President Schilling’s Board Report for September 12, 2023

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 September 12, 2023

Enrollment Update: Fall enrollment continues on a positive trend. As the enrollment period closed for 16-week classes, we are up 7% from fall 2022, after a similar 7% increase in the summer. We continue to add classes and promote our All-Access Passport Program for our late start classes; our goal is to increase enrollment by 10% this semester – a goal we believe is within reach! Thanks go to VPI Kathleen Reiland and our deans who are practicing innovative enrollment management; to VPAS Stephen Schoonmaker for his expert handling of our Charger Food and Book Pass Programs; to Director of Communications Marc Posner for the continued push to successfully promote our programs; and to our faculty and staff for creating a welcoming and caring environment for our students. The energy on campus is positive and our students are engaged.

Start planning your fall calendar now for our many upcoming Cypress College Foundation events. We hope you will join us for the following events in support of our students.

  • Don’t miss our Pups and Pints event on September 14 from 4-7 p.m. This event is for all staff, retirees, and especially alumni. Featuring great music, food, beer, and wine, this event will be held at our pond – with or without your pup!
  • President’s Night at the Theater – Cypress College President’s Circle members are invited to join us for a special dinner and performance of the musical, Carrie, on Friday, October 13 at 5 p.m. for the reception and 7 p.m. for the musical performance. All board members are invited to join us!
  • Save the Date for our 38th annual Golf Classic to be held on November 6 at the Old Ranch Country Club.

Below is an example of the many tips, services, important dates, and FAQs we are sharing with students as we begin the semester. Click on the links below to stay informed on how we are supporting students!

Cypress is now a Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement College (MESA) after receiving a $1.6M MESA grant. Although eligibility requirements differ between our STEM(2) and MESA programs, students only need to submit one application for both programs. Benefits for the two programs are similar, but MESA students are also eligible to receive a stipend for undergraduate research opportunities through the program.

Club Rush for fall 2023 was held on September 6. Cypress has over 35 clubs, and we know that finding supportive social circles for our students is critical. We appreciate all our faculty advisors and our student activity office, led by David Okawa and Jay Shonkweiler for their support of our Student Life and Leadership programs. At the event, Associated Students provided nachos, and the Charger Experience Program sponsored the event with boba for students in attendance.

On Tuesday, August 29, the Financial Aid Office hosted its first Open House for students to get to know our Financial Aid staff and engage with FA in a positive way. Activities involved interactive financial aid games, important financial aid information, and free snacks and beverages, along with the chance to win 7 Leaves, Starbucks and Target gift cards!

On Opening Day, we shared some highlights of Cypress College’s Equity in Mental Health (EMHC) Needs Assessment with the college. This report was sponsored by the Steve Fund, using historical data from the college, surveys and a student focus group discussion about mental health needs and services at the college. Here are some key data points from the report:

Level of Anxiety and Stress

  • 70% of students reported experiencing stress/ anxiety in the last 12 months
  • Nearly 86% of respondents reported feeling that emotional or mental difficulties had hurt their academic performance at least 1-2 days in the past four weeks
  • 28% of those reported having these feelings on six or more days

Campus Climate

  • In response to questions about how welcoming (or not) the campus climate is for students of color, students in the listening session generally expressed that the campus felt welcoming. In summary, students mentioned the following as vital to their sense of belonging:
    • programs and physical spaces for students of color
    • staff diversity
    • cultural student support services

Mental Health Concerns

  • When asked about the most pressing mental health concerns, students named:
    • social isolation
    • COVID-19 related anxiety and grief
    • impostor syndrome

Prioritizing Mental Health on Campus

  • When asked about the ways that mental health was prioritized on campus, students highlighted campus programs:
    • clubs
    • physical affinity spaces
    • counseling services
    • financial support
  • Students felt that mental health resources were generally accessible and that staff was typically helpful. They specifically mentioned the Arise Room, Wellness Collaborative, and the Mental Health Club.
  • Outside of highlighting specific programming, students also recognized the ways that such programming also seeks to destigmatize mental illness and help-seeking.
  • Also mentioned were the Legacy Program, the Veterans Resource Center, the LGBT Safe Space, and the Charger Experience.

To help bring awareness to our campus about some of the findings in the needs assessment, Cypress College Health Center and Active Minds have been working hard to plan our 2nd annual Walk of Hope. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and we want to continue to bring awareness, education and resources to mental health and suicide prevention. Please join us on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. by the Pond in front of Veteran’s Resource Center to listen to our Active Minds guest speaker, Greg Vogt. Following our guest speaker, we will kick off the walk and end in a resource fair with food and giveaways. All registered attendees will receive a Walk of Hope t-shirt.

We welcome our board and campus community to the many events across our District in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. You will see a flyer of all events below. We hope you can join us!

We are also pleased to share some positive information recently shared by AUHSD about our District transfers to UCI. Cypress has been steadily increasing the number of students applying and being accepted, moving in the last year from 90 students to an all-time high of 130 students accepted to UCI, for an increase of 44%. See the data on the following page.

Buen Cypress! We Take This Journey Together!

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