Happy Winter 2017! I hope you had an enjoyable break and for those of you who worked on all the preparations necessary for the start of the quarter, a giant thank you!
I hope to see many of you over the coming months at our district wide conversations on enrollment and revenue growth, prompted by our continuing enrollment declines. You are welcome to attend any one of the sessions:
February 22 - 12:30-2:00 Hearthside Room, Foothill
February 23 - 12:30-2:00 Room 124, Sunnyvale Center
March 7 - 12:30-2:00 Conference Rooms A/B, De Anza
We will also provide additional means to submit comments and suggestions beyond the in-person meetings.
The enrollment declines reflected in our first apportionment report of the 2016-17 academic year (Summer/Fall 2016), and initial enrollment data for the current quarter underscore the importance of your participation in developing our collective solutions for increasing enrollment and revenue. We were wise to conserve a substantial stability fund as it buys us time to develop and implement a range of strategies. Kudos to all of you who have been addressing our challenges by working on major grant proposals, developing and enhancing online and hybrid instruction and services, improving customer service, increasing outreach, establishing community and business partnerships, and focusing on retention strategies.
Foothill-De Anza has a history of rising to the occasion and I am confident that we are writing another chapter of exemplary service to students thanks to your dedication and creativity!
Judy-- January 9, 2017
Our Board of Trustees meetings of November 7 and December 12 addressed three items in particular that I would like to bring to your attention.
RESOLUTIONS ON DACA AND AFFIRMATION OF STUDENT PRIVACY RIGHTS
Our Board passed two resolutions on Dec. 12 that reflect our commitment to student equity in the midst of great fear and uncertainty.
Many thanks to all of you who have been actively involved in providing students with
counseling, information, and referrals. Panels and workshops have been well received
and your efforts on extremely short notice are much appreciated.
FIRST QUARTER REPORT
The first quarter report that came to the board November 7 continues to show a disturbing trend of enrollment decreases. While we have purposefully maintained one-time dollars in a robust stability fund, we face unprecedented uncertainties that could exhaust our financial safety net sooner than planned. We anticipated a softening of enrollment resulting from the temporary closure of the Flint Center parking garage as well as the improved job market. However, unforeseen challenges may arise from federal policies governing immigration, student visas, and federal financial aid.
While we are fiscally confident for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, we will engage in districtwide discussions for revised forecasts into 2018-2019. Our Board of Trustees will hold a study session on February 6 with a focus on budget that will be informed by the release of Governor Jerry Brown’s budget on January 10, our final enrollment data from Fall 2016, and preliminary enrollment data from Winter 2017. We may also have some indications of national actions after the presidential inauguration on January 20.
Vice Chancellor Kevin McElroy, President Brian Murphy, President Thuy Nguyen, and I will facilitate the districtwide discussions at De Anza, Foothill, and Sunnyvale in late February through late March. The schedule will be published by the start of Winter Quarter and everyone is welcome to attend including faculty who may wish to bring their classes. We look forward to hearing your ideas for increasing enrollment and revenue as the first approach to closing the gap between needs and available resources.
SWEARING IN OF TRUSTEES AND ELECTION OF BOARD OFFICERS
We welcomed the seating of Peter Landsberger and Gilbert Wong and the return of Laura Casas at the December 12 meeting. In concert with fellow Trustees Pearl Cheng and Bruce Swenson and student Trustees Courtney Cooper and Elias Kamal, Foothill-De Anza continues to be led by a board that exemplifies fiscal stewardship in service of student equity, educational excellence, and leadership in innovation. Board officers for 2017 are Laura Casas, president, and Bruce Swenson, vice president. Additionally, President Casas appointed Trustees Swenson and Cheng to the board’s Audit and Finance Committee, with Trustee Swenson serving as chair, and Trustees Landsberger and Wong to the Foothill-De Anza Foundation Board of Directors and the Trustee Scholarship Interview Committee. The board selected Trustee Cheng to serve as the board’s voting representative for the 2017 election of the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Committee on School District Organization.
In closing, let me take this opportunity to express my sincerest gratitude for the work you do every day. Along with our students, each of you is truly inspiring!
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season,
December 13, 2016
We have been incredibly fortunate to have Betsy Bechtel and Joan Barram serve with great distinction and dedication on the Board of Trustees for our district. November 7 was their last Board meeting and it was truly a bittersweet moment as we thanked them with a standing ovation and heartfelt kudos for their countless impactful contributions to our students and community.
As a result of Tuesday’s elections, we now have the opportunity to welcome Peter Landsberger and Gilbert Wong to the Board, and also to celebrate the re-election of Laura Casas. Our district is in excellent hands and will undoubtedly continue to be the envy of many for its outstanding trusteeship.
Earlier this year, we adopted a revised mission statement for our district that was carefully crafted over months of reflection and discussion by all our constituencies:
The mission of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District is student success. We are driven by an equity agenda and guided by core values of excellence, inclusion, and sustainability. Every member of our district contributes to a dynamic learning environment that fosters student engagement, equal opportunity, and innovation in meeting the various educational and career goals of our diverse students. We are committed to providing an accessible, quality undergraduate education dedicated to developing a broadly educated and socially responsible community that supports an equitable and just future for California.
All of the words were chosen very purposefully and I draw your attention to our commitment to “developing a broadly educated and socially responsible community that supports an equitable and just future for California.” We are equally committed to an equitable and just future for the United States of America and we strive towards that end guided by our moral compass and living our core values. The work we do is affirming; it is healing; it celebrates the triumph of the human spirit. We will stay the course because that is who we are.
Grateful for the privilege to work beside you,
Judy C. Miner, Ed.D.
November 9, 2016
It is with great pride that I share the report that is being submitted to the League for Innovation in the Community College as part of the process for reaffirming continued participation by Foothill-De Anza. Pursuant to the Leagues’ bylaws, a change in the District’s chief executive officer triggers a review to determine that we remain exemplars of educational excellence, leadership, and innovation. The report can be accessed at http://www.fhda.edu/_about-us/_league-for-innovation/index.html and you will see the outstanding evidence of individual and collective accomplishments throughout our District.
Please join me in thanking our tremendously terrific trio of Lori Susi, Paula Norsell, and Becky Bartindale for the countless hours they spent on producing this impressive record of Foothill-De Anza achievements. The report is both beautiful and substantive, and reflects a genuine labor of love!
JudyJudy C. Miner, Ed.D. Chancellor
October 12, 2016
I so look forward to seeing you on District Opening Day at De Anza on Thursday, September 22, to celebrate the start of the 2016-17 academic year! This is the one time of year when we all come together and numerous colleagues and students have helped to plan a program that furthers the great work you already do.
Details about District Opening Day are available at http://fhda.edu/district_opening_day/index.html.
Please know that although the Flint Center parking structure is closed for renovations, there is ample parking at De Anza in other lots.
Thank you in advance for the warm welcome and supportive environment that you will offer our students at the start of classes and throughout the year. Do let me know about your proud moments as I have many opportunities to share our success stories locally, statewide, and even nationally. I would love to include yours!
Wishing you all the best for 2016-2017,
Judy C. Miner, Ed.D.
September 18, 2016
For the sixteenth time in seven years, President Obama has needed to address the nation on the occasion of a mass shooting. Sixteen times…
The horrible tragedy in Orlando is another vicious act of cruelty that causes grief, anger, fear, and confusion. Our hearts go out to all the victims, their families and friends, and to law enforcement and first responders who heroically risked their lives to save others. As inadequate as words may feel at a time such as this, the indomitable spirit of Orlando was given voice by Patty Sheehan, the first openly gay Orlando City Commissioner:
"I just want to say that as a community, we are people who love, we are resilient, and we are going to show you... we are going to show you the good…"
More than a thousand people in line to donate blood is just one example of what will ultimately define Orlando.
As we continue to celebrate our students’ accomplishments through the remainder of June, let us hold our moments of community and kinship that much more dearly. We are blessed to be in a community college district that embraces inclusiveness and diversity, working alongside amazingly talented and dedicated colleagues. May that be some source of solace and hope for us in the midst of so much tragedy.
Judy C. Miner, Ed.D.
June 12, 2016
I’m writing to share some fabulous news with you, give you an update on the search for a new chancellor and alert you to an exciting new training opportunity that I’m sure you’ll want to take advantage of, both personally and professionally.
First, I am thrilled to report that this afternoon the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges recommended Foothill as one of 15 colleges to offer a baccalaureate degree under a new pilot program authorized by the California Legislature last year. Foothill’s dental hygiene department submitted a stellar application to become part of this important pilot and plans to launch its baccalaureate program in Fall 2016. Congratulations!
This is a historic day for California, for community colleges, for employers and, most importantly, for our students. The opportunity for local community colleges to address regional needs for high-skilled workers will benefit the local economy enormously. And the opportunity for community college students to obtain an in-demand bachelor’s degree without leaving home or going into debt will enrich lives and change futures.
Several other career programs at Foothill and De Anza also can make strong cases for offering baccalaureate degrees, but the legislation allowed only one application per district. My expectation is that the pilot will prove so successful that the legislature will lift these restrictions. Then California can join the 21 other states that allow all community colleges that meet the requirements to offer baccalaureate degrees in career-technical fields.
Since I announced my retirement plans in December, the Board of Trustees has begun the process of hiring a search consultant to assist with finding Foothill-De Anza’s next chancellor. We’ve also retained the services of retired vice chancellor and interim chancellor Mike Brandy, who will serve as search liaison. Trustees would like to have a new chancellor named before my departure on June 30, so the search will be moving quickly!
On Feb. 3-4, you will have opportunities to provide input into a chancellor’s profile that’s being developed. More information about where and when will be coming to you soon. Formal recruitment will begin in mid-February, the search committee will screen applications and conduct interviews in April and May, and finalists will visit the campuses in June.
Watch the district home page (http://www.fhda.edu) for updated information about the chancellor search, including who is representing your governance group on the search committee.
Governor’s budget proposal & enrollment
The other good news I wanted to share is that Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2015-16 budget proposal for community colleges is being hailed as the best in many years. It includes an increase in base funding, additional dollars to support student success, a 1.58 percent cost-of-living adjustment, plus funding for enrollment growth. One area of concern for us, however, continues to be enrollment. As of today – census day – we’ve down from winter quarter 2014 by 28 FTES, or full-time-student equivalents, continuing our trend of flat or declining enrollment. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that California’s economy stays strong and that the California Legislature supports the governor’s budget.
Unlimited access to Lynda.com
In late December, ETS announced that the district has entered into an agreement with Lynda.com to provide training for faculty and staff. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop professional and personal skills. Lynda.com is an online education company whose mission is “to help you learn the skills you need to achieve your full potential.”
Lynda.com offers more than 2,400 courses taught by industry experts via video tutorials,
covering a gamut of business, software, technology and creative skills. Most courses
are eligible for a certificate of completion and some 40-60 new courses are added
If you think this sounds too good to be true, just check out the website at http://www.lynda.com
You can set up your own account for free using instructions on the ETS website.
As you can see, we’re in for an exciting quarter. I hope it’s a good one for you!
I want to let you know that this afternoon I informed the Board of Trustees that after 40 years in community colleges and 29 years as a chief executive officer, I will be retiring next summer. My husband and I will be returning to our home in Phoenix to rejoin our family and many friends and colleagues.
It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve the Foothill-De Anza Community College District for the past five years. When I joined the district in February 2010, we were in the midst of the worst financial crisis in California community college history. Today the colleges are stabilized and moving forward with an unwavering commitment to student equity, opportunity and success.
I am particularly proud that during my tenure we acquired the Onizuka property through a public benefit conveyance and the new Education Center is on track to open in Fall 2016. I was able to fulfill a nearly two-decade dream of seeing community colleges authorized to offer baccalaureate degrees. The $57 million Online Education Initiative will transform digital learning and student services throughout California. And today, Foothill-De Anza's technology infrastructure is what you would expect of the largest community college district serving the Silicon Valley. Finally, we are on a path to build a district office building and boardroom worthy of this premier college district.
I want to thank the members of the Board of Trustees for their solid support. Our district is blessed to be governed by such a dedicated and exemplary board. Also deserving of praise are the generous and caring members of the Foothill-De Anza Foundation board. I also want to thank the college presidents and district vice chancellors who have been great colleagues and friends. Finally, I want to express my appreciation to and respect for the outstanding faculty, staff and administrators of this world-class college district. I will miss you all.
Please know that for the remainder of my time here I will give my full attention to the business of the District as it prepares for the transition to a new chancellor.
With gratitude,Linda M. Thor Chancellor--
Posted Dec. 2, 2014
Thank you, President Swenson. Good morning!
No, I'm not Tim Cook and I don't have any new iPhones or Apple Watches to show you! But I am the first speaker on this stage since the Apple CEO launched the Apple Watch and the next-generation of iPhones on Sept. 9.
For those who aren't aware of all the hubbub that's taken place on the De Anza campus, Apple spent several weeks in August and September gussying up the Flint Center and transforming the Sunken Garden into a white, windowless, three-story pavilion for showing off its products.
A lot of media and tech people were here, tweeting and blogging.
And, yes - U2 was here.
Leading up to the event, the mysterious white structure was the talk for the town. Of course we were sworn to secrecy under our agreement with Apple, a company that likes surprises.
On several levels, this event was quite beneficial for us.
In addition to the attention it drew, the Flint Center got some new paint; the sidewalks and patios were power-washed; and the balustrades surrounding the Sunken Garden were restored or replaced, a rather expensive undertaking. There were other benefits, and the rental and other fees were substantial.
I wasn't surprised to learn that the efforts required of the De Anza staff met and exceeded Apple's notoriously exacting standards. Congratulations to all who made it happen!
Now, let's look to the new academic year. I have good news to share with you.
Before I dive into district updates and introduce our distinguished guest speaker, Dr. Manuel Pastor, I want to acknowledge those individuals who participate in governance at the college and district level.
There is no substitute for working together, which is what shared governance is about. It is essential, both for maintaining continuity and advancing the institution.
Would members of college and district governance groups please stand and be recognized? You know who you are; don't be shy now.
Please join me in thanking your colleagues for representing you so well. I appreciate your help!
I also want to shine a light on two other groups that are essential to our success.
As of today, we have more than 80 employees who've worked for Foothill-De Anza for 25 years or more. Each of you has played a role in the success of our colleges.
If you are among them, please stand so we can recognize you.
And now, a glimpse into our future.
Since the last District Opening Day, we've hired 75 new faculty, classified staff and administrators.
You were selected for these positions based on your accomplishments and character, and because we're confident that you will support our students and make significant contributions to our community going forward.
If you work at De Anza College and were hired in the past 12 months, please stand and remain standing.
Now, employees who started at Foothill in the last year, please stand.
New Central Services employees, please join them.
Let's show our new employees how glad we are to have them as colleagues!
SB 850 - Community college baccalaureate
Last year, I told you about serving on a task force that was exploring the possibility of California community colleges offering baccalaureate degrees in a limited number of applied career-technical fields.
This is a cause I've been working on for almost 20 years, first in Arizona and now here.
Much to my amazement, it looks like California may become the 23rd state to authorize the community college baccalaureate, at least on a pilot basis.
The state Assembly and Senate voted unanimously to pass the enabling legislation, Senate Bill 850. If the governor signs it, California will begin a pilot program in January that allows up to 15 community college districts to offer one baccalaureate degree each.
The degrees will be offered in fields with high regional workforce demand and cannot duplicate degrees offered by California's public universities.
In our district, respiratory therapy and dental hygiene at Foothill are eager to offer baccalaureate degrees, as is automotive technology at De Anza.
We don't know yet what the state's selection process will be - for example, whether a district will be allowed to submit multiple proposals. But whatever it is, you can bet we'll be in the running.
Based on provisions in the legislation, we estimate that the fees for a four-year baccalaureate degree from a California community college would cost $10,500.
So the $10,000 baccalaureate degree may be here!
I believe the community college baccalaureate will open doors for students who may lack the means or opportunity to leave home to continue their education.
Education center at Onizuka
Building renovations and equipment upgrades are still taking place on our campuses, but the Measure C bond construction program is winding down.
Foothill-De Anza's new education center at the former Onizuka Air Force Station will be among our last new-construction projects.
The center will create new opportunities for students when it opens in 2016, and we expect it will bump up enrollment.
It will operate as a regional center where students can take classes offered by Foothill, De Anza and our partner, Mission College, that will prepare them for the workforce or transfer.
Based on the strengths of the colleges and the needs of Silicon Valley employers, we're looking at workforce development programs under four broad headings: Health care, business, child development and information and computer technology.
For many years, the site was home to the Blue Cube, a spy satellite center with a storied history. We'll integrate the histories of the Blue Cube and Onizuka into the center.
While there won't be any new buildings to open this year, technology is jumping! As always, ETS is working on a wide range of projects.
One that touches all of us is the upgrading of our data network, which began last year and is still under way. This project already has substantially improved speed, reliability and security of our network.
It's also laid the foundation for our move to a new "voice over Internet protocol" telephone system - or VoIP - to replace our aging, traditional phone system.
When the VoIP system is ready later this year, it will allow you to use your office telephone pretty much as you have in the past.
Or you can take advantage of much broader functionality, such as being notified of phone calls and messages by email when you're on the go, or making and receiving telephone calls from your computer, similar to Skype and other Internet phone services.
We're also working this year on a major upgrade to our wireless network to improve its performance.
Users with a valid CWID soon will only have to register their device once a year to use wireless - no more constantly having to log in. Wow! It's about time.
We've also heard you on the need for software tools and training.
This fall, ETS is launching a new on-demand, technology training service for district employees through Lynda.com. For those who aren't familiar with Lynda, it's a user-friendly global service that offers thousands of sophisticated, video training modules related to software applications.
Finally, we've negotiated a districtwide license for Adobe software that allows all of us to use products like Acrobat Pro and Creative Suite applications on our work computers.
Remarkably, this license also allows faculty, staff and students to purchase Adobe software for use on their personally owned computers for a one-time fee of only $20. How great is that?
Information about how to take advantage of the new Adobe license agreement is available on the ETS website under District Standards.
Online Education Initiative
Before moving to other district updates, I want to give you a quick overview of progress on the Online Education Initiative grant that the California Community Colleges awarded to Foothill-De Anza last November.
I'm pleased to report that in July we received the second installment of this $57 million, five-year grant.
The goal is to increase the number of community college students earning certificates and degrees by creating a one-stop, state-of-the-art online education ecosystem for use by all participating colleges.
But OEI isn't just about increasing access; it places high priority on increasing student success and will offer a full range of online student services.
Members of our launch team, led by Vice Chancellor Joe Moreau, have been working non-stop for the past 10 months to get things rolling.
They laid the groundwork for hiring a permanent and stellar leadership team - which has been accomplished.
They're developing a request for proposals for a common, statewide course management system, and the RFP will be released this month.
They've journeyed up and down the state explaining the initiative and answering questions, getting people interested and involved, and working closely with the statewide Academic Senate.
As a result, 58 colleges applied for 24 slots in the OEI pilot consortium to test various aspects of the new online system.
This is phenomenal progress in very little time.
I'd like to thank the many district employees who served on the hiring committees to select the permanent OEI leadership team. And I welcome members of that team, who are here with us today.
I think this initiative has great potential to help California close its persistent achievement and opportunity gaps.
New District Office Building
As you may have heard, this spring ETS will move into what was the District Office Building.
After years of living out of "temporary" quarters, starting this spring our technology staff will have a very nice place to call home.
The idea of repurposing the district offices came about because of the growth in cloud computing and rapid changes in technology that allow fewer servers to do more work.
Without the need to build a new data center, ETS could be accommodated in the district office building and we could build new district offices that better meet our space needs.
After considering site options at both campuses and Onizuka, we've chosen Lot 7, across from the fire station at Foothill.
Here's a very preliminary first cut at what the new building might look like. It will include a separate boardroom set apart from the offices, as well as space for the Foothill-De Anza Foundation and a patio for receptions and other events.
The earliest we anticipate completing it is Spring 2017.
So for the next few years, Human Resources, Business Services and the Chancellor's Office will remain in the trailers on Lot 5 at Foothill.
Budget & enrollment update
You know Opening Day wouldn't be complete without an enrollment and budget update. Fortunately, this is no longer the main event!
The temporary tax increases that took effect after voters passed Proposition 30 in 2012 have given us a respite from budget cuts, and much needed fiscal stability.
How long that stability lasts depends in part on our enrollment and how the state budget fares.
Because our apportionment revenue is pegged to meeting state enrollment targets, our five-year enrollment decline has resulted in continuing decreases in state funding. At the close of last fiscal year, we'd served about 7,000 fewer full-time-equivalent students than we did at our peak in 2008-09.
This year, though, I'm pleased to report that as of yesterday, our fall enrollment is up from a year ago by almost 1,000 students and more than 140 full-time-equivalent students. This is fabulous news!
Many variables will play out over the course of the year, but our adopted budget for 2014-15 shows expenses exceeding revenue by just over $2 million. So we still have a budget deficit. Continuing to grow our enrollment will help close that gap.
Fortunately, we still have enough one-time dollars to close the gap this year while we plan for continued enrollment growth or expense reductions if we don't continue to grow. As classes begin, I urge you to retain every student you can and to share your ideas for building enrollment.
We've set aside funds for increased outreach and marketing, and we need everyone's help in attracting and retaining students throughout the year.
While our budget situation remains challenging, it's nothing like it was just a few years ago. If we can hang onto our enrollment growth, we'll be in a much better position.
Innovation grants & Foothill-De Anza Foundation
In 2012, a man named Robert Heath, who lived in Sunnyvale, left the Foothill-De Anza Foundation a sizeable bequest. We didn't know him, but the executor of his estate told me that Mr. Heath firmly believed in the importance of higher education.
Apparently inspired by slides about our students he'd seen at the Celebrity Forum, Mr. Heath left a $2.2 million bequest to our foundation. This is the largest unrestricted bequest we've received.
Mr. Heath's gift will be used in part to provide seed money for a new program I am very excited to announce to you today - the Innovation Grants Program.
Innovation grants will fund projects that support student equity and retention.
This academic year, we will award up to a total of $70,000 in Innovation Grants to faculty and staff.
Proposals may be submitted by an individual staff or faculty member or by small groups - however, funded projects are likely to involve collaboration among departments or between our colleges.
Priority will be given to projects that can be sustained beyond the grant and that include evidence of success in advancing student equity and retention.
Nov. 3 is the submission deadline for this year's grants.
You can find complete information about the Innovation Grants Program on the Foothill- De Anza Foundation website under Faculty & Staff.
If you haven't looked at the foundation's website in a while, please do - it's fantastic! It was redesigned with expert assistance to help us tell our stories about the transformational power of our colleges.
The foundation's site is the template for redesigning the entire district's website as we transition from antiquated Manila to the OmniUpdate platform. We hope to have all the changes in place by spring.
The foundation also has stepped up its presence on Facebook and Linked In, and is launching a major outreach campaign to engage alumni. Our million-plus alumni are a tremendous untapped resource, not just for fund-raising but for campus involvement and advocacy.
Student Success Scorecard
Our theme today is student equity.
Every year, we submit data to the state Chancellor's Office and the legislature to show how we're doing with our students and our progress in closing achievement gaps.
The results are there for everyone to see on the California Community Colleges' Student Success Scorecard website. The Scorecard shows completion and persistence rates for every California community college, as well as success on other measures such as basic skills and career-technical courses.
The Scorecard shows in stark relief the differences in outcomes between students who are academically prepared for college and those who aren't, as well as differences in outcomes between racial and ethnic groups.
It shows that both Foothill and De Anza have successful educational programs, and succeed at rates that are well above the state average by almost all measures.
Within their peer groups of similar institutions, our colleges had the highest overall rankings on multiple measures, including completion - the percentage of students who completed a degree, certificate or transfer-related outcomes.
But even on measures like completion, where we do so well, there still are large gaps between the success rates of African American, Filipino and Latino students compared to Asian and white students.
In other words, we still have a lot of work to do.
SSSP & equity plans
Scorecard data helps community colleges see their gaps, and the state is providing new incentives to close them.
Most of you probably have heard about or are directly involved in the California Community Colleges' effort known as 3SP - Student Success and Support Programs, an updated version of what used be called matriculation.
In the planning stages for several years, 3SP ties funding for community colleges to student activities that support student success, such as taking part in orientation, placement testing, completing an education plan and enrolling full time.
The colleges, meanwhile, are using Scorecard data to update their student equity plans, spelling out goals and strategies for increasing success among populations in which success has been disproportionately low.
Equity plans provide a structure for creating an educational environment in which each student has a reasonable chance to fully develop his or her potential.
All these efforts will help us do more to provide the support that first-generation college students need to overcome barriers and challenges that aren't typically faced by students from highly educated families.
Our equity agenda
Why does having an equity agenda matter to everyone?
If you've been keeping up with the local news, you're aware that equity concerns underlie recent reports about the scarcity of African Americans and Latinos in the workforce of Silicon Valley's largest technology companies.
Joint Venture Silicon Valley has taken note of the widening earnings gap between residents of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, identifying it as one of the critical issues facing our region.
In its 2014 Silicon Valley Index, Joint Venture reported that per capita income rose by 5 percent for white residents and 2 percent for Asian residents between 2010 and 2012. In the same period, per capita income fell by 5 percent for African Americans and 2 percent for Latinos.
This reflects the divide between highly educated, highly skilled workers and low-skill, low-wage workers who could do better with education and training.
This gap is something that affects the region's economic prosperity and quality of life - not just for those individuals who are struggling to survive here, but for all of us.
Helping to reverse these disparities is something that community colleges are uniquely suited to do.
I'd like to share two student stories that came to my attention during year-end celebrations in June, illustrating, in different ways, why our work is so important.
More than a few people were in tears as Beau Hastings described the crooked path he took to earning his pharmacy technology certificate and degree from Foothill College.
For many years, Beau struggled to get his life stable and on track. He took stock after a disabling injury on a construction job and decided to go back to school. But the going wasn't easy and he suffered many setbacks, including a life-threatening illness.
He'd been taking one class at a time for several years when he entered the pharm-tech program in Fall 2013. He struggled with basic arithmetic and failed the first midterm exam. He spent many hours outside of class working with tutors and getting extra help from classmates and instructors.
Beau pressed on despite the obstacles, which included a learning disability. He did not let his failures define him. At the end of the program, he passed the national board exam to become a certified pharmacy technician.
He so inspired his classmates that they selected him to be their year-end speaker. And program Director Angela Su presented him with an award recognizing his tremendous progress and accomplishment.
At the ceremony, Beau thanked each of his instructors, tutors, classmates and family members for contributing to his success. His 13-year-old daughter was among those in tears.
"Although it took me eight years, I finally did it," Beau said. "I turned my life around and made my family proud for the first time in my life."
At De Anza, Desiree Berdejo spoke about what she'd learned about herself and the larger world around her as she worked toward a certificate in leadership and social change.
"Two years ago, when I first arrived at De Anza, I never would have thought I'd be standing here today as a certified social change agent," she told her classmates. "At the time, I didn't know what social change was or that I was capable of doing it.
"My view of the world was so much different before; there was so much I was completely unaware of.
"Throughout my first year, I learned that I wasn't just small and unimportant, but rather that I was actually capable of doing so much more, regardless of my own insecurities and barriers."
She went on to detail some of the specific skills she'd acquired, from how to speak in public at a national conference to something that all students in this program are required to learn - how to use a spreadsheet.
She concluded her presentation with a quote from Oprah: "I was once afraid of people saying, "Who does she think she is? Now I have to the courage to stand and say, 'This is who I am.' "
I'll tell you, that kind of empowerment makes my day!
It also provides the perfect segue to the screening of a video about community colleges and the enormous impact Foothill and De Anza can have on students' lives.
Student interns under the direction of the Faculty Association produced the video. FA President Rich Hansen will take it from here.
(Showing of FA video)
Thank you, Rich, and thank you to the talented students involved in making the video, including the videographer, a De Anza College graduate. We're grateful to those who shared their stories, and to the Faculty Association for helping spread the word about the value of our community colleges.
Introduction of keynote speaker
Now I'd like to introduce you to someone who has spent his life promoting equity, inclusion and community empowerment, Dr. Manuel Pastor.
Dr. Pastor is professor of sociology and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California, where he directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and co-directs the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.
Dr. Pastor's 2012 book, Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America's Metropolitan Regions - written with Chris Benner - explores how income inequality contributed to the recent financial crisis and how increasing equity and inclusion contributes to a stronger recovery.
He's also written books about the ways in which regional social movements for equity are reshaping cities, and the challenges and opportunities growing out of major demographic and cultural shifts.
Dr. Pastor holds master's and doctorate degrees in economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He's taught at UC San Diego, UCLA, Occidental College and UCSC, where he was the founding director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance and Community.
He's been honored with many awards and received fellowships and grants from many of the most prestigious foundations in the country - too many to list.
A short biography prepared for The Funder's Network (http://www.fundersnetwork.org ) tells some of the story behind his story:
In high school, "Manuel Pastor's teachers neither expected nor encouraged him to go to college." He was placed in mostly remedial courses and later surprised everyone with the highest SAT score in the school.
"His rise to becoming a nationally renowned academic and thought leaders is a classic American 'beat-the-odds' story."
But Dr. Pastor "doesn't think anyone should have to beat the odds just to get an education, and he's devoted his career to making sure that opportunity isn't reduced to a game of chance."
His father, a janitor who eventually became an air conditioning repairman, had only a sixth grade education, "but he was able to fix almost anything and was conversant in public affairs and a variety of other subjects. He set a lasting example for his son about the realities of equity."
Dr. Pastor "believes that community, in particular community organizing, is crucial to navigating the new economic reality and lifting up and advancing the issue of equity."
I'm honored to present to you Dr. Manuel Pastor.
(Manuel Pastor speaks)
Thank you, Dr. Pastor. Thanks to all of you for being here today, and to De Anza for hosting us.
I hope you are as excited as I am about the opportunities we have this year to make a deep and lasting difference in students' lives.
Workshops start momentarily, and run until noon. All workshops are being held nearby in the Media & Learning Center. More information can be found on signs outside.
Lunch is on your own today, followed by campus division and departmental meetings in the afternoon.
Thank you and have a wonderful year!
Posted Sept. 22, 2014