A Year in Review
It has been an eventful year at Southwestern College, and one that has created some defining events for the college. This year, we took formal action to refocus our development efforts for the corner lot—based upon data and research. We addressed our budget issues and improved financial stability for the college. And we set goals to improve student transfer rates.
In the spring, we welcomed new Governing Board Member Nora Vargas. Her perspective as a Southwestern College alumnus and her passion for education have helped us keep our focus on students.
During our opening day ceremonies and in conversations throughout the year, college faculty and administrators have been compiling strategies to help increase student achievement. Last month, members of the Governing Board attended the Association of Community College Trustees and adapted the statewide policy agenda to Southwestern College’s priorities. Together, we are working to remove obstacles and to provide the resources students need to reach their educational goals.
To ensure we have adequate resources for an exceptional academic program and student support services, we have been working diligently to address economic challenges. The passage of Proposition 30 has allowed us to begin hiring full-time faculty again and has given us funding to serve more students this year. As South County’s only public institution of higher education—and the most affordable option—our mission is to provide access and ensure student success.
With Centers throughout South County, Southwestern College offers higher education opportunities to residents where they live. A major accomplishment this year was earning center status for the Higher Education Centers in National City and San Ysidro. With approval from the California Community College’s Board of Governors, center status means additional funds and resources for two of our neediest communities.
As a Governing Board, we have also been serious about implementing cost savings and finding new avenues to generate revenue on campus. We approved a solar energy initiative this year and expect to have the final details worked out before the summer. We also have approved new regulations and pricing for rental of college facilities and fields to generate additional funds.
Our Proposition R program is back on track, and we’ll be moving quickly over the next few months to get projects started. Perhaps the most anticipated projects will be those to be built on the corner lot. Based on academic needs, financial feasibility and property configuration, we’ll be building a new wellness center and performing arts center on the corner. Moving the health sciences buildings and pool will allow us tear down those old facilities and replace them with a new multi-story math, science and engineering (MSE) complex. These courses are some of our most in-demand and a requirement for transfer to four-year universities. Since last summer, the MSE department has been busy researching new instructional strategies and their facilities requirements to ensure the new complex offers cutting edge technologies and prepares students for the growing STEM industries.
Exciting things are happening at Southwestern College. It has been my honor to serve as Governing Board president this year. I wish you a safe and memorable holiday season and best wishes for a prosperous new year.