President Schilling’s Board Report for May 26, 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 May 26, 2020

The last two weeks have been all about celebrating our graduates. Although this is a year like no other, the campus community is stepping up to commemorate the accomplishments of our graduates, our special programs, all while embracing all our students’ accomplishments. This report is dedicated to the Class of 2020, our retiring employees, and the celebrations that have been going on across the college.

Our Puente Program, which provides a first-year experience for our LatinX students, hosted a Zoom Graduation for Class #24 on Tuesday, May 12 at 12 noon.  The graduation celebrated our students with photos and poetry commemorating their growth and experiences with Puente at Cypress College. In addition, the Puentistas participated in a drive-by graduation in Parking Lot 8, on May 16, receiving a certificate of completion and an embossed portfolio commemorating their successful year. Thank you, Professors Therese Mosqueda-Ponce and Ashton Politanoff, for leading and supporting our Puente students this year.

Our Legacy Program, dedicated to celebrating the African-American experience, sponsored an end-of-the-year Wellness Webinar on Wednesday, May 13, at 3:30 p.m. The speakers, Professor Virgil Adams and Professor Fola Odebunmi, offered tips to students on self-care during a Pandemic.  Together, these two Professors offer 50 plus years of scientific, spiritual, and practical experience in the area of self-care, mindfulness, and spiritual well-being. In addition, the Legacy Scholars completed their year with a Legacy Culmination Celebration on Friday, May 15 at 6 p.m. Our largest Legacy class ever shared what they have learned, expressed their gratitude to their professors, and received awards and scholarships from their faculty and mentors. Thank you to Professors Regina Rhymes and LaRon Armstead for their leadership of this important program this year.

Charger Experience students were honored Monday, May 18 for successfully completing the 2019-2020 Academic Year.  Students participated in a Drive-By, many with their families in the car, to receive their recognitions. They were welcomed by the Charger Experience Team (Gisela Verduzco, Brittany Hamer, Maria Haro, Adriana Caridad, Cynthia Cervantes, Amelia Mosely, Kassandra Abreu, Pryscilla Truong, and Luu Tran), who presented them with their commemorative packets. The first graduating class from the Charger Experience/Pledge Program received a Cypress College Diploma Frame, a Charger Experience sash and Honors Patch. First and second year students who earned a 3.0 GPA or higher received their Honors Certificate and NOCCCD Promise Scholar patch. This Fall 2019 semester, over 700 students earned a 3.0 GPA or higher.  Among those in the car line up that extended to Valley View at times, included Cypress College Student Trustee Ester Plavdjian and the Cypress College Graduate of the Year, Elise Cunanan.

Pledge/Promise Success: Last Friday, May 15, was our last spring Charger Friday of the year, and our team was able to continue serving the students in our areas with the same high touch, high quality experience, welcoming over 2000 high school students to virtual Charger Fridays this semester. In addition, UCI accepted 95 of the 223 Cypress College applicants for transfer and 28 of those students were from the first 2018 Pledge cohort. Congratulations to these students and to our Charger Experience Program for their outstanding work!

Psychology Psi Beta: For the past two semesters, under the guidance of psychology professors, Dr. Brandy Young and Dr. Randy Martinez, Psi Beta students have been working on analyzing and presenting research. Several of these honors students presented the results of their research at the virtual Spring 2020 UCI Honors Conference. Cypress also had two research posters accepted for presentation at the 100th annual Western Psychological Association conference in San Francisco, CA. In order to become a member of Psi Beta, students must have completed 12 college units, maintained a minimum GPA of 3.25, and have completed a college-level psychology course with a grade of B or higher.  Our acknowledgement of these graduating scholars will be on Friday, May 22, at 12 noon.

Commencement: The college will be hosting an Employee Watch Party for our first ever virtual commencement as a campus community. Please join us Friday, May 22, 2020 beginning at 4:30 p.m. for the pre-show interviews with Faculty Senate President, Craig Goralski, Dr. Paul de Dios, Dr. Schilling, our 2019 Alumnus of the Year, Foundation Executive Director, Howard Kummerman, Alumnus of the Year, Curtis Sheets, and 2017 graduate Crystal Neer. Commencement begins at 5 pm and this year we will be honoring 1695 graduates who will be receiving 2125 degrees, and celebrating with the 528 graduates who will be participating in the ceremony and will cross our virtual stage. Be there to cheer them on!

Cypress College in the News: The countdown to our virtual commencement began with an article in the Ocean Breeze on May 19. In case you missed it, here is the article and overview of our fabulous Class of 2020.

Student Needs Survey: The college sent out a student needs survey to students this week and in the first 24 hours, 900 students had already responded. We will be sharing their responses in detail, but here is a snapshot of what they are telling us: 86% of our current students said with certainty that they plan to re-enroll at Cypress College in Fall 2020; an additional 9% were not sure yet if they would be re-enrolling, and 5% said they do not plan to re-enroll. 48% of students feel “very prepared” or “prepared” for remote instruction in the fall (16% very prepared, 32% prepared) 33% or neutral or not sure of their preparedness, 19% do not feel prepared. More than half of our students reported not having a quiet place to do their school work (55%). This was followed closely by concerns about access to academic support services (50%). Concerns about financial difficulties (28%) and reliable internet (20%) were also expressed. Students expressed interest in staying engaged and are interested in discussion boards (44%), video group chats (32%), and virtual meetings and town halls (25%). We plan to use this data to assess workshops over the summer, support to provide in fall and ways to keep students engaged and connected next semester. Thanks to Eileen Haddad and our IRP team for putting together this important survey!

Faculty Retirees: Each May and June we come to the end of our academic year and must say goodbye to valued and honored employees. This year two long-time faculty members, Stuart Rosenberg, English, and Jessica Puma, Spanish, will be leaving us. Together they represent over 44 years teaching at Cypress College and they will be missed. Their impact has been felt by countless students and their contributions to their respective departments and the campus community has been deeply appreciated. We wish them well in their next adventure, and thank them for their service to Cypress College.

Classified Appreciation Day: The campus traditionally honors our classified professionals with a Classified Luncheon. This year will be different, but we have plans to host a Classified Zoom Appreciation Celebration on Wednesday June 4. Our managers will be contributing e-prizes for raffle and we look forward to honoring our classified retirees, Victor Jiminez, and Frederico Vasquez, both from M&O.

On the following page is a snapshot of our successful transferring 2020 scholar-athletes. Thank you to Athletic Director, Wes McCurtis, for putting together this great info graphic on behalf of our students.

Buen Cypress! We Take This Journey Together!

%d bloggers like this: