees. Chief Technology Officer Vic Belinski shared the need and value of this free application designed for mobile devices, which will give students 24/7 access to useful college information from anywhere.

Web Services Supervisor Eric Turner explained that mountieapp enables them to look up their next class and location, find campus buildings, e-mail their professors, check their final grades, track important dates and deadlines, and determine if and why their registration may be on hold.

The new application is being promoted online and in the schedules of classes as well as The Mountaineer. It is downloadable from smart phones, Blackberrys, and tablets via www.mtsac.edu/mobile and also through the Apple Store.

Several participants downloaded the app on the spot and immediately began reaping the benefits. Mountie T-shirts were raffled to participants, but the big prize—an iPod—went to one lucky student . . . presented by none other than Joe Mountie himself! (Posted 6-13-12)

Mt. SAC Mourns the Passing of Sophia B. Clarke

Sophia B. Clark in popcorn stand, commencement, and blowing out birthday candles on cake.

The Mt. SAC Family mourns the loss of one of its greatest and loyal supporters, Mrs. Sophia B. Clarke, who passed away last week at the vintage age of 101. Mrs. Clarke had an iconic presence on the Mt. SAC campus and in the life of the college for many decades.

The Clark Theater—the centerpiece to our Performing Arts Center—bears her name as she was the major donor, contributing more than $200,000 for its construction. She was also the major contributor to the construction of the college’s James T. Clarke facility at Brackett Field in Pomona, which is named for her son. The $400,000 facility provides classrooms and a hangar for Mt. SAC’s aviation program.

Students with financial need benefit each year with Sophia B. Clarke endowed scholarships. She took great pride in personally awarding them to the recipients at our annual Scholarship Ceremony.

As a longtime supporter, generous donor, and friend, Mrs. Clarke has been a driving force in Mt. SAC’s development and in its stature as a premier institution of higher learning. She truly loved this college and demonstrated our shared passion for student success.

The Clarke Family’s association with the college began from the day Mt. SAC opened its doors in 1946. Before the campus had a cafeteria, Mrs. Clarke and her husband sold lunch to students from their food truck, and she also sold one popular item that students and employees couldn’t get enough of—her special popcorn. She sold it for a dime a bag on campus and at athletic events, and the wise investments she made from the proceeds paid huge dividends for her family. The rest is history.

Beyond her philanthropy, Mrs. Clarke expanded her personal involvement with the college over the ensuing decades, serving for many years on the Mt. SAC Foundation Board of Directors. She interacted with students and attended many of the ceremonies and student programs on campus. A few years ago, you may remember she donated her beautiful home near the Fairplex in Pomona to Mt. SAC. It was sold for over a half-million dollars, which now make up part of our scholarship endowment. This will provide scholarship awards to deserving students in perpetuity.

Mt. SAC has honored Sophia Clarke over the years, including the bestowal of its Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award in 1997 and Mt. SAC’s first honorary associate degree in 1998. During the college’s 60th anniversary celebration in 2006, Mt. SAC honored Mrs. Clarke at a special performance of The Pirates of Penzance in the Clarke Theater, where city officials proclaimed July 16 as “Sophia B. Clarke Day.”

We will cherish the memories of this endearing association that has spanned over six decades. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Clarke family and to the many people who have been touched and blessed by her kindness and generosity. We will truly miss her. CB (Posted 6-12-12)

Fashion Students Win Scholarships With Gown Designs

Congratulations to Fashion Design and Merchandising Professor Maria Davis and two of her Fashion Design students who won scholarships from the Textile Association of Los Angeles for their gowns, which they designed, created patterns, and sewn all their own work. Student Michelle Hebert won $500 for her "Romance of Youth" and Chrystal Villamarzo won $250 for her "Madame Butterly" kimono. The students will be honored at a ceremony next week.

Mt. SAC Forensics Team takes 4 awards!

Students Mike Drake, left, and Simon Rhee, at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.The Mt. SAC Forensics Team finished the 2011-2012 competitive season earning four awards at the 2012 China Open Tournament held at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Shanghai, China. Debaters Simon Rhee and Mike Drake competed at the tournament paired with debaters from China as “friendship teams.” Mike was recognized as the top speaker at the tournament out of 248 competitors. Simon and his international teammate were the top-ranked team after preliminary rounds out of 124 entries. It was the first time Mt. SAC competed at this international tournament. Professor Danny Cantrell, Communication Department, served as a tournament director. Congratulations to Mike, Simon and Danny!

Caption: Students Mike Drake, left, and Simon Rhee, at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. (Posted 5-31-12)

Classified School Employee Week

Classified Employee Week, Dale, Sue, Greg, and JohnIt was all about classified employees last week as they were celebrated and honored with a host of special events as part of the annual Classified School Employee Week. The week got off to a great start when employees were treated to an Italian lunch, served by deans, supervisors and managers from several divisions and departments. Employees also had the opportunity to play bingo to win prizes and attend the annual BBQ. The week also featured the Classy Awards, at which employees were honored for their years of service. Congratulations to the Classified Senate and the countless volunteers who made this week so fantastic! (Posted 5-31-12)

Classy Awards, live from Mountiewood

Classy Awards, CB with Joe MountieBroadcasting live from Mountiewood, the Classified Senate once again presented a standout Classy Awards at the Sophia Clarke Theater as part of Classified School Employee Week. Employees with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 35 years of service were recognized as were retirees Carsandra Taylor, Frances Smothers and Mike Sanchez. A moving video tribute was presented for each honoree. Making a cameo appearance to assist emcee Clarence “CB” Brown was Joe Mountie, who hammed it up for the crowd. Winning special awards were Hawk Yao - Rookie of the Year; Bill Ito - College Leadership; Duneen Duffin - Creativity & Innovation; Cliff Saunders– Best Attitude; Sue Hothi – College Excellence; Jose Briceno - Campus Improvement; Margaret Palumbo – Outstanding Achievement; Ron Titus – College Appreciation; Maria Iniguez – Commitment to Student Service; Deejay Santiago – Citizenship; and Larry Redinger – Joe Mountie Lifetime Achievement. Congratulations to all! (Posted 5-31-12)

4/10 Summer Workweek Goes Into Effect on June 18

4/10 schedule MOUAs a cost-saving measure for the third consecutive summer, Mt. SAC will shut its operations down on eight consecutive Fridays, beginning on Friday, June 22 and ending on Aug. 10. Employees will transition to a 4/10 workweek in staggered shifts (10 hours per day Monday through Thursday), beginning Monday, June 18.

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 two summers ago and saved about $100,000 in energy (primarily air conditioning) costs over the eight-week period.

For additional information, click here.

Chinese College Officials Arrive to
Study Mt. SAC's Vocational Programs

Chinese Officials

A delegation of five Chinese college officials arrived today as part of their U.S. tour to study community college vocational education. More specifically, they are here to adopt best practices in the areas of teaching, curriculum design, and local business integration in order to enhance programs at their vocational and technical education colleges.

They were greeted today by Mt. SAC Board President Rosanne Bader, President Scroggins, and VP of Student Services Audrey Yamagata-Noji and then introduced to a group of faculty, administrators, and staff at a morning briefing session. The visitors received an orientation of Mt. SAC and they, in turn, presented a overview of their respective colleges.

Mt. SAC has been selected as one of the college hosts by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACA), which operates the Vocational Education Leadership Training (VELT) Program and partners with the China Educational Association for International Exchange program. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Education in China, the delegates include a college president, three vice presidents, a department chair and the exchange program coordinator/interpreter.

They will spend nearly two weeks touring the campus and participating in presentations on various vocational and technical programs by Mt. SAC deans, department chairs, and program directors in Student Services, which is hosting and coordinating the delegation’s visit.

“In addition to learning about curricular development and design, specific career/technical fields and visiting those departments on campus, we will also be covering services—including the Library and the various student support/tutorial services—touring facilities and IT, and discussing college governance,” says Student Services VP Audrey Yamagata-Noji.

It won’t be all work and no play for the delegates. Some of their weekend downtime will be devoted to some sightseeing, a Dodgers game, Disneyland and the Getty, as well as a spring concert by Mt. SAC’s Wind Ensemble.

The campus community is also invited to welcome the Chinese delegation at a reception, set for May 8 at 4 p.m. in Founders Hall. (Updated 5-7-12)

Board Approves Salary and Benefits Agreements with Employee Groups

Dollar SignsThe Board of Trustees approved agreements reached with CSEA Chapter 262, confidential and supervisory employees, as well as management employees at its April 25 meeting.

Retroactive to July 1, 2011 and effective through June 30, 2014, the CSEA agreement includes an ongoing salary increase of 2% plus a $302 annual increase of the district’s contribution toward employee health and welfare benefits. It also includes changes to the Master Agreement which are summarized in the Board Agenda (p. 77). Click here to review the summary.

The Board also approved the Meet-and-Confer Agreement reached between the district and confidential, supervisory, and management employees, which calls for an ongoing salary increase of 2% (effective July 1, 2012) and a $302 annual increase in the health and welfare benefit allowance. Previously the board had approved this agreement for only one year through June 30, 2013. (Posted 4-30-12)

Classified Town Hall Meeting Focuses on Jobs

President ScrogginsAt yesterday’s Classified Town Hall Meeting, President Scroggins told staff that despite ongoing state revenue reductions, “we are going to protect students, and we are going to protect jobs.”

Scroggins said the college faces a $14-million deficit this year and has seen a 17% cut in state funding over the past three years. Mt. SAC could see further cuts if the governor’s tax initiative does not pass this year, which could mean an additional funding cut of $6 million for the college.

But “protecting our students and staff will be top priorities,” he said. “We can’t function as a college without professional support services and staff.”

Some of the ways the college will mitigate funding cut impacts include the use of reserves, likelihood of a 4/10 work week this summer, a possible cut in the 2013 summer session, and strategies to increase funding sources.

He cited expansion of the international student recruitment program as one of the most promising revenue-generating strategies. To grow foreign student enrollment from the current 450 to 1,000 students could generate an additional $3 million in gross revenues for Mt. SAC—funding that would remain at the college.

Scroggins also answered a variety of questions from classified staff, ranging from making the Public Safety Department a sworn-police department and the status of temporary employees. A summation of the president’s replies during the Q&A session will be made available through a forthcoming campus announcement. The President noted that he would conduct additional Town Hall sessions. (Posted 4-26-12)

Marketing Team Sweeps Top State Awards

Marketing Team PhotoThese are the Mt. SAC winners of this year’s PRO Awards, given annually by the California Community College Public Relations Organization for excellence in marketing and communication. Mt. SAC won best-in-class awards among nearly 300 entries in the class schedule, catalog, annual report, commencement program, and feature writing categories. For nearly a decade, Mt. SAC’s marketing team has ranked among the state’s best, winning PRO Awards year after year. Displaying awards are (l-r) Art Director John Lewallen, Graphic Designer Linda Lundgren, Communication Specialist Mike Taylor, Web Designer Jeff George, and Graphic Designer Greg MacDonald. (Posted 4-26-12)

CB Wins State’s Top Marketing/Communication Award

Clarence CB BrownMarketing & Communication Director Clarence Brown was selected as “Communicator of the Year” by the California Community College Public Relations Organization at its recent conference in Santa Clara. He was presented the ALL PRO Award for his career achievements over the past 30 years in journalism, strategic and corporate communications, crisis management, public relations, community and government relations, and marketing in the corporate, nonprofit, municipal, utility, and educational sectors. CB joined Mt. SAC in his current capacity in 2004 and has built a nationally recognized marketing, communication and public affairs organization. (Posted 4-26-12)

Students Chat with President at Weekly Noontime Forums

College President and students meetingKnowing what’s on students’ minds is important to President Scroggins. And students have no problem sharing what’s on their minds during the new weekly forum, “Chat with the President,” held each Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Student Life Center.

During these informal, interactive sessions, students bring their lunch and sit with the President to discuss any issue related to the college and their campus experiences. During the kickoff session on April 10, they discussed the future of winter and summer intersessions, international student recruitment, campus parking, the new degree auditing system, and the new mobile app that’s being developed by IT to give students access to all things Mt. SAC from their smart phones and mobile devices. Click here to read notes from this first meeting.

To give employees an idea of the topics and discussions, President Scroggins posts minutes from the meetings as part of his online Weekly Report. The meetings are arranged by the Student Life Office in cooperation with the Associated Students. (Posted 4-25-12)

Ginny Burley Honored by PTK and Chief Instructional Officers

Ginny Burley receiving award

Congratulations to Instruction VP Dr. Virginia Burley for not just one, but two honors—state and national ones. At the national level, she received the Distinguished Administrator Award by the Phi Theta Kappa international community college honor society. This coveted award is given to college vice presidents, deans, and leaders who demonstrate strong support of PTK’s mission.

Honored at the society’s recent annual convention in Nashville, Ginny was cited for her continued support of PTK students at Mt. SAC, her focus on educational excellence, and her encouragement of students through her inspiring Induction comments.

At the state level, the California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers bestowed upon her the Carter Doran Leadership Award. The honor is named for a former Mt. SAC dean and Instruction VP at Santa Ana College and College of the Canyons.

Nominated by the deans of Mt. SAC, Ginny was cited as one who “epitomizes dedication to the common good. She is actively committed to providing students with opportunities to succeed—despite the difficult times we face. Without fail, she puts her heart and mind to finding solutions. She listens . . . hears what is unspoken. She’s never too busy to provide her support, and her generosity with time inspires us to perform at our best!” (Posted 4-24-12)

Mt. SAC Student of Distinction Named to All-USA Academic Team

All-USA Team

Mt. SAC’s Laurie Covarrubias was among 20 students from across the nation to be selected to the distinguished All-USA Community College Academic Team by Phi Theta Kappa, the international community college honor society.

She was recognized at the 54th annual PTK Presidents Breakfast during the annual convention of the American Association of Community Colleges this week in Orlando. Laurie is a member of an elite Top-20 class of students, having been chosen among an highly competitive pool of 1,700 students from over 800 colleges in 48 states, Guam and Canada. Winners’ selections are based on academic record, leadership skills and campus/community involvements. Last month, Laurie was inducted onto the All-California Academic First Team.

Laurie, 29, is a geological anthropology major and Honors Program student at Mt. SAC with a 3.75 GPA. A first-generation, reentry college student, Laurie has been recognized as a Student of Distinction for her academic success while overcoming several personal challenges. She has served as the VP of scholarship for Mt. SAC’s PTK chapter.

Driven by a passion for the plight of Native Americans, Laurie is heading a school supplies and personal products drive on campus to help supply the needs of Native American school children in South Dakota as well as families who need soap and shampoo. Off campus, the mother of a 4-year-old son continues to help local elders attend powwows.

As for her immediate future, Laurie plans to transfer to Pitzer College next fall and pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminalistics with the hopes of joining the ranks of the LAPD or FBI. (Posted 4-24-12)

Forensics Team Captures Gold at Nationals

Forensics TeamCongratulations to Communication Professors Jeff Archibald, Danny Cantrell and Mei Ling Hsieh and their Mt. SAC Forensics Team, which won an overall gold medal at the recent Phi Rho Phi National Championship Tournament in Schaumburg, Ill.

The team placed second among the 58 community colleges competing and also finished second in the Individual Events Sweepstakes. Notably, the team placed third in the Debate Sweepstakes, marking Mt. SAC’s first award in this category in more than a decade.

Individually, Mt. SAC students won seven gold, five silver, and five bronze medals. Simon Rhee won the Bovero Award as the tournament’s top individual speaker—the first Mt. SAC winner of this distinction in nine years. He won four gold medals in the extemporaneous speaking, impromptu speaking, parliamentary debate, and speech to entertain competitions.

These honors cap a rewarding tournament season for this distinguished team and further solidify Mt. SAC’s dominance in speech and debate competition nationally. (Posted 4-23-12)

Students Give New Mountie App Prototype High Marks

Student focus groupStudent focus group participants shared their experiences in demonstrating the new Mt. SAC mobile app prototype. Students indicated they liked the convenience of being able to access their final grades, check their class schedule, find their way around campus, and e-mail their professors via their smart phones and tablets. They also suggested additional services and info they want the app to provide. The free downloadable "mountieAPP" will be available in June. It is being developed by the innovation team in IT. Leading the focus group was newly hired Web Services Supervisor Eric Turner. (Posted 4-12-12)

State Title Holders—again!

Basket Ball TeamCongratulations to Head Coach Brian Crichlow and the Mountie Women’s Basketball Team for capturing the state championship by defeating No. 1 seed Foothill College (68-58). This win marks the Mountie’s its fifth California Community College Athletic Association State Championship and further enhances the renowned athletics legacy of the college. (Posted 4-10-12)


Health Occupations Students Win Medals at State Competition

Health Occupations StudentsCongratulations to Psychiatric Technician Professor Mary-Ellen Reyes and Mt. SAC’s Health Occupations Students of America team for winning three silver and three bronze medals at the HOSA State Leadership Conference in Garden Grove. Some 1,600 students competed at the conference. In addition to the medal wins, the Mt. SAC team placed three finalists in the Healthcare Issues Exam, where there were over 500 competitiors . The students are now eligible to compete in the National Leadership Conference in Orlando in June. (Posted 4-10-12)


Accreditation Visiting Team Commends Continuing Education

Accreditation TeamThe Visiting Team representing the WASC Accrediting Commission for Schools has wrapped up its site visit at Mt. SAC and completed its review of the Continuing Education Division’s (CED) Self-Study Report and interviews.

According to CED Dean Donna Burns, the team gave a “very positive final report in which they affirmed all of the strengths identified in our 200-page Self-Study. There was no major concern added to our Self-Study findings or our action plan, except for an acknowledgment that the state fiscal climate has impacted the Continuing Education program. To that end, the Team recommended that we explore alternate funding resources beyond the traditional state sources.”

More specifically, the Team commended CED for its:

  • Participatory management style that has resulted in a collaborative decision-making process,
  • Positive school culture that is demonstrated by a collaborative relationship and cooperative partnership between CED and the college,
  • Rigor and relevance of CED course offerings,
  • Decision-making based on collection and analysis of student achievement and data that drive decision-making and the allocation of resources.

Pointing to growth areas, the Team recommended that:

  • CED, in collaboration with college systems personnel, improve the collection, integration, and reporting of data in order to meet accountability standards, enhance planning and decision making, and improve student learning.
  • Faculty, with support from CED, improve the use of systematic processes in which data are analyzed and used for improvement of student learning.

The Visiting Team will now submit a report to WASC/ACS for action. It will contain these and other recommendations regarding the school's ongoing improvement process. The final evaluation and accreditation status of Continuing Education will be issued by the WASC in a formal written document this summer. Click here to read the Visiting Team's evaluation report to the college. (Posted 4-5-12)

Mt. SAC Honors 4 Inspiring Women

4 inspiring women

Two faculty members and two students were honored at the Inspiring Women of Mt. SAC Luncheon held recently in the Student Life Center. The honorees were History Professor April Tellez, Paralegal Services Adjunct Professor Roberta Lahr-Dolgowin, and students Ramona Hurtado and Lidia Mendoza.

Each honoree was introduced by her nominator. They cited not only the honorees’ accomplishments but also spoke to their personal qualities, values and commitment to helping and mentoring others.

Addressing the luncheon theme, “Women’s Education: Women’s Empowerment,” History Professor Kathleen Cannon spoke about the origin of Women’s History Month and the attainments of women.

This annual event was sponsored by the Associated Students, headed by President Alex Mendoza. The Planning Committee included AS Secretary Leslie Hennings, Student Activities Coordinator Edwin Romero, EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs Specialist Ana Tofoya-Diaz, and Student Life Director Maryann Tolano-Leveque. (Posted 4-5-12)

Forensics Team Earns State Honors

Forensics Team WinnersThe Forensics Team “out talked” the competition at the California Community College Forensics Association State Tournament last month in Concord, CA. Some 400 students representing 28 community colleges across the state competed for awards.

Mt. SAC competitors included Clifford Davis (bronze/duo interpretation, silver/after dinner speaking), Ricardo Recinos (bronze/duo interpretation, silver/prose interpretation), Leo Acosta, Shalimar Malimban, Jakarra Taylor, Kylie Martinez, Ricardo Recinos, and Christine Chung. (Posted 4-5-12)

Trustees Approve Redistricting Plan to Expand Community Representation

San Gabriel Valley District MapThe Board of Trustees last month approved a redistricting plan that will expand the board from five to seven members and alter the way in which board members are elected, changing from at-large elections to intra-district elections.

The new trustee areas will embrace the western edge of Mt. SAC's district, specifically covering West Covina/Valinda and Baldwin Park/Irwindale.

The redistricting was prompted by the 2010 Census and the need to comply with the California Voting Rights Act. The approved plan creates four majority minority Latino seats, with the fifth seat being majority minority Asian. The election for the two additional board members will be held in 2013. (Posted 4-5-12)

Panel Addresses Impact of State’s Fiscal Crisis on Education

Mike GregorykThe new San Gabriel Valley Civic Alliance partnered with Mt. SAC today to address how the state fiscal crisis is affecting public education in California and particularly in the valley. Among the panel of presenters were Mt. SAC trustee Dr. David K. Hall and Administrative Services VP Mike Gregoryk, who outlined the challenges the college has faced and will continue to face as Mt. SAC prepares its 2012-13 “austerity budget” under a cloud of uncertainty. The session, held in Founders Hall, brought together local school district officers, local employers, legislative representatives and community members to better understand the impact of the funding shortfalls on public education. (Posted 3-23-12)

State Chancellor Decries Impact of State Educational Budget Cuts

Jack ScottCalifornia Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott said today that the state must come to terms with its “disinvestment in higher education and acknowledge the human and economic tolls of shutting hundreds of thousands of students out of college.”

In delivering his “State of Community Colleges Address” at Pasadena City College, Scott said the latest blow dealt to higher education will mean that another 16,000 community college students will not be able to transfer to the California State University system next spring. He further noted that years of budget cuts have left masses of high school graduates unable to enroll in the two-year system.

"Last month, we had the ‘February surprise’—a $149-million mid-year cut we didn't expect, leading to even more course reductions and layoffs in our system. Now, we have the March surprise—a cruel reality that CSU can afford to take only a handful of our transfer students next spring," Scott said. "Please, no more surprises. As a state, we have to own up to the fact that we are imperiling our economic competitiveness and setting a path to a bleak future for our state and our communities."

The CSU enrollment cuts announced this week, Scott noted, will impact students already in the community college system as well as new students trying to get in. “Many of those who are eligible for transfer in the spring are likely to remain at community colleges,” he said, “further crowding out recent high school graduates and the unemployed who are turning to the two-year system for job training skills.”

For spring 2013, CSU will consider only community college students who have earned the new SB 1440 Associate Degree for Transfer. Those students will be offered admission to eight state campuses (Channel Islands, Chico, East Bay, Fullerton, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Bernardino and Sonoma). All but three of the state’s 112 community colleges have approved Associate Degree for Transfer programs in at least two majors and 10 colleges have them in five or more majors.

In the 2011-12 budget, the California Community Colleges was cut $400 million, and in December mid-year “trigger” cuts resulted in an additional $102-million reduction, because state revenues fell short of projections. Then, in February, the two-year system took an additional $149-million unexpected cut. Since 2008-09, the college system has seen its funding slashed by $809 million, which translates into a 12% reduction. (Posted 3-22-12)

Continuing Education Accreditation Team
Visits Mt. SAC the week of March 25

Continuing Education Accreditation ReportOn Sunday, March 25, Mt. SAC's Continuing Education Division will welcome a seven-member Visiting Team of peers from other adult education programs in Southern California who will represent the WASC Accrediting Commission for Schools (ACS). Over the ensuing four days, the Visiting Team will evaluate the division as part of the accreditation reaffirmation process.

The team will be interested mainly in finding evidence of the work we do with students. Physical evidence such as our Student Profile, curriculum, and student outreach materials will be available in hard copy for the Team to review. However, the Visiting Team will collect much of their evidence through interviews with individuals and groups throughout the division, largely asking questions drawn from reading the Continuing Education Self-Study Report. Program coordinators and managers are urged to become familiar with the sections of the report that relate to their respective program and job function.

On the first day of the visit, the Advisory Group will hold a short reception welcoming the Visiting Team. Beginning on March 25, team members will spend time visiting each program, spending time in classrooms, speaking with employees and students, and meeting with Standards Teams. Although not every classroom will be visited, the team will make every effort to observe as much instruction as possible so they can truly understand how students are served.

“This Self-Study visit is our opportunity to demonstrate to the team and to the Accrediting Commission that Mt. SAC’s Continuing Education Division operates one of the state’s strongest adult education programs,” said Continuing Education Dean Donna Burns. “We are ready and can’t wait to shine. Should you have any questions about the accreditation process, please contact your program leader.”

At the conclusion of the visit, the team will issue a public report of its findings to Continuing Education and submit a report to WASC/ACS for action. It will contain recommendations regarding the school's ongoing improvement process. The final evaluation and accreditation status of Continuing Education will be issued by the WASC in a formal written document in the summer.

Click here to read the 2012 Continuing Education WASC ACS Self-Study Accreditation Report. (Posted 3-20-12)

Mt. SAC Wins Nation’s Top College Marketing Awards

CB, Jill, and Mike holding Paragon Awards

Mt. SAC won two coveted Paragon Awards at this year's conference of the National Council of Marketing & Public Relations. The college won the Gold Paragon for best feature writing and the Silver Paragon for best fundraising campaign (Climb Higher/Osher Matching Scholarship Campaign).

“This competition is the Academy Awards of educational marketing, communication, and public relations for the community college sector,” said Marketing & Communication Director Clarence Brown, who accepted the awards along with Media & Public Affairs Director Jill Dolan recently at the NCMPR conference in San Francisco. “The caliber of this awards program brings highest honor and distinction to Mt. SAC.”

Mt. SAC's feature story was written by Mike Taylor regarding Mt. SAC's Building Automation Certificate Program and how it is training students to operate "intelligent buildings" for a sustainable future. The Climb Higher Campaign represented the biggest scholarship fundraising drive in Mt. SAC’s history, providing over 100 scholarships of $1,000 each for deserving students in perpetuity.

This year's win for Mt. SAC marks the third Gold Paragon and 20th Paragon overall for the college over the past six years. Some 1,800 entries were submitted this year in various marketing and communication categories by over 250 community and technical colleges across the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Bermuda. Entries were judged by regional panels of PR and marketing professionals across the nation. (Posted 3-20-12)

Continuing Education Self-Study Accreditation Report Completed

After two years of intensive effort, the Continuing Education Division has released its 2012 Continuing Education WASC ACS Self-Study Accreditation Report. The 200+ page document represents the tireless collective work of nearly 60 division faculty, staff, managers, and students.

The report has been submitted for review by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and Accrediting Commission for Schools. A WASC/ACS team of faculty and administrators representing various adult education programs throughout Southern California will visit the Mt. SAC campus for four days (March 25-28) to validate the Self-Study Report through observations, interviews, an examination of evidence, and meetings with division employees.

At the conclusion of the visit, the team will issue a public report of its findings to Continuing Education and submit a report to WASC/ACS for action. It will contain recommendations regarding the school's ongoing improvement process. The final evaluation and accreditation status of Continuing Education will be issued by the WASC in a formal written document in the summer.

“I want to extend a huge thank you to Standards and Program Team chairs, who each spent countless hours leading a WASC Team,” said Continuing Education Dean Donna Burns. “Special recognition goes to all those who participated on one or more WASC teams. You hard work, time and expertise have helped lead the division towards continual improvement. Part of what makes Continuing Education a special place to work is its dedication of faculty and staff. I appreciate all of you!”

2 Students Named to State Academic Teams

Laurie Covarrubias and Hirbod RahimiMt. SAC students Laurie Covarrubias and Hirbod Rahimi are two of the 68 community college students throughout the state recently selected for the 2012 All-California Academic teams, chosen by Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international community college honor society.

Covarrubias and Rahimi, both students in Mt. SAC's Honors Program, received medallions during the Community College League of California’s awards ceremony held on March 7 at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento. The academic team award is based on grades, leadership, and community service.

Covarrubias, 29, is a biology major and carries a 3.94 GPA. She was selected for the All-California Academic First Team. A resident of West Covina, she serves as vice president of scholarship for Mt. SAC’s PTK chapter. On campus, she is a member of the Native American Intertribal Student Association (NAISA), is a presenter for the college’s Single Parent Academy, and volunteers for the Child Development Center. She also serves as a volunteer off campus with the Lodge Circle Ministries. She was honored as one of Mt. SAC’s Students of Distinction last year. She plans to transfer to Pomona Pitzer College as a biology major.

Rahimi, 19, is also a biology major and carries a 3.6 GPA. He was selected for the All-California Academic Third Team. A resident of La Verne, he serves as vice president of service for PTK. On campus, he also serves as a student instructor in anatomy and chemistry, is a member of the Caduceus Club, and played on the college’s tennis team. Off campus, he is an intern with Citrus Valley Hospice and a volunteer with the Emeritus Alzheimer’s Center in San Dimas. He plans to transfer to either Dartmouth College or Northwestern University as a neuroscience major.

The 22 first-team, 22 second-team, and 24 third-team winners represent the best and brightest scholars among California’s 2.8 million community college students.

Assembly Panel Rejects Brown's Cuts in College Aid

Financial Aid on dollar billsAn Assembly subcommittee on Wednesday unanimously rejected Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to trim state-funded college scholarships known as CalGrants, two days after thousands protested budget cuts at the Capitol. Students packed the hearing in opposition to the cuts, which lawmakers said could "disenfranchise" those seeking college degrees.

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Martinez), who chairs the education finance subcommittee, said the vote is a signal to Brown to "go back and find the cuts somewhere else. We're drawing a line." The 4-0 vote was the second time the governor's budget proposals have proved dead on arrival in the Assembly. Last week a different subcommittee voted down Brown's proposed cuts to CalWORKs, the state welfare program.

Brown is seeking a $348-million cut to higher education in his new spending plan, largely through reducing financial aid. His proposals include lowering the maximum awards for students attending private colleges and increasing the minimum grade-point average requirement for incoming students. A budget analyst from Brown's Department of Finance said the cuts are necessary to focus "very limited and very precious" resources on students most likely to graduate.

In what some lawmakers cited as a troubling cycle, Brown wants to cut CalGrants because they have become increasingly expensive to match rising tuition costs—which are the result of different budget cuts. Three Democrats and one Republican voted to reject the two proposals.

H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for Brown's Department of Finance, pointed out that lawmakers will need to find the savings elsewhere to balance the budget. Brown's plan to raise the GPA requirement, which would save an estimated $131 million by disqualifying 26,600 students, has brought the most criticism. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has blasted the proposal as shortsighted, saying it places the "burden of our fiscal problems on the very students who will help lead California out of this morass.” The Legislative Analyst's Office urged lawmakers to pursue a less stringent change. --Los Angeles Times (Posted 3-8-12)

Majority of California Voters Favor Brown Tax Plan, Poll Shows

Brown in front of American FlagJust over half of California’s likely voters support Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to boost income taxes on those making $250,000 or more and raise sales levies to help balance state spending, according to a new poll. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed for the Public Policy Institute of California said they backed the governor’s ballot measure to collect 7.75% on retail sales and increase rates for the top 1% of state taxpayers. Those earning $1 million and more would pay 12.3%, up from 10.3%.

The largest U.S. state by population faces a $9.2-billion deficit. Support for the plan, which the governor estimates would raise $6.9 billion a year, has diminished due to competition from other measures also proposed for the November ballot, said Mark Baldassare, president of the nonpartisan institute.

“There’s been a lot of controversy over which measure to support,” he said by telephone today. “It’s both the complexity and wording of the ballot measure and the controversy over which measure would be best that accounts for the drop in support.”

In a January survey by the San Francisco-based institute, 68% percent of likely voters supported the tax increases as long as the revenue was earmarked for education. The new results aren’t directly comparable because the question was reworded to reflect the actual language of the ballot question, which said the taxes would support both education and local public-safety programs.

Academic Year
The measure would devote 89% of new tax revenue to primary schools and 11% to community colleges while guaranteeing funds to local governments now responsible for some inmates formerly held in state prisons. If the proposal fails, Brown has said schools would lose $4.8 billion, the equivalent of shortening the academic year by three weeks.

Brown’s higher taxes would have applied to about 157,000 returns in 2008, or 1% of the total, and 131,000 returns in 2009, about 0.9%, according to estimates tabulated by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. About 1.1% of taxpayers would incur higher rates in 2012 and 2013, said Justin Garosi, an analyst in the office.--Bloomberg News (Posted 3-8-12)

Soccer Team Rocks . . . and rolls with 3-pete titles

Soccer team, President/Board
Mt. SAC trustees recognized the “three-pete” national and state title-holding Men’s Soccer Team at a recent reception in Founders Hall. The event marked the third consecutive year that the soccer program and Head Coach Juan Sanchez captured the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Men's Soccer Championship.

Along with this state honor, the team also captured the Continental Tire National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), Division III Junior College National Championship, Southern California Championship and South Coast Conference (SCC) Championship.

The team finished with an undefeated record of 20 wins and 3 ties and garnered numerous individual accolades. Coach Sanchez was named “Coach of the Year” by the NSCAA West Regional Community College and South Coast Conference. Sophomore Goalkeeper Alfredo Ontiveros was named the NSCAA “Player of the Year,” sophomore defender Eric Flores was named to the NSCAA All-American First Team, and sophomore Luis Fuentes was named to the All-American Third Team as well as being named the SCC’s ” Offensive Player of the Year.” Go Mounties! (Posted 3-5-12)

Mt. SAC Students Protest Education Revenue Reductions

Mt. SAC Students Protesting with signs saying Protect our Education and Knowledge is Power.
Sporting “March in March” sweatshirts, a delegation of some 30 Mt. SAC students joined fellow students around the state in Sacramento to protest budget cuts and demand support for public higher education.

The organized demonstrations came on the heels of the recent “February Surprise” that was unexpectedly announced, containing additional budget cuts due to unmet revenue projections, higher demand for student fee waivers, and lower-than-expected property tax receipts. All of this translated into an additional $149-million revenue reduction for the state’s 112 community colleges.

As with Mt. SAC, many colleges have been forced to cut class sections, adopt further efficiency measures, and dip into cash reserves to offset these and previous revenue shortfalls from the state. (Posted 3-5-12)

2012-13 Draft Budget Posted

Budget, pie chart iconThe college’s draft 2012-13 “Austerity Budget” has been posted on the college’s Budget Info Site. It is a first-cut “work in progress,” based on fiscal assumptions/projections and on the best information available out of Sacramento. The draft will be updated and refined as Mt. SAC goes through its annual budgeting process. Please keep tabs on this site for these updates as well as related budget documents. The budget site can also be accessed on the Campus Connection homepage. (Posted 3-5-12)

Forensics Team Takes Big Bite Out of Big Apple

Forensics Team posed with awards and in New York
Mt. SAC’s nationally ranked Forensics Team took a big bite out of the Big Apple by completing another tournament weekend sweep—this time in New York City. The team placed first overall with 40 awards at both halves of the Long Island Forensics Extravaganza.

According to coach Jeff Archibald, this win marks the ninth time this year that Mt. SAC has taken top honors at a competition. “We’re so incredibly proud of the team as a whole, as well as each individual team member, who performed exceptionally well at this highly competitive venue,” he said.

The team dominated the categories of Informative Speaking and Communication Analysis, taking five of six awards in both categories over two days of competition. Team members Hishaam Siddiqi and Jennifer Lee each won five awards, while Matthew Guest took home six awards.

Congratulations to the entire team and its coaches, Jeff, Danny Cantrell, and Shae Hsieh. (Posted 3-5-12)

Mt. SAC Launches Support Program for
Underperforming Asian/Pacific Islander Students

Public Launch of Underperforming  Asian/Pacific Islander Students
Public Launch of Underperforming  Asian/Pacific Islander Students
Public Launch of Underperforming  Asian/Pacific Islander Students
Public Launch of Underperforming  Asian/Pacific Islander Students
Public Launch of Underperforming  Asian/Pacific Islander Students

Community leaders joined the campus community Feb. 29 to celebrate the public launch of Mt. SAC’s new support program, designed especially for underperforming Asian-American and Pacific Islander students. The rollout event was held in Founders Hall to inform everyone about the program goals and strategies for improving the academic performance and enriching the college experience for these students, who represent 25% of Mt. SAC’s credit student population.

Thanks to a $2-million, five-year federal grant, Mt. SAC will provide instructional support, counseling intervention, student development, and faculty development services. The program also contains a research and evaluation component with the intent to share best practices and lessons learned with other institutions and stakeholders.

According to program interim Director Aida Cuenza, the program will target first-generation, low-income, recent immigrant students whose needs include English language development, basic skills, tutoring, counseling intervention, cultural experiences.

The Asian-American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions Program is a competitive federal grant program provided through the U.S. Department of Education. Mt. SAC is proud to be among the 21 institutions across the nation to be selected for the grant and declared an AANAPISI institution. (Posted 3-2-12)

Campus Celebrates Women’s History Month thru March

Women's History Month, 3 women figuresMt. SAC will celebrate Women’s History Month throughout March with the theme, “Women’s Education, Women’s Empowerment!”

Student Health Services will kick off the celebration with a “Take Charge of Your Health” (with a focus on women’s health) on Wednesday, March 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. along the Miracle Mile.

Following that will be a speech presentation by Assemblywoman Norma Torres (focused on the power of women voters) on Thursday, March 15 from 3 to 4:25 p.m. in the Technology Auditorium (Bldg. 28A, Room 103); and two AS-sponsored presentations of the Oscar-nominated film, “The Help,” on Wednesday, March 21 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the Student Life Center (9C Stage).

Culminating the celebration will be the annual Inspiring Women of Mt. SAC Luncheon, where a group of outstanding ladies will be honored on Wednesday, March 28 from noon to 1:30 p.m. on the stage of the Student Life Center.

Faculty Participate in Spring Flex Day

Spring Flex Day
Spring Flex Day
Spring Flex Day
Spring Flex Day

More than 100 faculty members participated in the optional Professional Development/Flex Day for the spring semester on Feb. 24, which featured nine breakout sessions on academic and work-related topics.

Session subjects ranged from an overview of the Moodlerooms Learning Management System, integrating writing into courses, teaching an Honors class, customizing online classrooms, accessing e-mail, calendar, contacts and files from mobile devices.

Presenters for the workshops were Nicole Blean, David Charbonneau, Vic Belinski, Mary Johnson, Carol Impara, Shanti Atashpoush, and Jennifer Galbraith.

Trustees Approve Tentative Agreement With CSEA Chapter 262

Dollar SignsThe Board of Trustees approved a tentative agreement with CSEA Chapter 262 for an ongoing 2% salary increase and a $302 increase annually for health and welfare benefits (both retroactive to July 1, 2011) as well as an opt-out provision in the amount of $5,000.

The agreement was reached pursuant to Article 2 of the CSEA contract, which allows the District and CSEA to meet and review the particulars of any subsequent agreement reached with another employee group that provides a higher percentage salary or health and welfare contribution.

The faculty was awarded a 2% ongoing salary increase plus a $755 annual increase to the District’s contribution toward faculty health benefits last August. Trustees approved a one-time 2% salary increase for managers, supervisors, and confidential employees last October, and an ongoing 2% salary increase for employees represented by CSEA Chapter 651 in January.

The cost of implementing the agreement with CSEA 262 is $668,962. (Posted 2-23-12)

22 Faculty Members Granted Tenure

Classroom photoThe Board of Trustees granted tenure to 22 third-year probationary faculty members on Feb. 23. The instructors were evaluated in accordance with policies and procedures established by the board and the Faculty Association.

The process involves an evaluation team for each professor composed of at least two tenured faculty members and one administrator, who prepare a report and recommendations based on classroom visitations, student evaluations, input from faculty peers, a review of a portfolio of materials used by the professor, and other sources deemed relevant by the evaluation team.

Following are the tenured faculty members (and their departments):

Robert Arnold, Sign Language
Dustin Barr, Music
Dolores Chavez, Mathematics, Computer Science
Edwin Estes, Business Administration
Allison Frickert, History & Art History
Kamran Golestaneh, Chemistry
Solene Halabi, Foreign Languages
Lance Heard, Public Services
Jannie Ma, Learning Assistance
Jennifer Olds, English, Literature & Journalism
Christopher Perez, Mathematics, Computer Science
Jamie Phillips, Agricultural Sciences
Sarah Piesetz, Nursing
Melissa Presch, Biological Sciences
Malcolm Rickard, Physics, Engineering
Lizbet Sanchez, Foreign Languages
Ignacio Sardinas, Architecture & Engineering Design Technology
James Stone, History & Art History
Crystal Lane Swift, Communications
April Tellez, History & Art History
Dawn Waters, Agricultural Sciences
Paula Young, Mathematics, Computer Science

Adele, Beyonce, Lady Gaga To Headline 14th Puttin’ On The Hits

Puttin' On the Hits lip syncWhere can you find Grammy royalty Adele, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Parliament, Bette Midler, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, Adam Levine, and Christina Aguilera on the same stage? They and many others will grace the stage of the Clarke Theater on March 9 (7:30 p.m.) and March 10 (3:00 and 7:30 p.m.) when the 14th Annual Puttin’ on the Hits show comes to life.

You’ll laugh, cry, sing along, and stomp your feet when trustees, employees, and students impersonate these famous performers in full costume and lip sync their greatest hits. Sponsored by the Faculty Association, this hit production hopes to exceed last year’s record $18,000 in scholarships raised for deserving students.

Tickets can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office or conveniently online at https://tickets.mtsac.edu. General admission: $20 Matinee: $20 except for seniors and students: $15

2012-13 College Goals Adopted

Graduation HatsThe Board of Trustees adopted the college’s 2012-13 goals, which were developed by the Institutional Effectiveness Committee and endorsed by the President’s Advisory Council. The goals are responsive to the dominant themes reported in the Planning for Institutional Effectiveness summaries and to the California Community Colleges System Strategic Plan, the Student Equity Plan goals, and the Basic Skills Initiative. Following are Mt. SAC’s 16 goals:

  1. The College will secure funding that supports exemplary programs and services.
  2. The College will prepare students for success through the development and support of exemplary programs and services.
  3. The College will improve career/vocational training opportunities to help students maintain professional currency and achieve individual goals.
  4. The College will improve the quality of its partnerships with business and industry, the community, and other educational institutions.
  5. The College will utilize and support appropriate technology to enhance educational programs and services.
  6. The College will provide opportunities for increased diversity and equity for all across campus.
  7. The College will increase access for students by strengthening recruitment and opportunities for full participation in College programs and services.
  8. The College will encourage and support participation in professional development to strengthen programs and services.
  9. The College will provide facilities and infrastructure that support exemplary programs and consider the health and safety of the campus community.
  10. The College will ensure that basic skills development is a major focus in its planning efforts.
  11. The College will improve effectiveness and consistency of dialogue between and among departments, committees, teams, and employee groups across the campus.
  12. The College will engage students in activities and programs designed to increase their term-to-term enrollment (i.e., persistence).
  13. The College will ensure that curricular. articulation, and counseling efforts are aligned to maximize students' successful university transfer.
  14. The College will utilize assessment data to guide planning, curriculum design, pedagogy. and/or decision-making at the department/unit and institutional levels.
  15. The College will utilize existing resources and improve business processes to maximize efficiency of existing resources and to maintain necessary services and programs.
  16. The College will ensure appropriate staffing to maintain necessary services and support critical functions to implement the College Mission.

Mt. SAC Celebrates Black History

Cash For College
Cash For College
Cash For College
Cash For College
Cash For College

Mt. SAC’s Aspire Program hosted a number of student events that commemorated Black History Month on campus. The first event was the annual Oratorical Competition, where a multicultural field of six students composed and performed speeches for cash awards. The program was emceed by Communication Professor J. Edward Stevenson, a former student and member of Mt. SAC's nationally ranked Forensics Team.

Winning the top prize of $300 was Ebony Hardiman-Sanders, who compellingly presented the untold story of the late Motown artist, Florence Ballard, the “forgotten Supreme.”

Aspire also hosted its annual Black History Month Luncheon, featuring inspirational remarks by guest speaker Willie Wright, President Bill Scroggins, Student Services VP Audrey Yamagata-Noji, Aspire Coordinator Tamieka Hunter, Counselor Wanda Fullbright-Dennis, Educational Counselor Clarence Banks, as well as an encore dramatic presentation by Ebony. With the "And Still We Rise" theme as the graphic backdrop, each speaker challenged students to reach their potential and to tackle daunting academic and personal challenges.

Students enjoyed the presentations and learned more about Aspire, which provides academic support services to African-American and other students.

Certificates of Recognition were presented to Aspire volunteer Sean Williams and Mt. SAC Marketing Director Clarence Brown, who serves as an Aspire mentor and provides consultation and support to the program overall.

 

State Chancellor Sounds Alarm at
Unexpected $149-Million Budget Cut

Chancelor Jack ScottCalifornia Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott issued the following statement on the revised budget projections that show the 112-college system will take another $149 million unexpected cut this year largely because of the higher demand for student fee waivers and lower than expected property tax revenues.

“This $149-million reduction is unexpected and even larger than the mid-year trigger cut that the community college system has already endured,” Scott said. “This will result in colleges further reducing course sections, additional borrowing and staff reductions. The new 2.75% budget decrease is effectively doubled because colleges only have a half year to try to find savings.

“Because of the poor economy, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of students receiving the California Community Colleges Board of Governors Fee Waiver. This alone accounts for $107 million of the added shortfall. As a state, we need to recognize the lasting damage that the disinvestment in higher education is having and commit to properly funding our colleges and universities.”

Scott said his office is working to convince the Legislature and governor to restore funding for the current fiscal year. In the 2011-12 budget, the California Community Colleges was cut $400 million, and in December mid-year “trigger” cuts resulted in an additional $102 million reduction because state revenues fell short of projections. Since 2008-09, the college system has seen its funding slashed by $809 million, which translates into a 12 % reduction. (Posted 2-22-12)

Hundreds Attend “Cash for College” Workshop

Cash For College
Cash For College
Cash For College
Cash For College
Cash For College
Cash For College
Cash For College
Cash For College
Cash For College

Not even the threat of rain could dampen the spirits of those who attended Financial Aid’s annual “Cash for College” workshop, which offered free financial aid assistance to area high school seniors and their parents on Saturday, Feb. 11. An estimated 1,100 persons attended.

“This event is all about helping students fill out the necessary financial aid forms by the March 2 deadline so that they don’t miss out on thousands of dollars available to them,” said Mt. SAC’s new financial aid director, Chau Dao.

Kicked off with remarks by President Bill Scroggins, Student Services VP Audrey Yamagata-Noji, Trustee David Hall, and state senators Ed Hernandez and Gloria Negrete McLeod, the workshop sessions were organized to accommodate two groups of students—those planning to attend Mt. SAC and those planning to attend other colleges.

Throughout the six-hour event, Student Services staff provided hands-on assistance to students and their parents in completing and filing Federal Student Aid and Cal Grant financial aid forms for the 2012-13 academic year. The event helped students maximize their financial aid prospects by meeting the early financial aid deadlines.

Information and application forms were also available from Admissions, Extended Opportunity and Programs Services, and other Mt. SAC student support services.

So far this year, the Financial Aid Office has received and processed over 37,000 applications, which has already exceeded last year's record of 34,700 applications. (Posted 2-16-12)

Obama's Budget Includes $8 Billion for Community Colleges

budget 2013The Obama administration yesterday released an ambitious FY 2013 budget request with many new program proposals to augment already proposed investments in education and workforce training, job creation, and infrastructure. The budget incorporates and builds upon previous plans such as the American Jobs Act that were designed to enable community colleges to help more Americans secure employment.

The budget includes landmark investments in community colleges, notably an $8-billion “Community College to Career” fund that builds on the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program to infuse more resources into job training programs at community colleges. It is designed to train 2 million workers with skills that lead directly to employment. The proposal includes bonus funds for especially effective programs, money for state and local governments to help them attract businesses and jobs to America, and money for entrepreneurship training programs. President Obama introduced this proposal in a speech yesterday at Northern Virginia Community College.

The president also proposes to fund the Pell Grant program at a sufficient level to increase the maximum award to $5,635 in award year 2013-2014, an increase set in motion by the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2010. The budget also includes previously released proposals for a new $1-billion Race to the Top for higher education institutions and changes to the campus-based aid programs (Federal Work-Study, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and Perkins Loans) to reward institutions that keep their tuitions down and meet other national goals. It also includes a new $55.5-million “First in the World” fund that would help postsecondary institutions develop and expand innovative and effective strategies for improving college completion. Other key education programs, such as TRIO, GEAR UP, Strengthening Institutions, and programs for minority-serving institutions, would be level-funded. The budget also includes the administration’s proposal to reshape the Perkins career and technical education (CTE) programs.

These investments will require congressional approval, which will be challenging to obtain in the current budget climate and in an election year. Many of the proposals also would require new laws (authorizations) to be enacted in advance of this funding. —Amercian Association of Community Colleges (Posted 2-14-12)

Forensics Team Makes Big Splash at “Back to Beach” Tourney

Forensics TeamMt. SAC's nationally ranked Forensics Team made a big splash at the recent "Back to the Beach" tournament, which was co-sponsored with Cal State Long Beach on the Mt. SAC campus. The competition attracted talented speakers from 15 colleges and universities from all over Southern California. With Mt. SAC sweeping the first round of competition on the first day, Aida Ghorbani took first place honors in the Communication Analysis category, followed by Hishaam Siddiqi (2nd), Yvonne Ramos (3rd), and Christine Chung (4th). Mt. SAC’s Mike Drake and Simon Rhee earned their spots on the first day as the top two speakers out of 44 debaters. Matt Guest earned five awards for all three of his events over the course of the weekend. The team has seven remaining tournaments before the national competition. Go Mounties! (Posted 2-7-12)

Turf Teams Finish Strong at Student Challenge

Students engaging with teacherMt. SAC turf teams placed in the top ranks at the 8th annual Student Challenge competition of the Sports Turf Managers Association's 23rd Annual Conference and Exhibition in Long Beach.

Mt. SAC entered a record four teams into the competition, including a first-ever female team. Two of the teams finished in the top three places—silver and bronze honors. The other two teams finished among the top 10 against a field of 37 national team competitors.

In addition, Mt. SAC student Christopher Romo won the Dr. Fred Grau Scholarship, which is awarded to a community college student.

The Student Challenge consists of several parts, including turfgrass identification, selection and morphology, soil management, soil fertility, water management, draining, turfgrass mathematics, pest identification and management, sports field management, and essay questions pertaining to real-life sports turf management scenarios.

Congratulations to the winners and Mt. SAC's award-winning Turf Management Program, headed by Professor Brian Scott. (Posted 02-07-12)

Survey Results Note Improvement
In Mt. SAC Student Engagement

Students engaging with teacherResults from a nationwide study on student engagement show Mt. SAC students are increasingly becoming more academically engaged, thereby enriching their overall college experience.

Mt. SAC was among nearly 700 colleges across the country that participated in the Community College Survey of Student Engagement. More specifically, Mt. SAC was compared to 76 colleges with 15,000 or more students. The survey explored student engagement in five critical areas: active and collaborative learning; student effort, academic challenge, student-faculty interaction and support for learners.

In these core areas, Mt. SAC ranked above average in four areas, scoring at or above 50. Scores above 50 indicate above-average performance relative to all students in the cohort. Mt. SAC demonstrated measurable improvement in several areas, including active and collaborative learning (53.7 in 2011 vs. 47.5 in 2006) and student effort (53 in 2011 vs. 48.9 in 2006). Mt. SAC also saw gains in support for learners, growing from 49.5 in 2006 to 57.4 in 2011. While still slightly below average in student-faculty interaction, the college saw a major uptick in this area by nearly five points—from 44.5 in 2006 to 48 in 2011.

“We’ve been participating in this survey since 2003 and these are the most outstanding results so far,” said Barbara McNiece-Stallard, director of research and institutional effectiveness. “The general trend here is that we are definitely improving, and we should celebrate that.” (Posted 02-03-12)

Student Success Report Advances to Legislative Hearings

California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott presented on Jan. 31 a comprehensive report that promotes community college efficiency to the Senate Education and Assembly Higher Education committees' joint hearing.

No action was taken by the committees, but the hearing is a requirement that recommendations must be presented to the Legislature no later than March.

Last month, Scott released the Student Success Task Force reform with a goal to promote community college transfer and retention rates among its growing number of students.

As part of the overhaul, a task force recommended that community colleges give priority registration to first-time students and students making progress toward their academic goals; take priority registration or fee waivers from students who fail to make adequate progress; require all incoming students to develop education plans shortly after matriculating; have campuses give priority to courses needed for degree and certificate programs over enrichment courses catering to older adults; require campuses to keep scorecards to track completion and transfer rates of students of different backgrounds.

Legislation that relates to the task force will be introduced by Feb. 24. Some of the recommendations will be implemented through regulatory changes enacted by the state community colleges' Board of Governors. —News Sources (Posted 02-03-12)

Proposed Community College Changes
Aim to Speed Students Along

By Will Bigham and J.D. Velasco, San Gabriel Valley Tribune Staff Writers | January 29, 2012

A task force formed to study the state's community college system has issued a report recommending significant changes, including some that would reward students who move faster toward a certificate or university transfer.

They are aimed at boosting the number of students who complete programs or transfer, currently just over half of students. Chief among the recommendations are a common set of college-readiness standards developed by the community colleges and K-12 school districts, more support and advising for incoming students, a requirement that students pick an area of study by the end of their first year and easier access to classes for new students.

Local community-college students and administrators expressed mixed feelings about the recommendations, which were issued in a 73-page report this month by the California Community Colleges Student Success Task Force.

"I think the report makes recommendations that are much needed for community colleges," said Bill Scroggins, president and CEO of Mt. San Antonio College. "We're already rationing seats for students. Currently, the original design of community colleges–open access for everyone—we're not doing it. We don't have the resources to do it."

A 20-member task force consisting of administrators, faculty, students and others worked all of last year on the report, which was a requirement of a state Senate bill enacted last year.

"The 22 recommendations contained herein are more than just discrete proposals," the report says. "Taken together, these recommendations would strengthen the community-college system by expanding those structures and programs that work and realigning our resources with what matters most: student achievement. This report presents a vision for our community colleges in the next decade, focused on what is needed to grow our economy, meeting the demands of California's evolving workplace, and inspiring and realizing the aspirations of students and families."

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors has until March 1 to submit the report to the Legislature. The community-college system provides instruction to 2.6 million students each year. It includes 112 community colleges and 71 off-campus centers. The task force identified several causes of concern in the community colleges system. Among them is that only 53.6 % of students achieve a certificate, degree or transfer preparation. To improve that figure, the task force made several recommendations designed to encourage students to quickly transfer or achieve a certificate, and to reward students who follow such a path.

First, the task force suggested that students be required to create an educational plan that outlines required courses. Such plans are now encouraged but optional. The task force also recommends that students be required to declare a program of study by the end of their second semester.

Studies show that students who declare an area of study are more likely to complete a certificate or transfer to a four-year college than those who do not, according to the report. Scroggins said the proposal is fine in theory, but suggested it be tweaked before it is implemented. As it stands, the proposal requires students to choose an education plan after two semesters. Scroggins said that won't work for students who have jobs and are only able to take one or two classes per semester.

"We need to rethink that - maybe after 24 units we need to do that," Scroggins said. "It needs to be framed more in terms of units instead of semesters." Manuel Baca, a member of the task force and political science professor at Rio Hondo College, described the proposals as works in progress. He said they will go through a refining process as the task force receives feedback from those who will be affected by the changes. Baca said it's entirely possible a solution will be worked out in which part-time students have more time to pick a major than full-time students do.

Enrollment priorities also would be overhauled if the task force's recommendations are followed. Top priority now goes to students who have completed the most credit hours. The task force expressed concern that such a system could unintentionally reward students who spend several years in community college without making concrete strides toward a certificate or transfer. Instead, the task force proposes that top priority be given to first-time students and current students in good academic standing who have adhered to their educational plans. A lower priority would be given to longtime students who stray academically.

Scroggins said Mt. SAC already has a policy that attempts to address that issue: "For students who have more than 100 units, we put them at the end of the line," he said. But Scroggins pointed out that sometimes students who already have a lot of units need help too. They can get stuck treading water because the one class they need to transfer or graduate isn't available. "We need to look more closely at students who need a course or two to finish up," Scroggins said.

Students at Citrus College had mixed opinions of the proposals on Friday. Josh Ferrer, 21, of Ontario liked the idea of forcing students to pick an area of study after their first year. "I think they should," Ferrer said. It gives them a plan. It gives them something to work for." But he didn't like the idea of giving priority to newer students.

Quoron Lewis, 18, of Bloomington didn't care for the idea of making students choose a major so soon after starting college. As a first-year student, he said he's still not sure what he wants to focus his studies on. He said his brother changed his major four times before finding his path. "Right now is where people try to figure that out," Lewis said.

Rio Hondo student Trisha Luera, 31, of Whittier wasn't sure if forcing students to pick a major is a good idea. She said it might work for some students, but not for others. She was strongly in favor of giving priority class registration to new students though. She said many of her freshman friends have been unable to get the classes they need. "I feel bad for them. It sucks," Luera said. "It makes you not want to pursue the education if you can't you get the classes you need." She said many students stuck in that situation will then sign up for classes they don't need, just to have a full-time schedule.

The task force suggested improvements to several other aspects of the community colleges system, and Shannon praised many of them. The recommendations included improving diagnostic measures for incoming students, increasing coordination with the K-12 system, and improving professional development for teachers in community colleges.

Juan Gutierrez, spokesman for Pasadena City College, said that college's board of trustees has embraced the proposals. He said at its Jan. 18 meeting, the board voted to endorse task force's report. "Anything that can help us better serve our students and better manage our resources is always welcome," Gutierrez said.
(Posted 02-03-12)

Employee Classification & Compensation
Study Workshops Set Feb 21-23

Employee CompensationInformational workshops related to Mt. SAC’s upcoming Employee Classification & Compensation Study will be conducted Tuesday, Feb. 21 through Thursday, Feb. 23. The three workshops are being offered to all classified, confidential, supervisory, and management employees. Following are the workshop dates, times and locations:


  • Tuesday, Feb. 21 (Learning Technology Center, 6-160): 11:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m.; 1:30-3:00 p.m.; 3:30-5:00 p.m.; 5:30-7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22 (Student Life Center, 9C): 8:30-10:00 a.m.; 10:30-noon; 1:00-2:30 p.m.; 3:00-4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 23 (Learning Technology Center, 6-160): 7:00-8:30 a.m.; 9:00-10:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Employees should register through the Professional & Organizational Development website: http://inside.mtsac.edu/pod. Click on “Activity Calendar” link at the bottom of the page; then click on the preferred date to register.

The Employee Classification & Compensation Study will be conducted by Koff & Associates, who will examine employees’ job descriptions and classification titles in relation to their actual tasks and responsibilities. The process also entails salary reviews and benchmarking.

“All employees are encouraged to take advantage of these workshops,” said Human Resources VP Annette Loria. “The sessions will provide everyone with essential information about the process and how to complete the questionnaire that each employee will be required to complete. A Q&A session will be conducted at each session which will help clarify issues.” (Posted 01-31-12)

Board Approves 2% Salary Increase
for CSEA 651 Employees

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved an ongoing 2% salary increase for classified employees in the CSEA 651 bargaining unit. The increase is retroactive to July 1, 2011.

The action was based on the terms of Article VII.B: Salaries of the collective bargaining agreement, which states that if another group receives a higher salary percentage, the District shall grant the same percentage on the salary schedule for all classified employees in the CSEA 651 bargaining unit. The District approved a 2% ongoing salary increase for the faculty last summer.

The financial impact of this implementing agreement on the current and subsequent fiscal years is $120,262. (Posted 01-31-12)

Mt. SAC Launches CyberWatch Center

Cyber Security Meeting
Cyber Security Meeting
Cyber Security Meeting
Cyber Security Meeting
Cyber Security Meeting
Cyber Security Meeting
Cyber Security Meeting
Cyber Security Meeting

Joined by fellow higher education and industry leaders, Mt. SAC celebrated the establishment of the CyberWatch West Center (CWWC) at a breakfast kickoff event in Founders Hall on Jan. 27. The college was awarded a $3-million grant over four years from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish CWWC, which is the nation’s second NSF cybersecurity center and the only such center in the western United States. The nation’s first cybercenter is located in the eastern region.

CCWC will address the need to train and educate information security professionals, who are lacking in business and industrial sectors. It will also address the urgent need for enhanced cybersecurity curriculum at higher educational institutions, student and professional development, and outreach and information.

Though housed at Mt. SAC, CCWC is composed of a consortium of institutions, including Cal Poly Pomona, CSU-Dominguez Hills and San Bernardino campuses, and Whatcom Community College in Washington. Efforts are underway to grow the consortium membership among colleges within the western region. The center is under the day-to-day operation of the Business Division, headed by Dean Dr. Joumana Gowan.

To say that CWWC founding member and director Jaishri Mehta is passionate about CWWC and its mission is a gross understatement. At the breakfast launch, she underscored the mission critical importance of cybersecurity and the urgent need to train professional experts in the field in order to thwart what she described as the “the virtual war—the biggest war that our country will fight. That’s because a computer mouse in the hands of the wrong person can be catastrophic to our national and personal security.”

Citing President Obama, she noted: “It’s now clear that this cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation. It’s also clear that we’re not as prepared as we should be, as a government or as a country.

“At CWWC we want to be a leader in building a stronger cybersecurity workforce to combat the threats of the future,” Jaishri said. “With the financial impact of cybercrime on the business worldwide estimated at $1 trillion, we plan to partner with business and industry in this important initiative.” (Posted 01-31-12)

Board of Governors Approves Student Success
Task Force Recommendations

15 New Faculty HiresThe California Community Colleges Board of Governors yesterday (Jan. 9) adopted a set of sweeping reforms in an effort to improve student graduation, certificate and transfer rates at community colleges.

Critics vigorously oppose the recommendations proposed by the Student Success Task Force, claiming that it would penalize low-income and other disadvantaged students. Following is the press release issued by State Chancellor Jack Scott, commending the BOG for adopting the task force’s recommendations. Also here is the link to the related Los Angeles Times article that provides a general analysis: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-community-colleges-20120110,0,5859282.story

California Community Colleges Board of Governors
Approves Student Success Task Force Recommendations,
Sends Report to State Legislature

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott today thanked the board of governors for adopting the critical Student Success Task Force reform package that has been a year in the making. The recommendations, Scott said, will go a long way in improving student graduation, certificate and transfer rates at the system's 112 colleges. The plan, which was approved without a dissenting vote, will be sent to the state Legislature for review in accordance with Senate Bill 1143 (Liu).

The task force's recommendations will make community colleges more responsive to the needs of students and the economy, which is increasingly demanding college-educated workers. It is aimed at rebalancing priorities to focus on the core missions of remedial education, workforce preparation, certificate and degree attainment and transfer. Students who make progress toward meeting their goals will be rewarded with priority enrollment, and colleges will adjust course offerings according to the needs of students based on their education plans. The recommendations also will improve the student assessment process and promote better use of technology to help students reach their educational goals on time.

"I want to commend the task force for its hard work and dedication to increasing student success," Chancellor Scott said after the report was adopted by the board Monday afternoon. "This plan is historic and wide-ranging. Because of the state's disinvestment in higher education, access is being rationed at the community colleges in ways that are unfair and harm entering students. The recommendations in the report are integral to balancing priorities so first-time students have a fair opportunity to pursue their educational goals. At a time when resources are scarce, our system must implement solutions that improve student outcomes, deliver an educated and trained workforce, and ensure the efficient use of state investment in higher education—I am confident that this plan will do just that."

California Community Colleges Board of Governors President Scott Himelstein said that the board will move forward on the adoption of regulatory changes needed to implement the task force's vision.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity to improve the educational outcomes of the largest system of higher education in the country," Himelstein said. "With these changes, our 2.6 million students will have a better shot at success."

President Obama announced the goal to make America "the most educated country in the world" by 2020. From 2012 through 2018, occupations requiring an associate degree will grow the fastest but by 2025, California's workforce will face a shortage of 1 million college degree and certificate holders. In 2010, then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger approved Senate Bill 1143, authored by Carol Liu. The bill charged the California Community Colleges Board of Governors with adopting a plan by 2012 for improving student success and awarding more associate degrees and transferring more students to California State University or University of California campuses. Board of Governors member Peter MacDougall served as the task force chair and Chancellor Scott was an ex-officio member.

The task force released a set of draft recommendations in September and the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office and task force members subsequently embarked on a state-wide listening tour to gather input from constituencies. Those interested also could find the recommendations online and leave comments that were considered by the task force in November. After the listening tour was complete, revisions were made on several key points. Some of those revisions included not charging students full price for classes outside their educational plans and allowing colleges some leeway to exempt students under extraordinary circumstances from the 110-unit cap on Board of Governors Fee Waiver eligibility.

"This task force really worked very hard to outline a plan that will help students reach their educational goals faster and more efficiently," MacDougall said. "We listened to input and great ideas offered by students, faculty, staff and parents from around the state and incorporated what we heard into the final draft. This was a collaborative effort and I am proud to have been a part of this historic task force."

The Board of Governors now has until March 1, 2012 to submit the full report to the state Legislature for review. (Posted 01-10-12)

Continue to 2011 Campus Connection Features


 
 
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