May 2021

Student Success

Jireh Pejana was born in Cebu City, Philippines raised by his caring and loving grandmother who was always supportive of his goals. He then moved to Ukiah, California in 2009. He began his educational journey here at Mendocino College in the Fall of 2014 as a first-generation college student. He expresses great appreciation for having been a student at Mendocino College, due to accessibility, affordability, and welcoming environment amongst faculty and staff. In addition to faculty office hours and excellent service from staff, he says he always felt the welcoming environment on campus. He is grateful for being able to connect with fellow students and friends who shared similar backgrounds and living experiences, which gave him a sense of belonging. As a MESA student and tutor, he enjoyed helping others by teaching Chemistry and Calculus. Jireh earned an Associate Degree in Kinesiology for Transfer from Mendocino College in 2017. He was then able to smoothly transfer to Sonoma State University where he earned his Bachelor's of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics Disciplinary in the Spring 2020.   

Jireh’s education and career goal is to become a Physical Therapist, to help people stay healthy. His motivation comes from his caring and loving grandmother who has been by his side while pursuing his career in Physical Therapy. He hopes to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle and healthy nutritional diet. Jireh is a caring and hardworking individual who continues to serve the community by working at a Rehabilitation Aide helping patients recover from injuries, chronic pains, structural and accidental injuries. In the future, he hopes to earn his Doctorate in Physical Therapy and continue to serve his community.  


The table below illustrates summer 2021 enrollment compared to the three previous summer terms. 



Active Students 

Number of Sections 


SUMMER 2021 



















 SUMMER 2018









We received the agreement from the Regents of the University of California to support the development of a Puente Program at Mendocino College. The agreement is for three years and provides seed funding. The funding tiers are $30,000 (FY21/22), $15,000 (FY22/23), and $5,000 (FY 24/25). Next year will be dedicated to developing the program and preparing for the first Puente cohort in fall 2022. Information on the Puente Program can be found at


Through the leadership of Minerva Flores, Director of Research, Grants and Equity, Mendocino College will be submitted a grant application to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): “Humanities Initiatives at Colleges and Universities”. Our project is titled: Northern California Native American History Speaker Series (NorCal – NAHSS). We are eligible to apply for this grant due to our HSI status. The NEH has identified projects focused on Native American communities as a priority area. 


The NorCal-NAHHS project fulfills an integral part of the College’s strategy to improve state, regional and local knowledge of our Native American population. The NorCal – NAHSS project aims to provide professional development for faculty and staff on our regional and local Native American history; enhance our Native American History teaching tools and resources; and create a digital Native American History resource repository of information and resources to enhance classroom instruction and student service delivery. In an effort to expand and enhance our existing activities, the NorCal – NAHHS project will inform a broader local and regional community on the history of the Native American people in California, more specifically Northern California Native Americans.    


The grant provides up to $150,000 over three years. If successful, the project would begin in February 2022. The application is due May 20, 2021. Colleagues from throughout the district have participated in developing the grant application. Participants included Minerva Flores; Ulises Velasco; Rebecca Montes; Antonio Lopez; Yuliana Sandoval; Monica Flores; Eric Hoefler; Fernando S Calderon; Sarah Walsh; Jaime Cechin; Casey Terrill; Valentina Velazquez-Zvierkova; Brianna Zuber; Robert R Parmenter; Alicia Mendoza. 


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) 

 In April, the State Chancellor sent a communication to CEO’s regarding system wide efforts related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). To this end, the State Chancellor asked all CEOs, in partnership with their district Trustees, to adopt a local resolution in support of diversity, equity and inclusion. A DEI sample resolution was developed at the request of your statewide boards. The template can be revised to reflect local priorities. The State Chancellor’s Office suggested adoption of a DEI resolution by June 30th, 2021. 



 I want congratulate Minerva Flores and Debra Polak for being selected by ACCJC to serve on the “ACCJC Standards Review” team. ACCJC is starting the process of a comprehensive review and revision of accreditation standards. It is tremendous that Mendocino College has two individuals selected to participate. Individuals were selected from throughout our region, which includes California, Hawaii, Guam, and several Pacific Island nations. They have much expertise and knowledge to contribute to this process. 


President’s Bulletin Board 

 I created a webpage called “President’s Bulletin Board” bringing together resources links that I commonly use (i.e., State regulations, COVID) and article reading lists. Feel free to check it out. Thanks to the library for allowing me to use the LibGuides software. 

Update Regarding Safe Reopening 

 At the state and local levels, the pandemic is moving in a positive direction in terms of re-opening and lifting pandemic related restrictions.  The college has been very busy preparing for the safe return to campus.  It is a highly complex and often changing exercise to transition to more in-person services and returning to campus. 


A significant percentage of district employees have worked on site safely during the pandemic. These employees have mostly been in facilities, grounds, the child development center, center staff, information technology, fiscal services, athletics, and the library. Student support services have offered on-ground service to students during peak enrollment periods. On-ground instruction continued in disciples, such as nursing, physical therapy assistant, automotive, and agriculture. With the safety measures we have already implemented, these departments and services have weathered the past 14 months without a campus or center outbreak. 


Planning is continually altered depending on the guidance received from government agencies, best practices, and local logistics.  I want to thank the facilities/safety committee. The Facilities & Safety Committee has been deeply involved in planning/preparing our facilities to be aligned with specific physical plant protocols.  The college is relying on the guidelines of Mendocino County Public Health, CalOSHA, the Center for Disease Control, and California Department of Public Health and our educational peers both locally and state-wide in order to provide a safe environment for students and employees.   


While guidelines continue to evolve, some of the steps the college is taking to prepare for a return to campus are: 

Vaccines:  Over 70% of college employees are vaccinated. While the college cannot mandate vaccines, getting vaccinated is highly recommended.  Vaccines are now available to anyone over 16 and can be scheduled through the My Turn website at  The college will continue to encourage vaccines for employees and students by providing information on vaccine opportunities. 

  • Air handling systems: A study of the air handling systems of all buildings in Ukiah and at the Centers is nearing completion. 
  • Piloting the use of outdoor classrooms 
  • Installing signs with COVID protocols (symptoms, masking, 6 feet separation) 
  • Requiring face masks at all times  
  • Providing hand sanitizing stations at all building entrances 
  • Providing disinfectant wipes in all offices and classrooms 
  • Continuing to monitor best practices and guidance from regulatory agencies and health care professionals 
  • Continuously soliciting suggestions and feedback from our students & staff for additional strategies and measures for a safe return to campus 

Recognizing that everyone needs time professionally and personally to plan and prepare, the following dates are targeted for Management and Classified employees of the district to transition back to campus: 

  • Employees return to work site at least 50% by August 1 (i.e., 20hrs/week) 
  • Employees return to work site at least 75% by October 1 (i.e., 30hrs/week) 
  • Employees return to work site at least 100% by January 2022 (i.e., 40hrs/week) 

This transition does not apply to classroom instruction.  The summer and fall class schedules have been built; summer will remain primarily online and fall includes an increase in on-ground classes, in particular at the Centers. 


There was an announcement from the CSU/UC that they will implement a vaccination requirement for student and employees to return to campus in Fall 2021 with exceptions for personal belief systems and medical reasons. There are many caveats still to be worked out.  


We are closely following the developments from these systems. The State Chancellors Office has indicated they are working on publishing guidance to community college districts in the coming weeks. This guidance will be key to inform our decision making process. 


Our planning is rooted in the current guidance available and county tier status. This can change weekly. Our planning will be iterative. Currently, we (Lake and Mendocino counties) are in the orange tier. The mindful, collaborative and deliberative approach has served us well over the past year. This approach will continue as we move to expanded in-person services and instruction.  


Hybrid Classroom Carts 

hybrid cartsThe Information Technology Department partnered with a working group from the Technology Committee to examine technologies available to support hybrid classroom environments where some students are present and some are participating remotely via Zoom. The first 30 carts have been assembled. Each center and the Round Valley Classroom will receive a cart and the remaining carts will be used on the Ukiah campus. Dave Johnston, Director of Information Technology, provided an overview training on 4/28 to a group of faculty who will pilot the use of the carts to identify challenges and best practices as well as help create professional development for faculty on the use of the new technology. Several administrators and faculty acted as the students during the session to provide feedback on the student experience with the cart. The meeting facilitated great conversations about the use of the carts. This technology can also potentially support classes where the instructor is teaching in one location with additional students participating at other college sites. Unlike the existing distance education classrooms, these units can be rolled into any classroom where they’re needed. 

The Centers 

The Centers maintain their excitement for a summer return to a more traditional learning experience. Both the Coast and Lake Center will host open enrollment courses targeted at our Upward Bound HS partners as well as a few select additional courses. A plan for increased on ground center hours to support our faculty and students has also been developed. In this time of remote virtual work and education, the 12 HS partners supported by the Centers have gathered regionally to share ideas for innovative and increased dual enrollment opportunities. With limited availability of faculty in our outlying areas, we are utilizing what we have learned in this last year to increase opportunities for students. Point Arena HS plans to offer a dual enrollment biology course in the Fall. To expand the availability of this course, we are researching ways to simultaneously make the lecture portion of this course available through Zoom to students at Fort Bragg HS. We are also looking at ways to expand CTE course offerings at our HS partners. Most CTE courses have requirements centered around long on ground lab hours. These long hours have prevented us from being able to offer many CTE courses within a traditional HS bell schedule over one semester. The Centers are currently working with the Admissions and Records department to develop a way to offer a single Mendocino College course over an entire academic year. This development will provide great opportunities for extended CTE pathways with our HS partners. 


The Lake Center was proud to partner with the Lake County Friends of Mendocino College and the Mendocino College Foundation to provide the inaugural Lake County Scholarship and Award Reception on Saturday May 1. Through Zoom, 17 Lake County scholarship recipients, and 9 Lake County Adopt a Fifth Graders were recognized with family, community, and Mendocino College in support. This event would not have been possible without the amazing organization and outreach of Eliza Fields, Foundation Administrative assistant, leadership and support of the LCFMC, including chair Wilda  Shock, and members Lori McGuire, and Chris Taliaferro, and student outreach by Lake Center Assistant, Machiko Shimada. To view a copy of the program, visit this link


Construction Program 

The Sustainable Construction Technology (SCT) program conducted an advisory committee meeting on April 22. Trustee Ed Nickerman joined 23 advisory members via Zoom. All shared their support for our progressing construction program focused on rebuilding our efforts to serve more students by offering more reskill /upskill courses that will result in wage gains and local jobs. SCT courses for the fall semester are greatly increasing. Facilities are all being upgraded and improved, including the house which serves as a construction “laboratory” for students to use developing skills to practice installations, remodeling and other construction activities. Short-term non- credit 5-week courses are being offered and new construction adjunct faculty are being recruited. A Construction program outreach counselor to serve current and prospective SCT students, give presentations and develop career guidance plans for each student in the SCT program upgrade will start this month recruiting students for the fall semester. A team of faculty and staff are working together this summer to improve and expand the outdoor worksites available to SCT students. This space will be ready for a Fall 2021 “Reopening” of the program. For more information contact SCT Instructor Noel Woodhouse


Commencement Update 

Due to low student interest, the previously planned three virtual commencement celebrations have been consolidated to one. Our virtual commencement ceremony will be held on Friday, May 21 at 1pm and will honor our graduates from 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. Student participants will receive an invitation to the ceremony, which will be held on Zoom. The public will be able to log in to the ceremony as it will be streamed online. As the details are finalized, updated information will be posted on our website:

We are also pleased to announce that with the financial support of the Foundation, we will once again be offering our graduates free dinner vouchers at a select numbr of local restaurants. 


Native American Motivation Day 

Mendocino College hosted the 34th Native American Motivation Day on May 6.  A group comprising members of the college community organized a virtual event and invited students grades 6-12 to attend. 

This free event provided an opportunity for Native American students to learn about Mendocino College programs, meet representatives from four-year universities, and enjoy breakout sessions. Trustee Anderson, Superintendent/President Karas, and Vice President Ulises Velasco welcomed students to the event.  


Second Year Transition Workshop 

The First Year Institute (FYI) held a second year transition workshop via Zoom on Thursday, May 6 from 2-3 p.m. and again from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The workshop focused on helping students identify support programs they can use as they transition to their second year as well as how to access ongoing FYI services through the FYI Lending Library & FYI Counselor. 


FYI Celebration & Awards  

FYI will hold a virtual celebration to recognize students who completed their first year of college on Wednesday, May 12. Information about the event is available at


EOPS/CARE Ceremony 

On Friday, May 14, the EOPS/CARE Staff will celebrate the academic success of their students with an awards ceremony to be held virtually via Zoom at 6:00 p.m. This will be a very special evening for EOPS and CARE students who are graduating this May and/or who have maintained at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average. The event will begin with an awards ceremony acknowledging 179 EOPS students for their outstanding academic achievement and 74 EOPS students for completing the requirements for graduation this Spring. Those graduating will be receiving their Graduation Packet, which includes their graduation cap, gown, 2021 tassel, Honors Cord (for those who are graduating with honors), PTK Stole (for those who are members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society), an EOPS padfolio, a Mendocino College lanyard, and an EOPS Alumni t-shirt. Join the EOPS/CARE staff to celebrate the academic success of our students: