President Schilling’s Board Report for January 28, 2020

The following is a report to members of the North Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees.

Presented by Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D.

on January 28, 2020

Happy New Year!  The college is back in session and we are looking forward to the spring semester and seeing the many things happening at Cypress College. Spring enrollment is showing a slight decrease in head count from last year, but an increase in units taken and FTES. We are hopeful this is in response to some of the Guided Pathways initiatives we are beginning to implement.  We also look forward to providing a State of the College presentation to the board on February 11, which will focus on our progress on the four 2019-2020 focuses of the college: Housing and Hunger, Increasing Equity-Mindedness, Sustainability, and implementation of Guided Pathways.

Campus News

FLEX Day was held on Thursday, January 23, 2020. Tim Wise was the keynote speaker at 9 a.m. in the Campus Theatre and provided an insightful and powerful message. Opening Day was held on Friday, January 24, 2020 followed by lunch served by our Associated Students. During the program we shared campus updates, the past semester’s accomplishments, followed by a staff and student performance titled “This Is Who We Are.” Thank you to Trustee Blount for attending and representing the Board.

Chargers Athletics Spring Preview: After having 4 of 5 fall sports qualify for the playoffs, the spring season has already begun. Women’s Basketball is currently undefeated in conference play and the Lady Chargers are ranked No. 12 in the state with a 15-3 overall record. Cypress College Baseball enters their season opener on Friday ranked No. 2 in Southern CA. Softball is considered the favorite to win a sixth consecutive Orange Empire Conference Title. Men’s Golf is expected to make another run at a state title after winning in 2018 and finishing as runner-up in 2019. Go Chargers!

New website: Cypress will be unveiling our new website design at the end of February. A preview was provided to employees on Opening Day and our Communications team will be reaching out to all divisions and areas to ensure their information is updated. The new website will align with our Guided Pathways approach by providing a consistent look and navigation on all academic and student services pages. We look forward to our new site being fully available to all staff and students by March 1, 2020.

The college will be offering preferred name and pronoun options to students through our Canvas platform, and by personal request through the Registrar. Going forward into fall, students and employees will be able to input this information in our new Banner 9 system. This has become an important issue for our transgender and non-binary students who are often identified by legal names that no longer align with their preferred gender identification. More needs to be done on this issue across the District, including reviewing policy, but our Registrar will address this confidentially with those students who seek to be identified with a preferred name and pronoun this semester.

Cypress College is in the News…again!  Fox News KTLA visited our campus to feature the work we are doing on housing and hunger. Reporter Gina Silva interviewed Tyuana Boochee a Cypress student who shared her experience with homelessness. The feature is scheduled this week on Good Day LA. We will keep you updated when we have an air date. In the meantime, the Spectrum News Channel 1 hour-long feature on community colleges that aired last month (and featuring two segments on Cypress College) can be seen at: The first 20 minutes focus on Chancellor Oakley; Cypress segments begin around the 20 minute mark.

A recent report by the Center on Education and the Workforce revealed the strong return on investment (ROI) produced by community colleges. According to this report, which listed over 4,500 colleges in the US, Cypress College has an 875% return on investment and ranked 431 in 10-years and 1383 in 40-years across the US. As a comparison, CSU Fullerton’s ROI ranked 499 in 10-years and 1338 in 40-years. In addition, students who earn an associates degree at Cypress earn $838,000 more in their lifetime than they would without that associates degree.

STEM(2) Fall recap: 78 STEM scholars were selected to participate in undergraduate summer research experience this past summer – a record number of participants to date. From 2017 to 2019, participation increased by 90%. In addition, efforts are being made to connect our students with industry, resulting in internships with Vescio Manufacturing, PSI Intertek and V&M Precision. Seven students are now working for these three companies, and the numbers are growing. Thank you, Yanet Garcia and her team, for this excellent support of our students. Read our student profile at the end of this report to hear how these experiences transformed one student’s life.

Our first Presidential Advisory Group meeting was held on January 14 at the college. Sixteen CEOs and decision makers from local industries including the Los Angeles Angels, SubSync, Union Bank, Orange County Business Council, Mentor Global Consultants, CHOC, Exemplis, OC4 Venture Studio, and Schools First, among others, were there to learn more about Cypress College and discuss potential partnerships. It was an exciting morning engaging with our business leaders and we are eager to continue developing the important relationships that benefit our students.

Cypress College was honored with a 2019 Excellence in Energy and Sustainability award on January 14 at the California Community Colleges Board of Governors meeting in Sacramento. The college and the North Orange County Community College District were recognized for Cypress College’s chilled water thermal energy storage tank, which reduces cost and increases energy efficiency. The District won for the Best Project — Large District Category.

The new Cypress College Sustainability Committee met in December and January and we are busy developing ideas for the spring semester. Upcoming will be a presentation by non-profit, Algalita, who will be presenting on developing curriculum that  incorporates sustainable practices in our courses. In addition, the college will be sponsoring a contest for all students and employees to build an art project using recyclable materials. The winner will be announced on Earth Day, April 22. Finally, we will be imitating a campus wide “Did you Know?” social media campaign to educate our community on the things we can all do to create a sustainable world. Stay tuned!

Upcoming Events

“Equity at Work” Symposium at UCLA Conference Center in Lake Arrowhead – March 26-27

Americana Awards at the Disneyland Hotel – February 29

Black History Month – Kick off event on February 5 and events throughout the month of February

Yom HaShoah – April 22, 2020

This month’s student profile focuses on one of our STEM(2) students who had the opportunity to travel to NYC this summer and participate in a summer research program at Columbia University. Meet STEM(2) Scholar, Gricelda Weed.

“My summer research experience at Columbia University was transformative! I had the opportunity to conduct neuroscience of aging research alongside world-renowned scientists. As a first-generation student, mother of five, and woman of color, the opportunity to spend two, fully-funded, months at an ivy league in New York City was an opportunity of a lifetime. My research investigated the association between socioeconomic status and white matter hyper intensities in older adults. I wanted to see if the socioeconomic status of an individual affected the neuropathology later in life. One of the most memorable activities was shadowing a brain cutting session performed by a neuropathologist. It was the first time that I encountered what the human brain and spine anatomy were like in real life. At the end of the program, I presented my research at the STAR U symposium and will be presenting in national conferences in 2020. Participating in this summer research program solidified my career path in neuroscience of aging, and it has provided mentorship in my journey towards becoming a physician-scientist that is truly valuable as a first-generation student. Currently, I am a STAR U ambassador and will continue conducting research with my mentor. It is because of programs like (STEM)2 that underrepresented minorities feel seen, heard, and supported to pursue a career in STEM. I am the first STEM scholar to conduct research at Columbia University, and I’m sure I won’t be the last.”

Congratulations Gricelda. We are #CY Proud!

That’s the Board Report from Cypress College. Buen Cypress!

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