President Schilling’s Board Report for October 13, 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 October 13, 2020

We are now beginning our eighth week of instruction, the midpoint of the semester. I want to thank our faculty, counselors, managers, and staff for the many ways they continue serving our students. The work of the campus continues, but it is important to acknowledge that there exists a palpable fatigue due to the many stresses that our employees and students are facing as we continue learning remotely. To that end, the college has launched the Wellness Collaborative, in partnership with our Health Center, faculty experts, and Professional Development Team, who will be providing free mindful meditation, yoga, group therapy sessions, as well as health and wellness workshops to help our students and employees find ways to de-stress. We appreciate the leadership of adjunct faculty member Sam Gould, our Health Center staff, led by Marla McBride, and our Professional Development coordinators, Michael Brydges and Ruth Gutierrez. View our classes here.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee has just released our three selections for a common book reading series this fall semester. The three books are: “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson, “How to Be An Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi, and “The Distance Between Us” by Reyna Grande, who will also be visiting our campus as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. Our larger goal is to strengthen our community and continue to work towards dismantling the systemic barriers that impede racial equality on our campus. The campus will be voting on the top selection and we would like your input! Please vote here by October 15. We will announce our campus common book and discussion series soon after voting closes.

I had the opportunity to appear on AUHSD’s “Future Talks” series on Wednesday, October 7. Superintendent Mike Matsuda has begun this important discussion with county leaders to inform AUHSD’s 30,000 students and their families about the future of work for young people post COVID-19. Guests come from a broad spectrum from work, careers, and higher education, who are grounded in kindness and compassion dedicated to making a world a better place. The podcast will be shared soon with AUHSD friends and family.

The college hosted our second Presidential Advisory Group meeting on September 22, featuring 30 industry and community leaders. Presentations included updates on internships, our technical programs, Charger Experience, dual enrollment, and opportunities to support the college financially and through employment opportunities for our students. To see our presentation, please click on the following link.  Videos need to be viewed in presentation mode.

Our Queer Straight Alliance, under the oversight of ESL faculty member, Jenelle Herman, hosted a student and employee panel on October 8, commemorating National Coming Out Day. The panel focused on de-colonizing the fears inherent in coming out, and hearing from our current and past students who shared their powerful and empowering stories. We appreciate the faculty, staff and students who attended and provided their support.

The college welcomed Dr. Lee Douglas, our new Vice President of Instruction, to the campus on October 5. We are all looking forward to his leadership and the support he will provide for our faculty and academic divisions. Welcome Dr. Douglas!

The statewide Affordability, Hunger and Housing Taskforce has begun meeting again and I am honored to again represent Region 10 on this taskforce. I will also be serving as the co-chair for the #RealCollegeCA conference, which will be held virtually on December 4. Soledad O’Brien will be the keynote speaker and talk about her work providing support for young women of color who are struggling with food and housing. The third annual conference will focus on the many initiatives being implemented and pursued across the state to assist our food and housing insecure students, especially in this challenging environment. We hope you will be able to join us virtually at this year’s convening.

CARES Funding update: As of last Wednesday, 7,008 students have been awarded emergency grants from the CARES Act set up last spring to address student need due to COVID 19, providing a grand total of $3,501,075. This includes specifically reaching out to Legacy and Puente program leaders, who were given the opportunity to notify their students prior to the grants being released to the entire student body. In the spring 2020 semester, 3,794 students were awarded $500 emergency grants totaling $1,895,075. In the fall 2020 semester, 3,203 students were awarded emergency grants totaling $1,606,000. Additional funding has been spent on the purchase of technology to support students, including laptops, wi-fi hot spots, lab kits, and other instructional support. The college will be looking at additional emergency grants for students through our shared governance process and how we might allocate additional grants for the spring semester.

Upcoming events

Cypress College’s annual High School Superintendent and Principals convening will occur on October 29 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. This year’s convening will include representatives from AUHSD, Fullerton Union, ABC Unified, Garden Grove Unified, and Los Alamitos Unified Districts.

The college Sustainability Committee will be hosting a campus Drive-In Movie event on November 13 at 7 p.m., premiering The Story of Plastic. This impactful movie, about the presence of plastic in our oceans, polar ice, and the air we breathe will change your mind about the many ways we use, and rely on, plastic in our consumer culture. Please join us for a socially responsible evening together on campus.

The Pic ‘N Mix Collection continues virtually, from September 17 to December 3. This unique exhibit features collections amassed by members of the Cypress College community. At a time when we cannot meet in person, Pic ‘n’ Mix invites you to unwrap its ‘candies,’ savor old friends, and make new connections. Visit the Exhibition, as well as other events offered this semester in the Cypress College Art Gallery.

Our annual Connect2Cypress event on October 27, will welcome up to 1000 high school seniors to our campus for a virtual introduction to the campus, introduction to Guided Pathways, the opportunity to interact with career center staff in the Majors2Careers event, and information about the Charger Experience Program.

Please join us on Thursday, October 15 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am for “Cafecito with Sylvia Mendez” as Hispanic Heritage Month continues. Ms. Mendez was a child when her parents were involved in Mendez vs. Westminster, a 1947 landmark case effectively ending racial educational segregation in California. Her firsthand story is harrowing and enlightening and she tells it with a quiet grace and power. Also coming up is a Q&A with author Reyna Grande, author of “The Distance Between Us”, which is also one of our book selections this fall. That event will be offered on October 21 at 5 – 6 p.m.

Buen Cypress! We Take This Journey Together!

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