October 2020

My report will highlight student successes and updates on many programs and the excellent work being done by our administrative service, student service, and instructional areas. 

One of my highlights from the last month has been a tour of the Coast Center in Fort Bragg. I have now visited all three centers in MLCCD; Lake, North County, and the Coast. I want to give a special thanks to Dean Amanda Xu, VPAA Debra Polak, and the center staff for providing me a tour and information about the phenomenal work being done at our centers. I look forward to visiting the remaining instructional sites in Covelo, Anderson Valley, and the Coastal Field Station in the coming months. 

I have begun meeting with individuals on the Mendocino College Foundation Board of Directors. I enjoyed a conversation over coffee with Travis Scott and Mark DeMuelenaere. I look forward to meeting more directors over the coming months. 

Peggy Geobel shared fantastic news that 100% of our nursing students passed the recent NCLEX exam! This is amazing! Congratulations to all of you for the work you do to support our students with a balance rigorous curriculum and caring support. We also shouldn’t forget the great work of the Mendocino College Foundation in supporting our programs and services. The foundation raises funds to cover the NCLEX exam fees for nursing students. Our commitment and passion to student success truely shows.


MESA Update

MESA Tutoring is in Full Swing! There is now a new “MESA Tutoring” tab in Canvas for students to easily access, and at present tutoring is available for 15 courses across four different dicisplines.  

There are currently nine tutors providing 37 hours a week of tutoring services for students. MESA will soon be providing students with an “exam survival kit” that will contain school supplies, a mask, and resources, including sites for calculator emulators in case they cannot obtain a graphing calculator. Students in the program will also be attending the UC Davis Pre-Healthcare conference virtually this Saturday.  

Faculty Evaluations 

Full-time tenure track faculty members and many adjuncts are scheduled for their regular teaching evaluations this fall semester. Given that all of these evaluations will be for online classes, many of them taught by instructors new to that medium, the instructional Deans have been working with faculty to make sure that this remains a useful and constructive process for all involved. On Wednesday, September 30, full-time faculty members David Pai and Nicholas Petti led a training for other full-time faculty on how to approach online evaluations. Full-time faculty member Neeka Aguirre added resources for full and part-time instructors to the Faculty Helping Faculty canvas page. On Friday, October 2, the instructional deans held an informal meeting with adjunct faculty to discuss the evaluation process. As always, the evaluation process should remain collaborative and focused on celebrating positive achievements and providing constructive feedback to facilitate a better student experience.   

Career Education 

Recently at the California Community College Adult Occupational Education (CCCAOE) virtual state Fall 2020 conference, Vice Chancellor Sheneui Weber presented updates on the state legislated Vision for Success programs. This workforce development funding has provided over one billion dollars for Strong Workforce program development over the past four years to the Community College Districts in California. Our District has funded 74 individual Career Education projects during this time, ranging from regional projects like the Physical Therapist Assistant, Public Safety and Child Development programs to local projects like Nursing, Computer Science, Agriculture, Business, Culinary Arts, Digital Arts and Media, Wildland Fire Academy and the Career Hub. Vice Chancellor Weber described program strategies that produced Career Pathways, Regional Partnerships, Earn & Learn programs and Industry driven integrated delivery systems that have strengthened our workforce development partnerships locally and regionally. Several of our Career Education staff and faculty will be attending this professional development conference that is virtually presented throughout the month of October.


Plowshares 2020 “Empty Bowls” 

In this year’s 14th annual Empty Bowls effort, Mendocino College Ceramics Department joins forces with “Plowshares”, our local soup kitchen, to assist with its largest fundraising effort of the year. On October 3, Plowshares held a “Drive By Empty Bowls” event to continue the tradition while compiling with our COVID-19 health mandates. Calling this year’s event “Empty Bowls on Wheels” it continues a 14-year tradition that started on the Mendocino College Ukiah Campus. It began as a partnership between the head of Ceramics and Sculpture and Art Professor, Doug Browe and History Professor Larry MacLeitch who was at the time Director of the Board of Plowshares. Browe had heard of the concept years before in Detroit Michigan, started by two public school teachers who wanted to ease the food scarcity problem in that city. 

Joining in the effort are members of MICA, a local group of artists who are former Mendocino College ceramic students, and other local ceramic artists, most notably Jan Hoyman of Jan Hoyman Studio in downtown Ukiah. 

Culinary Arts Management

Bon Appetit Management Company donated a catering van to our Culinary Arts Management (CAM) program. Katie Fairbairn and Professor Nicholas Petti are working on a program to get delicious, nutritious food to the most vulnerable in our student population and hopefully expanding that to include vulnerable people in our broader community. The van will be an invaluable resource to do that. More details to come in the coming weeks!

Theatre News

Submitted by Reid Edelman, Professor of Theatre

Even though classes and productions continue to be offered online only, the college theatre department continues to produce and celebrate student work! The department has formed an Online Repertory Theatre Company, also called ORT. ORT is an ensemble of 15 student and community actors who rehearse via Zoom. ORT releases short projects every few weeks via social media and also hosts a web-page featuring the ensemble’s projects. Thus far, ORT has released three short pieces which can be viewed at www.mendocino.edu/ORT. ORT is currently working on a collage of character monologues from Edgar Lee Master’s Spoon River Anthology. This new project, our most ambitious thus far, will be released on October 23.

Technical Director Steve Decker and Theatre Technician David Wolf have taken on a major project cleaning, reorganizing, and improving the theatre and scene-shop. Already they have built a new tool storage room and done a massive sorting and cleaning of equipment. Upcoming projects include adding a floor and weather-proofing our out-door storage shed and cleaning and trouble-shooting the lighting and sound systems. Thanks Steve and Dave!

Mendocino College Symposium

The Mendocino College Symposium held our first community talk featuring Political Science Professor Phillip Warf with a talk titled, “Thumb on the Scale: Using Gerrymandering and Voter Suppression to Rig Elections”.  The talk was well attended by students, employees and community members and was also broadcast on KZYX.  Attendees of the zoom lecture have commented on how interesting they found the information, expressed their surprise and concern about what is happening to American votes and commented that they look forward to future talks.


With a largely online Fall and Spring, on ground courses at the Centers are sparse. However, with county health precautions in place, the Mendocino College Coast Center’s Krenov School of Fine Woodworking is moving forward with a truncated version of their program on ground. Set to begin in late October, 10 students, down from a traditional 23, will commence a program similar to our summer offerings. The Fine Woodworking program is excited to be able to offer this hands-on experience to their students. The North County Center currently has no courses scheduled on the ground, but continues to support students with a safe space to study and access internet. The HEP program is also working with the North County Center to offer limited HiSET testing, an opportunity they plan to expand to our other Centers. Supported through our North County Center, our Covelo Educational Site has had to make the difficult decision to temporarily close in light of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the region. However, student support continues remotely, and WiFi access remains a resource utilized by the community at the site’s parking lot.

The Lake Center would like to acknowledge Center Assistant solgat familyDenice Solgat who was recently recognized as the California Fifth Congressional District’s 2020 “Angel in Adoption” for her dedication to adoption and supporting children in the foster care system. A full press release is available on our website. All three Centers are also currently working with our 12 high school partners to schedule dual enrollment courses for Spring. For yet another term, even during the pandemic, dual enrollment courses are expanding at many of our sites.    


The Coast, North County, and Lake Centers are excited to soon be able to offer personal hygiene kits to students. Students need only be currently registered in classes to access these free goods.  






Counseling & Student Services

Financial Aid 

With the 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and California Dream Act Application (CADAA) available as of October 1, the financial aid staff have begun their yearly outreach to all high schools in our district. Starting with Mendocino High School on October 6, staff will host virtual workshops to provide students with information on financial aid and scholarships and assist with submitting their FAFSA or Dream Act applications. In total, financial aid staff will visit 18 schools and tribal education centers to provide vital assistance to future Mendocino College students. Financial Aid staff will also provide virtual and in-person workshops (maintaining necessary precautions) to assist students who need additional assistance with completing the 2021-22 FAFSA and CA Dream Act Applications. Preparations for in-person workshops are under development and will adhere to the safety and social distancing measures used earlier in the fall semester. 


EOPS staff hosted another drive-thru kick-off event for students to pick up their “Tools for School” and for CARE students to pick up their meal/gas cards. This event was held at the Ukiah campus on October 13 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. and again between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. This follow up event provides new EOPS/CARE students or students who couldn’t previously participate to receive their materials for the semester. 

  EOPS pop up tentEOPS signage

Transfer Application Workshops 

Mendocino College hosted virtual CSU/UC transfer application workshops for all students via Zoom on Friday, October 9. These sessions, developed by EOPS staff, were promoted to all students interested in transferring. This information is vitally important as they start the process of continuing their education at a four-year institution.    

College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) 

CAMP staff, Counselor Maria Avina and Program Manager Dr. Mariana Martinez, participated in the recent Office of Migrant Education (OME) 3-day virtual conference. They received updates regarding CAMP from the national level. OME is collecting data regarding HEP-CAMP issues being faced by their students due to the pandemic to be able to present to the US Department of Education. Programs across the country are struggling with recruitment and retention due to the remote learning environment followed at most higher education institutions. As a result, Dr. Martinez met with two other CAMP directors to discuss outreach and recruitment strategies. To facilitate the outreach/recruitment process, Dr. Martinez has been in communication with Migrant Ed and Academic Talent Search to continue sharing that CAMP is still recruiting. They are collaborating on possibly doing presentations at their monthly parent meetings. 

Latinx Heritage Month Celebration 

CAMP hosted a number of workshops in celebration of Latinx Heritage Month. The workshops included presentations by local elected officials, podcast hosts, and a counselor. The last workshop, hosted on October 14, was a fun game of Loteria to promote student connectedness and engagement. 

Progress Reports and Check-In Survey 

First Year Institute (FYI) students are required to submit one progress report per semester. This Fall, students are able to complete a self-reporting form through a Microsoft Office form online; they will then meet with the FYI counselor via phone or video chat to review the form and talk about success strategies as needed. We expect the progress report/meeting process to be completed in October and are working hard to catch students who are struggling prior to them reaching a point where they can no longer catch up on their classes. Additionally, we invited all FYI students to complete a check-in survey in September in an attempt to keep them connected and reporting back on their needs. We had about 50 students reply to the survey and are continuing to follow up with needs reported including help with completing financial aid, textbooks, hot spots, Chromebooks, and counseling appointments. This was an effective way of reaching students who had previously not requested support from the program after the beginning of the semester. 

Inreach & Outreach

Student Success Workshops and Zoom Support Sessions 

FYI Counselor Brenda Estrada is holding a series of workshops for students around the topics of time management, stress management, transfer options and other topics as students express needs/interest. Additionally, FYI offers daily Zoom support sessions at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. for students who have questions or need support with their classes this semester. This information has been shared with students to encourage participation. 

Early Alert Notices

The rush and challenge of addressing students requests to see a counselor in preparation for the Fall 2020 semester is behind us. However, counselors are now receiving Early Alert notices from instructors regarding student academic and/or personal challenges impeding course success. Counselors are responding to these notices, in-reaching to students, and connecting them to support and resources. Moving forward, the Counseling Department will reflect on changes and adjustments brought on by our current online learning environment. Efforts have been deployed, such as an online student survey, email, text, and personal phone calls to connect with students. 

Outreach Team Update

Outreach Specialists Manuel Galicia and Malissa Donegan participated in Ukiah High School College and Career Days (virtually). The event began with an hour of open discussion, followed by a 30 minute presentation on Mendocino College, which included Dual Enrollment, Reg2Go – Virtual through Google Classroom, Career Education, available degrees and certificates, and more. There were a total of 47 participants at one time. Students were engaged and had time to ask questions and share their goals.

Internal Communication 

The value of internal communication among the department extends interdepartmentally. Counselors made a presentation at the recent Faculty meeting.  The presentation was an overview on the transition of counseling services from in person to remote counseling.  Counselors Emily Hashemian and Fernando Calderon prepared a PowerPoint presentation explaining the challenges, the adjustments, changes, training and various modalities utilized in the counseling office to serve students. They also provided a demonstration on Cranium Café. Academic Senate President Indermill commented on the presentation, “Thank for a great overview of the heroic counseling efforts going on to help support students. Cranium Café is much cooler than I thought!” 


Our CalFresh Outreach efforts have begun using the AdmitHub tool to connect with needy and eligible students with great success. The CalFresh team has submitted a proposal to extend the current grant for three additional years. Our initial grant funding was $8,000 annually, and during this three year cycle the funding has increased. If approved and funded for the next three-year cycle, starting 10/21 – 10/24, it will be for $100,000 annually. 

Child Development Center

children playingThe teachers at the Child Development Center are documenting the learning that is occurring in experiences offered to children through written observations, photographs, and artifacts of the children’s work. Teachers use this data to plan for the group as a whole as well as the individual child’s development. Observed development includes: fine motor manipulative skills, interaction with peers, symbolic and sociodramatic play, and the children's capacity to engage in physical activities.



Student Success 

Sandra Gonzalez-Hernandez

Sandra Gonzalez-Hernandez graduated from Mendocino College in 2018 with an Associate of Arts in Spanish. Sandra participated in CAMP in the 2015-2016 academic year. She was born and raised in Ukiah and attended Ukiah High School before enrolling in Mendocino College. Sandra comes from a family of six, composed of her parents Roberto and Elizabeth Hernandez, two older brothers Esteban and Ricardo, and one younger brother Carlos. Her parents were born in Jalisco, Mexico, where they also met and later married in 1991. Sandra’s father has worked in agriculture since he first immigrated in 1984. He became a resident through the Immigration Reform and Control Act, amnesty of 1986. Both of her parents are strong, admirable, hard-working people. Sandra says that her parents have always motivated her and her siblings to pursue an education and be positive contributors to society. Their work ethic has transformed their paths through life, especially for her brother Ricardo, who is a Sheriff Deputy for the County of Los Angeles. After completing her studies at Mendocino College, Sandra transferred to California State University, Sacramento, and graduated in the spring of 2020, from the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies majoring in Ethnic Studies, with a Chicanx and Latinx concentration. She will be continuing her education in the fall of 2020 to pursue a Master’s in Higher Education Leadership at California State University, Sacramento.

Sandra says, “The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) has truly helped me succeed in higher education. Its purpose of having a home away from home within college helped me, as it did the numerous students who participate in the program better adapt to our new environment. As first-generation college students we may feel out of place or frightened by the new expectations and pressure of higher education, although CAMP always seeks to care for its students and prepare them to succeed. The program provides each student with amazing tools such as networking skills, career exploration and the experience of visiting new campuses students may potentially transfer to”.

For Sandra, the “experiences that truly motivated me to continue my education were having that connection to other campuses in which I could envision myself and to have the ability of breaking through that fear of the unknown. Being part of the program cohort and after becoming a mentor for other incoming students gave me the experience to also become involved in CAMP at CSU Sacramento as part of the Retention Team, where I continued to build on my skills. The networking skills and work experience from Mendocino College brought me to having the accessibility to the new opportunities”.

She is proud to share that her experience in CAMP at Mendocino College has truly been one of the best of her college career. She made exceptional memories and lifetime friends. She adds, “Always remember to give back to your community, hay que darse la mano unos a otros, todos podemos!”