As the semester winds down and the festive season is in full swing, I want to say a joyous and heartfelt "thank you" to each of you for being part of this thriving, warm, generous and extraordinarily capable campus community, each working fearlessly toward the goal of making this world better for all.

While this season represents different things for all of us, it is often a time for reflection and remembrance, gatherings with family and friends, caring, giving, tradition, and celebration. However, the festive season is also a time to look forward to the future, to rest and recharge, and to plan for better days ahead.

I was delighted to spend time in Lake County at the Lake County Tribal Health facilities. I was able to learn more about their services, workforce needs and professional development programs. This information contributes to our dialog to build links between our agencies to benefit the people in our region.

I was able to attend Senator McGuire’s town hall meeting regarding the Great Redwood Trail master plan. It was very informative to learn about the master planning process that will begin in 2022.

I want congratulate MLCCD Student Trustee Rodriguez on being appointed by Governor Newson to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). The press release can be read at /article/mendocino-college-student-trustee-appointed-governor-newsom-ca-student-aid-commission 

We are at the close of the Fall 2021 semester. Overall, the number of students is 199 higher (6%) than last year (Fall 2020) and the total FTES is 67.7 less (7%) than last year (Fall 2020). Given the circumstances related to the pandemic these numbers are encouraging. It should be noted the number of students being served is 17% below pre-pandemic levels.


Active Students

Number of Sections 


FALL 2021




FALL 2020




FALL 2019




On December 2, the college received notification from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) that our Physical Therapy Assistant Program has been granted accreditation for five years. This notification comes just in time to announce it to our first graduating class, completing their coursework on December 10, 2021. This is the culmination of many years of several years of work under the leadership of Dean Dennis Aseltyne and faculty members Sara Bogner and Joe Munoz.

Peggy Goebel has been filling the role of Interim Executive Dean/Director of Nursing for the past two years. Her position ends on January 20, 2022. Over the past two years, Dr. Goebel has led the Nursing department through its most difficult times. She shepherded the department through its accreditation process, mentored faculty into leadership positions, recruited and hired new and part-time faculty for the program, and saw the department through a staffing transition. These duties were already a considerable load to take on. However, the remarkable fact is that she did all of this successfully in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge of maintaining a successful department from the onset of the pandemic to current times cannot be overstated. It required creativity, persistence and a deep care for the students and faculty in the program. The District thanks Dr. Goebel for stepping in these last two years. The department is on much more stable ground because of her work and leadership. 

We continue to work with engineers to refine the plans for the emergency exit road from the Ukiah campus out to Orr Springs Road. The cost is currently estimated to be $1.6 million, which is down from the prior estimate of $2.4 million. This reduction was expected as more studies are completed which lowers the contingency set aside for unknowns.  At the Adopted Budget, the project was budgeted to be funded with $1.5 million of COVID-19 relief HEERF funds and $900,000 of general fund reserves.  Unfortunately, the Department of Education rejected our request to use HEERF funds for this purpose.  With the lowered cost estimate of $1.6 million and assuming $900,000 paid for from reserves, this leaves $700,000 in funding to be determined.  College administration continues to explore alternative funding sources.

On Thursday, December 9, faculty and staff gathered at the Lowery Student Center to celebrate the holidays. Breakfast items were generously provided by President Karas, including coffee, juice, bagels, cookies, yogurt and fruit. Those in attendance also participated in an ornament exchange. 19 employees brought a wrapped ornament and exchanged them with other employees. Last year during the pandemic college employees participated in a holiday event via zoom, which included an ugly sweater contest. This year the contest was held in person and the winner was Director of Fiscal Services Joe Atherton. This event would not have been possible without the coordination of Kris Bartolomei, Mary Lamb and Janet Daugherty. 

The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) has wrapped up the semester by collecting loaned Chromebooks and TI-calculators from students. CAMP scholars have also been meeting with CAMP Counselor Jose Hernandez to review and register for Spring 2022 classes. Additionally, CAMP hosted its last workshop of the semester – Mental Health and Yoga as Self Care hosted by Meztli Avina and Griselda Madrigal. Both come from migrant/agricultural backgrounds and have greatly contributed to the experience of our students. 

Transfer Counselor/Coordinator Mark Osea planned and scheduled a wide range of activities for students during the month of November. There have been 9 CSU and UC application workshops and 1 virtual workshop hosted by SSU in which a total of 36 students participated.  On November 30th, the Counseling & Transfer Center hosted a last-minute drop-in application assistance, and it was co-facilitated by FYI Counselor Brenda Estrada. Counselor/Coordinator Osea is continuing to reach out to our university partners.  Most recently he reached out to both Humboldt State University and Sonoma State University to hopefully develop a 2+2 roadmap for the Computer Science Associate Degree for Transfer. Dean Amanda Xu has also connected with the Counseling & Transfer Center for some Spring semester events for the centers.  The Counseling and Transfer Center will continue to develop consistent transfer services on the main campus as well as at our Centers.

The Outreach Team has been gradually transitioning to more onsite and in-person services during their community outreach and have established schedules with our Reg2Go high school partners.  Most recently, on Thursday, December 2, the Outreach Team, including Equity Counselor Apryl Guisasola, spent the day in Covelo assisting with spring registration. Prior to the pandemic, the Outreach and Equity Counselor were connecting with agency partners in the Covelo community to expand services to the community.  

Mendocino College hosted the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Mendocino-Lake Sectional Leadership Development Event (LDE) on December 8, 2021. The LDE Contest was a Public Speaking Contest which was only open to Mendocino and Lake County High School FFA students, most of which are current Dual-Enrollment Mendocino College students. Contestants had their choice of 5 topics during registration. Mendocino College Career Hub hosted the Job Interview topic and participated as one of the three topic judges. Rooms for the 4 other topics were secured with the help of Jeana Thompson in M&O and Robert Parmenter in the Library.

All students who came on campus had negative COVID-19 test results within 48 hours of the event and wore masks while indoors.

This event was a great way to strengthen the relationships between the Mendocino and Lake County High School Agriculture teachers, students, and Mendocino College. FFA is a dynamic youth organization that prepares members for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. It was a wonderful opportunity to expose High School students, most of whom are current DE students, to the Mendocino College campus. We hope this partnership leads to increased enrollments, particularly in our Career Education programs.

The Mendocino College Student Support Services video series will debut in the spring of 2022.  The project was initiated by the Online Student Support, Guided Pathways Leadership Team Workgroup, where student members were key in voicing the need for Student Support videos created by and for students. Janet Daugherty, Director of Teaching and Learning Success and the GPLT Workgroup leader, collaborated with Digital Arts and Media (DAM) and Theater Arts to produce three student centered videos which will air at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester. The videos will educate, inform, and remind students about the support services offered at Mendocino College.

13 Mendocino College faculty members, a combination of full and part time instructors recently completed the @One course Equity and Culturally Responsive Online Teaching course, facilitated by Vivian Varela, our Distance Education Coordinator.

The group explored questions like, "How can equity enable us to see ourselves as part of the solution in eliminating the achievement gap?" and "Why are equity and Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning (CRTL) powerful tools in the elimination of the achievement gap?"

Equity and CRTL pedagogies and practices strengthen the connection and the partnership between student learning and instruction. An equity practitioner provides students with the individual support necessary for success, uses CRTL to build intellectual capacity, and creates independent learners who discover cognitive strategies to get "unstuck" and find their way out of the achievement gap. Each participant examined their own classes for ways to implement what we discussed and rewrote syllabus language. Then each applied their new understanding by building a "liquid syllabus." This, more visual syllabus, created in Google sites, is mobile friendly and welcoming for our students.