Skip to page body Home About SWC Admissions Academic Programs Student Services Schools & Centers Faculty & Staff

 

...................................................................................................................................................


December 20, 2013

College Update on SCEA Negotiations 

        These tough economic times have shown us time and time again the passion and commitment each and every Southwestern College employee has for our institution and for the students we serve. We recognize the sacrifice all employees made last year to help us to begin stabilizing our budget. We also value the collective bargaining process, and we thank all the association team members who have been involved in negotiations on behalf of their membership. 
        Over the past year, the District and Southwestern College Education Association (SCEA) have met regularly to negotiate a new contract. The initial positions of the parties were very far apart. The District initially sought a 5% pay reduction for 2013-14, equivalent to that borne by the District’s other employee groups. SCEA initially sought a permanent pass-through of any cost of living adjustment (COLA) in 2013-14 and all future years. 
        During the course of the negotiations, the state economy changed and the District’s financial position improved. Proposition 30 provided greatly needed funds for the California Community College system and the District. The District also received a 1.57% COLA for 2013-14. In response to this good news, the District was able to restore the pay cuts taken by non-faculty employee groups, and the District withdrew its request for a pay reduction from SCEA unit members. 
        We are cautiously optimistic that the state economy will continue to grow and that the District’s financial position will continue to improve. The recent recession, however, has taught the District and all public agencies that we must spend public dollars carefully and avoid long-term financial commitments that are based upon unsubstantiated revenue projections. 
        On December 11, 2013, SCEA and the District met and mutually expressed an interest in closing the 2013-14 negotiations with a simple agreement. The District presented SCEA with an offer to pay a 1.57% one-time, off-schedule payment and gave SCEA until the end of the semester to respond. A half hour later, SCEA rejected the District’s offer and proposed a 1.57% retroactive, on-schedule commitment. SCEA gave the District less than 48 hours to accept its offer. 
        The next day, the District promptly responded with a last, best, and final offer that added a $400,000 ongoing commitment to the District-wide Health and Welfare Plan to the previous offer of a 1.57% off-schedule payment. The District’s health benefits proposal actually exceeded the $300,000 ongoing commitment that SCEA had sought in prior proposals. Again, the District gave SCEA until the end of the semester to respond. Here is a copy of the District’s last, best, final offer
        At present, the District believes that a 1.57% one-time, off-schedule payment is a fiscally responsible solution that promotes the District’s on-going need to stabilize its budget and also rewards employees for their valued services. The off-schedule payment would be offered to all employee groups. The District will be in a stronger position to negotiate future on-schedule increases if the current fiscal stabilization trend continues. 
        Late last night, SCEA President Eric Maag informed the Governing Board of the Rep Council’s decision not to forward the District’s last, best, final offer to its membership. This afternoon, SCEA Chief Negotiator Frank Post informed the District that SCEA formally rejects the District’s last, best, final offer. 
        While we are disappointed SCEA was not able to tentatively agree to our offer, we want to acknowledge the hard work negotiators on both sides have invested. We will continue to work through the processes now available to us. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Nish's signature
Melinda Nish, Ed.D., Superintendent/President 

District Negotiating Team 
Lynn Solomita, Interim Vice President for Human Resources, Chief Negotiator 
Dr. Steve Crow, Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs 
Kathy Tyner, Vice President for Academic Affairs 
Dr. Angelica Suarez, Vice President for Student Affairs 
Chris Perri, Dean, Higher Education Center National City and Crown Cove Aquatic Center 
Aaron Starck, Director of Student Development

...................................................................................................................................................

 

December 6th, 2013

 

Advantages Along the Border

The college recently celebrated International Education Week by hosting the U.S. and Mexican Consuls General.  Not surprisingly, both expressed our college’s ability to impact education on both sides of the border—in what is now being branded as the CaliBaja Binational Mega-Region.

Remedios Gomez Arnau, consulate general of Mexico in San Diego, and Andrew Erickson, U.S. consul general in Tijuana, promoted the international exchange of students through President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas.  Currently 14,000 Mexicans go to college in the US, while only 4,000 U.S. citizens go to Mexico for education. The Mexican government’s goal is to increase those numbers to 100,000 and 50,000, respectively.

One Border, Two Cities Resources Panel and Audience

Joining the consuls general were English Composition Professor Francisco Bustos, Center for International Trade Development Director Victor Castillo and Southwestern College Graduate and successful businessman Bernardo Andrade. Each spoke of the successes they have had in creating partnerships on both sides of the border.

Cross-border partnerships have grown exponentially over the last two decades through the North American Free Trade Agreement,  Gomez Arnau said in a second visit to our campus this week. NAFTA has created 6 million jobs in Mexico and 25 million jobs in the United States, she said.

As the only public institution of higher education along this border, Southwestern College can play a key role in preparing the workforce, Gomez Arnau said. The U.S. and Mexican governments are already strengthening the infrastructure on both sides of the borders to attract business and investors to the CaliBaja region (www.calibaja.net). New and improved border crossings, along with a new pedestrian crossing into the Tijuana International Airport, will make for seamless travel between the two countries.

The eyes of the world are watching our region, and Southwestern College has the intellectual capital to take advantage of the opportunities coming to this area.

Think Globally, Act Locally

In this season of giving, we have many opportunities to make the holiday season a little brighter for our students and community. Several clubs on campus are holding toy, food and blanket drives. Community organizations offer the opportunity to sponsor a needy family.

I encourage you to consider an investment in our students by participating in the Southwestern College Foundation’s annual giving campaign. The foundation is instrumental in funding scholarships for the Students of Distinction Awards. Funds also are distributed to student and faculty activities. The contribution can be made effortlessly through a payroll deduction.

Another local organization that mirrors our values of open access and holistic well-being is the South Bay Family YMCA. Their annual giving campaign ensures children and families who cannot afford memberships and activities receive scholarships. As a YMCA board member, I have seen the Y’s impact in making healthier communities throughout the South Bay.

While the Foundation and the South Bay Family YMCA improve our immediate school community, there are any number of organizations that could benefit from your support.

Welcome Lynn Solomita

We welcome back Lynn Solomita to our Human Resources department as we conduct a search for a permanent replacement for Vice President Dr. Albert Roman.

It’s been a while since Lynn helped us out last time, but we look forward to her expertise over the next few months.

Welcome aboard, Lynn.

....................................................................................................................................................
November 12, 2013

Celebrating our Veterans
As a military town, San Diego and its surrounding communities understand the significance of Veteran’s Day. At Southwestern College, we have long celebrated our veterans past and present, and this year our ceremonies took on a special meaning. During our week-long celebration, we held an open house for the new Veterans’ Resource Center and held a memorable Veterans’ Day ceremony. The best part of the celebrations was that they were student-centered.

 

Members of the Student Veterans Organization welcomed Congresswoman Susan Davis, Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox as well as field representatives from several of our state and federal elected officials. Each of them presented a proclamation celebrating the opening of the Veterans’ Resource Center and the college’s commitment to supporting student veterans. Veterans' Center Opening
L-R: Southwestern College Governing Board President Humberto Peraza, Jr., Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox, Student Veteran Organization Adviser Jim Jones, Congresswoman Susan Davis, Student Veteran Organization President Tim Walsh, myself, State Senator Ben Hueso Representative Mabi Castro, Congressman Juan Vargas Representative Jay Moore.

Providing a Helping Hand
As we begin to hear more about the typhoon devastation in the Philippines, it is natural for us to want to help. Thanks to Political Science Professor Phil Saenz, we will have several options. Professor Saenz is currently working with several local organizations that have direct ties with the affected communities in the Philippines. St. Michael’s Church in Paradise Hills will accept donations of clothing, blankets and other items. Catholic Relief Services will accept donations to purchase water purification kits for $8. And Gawad Kalinga in Poway (http://gk-usa.org/ ) is putting together food packs for $5 per pack. Professor Saenz is hoping to put together an event on campus on Thursday. We’ll update this column once plans become finalized.

Building Partnerships
One of my long-term goals has been to increase the number of international students enrolling in Southwestern College. International students bring a richness and diversity that directly support our Strategic Plan value of cultural competence to engage our college community in developing a deep appreciation of and collegiality among all cultures. 

 

Our efforts are steps closer to reality with a new partnership with the State of Qatar. Qatar—which was ranked as the 19th most peaceful country in the world by the Global Peace Index—is interested in training cohorts of young men to learn the maritime industry. Next month we hope to bring to the Governing Board the master agreement outlining the duties of our partners at the Qatar Embassy, the San Diego-based Maritime Institute and EC English in La Jolla to prepare the cohorts for success on the seas.
Embassy officials will work closely with us and our partners to provide strict oversight of the students, including academic interventions. As Mr. Mahmoud Sabri, the director of academic affairs for the Embassy’s Security Attaché office, has said, these students are here for an education, not a vacation.
I’m excited about this new partnership. Continue looking in this column for updates.
QatarTaking a tour of the campus: Joining me on a tour are Mr. Mahmoud Sabri, director of academic affairs for the Embassy’s Security Attaché office, Martha Delgadillo and Heather Giammona of EC English, Dr. Angelica Suarez, Miss Samera Agha, academic advisor for the Embassy’s Security Attaché office and “Rags” Laragione, president of the Maritime Institute (obscured).

....................................................................................................................................................
October 28, 2013

Celebrating Diversity

        Southwestern College celebrated the inaugural ACCESS Awards Friday by honoring people and organizations who have contributed to the advocacy of students with disabilities. Those attending the breakfast ceremony heard the good works of student Joe Chavez, classified professional Brenda Rodriguez and community partner Partnerships with Industry. Another highlight of the morning was keynote speaker Dr. Catherine Campisi as she spoke of her lifelong journey in the disability civil rights movement. Dr. Campisi talked about how she was shut out of several colleges and universities and how that inspired her and her peers to push for real change. Next to her wedding day, Dr. Campisi said the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act was the best day of her life. 
        Thank you to Dr. Malia Flood and the Disability Support Services department for your innovation and for highlighting our everyday heroes who support our special students.
group photo of inaugural winners of ACCESS awards Dr. Catherine Campisi (center) presented the keynote speech in last week's inaugural ACCESS awards ceremony. Standing behind her, L-R, are Brenda Rodriguez, Joe Chavez, Dalinda Rodriguez and Mark Berger from Partnerships with Industry, winners of this year's ACCESS awards.

Lessons Learned 
        Last week I was at California’s other South Bay—south of San Francisco—at an accreditation visit at Skyline College. Such visits are always a learning experience and give us a glimpse of different college cultures and promising practices. 
        Not surprisingly, it was a week filled with many long hours of interviews, reviews and dialogue. Our visiting team observed faculty, staff and administrators who genuinely supported each other and worked together to make Skyline a college where new initiatives can thrive. Much of it has to do with stable leadership—President Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud has been in a position of leadership for more than a decade. That sense of looking out for each other translated into an outpouring of support for our own MESA program. MESA faculty members at Skyline were just as crushed as we were when we did not receive continued funding for our MESA program, and they lobbied the Chancellor’s office on our behalf. While unsuccessful, their efforts convinced me that while there are 72 community college districts and 112 community colleges in California, we are all connected and looking out for each other. 
        Thank you to Michele Fenlon for spending the many long hours to support the visiting team—and for the many hours ahead as we prepare for our accreditation visit.

Bayan Learning Community 
        Each year, the Governing Board recognizes faculty for excellence in teaching. One of the awards is for the Team Faculty Excellent Award. This year the award was given to Professors Maria Abuan and Henry Aronson for the work they do with the Bayan Learning Community. This smaller learning community creates a cohort of students who take classes together and build a network of support for each other. Senate President Randy Beach, Vice President of Human Resources Dr. Albert Roman and Governing Board Member Norma Hernandez were on hand with me to present the award today.
        Congratulations Maria and Henry.
Prof. Abuan and Prof. Aronson surrounded by students 
Professors Henry Aronson and Maria Abuan are surrounded by students and district
leadership as they received their Faculty Excellence awards.
 District leadership congratulate Profs. Abuan and Aronson
L-R: Academic Senate President Randy Beach, myself, Professor Henry Aronson,
Governing Board Member Norma Hernandez, Professor Maria Abuan, VP of Human
Resources Dr. Albert Roman.
....................................................................................................................................................
October 22, 2013

Bringing the Community Onto Campus

        Higher education experts and community residents have a greater understanding of the latest in online education and construction planning, thanks to two recently successful events.
        On Oct. 11, Larry Lambert and a team of dedicated volunteers hosted 300 participants of the “Never Stop Learning Tour” Blackboard conference. The day-long conference included workshops for college faculty and K-12 educators to help them engage their students in the ever-changing world of online learning. With such topics as maintaining exam integrity to ePortfolios to developing curriculum for the “Facebook” generation, the conference gave those in attendance specific tools to boost their students’ success. Congratulations to all the volunteers, staff and administrators—and especially Larry Lambert—for bringing such positive attention to Southwestern College.

 

Larry at Blackboard Conference

        Last week, Proposition R marked a significant milestone. Construction workers, Southwestern College leadership and facilities personnel, as well as members of the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee celebrated the “bottoming out” of the field house classroom construction Friday. Delayed by groundwater issues that required special engineering at the base of the new building, the construction now is back on track and at full speed. To celebrate this milestone, Balfour Beatty Construction catered lunch for the workers and community members and conducted tours at the site. Steel has been rising rapidly and the outlines of the building are taking shape. If you are interested in a hard hat tour, please contact Mark Claussen, the Prop. R program manager, at ext. 6597.

Bottoming Out

Conversations about Adult Education
        How adult education is delivered throughout California is about to undergo some dramatic changes in the near future, and it will be up to us to help design those changes.
        This year’s state budget included $25 million to provide two-year planning and implementation grants to regional consortia of community college districts and K-12 districts to develop plans for delivering adult education. And right now, there are more questions than answers.
        What we know for sure is that the consortia must consist of at least one community college district in partnership with the K-12 district or other entities that provide adult education for a region. We also know that there are five educational priorities for adults for the funding:
• Elementary and secondary basic skills, including classes required for a high school diploma or equivalency;
• Classes in citizenship, English as a Second Language and workforce preparation classes in basic skills for immigrants;
• Education programs for adults with disabilities;
• Short-term career technical education programs with high employment potential; and
• Programs for apprentices.

        The Sweetwater Union High School District is the current adult education provider for South County, and Southwestern College offers a robust offering of credit and non-credit continuing education classes. Each of us provides some, but not all, the requirements of a new regional consortium.
        To help guide our planning, we held two meetings on campus last week to provide an overview to our faculty and staff. We also have been holding exploratory meetings with Sweetwater adult education officials, as well as representatives with Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and the Grossmont Union High School District, to determine if there is a desire to combine South and East counties into one consortium.
        There are still many details to explore, including funding, minimum qualifications for adult education and pay schedules, among others. One major priority for Southwestern College will be to strengthen pathways from adult education into college.
        Over the next month, we will conduct more information sessions. The Academic Senate will provide an update at its meeting tomorrow. We are sending representatives to the Chancellor’s Oct. 28 Town Hall meeting in Los Angeles. I will also be meeting with my fellow CEOs from the San Diego Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA) later this month to get a better understanding of the progress we’re making in Region 10.
        I encourage you to learn more about this initiative. The Chancellor’s office has created a website with additional information: http://ab86.cccco.edu/Home.aspx Look for updates in future columns.

....................................................................................................................................................
Oct. 14, 2013

Achieving Our Goals 

        For the last two years, high on my list of goals has been to improve the college’s institutional effectiveness and organize structures to meet strategic and financial priorities. A giant step in that direction is the full implementation of Ellucian products for student information and data governance systems. 
        It is taking countless hours by entire teams across all administrative areas of the college to get our systems in order just to make the switch to Ellucian. As suspected, silos of information held in different areas of the college—information that was not calibrated or consistent—has made this transition difficult. Once it is complete, however, we can have great confidence that all our systems will be fully integrated.
        Full integration and compatibility systems are key reasons the college has decided to move toward financial independence. 
        San Diego County Office of Education—which has been providing fiscal services, including payroll—is upgrading its legacy system. Staff reviewed, at great length, the pros and cons of remaining with the county for payroll and related financial services. In the end, the county acknowledged it could not integrate with Ellucian, nor could it guarantee the price, service level or cost of training beyond five years. 
        I want to thank SCEA for their efforts to provide a financial context of financial independence. But there are additional costs for staying with the county and savings realized with becoming financially independent. 
        In transferring to Ellucian, we are seeing the cost in human capital in working with systems that are incompatible. There is a real cost in preparing data for a system that is not integrated—in effect preparing the same information twice, but in different formats. Preparing information for two different systems also increases the chances for human error. Additionally, we had no cost estimate from the County for training. 
        In addition to the human capital costs, there are the upfront and ongoing maintenance fees the college would pay to the county. Southwestern College’s fair share in helping pay for a new county system is $551,300, or $37 per FTES (based upon 14,900 FTES). Effective 2013-14, the college must also pay an annual maintenance fee of $4 per FTE. Our current FTES target is 15,072, for an estimated charge of $60,288. 
        There are also costs associated with the college becoming fiscally independent. There have been three positions recommended for hiring—an internal auditor, position control technician and payroll director. Of the three, however, only the payroll director is additionally required for financial independence. The other two are required even if we were to stay with the county system.
        Hiring an internal auditor is the only remaining recommendation from the Prop R Special Report and Action Plan. The internal auditor gives us more fiscal oversight than we currently receive from the county and ensures all the district’s warrants (bills) and payroll are reviewed in-depth. Human Resources has also recommended the hiring of a position control technician, whose function is essential even if we were to move to the county’s new system. It may have been possible to achieve some level of position control under the county’s system, but our technicians would need to be trained on two different systems involving a file conversion process to the county and an uncertain connection to our planning process. 
        Even if we were to stay with the county, we discussed, and agreed, that the district should purchase Ellucian’s payroll module. This is required so that we can assure the link to budgeting and continue to provide the most accurate data for budget preparation and negotiations. A payroll director is essential in implementing the payroll module and coordinating in-house operated to adequately address delivering payroll accurately. 
        Estimated costs for the three positions and payroll module: $302,806 (without benefits) 
            • Internal Auditor: $87,708 (classified administrator, Range 35, step 1)
            • Position Control Technician: $51,900 (confidential, Range 12, step 1)
            • Payroll Director: $87,708 (classified administrator, Range 35, step 1)
            • Ellucian payroll module: $75,490 (includes license and annual maintenance) 
        The question becomes, is it worth the cost to absorb these functions? 
        In the last two years, our staff in finance and human resources have made great strides in creating position control and fiscal monitoring to provide the most accurate data for budget preparation and negotiations. This has been an arduous task because this information currently cannot be extracted from the county’s payroll and finance systems. Nor would it be available if we were to convert to the county’s new system. 
        The timing is right for us to become financially independent because of our ongoing efforts to be a data-informed institution. These efforts are a further testament to our community that we have our systems in order.

....................................................................................................................................................
Oct. 3, 2013

        Fall semester is in full swing and we have already celebrated many exciting milestones. Our ASO held a meaningful 9-11 commemoration ceremony and a week later we honored our student veterans with two important celebrations. On Tuesday, Sept. 17, we held a ribbon cutting for the new Veterans’ Resource Center and on the 21st, the Southwestern College Education Foundation saluted our veterans of today and yesterday with a successful gala. Just this week, we brought recognition to our students with disabilities with a celebration attended by students and those who sponsor community services for students with disabilities.

News from Shared Consultation Council 
        The campus climate survey has been an important topic of discussion at several SCC meetings. This week, there was increased attention and discussion to improving morale. 
        Dr. Albert Roman and Linda Hensley led an active discussion on activities that could be implemented or strengthened to improve morale. They included increased recognition, communication and professional development opportunities. 
        Also discussed is how we are preparing for fiscal independence and how we are fortifying our processes in finance and human resources to ensure a successful transition. Dr. Steven Crow presented an outline of the steps we must complete internally and externally to accomplish our goal of fiscal independence by July, 2015.
        Human Resources personnel have been working diligently to complete the important task of position control. With this comprehensive look at personnel, Dr. Roman presented information on staffing trends for the last three years. Given the worst recession in decades, we have seen modest declines in the number of contract employees—accomplished without layoffs. The number of positions has decreased across all areas—classified by 2.7%, faculty by 2.2% and administrative by 1.6%. 
        To see the full reports presented at SCC, go to the 10-2-2013 meeting folder under the Shared Consultation Council committee in SharePoint.

Stepping Up for Staff Development 
        What began as a suggestion to offer leadership opportunities to employees has now developed into a comprehensive slate of offerings that explain some of the most important topics on campus. Led by a core group of faculty, with support from Staff Development, the Organizational Leadership Academy—or OLA!—began offering workshops last month. With topics such as “Understanding the College Budget and Funding Sources,” “The Shared Consultation Council” and “Institutional Program Review and Integrated Planning: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” these workshops are giving faculty members the information and tools to grow as leaders on campus. 
        Our faculty have really stepped in to take ownership of this pilot program. Eventually we want to expand the program to include OLA opportunities for classified and management personnel. We would also like to include educational incentives, flex and hurdle credit and potential career advances for those completing the program. 
        OLA has been a great opportunity for our in-house experts to share their knowledge with their colleagues and strengthen our learning community. Thank you for your leadership, and I look forward to expanding the program soon.

Shelley Carbajal, Employee of the Quarter 
        Congratulations to Shelley Carbajal, the Employee of the Quarter for October through December. At one point or another, every employee has met Shelley through her role as a benefits specialist. Those nominating Shelley credit her with being a problem solver who takes care of issues in short order and with a great attitude. Shelley is trustworthy and has the ability to make employees feel comfortable in an instant. 
Shelley Carbajal-Employee of the Quarter        Most recently Shelley has become an expert in the Affordable Care Act and has been an excellent resource for employees. 
        If you’re on your way to the benefits office, give Shelley a “high five” for a job well done.







....................................................................................................................................................
Aug. 19, 2013

 

Welcome to Fall Semester 2013 

        The excitement of a new semester returns today, and Fall 2013 promises to be filled with focus on student achievement—by students as well as Southwestern College faculty, staff and administrators. 
        At Opening Day Friday, staff and faculty throughout the college immersed themselves in activities that showed how they already address one or more of the six factors that are proven to enhance student success. In breakout sessions with academic and organizational departments, employees found specific examples of how they keep students directed and focused, how they nurture and engage them in activities and how they create connections for them and value their contributions on campus.
        In visits to several breakout sessions, I found earnest dialogues of how each of us can help students in our own way. Of course, serious discussion in the academic departments focused on curriculum, student support services and breaking down barriers for students. Yet, organizational departments’ were just as serious. There was talk about making students feel welcome, greeting them along Jaguar Walk, helping give directions to classrooms buildings and making customer service a priority. 
        As I mentioned in my opening day address, I am proud of everybody coming together in support of student success. With the implementation of new student planning modules through Ellucian this year and this renewed focus by all employees, the 58% student completion rate by 2015 is well within our grasp. I look forward to seeing the new action plans created Friday. 
        As we welcome students to campus today, remember that even in the little things we do, we have a great impact on our students. I encourage you to continue your great work on behalf of our students and their success.

photo of student services session
Student Services in their breakout session

 photo of sciences session
Science faculty in their breakout session

 photo of College police session
College Police in their breakout session
 photo of food services session
Food Services in their breakout session
 photo of Superintendent/President session
My team working on our section

....................................................................................................................................................
July 31, 2013
Where in San Diego County is the Superintendent/President? 
        As part of my ongoing commitment to gather feedback on college initiatives and increase our institutional advancement efforts, I’ve been meeting with a variety of people and organizations recently.

Professional Development Trivial Pursuit Winners 
        Congratulations to Team “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That,” for being the big winners at the Classified Professional Development Day competition May 29. The five ladies had the most correct Photo of Dr. Nish with staffanswers in finding services and departments on the new college website. The prize was lunch with me at the Fish Market restaurant next to the Midway Museum. The lunch was a great opportunity to hear suggestions on how we can continue providing excellent service to our students and to each other. Pictured to my left: Annette Aguilar, office of the VPAA; and to my right: Maria D. Martinez, Higher Education Center-Otay Mesa; across from me, L-R: Cecilia Almaraz, OSS; Angelique Himaka, office of Evaluations; Teresa Alvarez, office of Admissions & Records.


Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Development
 
        Last week we hosted Dr. Ezat Parnia, the president of Pacific Oaks College & Children’s School in Pasadena, to explore the possibility of creating a local cohort for those interested in earning a master’s degree in early child childhood development.Group photo of CDC tour The Children’s School has an interesting history and in many ways has been a pacesetter for early childhood education. In a tour of our Child Development Center, Dr. Parnia found many of the best practices and curriculum of the Children’s School in use here. 
        Pictured to my right: Dr. Ezat Parnia and Patie Bartow, CDC Director; to my left Dean Silvia Cornejo.


Port of San Diego
 
        Two weeks ago I met with Robert “Dukie” Valderrama and the executive team of the San Diego Unified Port District. In addition to being a member of the board of directors for the Southwestern College Foundation, Dukie is also a Port Commissioner representing National City. 
        The Port’s holdings and the working waterfront encompass five cities—four of which are within our attendance area. In a presentation to me and my team, port officials explained that the San Diego Port is the fourth largest of California’s 11 ports and has created a niche market for cargo that does not fit in standardized metal containers. With two major sectors of the port’s economy—tourism/commercial and industrial/maritime—the total economic impact of the port on the local economy is 57,000 jobs and nearly $7.5 billion in direct and indirect spending. 
        Later on a tour of the San Diego Bay aboard a Harbor Police boat, we saw the diversity of opportunities the region offers. NASSCO and BAE Systems workers were building and repairing ships. Tugboat operators tested equipment. And hundreds of cars were being unloaded from a massive cargo ship operated by the Pasha Group in National City. Dr. Nish and Dr. Stavenga
        The opportunities for strengthening our partnerships to the many high-wage career tracks in the industrial/maritime sector are promising, and we will continue working closely with the Port to prepare our students for these industries. 
        Pictured with Dr. Mink Stavenga, Dean of Instructional Support Services.


 

....................................................................................................................................................
July 24, 2013

Faculty News 
        The summer session may be winding down, but Human Resources is still in overdrive—coordinating committees to help us recruit and hire the following tenure-track positions: 
        • DSS Counselor 
        • DSS Learning Disabilities Specialist 
        • Assistant Professor of Chemistry 
        • Assistant Professor of Dental Hygiene 
        • Assistant Professor of EMT/Paramedic 
        • Assistant Professor of Nursing-Vocation Nursing 
        • Assistant Professor of Nursing 
        • Librarian 

        Faculty recruitment and hiring will continue in Spring, 2014. In consultation with Academic Senate President Randy Beach, we expect to hire 16 or more faculty in the spring. Thank you to the Faculty Hiring Prioritization committee for their work. I encourage you to consider serving on one of the many hiring committees we will have.

Tenure Robing Ceremony 
        Congratulations to the 11 newly tenured faculty members who will receive their robes at the Fall Opening Day general session: 
        • Sandra Peppard, Professor of Nursing 
        • Veronica Guaracha, Counselor 
        • Yasmin Mossadeghi, Professor of Exercise Science 
        • Angela Rock, Professor of Exercise Science 
        • Joyce Bayles, Professor of English Composition 
        • Courtney Leckey, Professor of English as a Second Language 
        • Rob Shaffer, Professor of Reading 
        • Jessica Whitsett, Professor of English as a Second Language 
        • Karen Cliffe, Professor of Mathematics 
        • Maria Olivas, Professor of Mathematics 
        • Val Villegas, Professor of Mathematics

Enrollment News 
        The fall semester begins in less than a month, and with it comes our new FTES target, currently estimated to be 14,964 for the academic year. This target represents a growth factor of 1.63%. As we continue our efforts to increase student achievement, your part in student success is more important than ever.

Budget News 
        Throughout the summer we have been reviewing budget updates from Sacramento to finalize our budget for 2013-2014. At its Aug. 28 board workshop, the Governing Board will get a look at the final numbers. While the budget continues to improve, Southwestern College still faces a structural deficit that we must address. We have continued negotiating with SCEA over the summer to study potential financial solutions. 
        I greatly appreciate the negotiated agreement we reached with CSEA and the agreements through the meet and confer process with SCCDAA and Confidentials. 
        You will hear more about the budget and other college priorities during my Opening Day State of the College address.
....................................................................................................................................................
July 15, 2013
Center for International Trade Development a Presidential Winner 
        Southwestern College’s efforts to bring international exposure for U.S. businesses have earned us the Presidential “E” Award. Created in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, the award recognizes organizations that contribute significantly to increasing United States exports. 
        Last week, Victor Castillo, director of the Center for International Trade Development at Photo of Dr. Nish, Chancellor Harris, Victor Castillo and BOG PresidentSouthwestern, and I received the award from Chancellor Brice Harris in Sacramento. Southwestern’ s CITD is one of nine in the state that assists thousands of companies each year in conducting international business. The free or low-cost programs and services include one-on-one technical assistance and consulting, market research, training and educational programs, trade leads and access to special events. The centers are supported by grants through the Chancellor’s Office’s Workforce and Economic Development division. 
        In presenting the award, Chancellor Harris thanked Victor and Southwestern College for helping local businesses get their products to foreign markets. Shown in the photo are L-R: Chancellor Brice Harris, myself, Victor Castillo and Board of Governor's President Manuel Baca.

FTES Targets Met, Growth Funding Secured 
        Students filled classes this summer, helping them reach their educational goals and helping us meet our growth target for FTES. Preliminary figures show that our enrollment for fall, spring and summer pushed past the goal of 14,741 FTES.
        Meeting our growth target was a key component in helping us restore a portion of everybody’s salary—distributed in June pay warrants. 
        Having a robust summer sessions also brings us great momentum as we head into the new semester. Thank you to the faculty and staff at Chula Vista, National City, Crown Cove, San Ysidro, and Otay Mesa for your support of our students.

A Piece of Beverly Hills at Southwestern 
        Thank you to Chief Michael Cash and the Beverly Hills Police Department for a generous donation of training and tactical equipment. Since Chief Cash’s arrival on campus this year, he has been busy bringing emergency response training to students, faculty and staff. This new equipment and training will help the department keep current with the challenges facing law enforcement across the nation. The generous donation, valued at more than $47,000, also allows us to save general funds for student needs.

Welcome, Bea 
        Bea Zamora-Aguilar joins us at the Governing Board meetings as the President and representative for the Southwestern College District Administrators Association. We look forward to her reports, as well as those from our Academic Senate and Union/Association representatives.

 

....................................................................................................................................................
Eileen Zwierski—Energetic Supporter of School of Arts and Communication 
        Each quarter, members of CSEA nominate their peers for their outstanding customer service, achievements, dependability, flexibility and initiative. This time-honored tradition brings recognition to the work our employees do every day in service to our students and college community.
        For the July through September quarter, we recognize and congratulate Eileen ZwierskiEileen accepts her award as the Employee of the Quarter. Eileen serves as the administrative secretary for the School of Arts and Communication and she has been a champion for supporting faculty and student success. Eileen has been praised by faculty, staff, and students across Southwestern College as a professional who has risen above and beyond and has actively looked for ways to help others. Her colleagues say she has served as a gift to the college’s largest school with an upbeat, energetic and proactive management style that is admired.

Campus Climate Survey Results Take Pulse of College 
        Each year, members of our college community answer a campus climate survey to help us gauge how well we’re doing in engaging in serious dialogue and continuous improvement. While the survey is a tool that helps address accreditation, it serves a more important purpose of self-reflection to advance our institutional effectiveness. 
        Not surprisingly, this year’s results reflect the uncertainty of budget constraints, the resignation of a Governing Board member and the strain of contract negotiations. Yet, the survey provides the insight to help us find solutions that will improve communication and organizational trust. 
        Let’s start with some of the highlights. The number of people responding to the survey increased this year over last year, with 260 employees returning the survey. That’s a 3 percent increase from last year. Overall, employees agree that institutional leaders largely create an environment that promotes institutional effectiveness and invites all constituency groups to participate in a dialogue that improves student learning. More than half of those responding said that they had participated in a dialogue about improving student learning. 
        Employees are also satisfied with their immediate supervisors, deans, department chairs, directors and their union leadership. Survey results show that employees feel free to express their opinions and have more trust with those in their immediate chain of command. There also was a high level of satisfaction with constituency group representatives providing timely and accurate information. 
        Although employees may be receiving timely information, they would like more, especially regarding the budget development and budget decision-making processes. A majority of employees don’t feel budget information is accurate, complete or accessible in a timely manner. Many employees also feel unsupported in the shared planning and decision-making process. For those reasons, a majority of those responding to the survey feel institutional excellence, trust and empowerment is lacking. 
        Over the next several months, I will be working with the Governing Board and our college vice presidents to address employee concerns through our collegial consultation venues. 
        To see the full survey, click here.
....................................................................................................................................................
A Time to Celebrate    photo of graduates

        It was a glorious day of celebration yesterday as we welcomed 596 graduates and their families to our 52nd annual Commencement. Although it was one of our largest graduating classes, hundreds of students still felt a personal connection with Southwestern. We had 95 faculty and staff members of our campus community present diplomas to graduates. That is a lasting testimony to the impact each of you make every day.
        As in years past, our graduating class was a dedicated group that took challenging courses and still had time to give back to their community. They made us proud with their accomplishments and the recognition they earned from organizations big and small—locally and statewide. This graduating class had 81 students graduate with honors and 293 will be transferring to universities. Outstanding.
        We now turn our attention to the students who will be joining us this summer. Thanks to Proposition 30 and our collective 5% sacrifice in 2012-13, we are able to increase our summer school offerings by 35% this year. We will offer 426 classes across the Chula Vista campus, all three centers and the Crown Cove Aquatic Center. As usual, our summer school is very popular and we are currently at an 88.7% fill rate.
        I can’t thank you enough for your sacrifices this year so that we can continue to provide access to a quality education for all who pass through our doors.
        Summer will also be a busy time for our Human Resources and Payroll departments. With new funding from the state and earning Center status for National City and San Ysidro, we are able to end the year with only a 3.5% salary reduction. All employees will receive this reimbursement with their June pay. 
        We’ll continue our progress toward reaching our goal of a 58% student completion rate when we return in the fall. We are excited to develop more fully our three major strategies in reaching that goal:

• Degree audit
• Analyzing completion rates by program and identifying obstacles to completion, e.g. not petitioning for a certificate
• First-year experience
 
        As I complete my first full academic year, I am grateful for the renewed sense of teamwork on campus. Our leadership team, with all constituencies represented, has accomplished a great deal in increasing transparency and communicating our shared mission of student and staff success.

....................................................................................................................................................
Continuing the Conversation on Student Success
        Two activities this week remind us of the great academic successes our students earn, but also what we can do as a college community to boost that achievement even more. 
        On Tuesday, we will honor 20 Students of Distinction—Southwestern College’s highest honor for students. Then on Friday, we will hold Part III of our Student Success Implementation planning sessions. 
        At the SODA awards, we will honor students who will be going on to study astrophysics, emergency medicine, electrical engineering and journalism. We have other SODA winners who will be starting their own businesses or continuing their education so they can return to Southwestern as a faculty member. 
        They are indeed some of our best and brightest. And they were helped on their journey to success by caring faculty and staff who shared proven strategies for improved student achievement. 
        For much of the spring semester, a core group of administrators, faculty and staff have been working to identify these strategies and determine ways for us to share with more students across our campus and centers.
        The three strategies that rose to the top for quicker implementation and biggest impact on student achievement were: 
        • Degree Audit 
        • Analyzing completion rates by program and identifying obstacles to completion, e.g. not petitioning for a certificate      
        • First-year experience 

        To truly impact student achievement and increase graduation rates, the hiring of full-time, experienced faculty will need to be a priority. Studies have shown that full-time faculty have a more positive impact on graduation rates (Jacoby, 2005). Students have spoken as well, saying full-time faculty are available for extended student learning and advising and are more connected to the college (Community College Survey of Student Engagement, 2007). 
        We must, however, consider the impact of the years of decreased funding on our ability to hire. New revenues (center status, anticipated COLA and restoration funding) have addressed some of our budget concerns, but we still have a structural deficit. 
        Despite those economic challenges, we’ve held some funds to hire full-time faculty. We are in recruitment now for two positions from the FHP emergency list. We are continuing to review the faculty hiring priority list and expect to hire more in the near future. Continue to look in my column for the next update.
...................................................................................................................................................
Ending the Spring Semester with a Focus on Student Success and Completion 
        A concrete action plan for student success and completion is one step closer after Part II of our dialogue series Friday. Hosted by VPAA Kathy Tyner and VPSA Angelica Suarez, the dialogue brought together about 40 college leaders of students, faculty, staff, and administrators to begin the hard work of distilling hundreds of ideas into the action plan. 
        This session built on the creative ideas gathered at the April 5th session and were organized into six themes: 
            1. Curriculum Management/Analysis of Programs/Teaching &Learning 
            2. Data Management 
            3. Mentorship of Students                                 
            4. Public Relations/Marketing/PIO 
            5. Process Improvement 
            6. Student Educational Planning/Matriculation 
        At this session, Deans Joel Levine and Linda Gilstrap and Director Linda Hensley facilitated as college leaders refined and narrowed action items to a total of two per theme, for a total of 12 actionPhoto of working group items. Each of the 12 plans contains concrete action items that can begin implementation within the next six months, will have a significant impact on increasing student completion, and can be implemented with existing college resources people, time and money. Each of the actions was placed on large posters for further review by each of the 40 participants.
        In the next few weeks, you will continue to hear about this work of Implementing Chosen Actions as we take the Completion Agenda on the road … with a third session being held on May 17 to further refine the action plan.

Nurturing the K-16 Continuum 
        One of the priorities under the Student Success legislation is to strengthen Southwestern College’s link between our feeder high school district and transfer universities. Recently, the chair of San Diego State University’s Rhetoric and Writing Studies Department and members of the department met with Superintendent/President Nish and group listen to outlinefaculty from Southwestern College and the Sweetwater Union High School District. The goal was to share instructional methodologies to increase our students’ success with San Diego State’s writing requirements. 
        About 50 members of our English and ESL faculty met with San Diego State University and Sweetwater faculty during the half-day workshop. By incorporating strategies for scaffolding rhetorical reading and analysis activities from basic to advanced English levels, our students will have a better understanding of upper level division English course requirements.

Governing Board Unanimously Approves EMP/FMP 
        Southwestern College can now embark on a new, exciting journey to transform the look of our main campus and Higher Education Centers after the Governing Board’s unanimous acceptance of the Educational and Facility Master Plans. 
        In urging the board to accept the plans, faculty from the School of Math, Science and Engineering talked about the exciting possibilities that would exist for students with the construction of a new school. There would be updated labs, a consolidated network of classrooms in one building and close proximity to the college library. 
        The Governing Board also heard a comprehensive presentation from the consultants preparing the plans, outlining their methodologies, data research and feedback they heard from college constituency groups. 
        The college will now embark on feasibility studies to determine programming and other uses for the Wellness Center and Performing Arts Center being proposed for the corner lot.
        Thank you to everybody who took the time to attend the meetings and provide comments and feedback on the plans. We will be continuing the dialogue as we move closer to the actual designs of buildings and programs.

................................................................................................

4/18/13

Update from the State CEO Conference  

The presidents of all Southern California community colleges gather annually in April to review where we are at as a State, as an educational system, and to discuss current priorities  and strategies for moving forward.  With presentations from the League and the Chancellor’s Office, here is my short list from the two-day conference.

Over the last four years, we have lost 469,000 students statewide, and enrollment demand is slowing down.  This "forced change” due to financial contraction has deeply affected the CCC system. We need to embrace the reduced mission of the CCC’s, focusing on success, not just access. One way to address this mission is to work towards increasing unit load, rather than increasing students.  This approach supports student success, as we know that full-time students achieve educational goals at a higher rate than part-time students.  Finally, we need to continue to work more as a system and not lose the momentum we currently have in addressing student success (SB 1440, SB 1456, etc). 

Potentially, this “slack in demand” will allow CCC’s some catch-up time to address areas neglected over the past four years, such as maintenance. While the economic outlook is moderately good, fixed costs will continue to accelerate (STRS, PERS, health benefits, and deferred maintenance).  We need to plan for these.

Other financial updates included:

  • Do not expect performance-based funding to happen in this year’s budget. But this is still very much on the table.
  • Do not expect any action on Adult Ed this year.  This is too big and too complex for the Legislature to do anything soon.
  • Expect the May revise to still include $196.9 million for community colleges. 

What is on the horizon?
Online education, MOOCs and efficiency are popular topics with legislators and the governor. Faced with the facts that 25% of all CCC students take online classes, an education panel discussed MOOC mania, Google glasses, and the fact that we are already in a virtual world.  iTunes university and Google are already there.

What are we going to do to get ahead of this?  Currently, SDICCCA colleges are working to coordinate online offerings and professional development. In California, we anticipate system-wide coordination with a centralized portal.  Another state goal is a common LMS (learning management system) with a one-time investment of $13million and annual costs of $8 million. Course development, professional development, system level support and student support would be centralized in this system, potentially saving Southwestern College funds.

Online education is just one way in which we see a movement away from the Carnegie unit and toward student outcomes and competency-based education.  ACCJC sees this movement toward competency-based education a “bright light.”

There are three other major initiatives getting serious consideration: Community College baccalaureate degrees; new accreditation standards that include Institution-Set Standards; and rethinking the delivery of Career Technical Education.

Community College baccalaureate degrees are a top priority of San Diego Chancellor Carroll.  She has advocated that a statewide taskforce be formed, similar to the Student Success Task Force.  Chancellor Brice Harris concurs, and we expect this group to be formed soon.  These four-year degrees would be “applied baccalaureates,” with the primary example being the BSN (bachelors of science in nursing) degree. Anticipate a one-year task force review and final report.

New accreditation standards will be released in 2014, and they will be less redundant. There will be a new Standard I.C.—institutional integrity.  (SWC will follow the new standards at our next self-evaluation, due in fall 2015.)

Also included in the new accreditation standards will be Institution-Set Standards for academic achievement.  These are NOT goals, but minimum standards by which each institution judges itself to ensure quality and encourage continuous improvement. There will be a new emphasis on effective student learning as measured by assessment of outcomes for ALL staff, not just faculty members. One example may be including a student learning component in all academic administrators, faculty, and other academic staff evaluations.

Career Technical Education is more important than ever.  CEOs need to rethink how we approach industry and how we respond to industry needs. California has the worst unemployment rate in the nation (tying with Mississippi and Nevada at 9.6%). At the same time, CCCs have missed out on nearly all federal funds dispersed via Workforce Investment Boards.
CEOs were advised to get out of the credit-thinking box—which is too slow to be of much use to most industry needs.  We need to be more flexible and use non-credit, and fee-based/ no-credit approaches, which can be much more responsive to industry needs.

Vice Chancellor Ton-Quinlivan is also aggressively working to “regionalize” our CTE structures, which includes the “braided funding strategy.” Braiding funds essentially means combining several sources of funding (including state and federal grants). 

CEOs need to have updated external scans of their communities and use this information when addressing the public, industry, campus constituencies.  Southwestern College has this updated information, allowing us to address future career needs for South County, thanks to our new EMP. Additionally; our recent economic scan measured the value of the investment of a community college education to our students and community. For every dollar a student invests in their education at Southwestern College, they earn $5.40 in future earnings.

We will be creating information sheets to share with industry leaders and the community. Be on the lookout for them on the district website, so you can share them with your community contacts.

.....................................................................................................................................................

ASO Supports Academic Success

The student leadership on campus is embracing our efforts to improve student transfer rates. This Saturday, the ASO will hold its second annual Pathway to Success conference. The conference is expanding this year to provide transferring students with an opportunity to attend workshops being held by SDSU, UCSD AND UCLA.

Information on the April 20 conference
UCSD's participation this year is a direct result of the students' request to Chancellor Pradeep Khosla in a private meeting after the Chancellor's reception on campus last semester.

The day-long conference will also provide workshops to incoming freshmen, giving them helpful tips on making a successful transition to college. The ASO is still seeking mentors to pair with the new students at the Saturday conference. If you know of a student who is interested in participating as a mentor, have them email: swcmentor@gmail.com

.....................................................................................................................................................

Spring Opening Day Efforts Gaining Traction

If you are one of the more than 300 staff members who participated in the brainstorming breakout sessions at spring opening day, you should be pleased to know that those ideas are getting a workout. Each of the ideas has been categorized into one of six research-based student success factors. The ideas and the success factors were further analyzed at a retreat on April 5. Hosted by VPAA Kathy Tyner and VPSA Angelica Suarez, leaders of the faculty, staff, and administrators, identified short-term action items based on the following criteria:

  • could begin within six months 
  • would have a large impact on improving student achievement of certificates and degrees 
  • could be implemented with existing College resources of people, time, and money.

A second retreat is being held on April 26, where these ideas will be refined further. Continue readinaboutnthe progress of this group in future Superintendent/President columns.

 ....................................................................................................................................................

EMP Final Draft Ready for Review

The College’s Educational Master Plan has gathered considerable feedback, and now our new journey begins. As consultant Fred Trapp said last week in his presentation to the SCC, the Educational Master Plan is not an end, but a beginning. 

The plan has done an excellent analysis of Southwestern College’s strengths and opportunities. We sit among the greatest number of enterprise zones of any college in San Diego County. That means there is an entrepreneurial spirit in South County and our local government agencies are willing to invest in new businesses. That also means that Southwestern College is poised to be the trainer of choice for employers. 

The plan also formalized what members of our college community have been saying since I arrived—our data governance systems are in need of serious attention and standardization. 

With the high expectations of SB1456, the Student Success Act, our data governance system will need to better reflect degree and certificate completions. This will require that we all work together to determine mechanisms that help our students take that extra step to document their success.

It is this lack of standardization and the current system’s inability to audit degrees that we have embarked on our ambitious Ellucian (formerly Datatel) project. We all have been asking for serious data governance reform, and we have begun that process. Many departments have already received orientation for the Ellucian products—several of which we had but didn’t use—that will help us strengthen our systems. There are solutions for Human Resources, Financial Services, Student Services and Academic Affairs, among others. Later this week we’ll be rolling out information to all constituents to show our progress. 

The Educational Master Plan has done an excellent job of documenting this moment in time in Southwestern College’s history. It is now up to us to use this information for continuous improvement for the betterment of the students we serve. 

To view the final draft of the plan, go to Educational and Facilities Master Plans on the college website. Additionally, the Academic Senate is hosting Dr. Fred Trapp at its meeting tomorrow, 11am in L238N.

..................................................................................................................................................

Tom Holst

 

TOM HOLST

The Classified Employee of the Quarter

 

Tom Holst, Southwestern College’s lead plumber and employee since January 1992, has kept a low profile for the past 21 years at SWC, but his kindness, professionalism and willingness to help others has not gone unnoticed. Holst is SWC’s Employee of the Quarter—April to June 2013—and his humility is almost as strong as his work ethic.  

Holst has contributed to the success of the college’s many operations, including in the School of Math, Science and Engineering. Holst has used his expertise and diligence to handle a high volume of emergency situations, including fixing gas leaks and flooding sinks and floors in many science labs. He has taken the initiative to ensure these issues don’t resurface, and has handled them all with a demeanor that his highly respected and liked amongst the campus community. 

Holst will be recognized at the March 13 Governing Board meeting.

Congratulations, Tom.

..................................................................................................................................................

January 15, 2013

Julie Swanson - Classified Employee of the Quarter

Julie Swanson

 

Outstanding customer service, great initiative and support to students are a few of the qualities Julie Swanson demonstrates daily in Student Employment Services. The Governing Board and Julie’s colleagues recognized her at the December, 2012 Governing Board meeting.

In nominating her for Employee of the Quarter – January to March 2013 – those working with Julie appreciated her efforts to raise the level of customer service to students and employers. She established a Twitter account to promote job opportunities, developed instructional fliers to help students understand SES services and streamlined processes to save time and money. Julie also volunteers her time to assist students with their resumes.

Congratulations, Julie.

..................................................................................................................................................

 

January 15, 2013

Welcome to Spring Semester, 2013

The campus has come alive again as students, faculty and staff begin Spring Semester, 2013. There is optimism in the air with the positive impact of Proposition 30’s passage in November and a balanced budget proposal coming from the Governor’s office.

Opening Day set a tone of reflection and enthusiasm as all employees re-discovered ways to work together to help students succeed. In the general session, students—past and present—talked about how our employees helped them grow into the leaders they are today. They also challenged us to raise the bar for all students.

My presentation provided data on our student achievement and outlined strategies that our students tell us work well in building their success.

As we settle into the spring semester, let us remember the excitement of this week and our promise to reach out to students on their journey to educational success.

 

UCSD's participation this year is a direct result of the students' request to Chancellor Pradeep Khosla in a private meeting after the Chancellor's reception on campus last semester. The day-long conference will also provide workshops to incoming freshmen, giving them helpful tips on making a successful transition to college. The ASO is still seeking mentors to pair with the new students at the Saturday conference. If you know of a student who is interested in participating as a mentor, have them email:
Last updated: 2/10/2014 4:25:06 PM