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 July 28, 2020
In the last month, our campus community continues to address the challenges brought on by the surge in COVID-19 cases, the continued commitment to addressing anti-racism on our campus and in our communities, and challenges posed by budget and declining enrollment. Despite our enrollment being up by 1% for summer, our fall enrollment is down almost 5%, an alarming trend. Although this is in line with other colleges across the state, the feedback we received from students indicated they would be returning in the fall. We are actively reaching out to all students who have missed a registration appointment to determine how we can assist and support. This summer has been anything but quiet and I am grateful for the faculty, staff, and managers who have delayed or shortened their own vacation time to address the important issues facing our college.
Community College Equity Leadership Alliance: Cypress College will be participating in USC’s Race and Equity Center’s Equity Leadership Alliance with other community colleges across the state. This alliance will provide the college with access to a 12-month curriculum led by racial-equity experts; an online resource library of rubrics, readings, and case studies; guidance on designing action plans; and climate surveys for students, faculty, and staff members. The first eConvening will be from 1-5 p.m. on Thursday, September 10. The topic will be Fostering and Sustaining Inclusive Classrooms for Students of Color. Attention will be paid to equitable teaching practices in virtual and traditional on-campus learning environments. A decision will be made on which participants will take part at this eConvening by the Equity Alliance Task Force at our meeting July 28.
Black Faculty and Staff Association Task Force: A group of Cypress College BFSA members have been meeting the past 5 weeks to identify and make recommendations on six areas for change as we grapple with becoming an anti-racist campus. These six subcommittees are: 1) Documents, Compliance and Policies; 2) Campus, District Committees; 3) Institutional Hiring Committees; 4) Curriculum; 5) Special Programs; 6) Student Needs. My thanks to the leaders of these committees, Annette Letcher, Fola Odebunmi, Daniel Lind, Virgil Adams, Renee Ssensalo, and Deidre Porter.
Black Minds Matter: The Cypress College Executive Team is taking part in the Black Minds Matter webinar series provided by CSUSD. This weekly series is offered each Thursday beginning July 16 and continues through August 13.
Our COVID-19 Response Team continues to meet throughout the summer to address planning for the fall semester. The Response Team is identifying the equipment, PPE, and other safety requirements for an eventual re-opening of the campus, when it is deemed safe. The C-19 Response Team is working in tandem with our Emergency Operations Committee to plan for C-19-related and other emergencies requiring a clear and informed response. As we have seen a spike in employee cases of C-19, we continue to modify our plan for remote work, and have developed protocols for those limited courses that still require some F2F instruction on campus.
Athletics moves to spring semester: The CCCAA Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved implementation of its Contingency Plan on Thursday, July 17, providing a return to intercollegiate athletics for the 2020-21 academic year that shifts all sports to the spring season. The return to athletics in January will only occur if it is safe to do so, a decision that will be guided primarily by state and local health guidelines. The Contingency Plan can be viewed here.
Food Distribution: Our food bank, which is closed during the campus closure, will be re-opening in August in collaboration with NOCE and Pathways of HOPE. The college will be implementing a weekly drive-up food distribution for all students on the Cypress campus each Tuesday, as well as virtual appointments to assist with student housing needs. Volunteers will be needed each week to assist.
Caring Campus Kick Off: We are happy to announce the classified employees who have agreed to be Caring Campus Coaches this year. They are: Summer Justice, Diana Domingo, Evelyn Lindley, Cari Jorgensen, Tayler Thomas, Mohammad Chaudry, Jodie Thomas, Sarah Barriga, Angela Haugh, Ayman Gadalla, Anne Marie Valadez, Ashley Berry, Temperance Dowdle, Belinda Allen, Cindy Lopez, Julie Vorathavorn, Vivian Kim, Gloria Ortega, and Cindy Cao. The upcoming coaching sessions are scheduled for: Session 1, July 28; Session 2, August 18; Session 3, September 15; Session 4, October 6. Thank you to Lisa Gaetje and Ruth Gutierrez for organizing our classified employees as part of IEBC’s Caring Campus Initiative.
Cypress College in the News: Our STEM(2) program was recently named as one of NASA’s 11 top community colleges in the nation for their work as a minority-serving institution. This honor comes with funding to help recruit and retain more underrepresented students in the STEM fields, while providing opportunities for research internships with NASA. Congratulations Yanet Garcia and the STEM(2) team!
For the third year in a row, Cypress College was voted as the Long Beach Press-Telegrams’ Best Community College, by its readers. This designation was given by readers and students at surrounding community colleges (including Cerritos, Long Beach, Golden West, El Camino, and Compton colleges) for our student-friendly outreach, support for students and community, and for being the college students most want to attend. Congratulations for the continued excellence of our faculty, staff, and administrators.
Congratulations is also in order for the Cypress College IT team for the recent recognition by Modo Labs at the 2020 Appademy Awards for Best Student Driven Mobile Application. Cypress beat out other institutions across the country, including runners-up Penn State and UC Berkeley, for this honor. We are very proud of the work performed by students James, Chia, Tareq, and Urjaa on the projects they worked on and for the support of our IT team to move us forward in the digital application ecosystem.
A reminder to our board that our Opening Day convocation will be held virtually this year on August 20 from 9–11 a.m. On August 19, the FLEX Day focus will be on Distance Learning, in collaboration with Fullerton College. The Opening Day event will feature a virtual guest speaker discussing the laws that support racism against our communities of color, followed by a panel of our Black faculty who will discuss their personal and professional experiences with racism. We hope you will join us for this virtual event.
Buen Cypress! We Take This Journey Together!