Things to Know – Monday April 17, 2017

I hope you had a good weekend. It was such great Southern California weather. Sorry, I am late getting this out today.

Thank you in advance for helping out with the parking situation tomorrow for College Preview Day. I am going to do my part by parking on the west side of the college and walking a bit tomorrow morning, so the President’s parking space will be available. The guest parking place has been promised to a certain faculty member on crutches this week…

On the decade anniversary of Virginia Tech, we are reminded of the importance of campus safety, of being prepared. Our Acting Chief Davis Nighswonger spoke with Cabinet today about our Emergency Operations Plan and the importance of drills and preparedness. We will be working this summer to start some new training and preparing for drills in the process.

Men of Color Conference

Attending the Men of Color Conference was inspirational. I hope the 198 participants that attended were as inspired as I was by our keynote speakers: Dr. Victor M. Rios and Kevin Powell. Our own Trustee Roberto Alcantar and Dean Michael Odu, along with H Puentes, and Aaron Stark imparted their advice to our students while speaking on the Professional Panel.

Dr. Rios advised students to “Think about your purpose, and what you are going to do for yourself and for other people.”  He reminded us that we must change the systems that “lead to exploitation.” ….“Not just about working hard, it is about working smart.”  Check out his Ted Talk…Define students by what they contribute, not what they lack…changing the narrative from at risk to “at promise.”

Kevin Powell noted that “community colleges are the most important colleges in the country” because of the students we serve. He reminded student they have to “know who you are” and “practice humility”.  He reminded students they must be serious about their lives and they need to be prepared.

Our panel imparted wisdom throughout their session…”community colleges are social justice institutions”…There 1.2 million tech jobs that will need to be filled, and only 400,000 students in the pipeline…”Take time to know who you are”….”What is guaranteed in our world is you are going to hit obstacles”….asked people to think “how can I clear a pathway for those behind me”?

In thinking about our role in equity, I leave you with this quote…

“What keeps a community college from achieving equity? Will. The will to fix the problem. What else could it really be? There have been task forces and inquiries, programs and initiatives, commissions and affinity groups, and still, graduation rates for men of color are stagnant. People must not believe that there really can be anything different or want to do things differently. I do believe there are many well-intentioned people at all levels. But in the end, no change is no change. We need to really ask ourselves why and then deal with that.” — ALISSA GARDENHIRE RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, MDRC