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a photograph showing Karen Watson, in her newly tenured faculty portrait from 2002, lost her long battle with cancer early this morning.

Karen Watson, in her newly tenured faculty portrait from 2002, lost her long battle with cancer early this morning.

Karen Watson, a member of the Cypress College math faculty and the college's 2003 Teacher of the Year, lost her long battle with cancer early this morning.

"Her body, but not her spirit, succumbed to a recurrence of the cancer she had fought so bravely against previously," her dean, Richard Fee, wrote in an email to colleagues. In her last day, she was surrounded by her family and friends."

Fee continued:

Karen lived her life as the embodiment of grace and love. I met Karen as she was moving into her office the summer before her first semester. She greeted me with such warmth and enthusiasm, that I felt as though I belonged (even as an adjunct instructor). She made her students feel the same way. Each one of them was special in her eyes, and each semester she asked herself "How can I do more for my students?"

In 2003, a student-led committee selected Watson as the college's Teacher of the Year recipient.

"The entire campus community extends congratulations to Karen for her excellence as an instructor." then-President Dr. Margie Lewis said. "She is another example of the wonderful employees that we have at Cypress. It also speaks volumes about the depth of quality instruction within the Mathematics Department for a math teacher to be nominated yet again for this honor."

Watson earned tenure in May 2002, four years after she was hired at Cypress College following a career that included employment by Hughes Aircraft as a software engineer, and as a civilian statistician for the U.S. Navy.

It was at Hughes that she realized teaching was her true calling. Having already earned a bachelor's degree from Cal State Fullerton, she returned to the university to earn her master's degree in mathematics.

Watson was particularly interested in training future K-12 teachers and developed two mathematics courses for what was then the college's new Cypress College Teacher Preparation Program. She was also active in local mathematics organizations and regularly presented workshops at regional K-12 conferences and teacher in-service training.

She also served on the Academic Senate.

Away from work, Watson and her husband, Dennis, enjoyed ballroom dancing, and were actively involved at church.

Update: Share your memories of Karen Watson on our Facebook page.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

It's that time: the semester begins on Monday!

Given that classes are nearing capacity again, it'll be wise to begin your day by arriving early and planning for extra time to find a parking space.

Speaking of parking, there is a two-week grace period for parking — from January 23, 2012 - February 4, 2012. Students are allowed to park in student parking space without a permit. Students must adhere to the parking signs as all other parking violations will be enforced. A valid parking permit is required beginning February 6, 2012.

If you are on a waitlist for a course, be sure to check your email and your MyGateway account between now and the first class meeting. Waitlists expire at midnight on the morning the class first meets. Those lists are then generally used to prioritize the petitioning process. You can learn more about waitlists in the schedule of classes.

Plan on attending the first class meeting — and arriving on time — for all classes in which you are enrolled, waitlisted, or are petitioning. If you don't, you run the risk of not getting the class.

Here are some additional helpful links:

    •   Cypress College Office Hours for the Start of the Semester

    •   Financial Aid Information for Spring 2012

    •   2012 Scholarship Applications Now Available

    •   Schedules, Catalogs and Open Classes

    •   MyGateway

There is also an information booth located on the first floor of the Student Center. Need something over the weekend? There's a decent chance that a fellow student (or maybe even me) will be able to answer a question over on our Facebook page.

HAVE A GREAT SEMESTER!

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Things were rolling along quite well in the summer of 2007. For some perspective on just how long ago that was, the first iPhone had just shipped, the Anaheim Ducks were the newly crowned Stanley Cup champions, and the cost to attend community college had recently dipped to $20 per unit.

Another significant milestone that summer: Dr. Mike Kasler became the 10th president of Cypress College.

This morning, 4 1/2 years later, Dr. Kasler announced at a campus-wide employee meeting that this will be his last semester at the college after nearly 20 years on the campus.

One measure of Dr. Kasler's impact on Cypress College can be found in how the announcement went from that meeting to being public: a Facebook posting from one of the student leaders in the audience.

"Our dear Cypress College President Dr. Kasler has announced his retirement at the end of the spring 2012 semester," Associated Students President Gabriel Rubio wrote on the website. "Let's make it count this last semester!"

Dr. Kasler, who consistently focused on maintaining a student-centered college, was that important to the students that they broke the news.

Our job as employees is to serve students.

Dr. Kasler always had that in mind, even as he took the job in 2007.

"Let me start by saying that I am absolutely delighted to be president of this campus," he said in a letter to the campus community shortly after being named president. "I have the tremendous fortune of working with dedicated faculty, staff and managers who are committed to serving our students. We work in a collegial atmosphere with people who are committed to doing the right things for the right reasons."

With two interim vice presidents, three new deans, and significant construction work still underway on campus, Dr. Kasler noted that it would be a time of change at Cypress College.

Another of his trademark attributes is connecting with people. It showed in that first communication, in which he noted that change didn't necessarily mark a departure. Sharing his expectations as an freshman president was "important to the preservation of our campus culture."

Those expectations:

• Foster an environment of trust, honesty and integrity;

• Be actively involved in the decision-making process and ultimately support the result of that process;

• When a mistake is made, admit it, correct it and move on; and

• Understand that we are in the people business. Listen to people and respect them.

He closed: "I look forward to this being the first of many successful years together."

The years have been successful — though, certainly, not as planned.

Just weeks into his presidency, the state budget situation was coming apart. It was the beginning of a long series of events resulting in the most-significant funding reductions experienced by California's community colleges.

Through 4 1/2 years of cuts, Dr. Kasler has been skillful in guiding Cypress College — all the while focused on people: our students and the people employed to instruct them or otherwise support their education.

It may not be the presidency he envisioned back in 2007. At the same time, it's hard to picture a better leader being here to guide the institution during this time.

Dr. Kasler has earned his retirement — and, we wish him the best.

Posted by Marc S. Posner

Happy New Year!

Yes, it's January 3, so there's a little liberty in that greeting. However, today marks the first day of the work year at Cypress College after an 11-day period to observe the holidays.

With offices re-opening across campus, we're now focused on the start of the semester, which takes place on Monday, January 23 — 20 days from today, which feels both distant and imminent at the same time.

As students prepare to return, here are some links to provide helpful information:

Posted by Marc S. Posner

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