April 2021

Student Success 

The new Mendocino College Physical Therapist Assistant program has attracted the attention of students from all over northern California. Of the 38 students currently participating in the program, at least six live outside of Mendocino County. There are PTA students from Redding, Modesto, Lake County, and the Mendocino coast. Three students drive down from Humboldt County to attend in-person lab classes, and one student drives all the way from Tahoe to participate. The program’s theory and lecture classes are offered online, which allows students to study when they have time.

Program Director Sara Bogner says, "The program is setup so that there are two days of in-person labs in each week. So, if you live out of the area, you can get up early and come to lab Thursday morning, then stay at an Airbnb or with friends in town, and stay for lab on Friday. And then they go home. We made it so people can travel from far away."

Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced faculty to adapt, the PTA program continues to run smoothly, and the first cohort of 16 students will graduate in December 2021.

Eve Makdisi teaches an outdoor lab class

Photo: Physical Therapist and Adjunct Instructor Eve Makdisi teaches an outdoor lab class at Mendocino College during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.


Earth Week

Mendocino College will be hosting a virtual celebration of the 51st Earth Day the week of 4/19-4/23. The theme of the 2021 Earth Day is "RESTORE OUR EARTH."

Click HERE to view the event page.

On the event page, you will find links to recommended readings, writings, talks, and lectures. There are also links to a variety of other virtual Earth Day celebrations. There is a student presentation contest as well as places to submit writings and recommendations for readings. Staff are welcome to submit video talks and lectures related to Earth Day or the environment. 

Spring Plant Sale

The Mendocino College Agriculture Department has adapted to the safety concerns around the pandemic by creating a "Virtual" Plant Sale this Spring. Now through June 4th you may visit this link to select from over 300 plant species, as well select a convenient pick up time at Mendocino College, where your order will be prepared and waiting for you. Pick ups daily from 9 am - 4:30 pm. 

Faculty Shout Outs

Dena Watson-Krasts

As we were transitioning into pandemic lockdown mode last year, Mendocino College Dance/Communications/Psychology Faculty Dena Watson-Krasts recieved publication on her first article. "The college, particularly Rebecca Montes have been very supportive of my endeavor to get it through the peer review process and out into the world," said Watson-Krasts. "I do need to give readers a trigger warning because the article is on rape culture, femicide and references the tragic loss of our amazing student Kayla Chesser, in 2014." To view her full article, visit: https://jungianjournal.ca/index.php/jjss/article/view/128

Dena has been teaching part time at the college since 2006. She holds two BA's in Fine Art and Art History and earned her MA in Psychology from Sonoma State University in 2016. She is particularly interested in somatic approaches to healing trauma and is currently finishing up her NARM (Neuro Affective Relational Model) certification, which focuses on complex trauma or C-PTSD. Her academic research centers on rape culture, femicide and healing through connection, creativity, and movement. This article explores rape culture and femicide through a Jungian lens and was written in response to the tragic murder of Mendocino College alumni, Kayla Chesser in 2014. Dena currently teaches Pilates in the dance department and Interpersonal Communications in the communications department.

Congrats to Professor Watson-Krasts for this impressive achievement! 

Rachel Donham

Biology Faculty Rachel Donham worked with the president and teachers of Potter Valley Elementary School to organize their first ever Virtual Science Fair for students in 3-6th grades in March. Several Mendocino College instructors helped judge the event, including:  Leslie Banta, Greg Allen, Casey Terrill, Chris Ineich, Roger Ahders, and Brianna Zuber. Brianna and Leslie also attended the virtual awards ceremony and had such wonderful, inspiring, and motivational advice for the students. PV Elementary thanks all the faculty involved in the event, this was a great outreach project!

Donham has also been working with fellow faculty members to ensure Mendocino College Earth Week events happen virtually this year. Thank you Professor Donham for everything you do for Mendocino College and our students! 

Academic Affairs

Dual Enrollment Definitions 

During this week's board meeting, we were pleased to have Mendocino County Office of Education Superintendent of Schools, Michelle Hutchins join us for the "Big Picture" item. Click here to view Hutchins' PowerPoint presentation. To provide some additional context and background information for her presentation from related to K-12 career education below is a list of definition and regulations the govern the community college system. There are codes and regulations that define the relationship between the two separate educational systems. 

  • Dual enrollment are college courses taught at high school during the school day. Dual enrollment partnerships require legal contracts. Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), Instructional Service Agreements (ISAs), College, and Career Access Pathway (CCAP) Partnership Agreements are all contracts or agreements.  
  • Dual enrollment courses that are offered under AB 288 partnerships are required to have a College and Career Access Pathway (CCAP) Partnership Agreement. The College and Career Access Pathway (CCAP) Partnership Agreement is specifically referred to in the legislation and this name, AB 288 CCAP Partnership Agreement, is what triggers the authority of the legislation. 
  • Dual enrollment courses offered under non­ AB 288 legislation need a legal agreement. This agreement may be an MOU, an ISA, or more simply an “Agreement.” 
  • Number of FTES (full-time equivalent students) to be claimed. Statewide number of FTES students claimed as special admits shall not exceed 10 percent of the total number of FTES claimed statewide. The statewide 10% FTES cap on special admit students should include both non ­AB288 and AB288 students. [CA ED CODE Section 76004].

Career and Workforce Education 

Three of our workforce programs had significant milestone over the last month. Below is a brief description. 

Physical Therapy Assistant Accreditation 

On March 22-23, Mendocino College had a virtual site visit from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). This is a step in the process to receive programmatic accreditation for the Physical Therapy Assistant program. Based on the visit and the visiting team report, CAPTE will take action on our accredited status at their commission meeting in late October 2021. It was a very positive visit. This has been a multiyear, deliberative, and mindful process. Program Director Sara Bogner and Dean Dean Aseltyne should be commended for their work. 

Utility Line Clearance Training Program 

On April 1, we hosted a virtual ceremony recognizing the first Mendocino College cohort to complete the Utility Line Clearance Training Program. This is an intensive five-week, 200 hour training program. The State Chancellors’ Office supports regional training collaborative through UpSkill California. UpSkill California is a consortium of 28 Community Colleges that collaborate to provide businesses statewide with customized employee training and education programs that enhance worker productivity and close the skills gap. 

Mendocino College was the sixth cohort in the state and the first on the coast. The training program is a collaboration with community colleges (Mendocino/Butte), business (Family Tree Service/AERI/North American Training Solutions) and professional organizations (Utility Arborist Association/ Tree Care Industry Association). Students learn skills to trim/remove trees, utility line arborist certification, OSHA training, and other workforce skills. They practiced some of their skills by removing several dead/dying trees on the Ukiah campus. 

The cohort of six students have all been offered employment opportunities. This is another example, like the Physical Therapy Assistant Program, of a regional model to offer workforce preparation. Jim Xerogeanes, agriculture faculty, was one of the program trainers. Dean Aseltyne worked with our regional partners to bring this training to Mendocino College. 

arborist class

Mendocino College Nursing Students  

Mendocino College second year nursing students were able to get hands on experience to administer COVID-19 vaccinations at the Alex Rorabaugh Center. Students worked side by side with nurses from Adventist Health and other health care providers. Each student was able to administer 50-75 vaccines under the supervision of Mendocino College Nursing Instructor Nancy Goodman and Director of Nursing, Peggy Goebel. Mendocino College Nursing Program Support Specialist, Ginger Bushway coordinated student requirements and schedules.  

As required by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), all students participating completed the CDC vaccinator course online and received their two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior to the clinic. Students practiced CDC protocol, maintained social distancing requirements, wore masks, and washed hands frequently.   


Mendocino College is pleased to announce its Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program has been awarded another three year cycle grant. The program will receive $76,263 per year for the next three years to continue to help underserved and underrepresented students achieve success in Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) studies and careers.

Eric Hoefler stated "I am happy that MESA, a program that has been driving equity in STEM studies for over 50 years, is being funded for another cycle at Mendocino College, enabling us to continue the rewarding work that we have done for our community."

Mendocino College is one out of 31 California Community Colleges who are being awarded the grant, out of 53 who applied.

Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative 

A team of administrators, faculty, and staff spent Friday, April 9, hosting the second Partnership Resource Teams (PRT) meetings as part of the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI). Based on feedback from the PRT, a final plan will be submitted to IEPI in late April. The award letter should be coming to the Board in June 2021. This will assist Mendocino College to accomplish the goal we set out in our Quality Focus Essay for Accreditation. 


The Centers continue to support students in our more rural areas. Distance learning kits for Chemistry and Computer Science have been available for pick up at all Center locations during regular hours and by appointment. The Coast and Lake Center are preparing for a small cohort of on ground courses this summer for Upward Bound students. This grant funded program supports high school students in achieving a college degree. The small groups will allow these locations to ease back into hosting and supporting on-ground education. The Lake Center Friends of Mendocino College in collaboration with the Mendocino College Foundation and Lake Center will be hosting the inaugural Lake County Scholarship Reception virtually through Zoom on Saturday May 1 from 6-8 pm. In previous years, travel to the reception at the Ukiah Campus has been challenging for some Lake County recipients. We hope to continue to bring this event to the Lake Center in future years, making this well-earned recognition more accessible for the students and their family.  

Student Services

2021 Commencement 

Plans are under way to host virtual 2021 Commencement Ceremonies. Three virtual ceremonies, divided by discipline, will be held May 21 via Zoom and Facebook Live. 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 graduates have been invited to attend. A Save the Date was sent to faculty and staff and additional information is soon to follow once more details are determined. Graduation applicants will receive their graduation packets shortly, providing them with additional information about the ceremonies. Mendocino College decided on hosting a virtual ceremony after considering student feedback and health/safety protocols. 

HEERF II Fund Distribution 

The Financial Aid Office has continued disbursing Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds to students. On March 26, HEERF II funds were disbursed to 402 students for a total of $300,600. The distribution of these funds will continue on a weekly basis. With the passing of HEERF III, additional funds will be disbursed to students through the Fall 2021 semester.  

Additional Emergency Financial Assistance 

Mendocino College received an additional $295,179 to support emergency student financial assistance grants. Grants may be awarded to students who are California residents or are exempt from paying non-resident tuition under §68130.5 of the California Education Code who self-certify that they meet the following conditions: 

  • Currently enrolled in at least 6-semester units (or the quarterly equivalent). This includes newly enrolled students. 
  • Demonstrate an emergency financial aid need. 
  • Qualify as low-income by meeting the requirements to receive a California College Promise Grant (CCPG) or is projected to receive a CCPG for the upcoming term. 
  • Earned a 2.0-grade point average at their current or prior institution in one of the previous three-semester terms (or four-quarter terms) OR Is a student who is receiving additional support or services through a community college’s Disabled Student Programs and Services. 

The Financial Aid Office is working to award these additional emergency funds to eligible students as soon as possible. 

Priority Registration 

Priority registration for the Summer term will begin April 19 and open registration April 24. Students can register online through their MyMendo account, work with a registration staff person via Cranium Café or telephone, or in person during limited on campus hours this month. 

New Student Onboarding 

The First Year Institute (FYI) is beginning to onboard new students for Fall 2021. Counselor Brenda Estrada is meeting with new students via Zoom in order to begin their abbreviated education plans in preparation for the fall 2021 schedule release. She will meet with these students again to help them enroll once the schedule is available. 


Since bringing on our full-time permanent CalWORKs Admin Assistant/Specialist, Rochelle Fink, we have had much improved communication and coordination with partners in both Lake and Mendocino Counties. Dean Lopez received an unsolicited communication from a Mendocino County partner commenting and complementing the quality and responsiveness by our CalWORKs department. Our Lake County partners have been invited to attend the next CalWORKs department meeting to continue improving collaboration.  Congratulations to Rochelle on her fine work!


Outreach Specialist Katherine Escobedo has been coordinating with the IT and marketing departments to utilize our Chatbot, Eddie the Eagle, to incorporate this platform in her Outreach campaign efforts. Since this new tool has been utilized, there have been an increase in requests for assistance. Our efforts to collaborate with other program staff will continue so that important information about CalFresh services is disseminated to students. To that end, the state provided our institution $28,837 in additional funds to continue our CalFresh outreach efforts. Thank you Katherine!


Some of the high schools in our district have informed us that they will be providing in-person services and instruction. They’ve asked if our outreach staff can resume with in-person services. In order to accommodate the request, outreach staff will move forward with a hybrid model to meet with students who are interested in attending Mendocino College. Staff will continue to adhere with safety protocols when meeting in-person.  

Mental Health Symposium

A second virtual Mental Health Symposium was offered to faculty and staff on Wednesday, March 3. Mental Health Counselors, Jeremy Lawyer and Rachel Young offered assistance to faculty and staff on how to support students with mental health needs during remote services and also insight and resources on self-care. Both sessions have been well attended.  

Additionally, on March 17, a Mental Health Symposium Webinar was offered to students. This service will continue to be offered every third Thursday of the month through the end of the spring semester. 

CAMP Leadership Conference 

13 Mendocino College’s College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) scholars participated in the two-day virtual CAMP Statewide Leadership Conference. This conference was hosted by Santiago Community College’s CAMP program. One of our CAMP scholars received an award from Cool Speak during her participation in the conference’s Open Mic event. Mendocino College CAMP will be hosting the 2022 statewide conference. 

Budget Update 

The April Revise Budget for 2020/21 is included in this agenda for Board consideration. The budget as presented meets all Board Budget Parameters. It is a very good budget which is balanced and adds funds to reserves. While this year’s budget is positive, special note should made of the ways in which next year’s budget will present challenges. There are an estimated $2.7 million in expenditures that will need to be added in the coming year as the college transitions back to on-ground operations post-pandemic. These expenditures and the decline in enrollment that the college is experiencing will create fiscal challenges to the college beginning in the fiscal year beginning this July 1. The level of general fund reserves coupled with awareness of these upcoming challenges will allow the college to remain fiscally stable through these unpredictable economic times.