November is National Native American Month (https://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/). This allows us an opportunity to educate and raise awareness about the historical and ongoing challenges that tribes and communities face. This is a celebration of courage, knowledge, and resilience. I acknowledge that Mendocino College sits in the land of the Pomo People, past and present. Mendocino College honors with gratitude the people who have stewarded the land throughout generations. Our wonderful library staff also put together a LibGuide with some great resources about this important month, you can view it at: libguides.mendocino.edu/nativeamericanheritage.
On November 11th, we pause to reflect and honor those who have serviced and continue to service in our military services. This Veterans Day, I encourage you to take a moment to say thank you to all our faculty and staff members, students, and alumni who have served our country, as well as those who have supported them in service. When our Veterans return home, they continue to make positive impacts on our country, bringing tremendous skills to their communities and to our workforce.
If anyone is interested in veteran services, our wonderful Veteran’s Resource Center (VRC) has abundant information and links to support. The VRC is in MacMillan Hall, room 1240.
Mendocino College graduate Georgina Marie Guardado has been named the first Mexican American Poet Laureate of Lake County, and she recently was awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Academy of American Poets. You can read more about her Lake County poetry project here: https://www.lakecountybloom.com/lake-county-poet-laureate-georgina-marie-wins-academy-of-american-poets-fellowship-and-50000/.
The Career Hub hosted a Student Success Spotlight on Katelin Teters, a 2018 Culinary Arts Management graduate and current owner/operator of Katelin's Kitchen Ukiah. During the session, Katelin gave some wonderful advice to current or future students and spoke very highly of several faculty and staff who contributed to her success.
On an annual basis, the California Association for Postsecondary Education and Disability (CAPED) provides scholarships to students with disabilities in postsecondary education. This includes all 116 community colleges and participating CSU and UC campuses. Our Disability Resource Center (DRC) staff reaches out to our students and strongly encourages Mendocino College students to apply. This year, CAPED awarded scholarships to two Mendocino College students. We are proud of our students who were selected and received two of the 11 scholarships that were awarded.
Wilbert Martin was awarded the CAPED Veterans Scholarship ($500). Wilbert is a returning student who has been attending classes at Mendocino College since fall 2020. He is pursuing an ESL certificate with the goal of becoming an English-Spanish translator. Wilbert has an outstanding 4.0 GPA. Wilbert has worked closely with the DRC for counseling guidance and support since he started pursuing classes at Mendocino College.
Joey Beak is a recent graduate from Mendocino College and has transferred to CSU Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in fall 2021. Joey was awarded the Betty Bacon Memorial Scholarship ($1000). Joey started attending Mendocino College in spring 2016 and graduated in spring 2021. While attending Mendocino College, she earned an Associate Degree for Transfer in Business Administration. She earned a stellar 3.92 GPA. Joey is now studying Agricultural Business and plans to focus on entrepreneurship. Joey hopes to start a business specializing in farm-to-table products that are sourced locally. Joey worked closely with the DRC, particularly Tascha Whetzel, while pursuing her studies at Mendocino College.
Over the past two weeks, I held four public feedback meetings regarding the district redistricting process. Evening meetings were held at each of our locations (North County Center/Willits, Lake Center/Lakeport, Coast Center/Fort Bragg, and Ukiah). All feedback generated will be shared with the demographer drawing draft district trustee area maps. Feedback can still be given. Details can be found on the district website at /redistricting.
We were happy to host Senator McGuire for a brief tour of the construction program on October 14. Senator McGuire dropped by to see the upgraded sustainable construction technology classroom and work site, meet faculty, and hear from our students. Instructor Noel Woodhouse did an excellent job giving a tour of the SCT spaces and the students were the stars. Faculty members Steve Decker, Gregory Allen, and Teresa Gowan were also present to highlight the college’s support of the SCT program and the connection to other college programs. Dean Aseltyne, VP Polak, and VP Cichocki were instrumental in pulling together the tour on short notice. Senator McGuire will continue to work with MLCCD to explore future funding support.
Mendocino College is one of 70 college’s nationwide who are part of the Caring Campus cohort. I had the opportunity to attend a presidents roundtable to engage with colleagues about leveraging Caring Campus to support efforts to include all faculty and staff in student success, positively change campus culture, and successfully institutionalize college-wide efforts. Caring Campus is an initiative that has been fostered by the Classified Senate. I want to thank our classified professionals for their leadership. More information can be found at /mendocares-caring-campus-initiative and https://www.iebcnow.org/news-insights/college-news/
Below is an enrollment comparison chart of the past three fall semesters. The district has more students than last year; however overall FTES trails last year. Overall, students are taking less units than the two previous fall semesters. Compared with fall 2019, pre-pandemic, FTES is down 12%.
Number of Sections
We are so excited to collaborate with our local Blue Zones Project Mendocino County team led by Adventist Health to support their health and well-being work on helping make the healthy choice the easy choice across Mendocino County. The Blue Zones Project is requesting community participation to take a health and well-being survey called the RealAge test. This test will help guide the Blue Zones Project local team as to the areas for well-being focus as they initiate their work towards helping improve the longevity and quality of life of the community through people, places, and policy. You can go to bzpmendocinocounty.sharecare.com.
The voters of Mendocino and Lake counties approved a $67.5 million General Obligation Bond (Measure W) issue for the Mendocino-Lake Community College District on November 7, 2006. The District used these funds to complete many construction projects, including establishing permanent centers in Lakeport and Willits, and building the Maintenance/Warehouse and the Library/Learning Resource Center (LLRC) on the Ukiah Campus, in addition to many remodels such as the Lowery Student Center. All bond proceeds were spent by 2015.
The bonds were issued in two series, Series A in 2007 in the amount of $30 million and Series B in 2011 in the amount of $37.5 million. As general obligation bonds, the debt is not an obligation of the college, but is paid back through an assessment to taxpayers on property tax bills. A portion of both bond series totaling $48.6 million were refinanced in 2015 to take advantage of lower interest rates and to save taxpayers $36.5 million.
The college administration is gathering information to determine if current interest rates would make it advantageous to refund a portion of the remaining bonds. The college would not benefit from the savings, but would pursue the opportunity on behalf of local taxpayers. Any refunding would be for the purpose of saving the taxpayers money and would not extend the life of the bonds. Administration will work on the due diligence and documentation for a refinancing over the few months. If it is found to be advantageous, an action item will be brought to the board in February 2022.
The Information Technology department has a number of projects underway this semester. In addition to the ongoing network upgrade project, which is approaching completion, they are working to upgrade wireless access in the core of the Ukiah campus from the Pomo Plaza to the Agriculture and Sustainable Construction and Energy Technology program outdoor spaces. The new outdoor coverage will allow students and staff to make use of more of our beautiful campus for instruction and meetings.
October was Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so IT Director Dave Johnston sent weekly emails to staff sharing scary statistics about cyber-attacks as well as tips and tricks for staying cybersafe both at work and at home. The department is working on preparations for the implementation of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for staff during the spring semester to provide additional security beyond passwords.
The weather cooperated perfectly with beautiful fall weather for the Child Development Center to host a Halloween parade on October 29th. The parade was held safely on the college track with parents in attendance. It was great to be able to safely celebrate the holiday together in person.
During the Summer of 2020, Mendocino College was informed by the current bookstore operation vendor that they would stop providing support moving forward for in-person, on-ground operations. As a result, our college made the transition to our online bookstore, which has been in place since Fall 2020. This presented an opportunity to explore bookstore operations in a more comprehensive manner since we hadn’t explored a bid process for bookstore operations in over 10 years. Therefore, on September 30th, Mendocino College began a Request for Qualifications and Proposals for Bookstore Operations.
Through this process four vendors submitted proposals for bookstore operations (Follet, Barnes & Noble College, eCampus.com, and Ambassador Education Solutions). Mendocino College faculty, staff and students reviewed the information provided and made a recommendation to the District. The following individuals assisted with the process of reviewing all information received: John Foucault (Student), Nancy Heth (EOPS/CARE Specialist ), Leslie Banta (Faculty-Mathematics), Steve Crossman (Faculty–Counseling), Rebecca Montes (Dean of Instruction), Joe Atherton (Director of Fiscal Services) and Ulises Velasco (Vice President of Student Services).
The District accepted the groups recommendation and is exploring an agreement with eCampus.com for bookstore operations. The groups decision was mostly based on the following factors:
- Vendor’s favorable pricing structure.
- Vendor’s student-friendly shipping structure, providing many free options.
- Support of a District-operated campus store that can provide students with a place to pick-up and return textbooks.
- Excellent customer service availability in English and Spanish.
- Excellent student-facing technology and textbook adoption tool.
- Flexibility for the District to not enter into an exclusive apparel/merchandising agreement with the vendor.
We are currently working on making the transition, which will hopefully be in place by the start of the Spring 2022 semester.
Admissions & Records staff are preparing for spring 2022 registration which will begin with the priority registration period on November 15th and continue with open registration beginning November 20th.
Registration will be available on campus and at Center locations as well as online through MyMendo.
An affiliate organization was recently approved by the Mendocino College Foundation to support Veterans and their dependents. The goal the Friends of the Mendocino College Veterans and Dependents is to provide resources and support so they can focus on and achieve their educational goals while they await the processing of their VA educational benefits or in cases in which students are ineligible for VA educational benefits.
The Finish Line Scholars Program offers Mendocino College students financial assistance while attending courses at Mendocino College through a generous donation to the California Community College Foundation. The Finish Line Scholarship is intended to help students who are half-way to their stated educational goal complete their journey by proving up to a $5,000* scholarship and additional support. For the 2021-2022 school year, 27 students have received the $2,500 scholarship. Continuing students will receive an additional $2,500 for the upcoming spring semester after review of their spring schedule. During the 2020-2021 academic year, our College utilized Finish Line Scholars Program funds to provide emergency funds to students. This year, we have transitioned to a scholarship program in alignment with the long-term goals of the CCC Foundation and their donors.
CAMP hosted its second workshop of the semester, a virtual painting party with Raizes Collective Executive Director Isabel Lopez. Isabel comes from a migrant background and is a CSU Sacramento alumna. She is also a first-generation college graduate and the founder of the arts and cultural nonprofit Raizes Collective. The workshop was well attended by 15 CAMP scholars.
EOPS staff, Nancy Heth, Juvenal Vasquez, Roberto Renteria, Emily Hashemian, Meztli Avina and Director Sandoval attended the 52nd Annual CCCEOPSA (California Community College EOPS Association) Conference held virtually on October 28-29. The theme of the conference was "Reinforcing Our Vision for Success: Pathway to Healing and Hope”. During the conference, the staff attended sessions on best practices, discussed strategies to build efficiencies, and ways to stay connected with students during these unprecedented times. They also received an update from Legislative Advocacy and the Chancellor’s Office. During the conference, EOPS student Behishta Ghulam Qadir was recognized as a CCCEOPSA Scholarship recipient.
The Disability Resource Center department attended the Fall California Association For Postsecondary Education and Disability (CAPED) conference held in South Lake Tahoe on October 4-8. Attendees enjoyed presentations that addressed service and support delivery, social justice approaches, among other topics that best align services with student needs.
The Disability Awareness Round Table was held on Monday, October 18th from 3:00 – 4:30 pm. This virtual event was well attended by our agency partners. The presentations by college departments included: New and Continuing Practices and Programs at Mendocino College by VP, Debra Polak; Financial Aid and EOPS by Director, Yuliana Sandoval; Learning Center Tutoring-Supporting Students In-person an Online by Director, Janet Daugherty; and DRC and College Updates by Coordinator/Counselor, Nick Wright.
Admissions and Records staff had the opportunity to participate in several conferences and trainings in the month of October, including: Strengthening Student Success Conference, 20 Year Anniversary AB540 conference, Veterans Affairs Office Hours, and CCCCO updates regarding fraudulent applications.