As Southwestern College students head back to class for the fall semester, the Governing Board has updated its priorities for the 2017-18 year.
At the August Governing Board meeting, my colleagues and I unanimously adopted nine priorities to support student access and success. The priorities reflect the Governing Board’s commitment to addressing the academic needs of our students, but also address other factors that can hinder student success. Over the last year, Southwestern College launched the SWC Cares initiative that brings together all the social services, economic and community resources that can support students outside of the classroom. Included in that support is the Jag Kitchen Food Pantry—which will celebrate its one-year anniversary in September.
The priorities also reflect the Governing Board’s desire to have Southwestern College lead the economic, workforce and community development for the South Bay. The state Chancellor’s Office has rebranded Career Technical Education and provided additional funding to help students understand the earning potential of degree and certificate programs in these fields. My fellow Governing Board members and I will be looking for opportunities to connect more closely with business owners this year to show the opportunities to connect with our academic programs.
Facilities Master Plan Refresh
Several of the Governing Board’s priorities for the upcoming year include our desire to refresh the Facilities Master Plan as we fund construction projects through Proposition Z. Our highest priority is to ensure the new facilities meet the evolving needs of all students, faculty, staff and the community. To do that, we want to increase our communication so all college stakeholders can weigh in on designs and functionality of our new projects. Our adopted priorities call for considering the holistic needs of our students for academic facilities, transportation and housing. It also calls for meeting the needs of students at our centers as well as the main campus. We’ll be holding town hall meetings and “taking our show on the road” to visit community groups and service organizations. We hope you’ll join us on this journey.
Foundation Members Serving our Students
Our foundation was extremely busy last year raising funds and friends to benefit students and college programs. As the first full year with a full-time staff of three, Foundation Executive Director Zaneta Encarnacion was able to lay the structural foundation for new initiatives.
The foundation and departments throughout the college were able to utilize online registration and payment software to boost attendance at their events. The software also made it easier for employees and the community to support fundraising opportunities, such as the Jaguars Give employee contribution initiative and the Giving Tuesday social media fundraising activity. The foundation now oversees $1.2 million in assets, and we are encouraged by the future potential.
Restorative Justice Program Doubles
Pictured L-R: Director Patrice Milkovich, accounting Professor Chang Park, philosophy Professor Najah Abdelkader, communications Professor Bigkat Manning, Counselor Ahmed Rasheed Aden, English Professor John Rieder, business Professor Kevin Alston. Not pictured: psychology Professor Stephanie Hall, geography Professor Michael Walker, sociology Professor Jimmy Talamantes.
Last year, Southwestern College served as a pilot for the Second Chance Pell program to educate inmates at Richard J. Donovan prison and the East Mesa Re-Entry Facility. Now entering its second year, we are happy to announce that the program has been a success—doubling in size for this upcoming academic year.
Last fall, the college offered four courses, and this fall will offer eight. Overall, the number of courses to be offered this academic year will be 18. Last year, the students completed 14 units—of which nine are transferrable to a four-year university. The students earned an average cumulative GPA of 3.56.
This fall, Southwestern will also begin a new cohort of students that prepares them to transition to community college upon their release. Studies have shown that the best chance at lowering recidivism is to provide inmates an education and opportunities for success upon their release. We are proud to be leading the way in offering inmates and the community hope for breaking the cycle of crime.
In service to the beloved community.