President Schilling’s Board Report for July 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 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!

Cypress College Supports Our International Students

We know that this week’s surprise announcement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement related to the status of international students across the nation is both jarring and stressful for many of us in the campus community.

Cypress College wants all of our international students to know that we stand with you and we are already designing a strategy to facilitate your continued education here in the fall and through completion. You have all already been contacted by Yongmi Han, our International Students Program manager. She and the ISP staff are available to you at this time via email at, and our college administration is here for you.

Rest assured that her communication to our Cypress College international students is just the first of many steps. Cypress College, along with California’s other colleges and universities, will be working tirelessly to keep our students here in this country, and moving forward with your academic journey at Cypress College.

JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D.
Cypress College

Our Commitment to Social Justice Change at Cypress College

Dear Colleagues:

Much has occurred this past week as our country and communities continue joining together to demand justice for our black brothers and sisters. I have appreciated the heartfelt conversations I’ve had with many of you about what we can do at Cypress College, as well as the many reminders that we can no longer keep talking, without backing up that talk with meaningful change.

Some of you have asked about my own vision for equitable institutional change. I hope that vision has been clear from the efforts to center our core values around equity and our focus on improving success for our students of color; but like many of you, I cannot witness the events of the past few weeks without doing some soul searching, and asking if that vision is fully informed or aims high enough.

At Cypress College our shared vision is to ensure our campus is a safe zone for our students and employees of color, and that we are a campus that can have meaningful conversations on equity, race, gender, and sexual orientation. Our students want to know they will be seen and heard, and we must all be part of the solution to make sure we not only create a space for meaningful dialogue, but are a campus that allows for engagement to flourish. Our vision is to ensure we have the best people working here at Cypress and continue to hire dynamic and diverse employees who demonstrate compassion for, and commitment to, ensuring equity and student success. Our vision is to support our faculty to prioritize educational change in our classrooms and to be unrelenting in our dedication to transform Cypress College into a place where social justice is authentic. Our vision is to create a culture of respect for differing opinions, without stifling the important conversations that must occur for us to create a healthy and dynamic college environment. Ultimately, the culture we want at Cypress College is shaped by all of us.

So my commitment to you is to use my position and privilege to continue to support our collective vision, while not allowing this moment to be something we talk about for a few weeks and then move on. That will not happen. In the coming weeks and months we will prioritize these important conversations. Some short term and long term plans are:

Our Associated Students will be hosting a student town hall this Wednesday at 1 p.m. Please share this Zoom link with students and encourage them to attend:

Our hope is for our students to continue to host these workshops throughout the year (summer, fall and spring). We are committed to providing students a safe space to educate others, and advocate for action with the goal of improving the student experience on our campus.

With the help of our campus leaders, we will also be designing a series of employee town halls and discussions that will also continue into the fall. An update will be shared soon on this first convening.
We will be rescheduling the Equity Retreat we had to cancel this spring, in a Zoom format this Fall to allow for more employees to participate.

Cypress College will be joining the California Community College Equity Leadership Alliance from USC’s Center for Urban Equity. Our Completion Team peer and data coaches have already been accepted to participate in this important training, but as part of this Alliance we will have access to guest speakers, additional training, and climate survey tools.

This is just the beginning of the work that must be done. Education has always been the path to social justice change, and community colleges are the system of higher learning that educates more black and brown students than any other. We have a powerful responsibility and role to play in creating real systemic change in this country. Join me as we step into this moment together.

“The greatest glory in living, lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” – Nelson Mandela

JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D.

Cypress College

An Affirmation of our Cypress College Values

Dear Chargers:

As we begin our summer, I want to again thank each of you for the exceptional service you have provided to our students this past semester. I have missed you. I have missed the ways we celebrate together, and I miss the random opportunities to stop and learn of one another’s lives. I miss the many ways we collectively remind ourselves why we do the often-hard work of educating others. This desire to connect has been especially acute the past few weeks as we celebrated our students’ accomplishments remotely, serving as a reminder of all we have lost this semester. Although it is possible to deliver education remotely, like a package onto someone’s desk, the things that make us a community, make learning an engaged and meaningful learning experience, and helps our students flourish, are the ways we connect and engage with one another.

As I began this letter to you, I had intended to update you on our budget situation and progress in providing safeguards for slowly bringing employees back to campus. But the tragic events unfolding across our nation demand a response, so please allow me to affirm our commitment to our work in support of equity on the Cypress College campus. Recent events remind us, yet again, there is no escaping just how far we have to go to eradicate the awful stain of racism within our communities and institutions. 400 years after the first slaves came to our shores,160 years after their descendants were “freed”, 60 years after the civil rights movement, we still live in a country where too many of our citizens cannot go about their daily lives without the fear that a trip to the store, a jog down the street, or a drive into a new neighborhood could result in violence or death. Each death, each act of bigoted violence, each moment someone is silenced or told they don’t belong, diminishes each of us. It is a pain that cannot be ignored.

As members of an institution of higher learning, we must continue our resolve to take racism seriously on the Cypress College campus and stand up to the institutional norms that cripple each of us, no matter who we are. The miseducation that we knowingly, or unknowingly, perpetuate, resides in the stereotypes we carelessly accept, the symbols we have learned to absorb, and assumptions we believe as truth because we don’t take the time to live with, and understand, one another.

The responsibility of living within a democracy is both a gift and a chore. As we watch any sense of unity in this country tested daily by our hyper-politicized views, I am especially concerned by any rhetoric in our own community that seeks to pit us against one another. It is hard to work together in times of safety and security; to do so in times of crisis takes character and commitment. At the heart of all education must be a sense of moral and social justice, a respect for the feelings and opinions that are different than our own, a willingness to listen and learn, for we all play a role in keeping our community healthy; without one other, we cannot be what, and who, we need to be.

I know that the broader national situation includes concerns about the impacts of COVID-19 and the repercussions it has for the economy and our own state budget. Collectively these are tremendous stressors in our lives. You want to know what this will mean for you at Cypress College, so I want to reassure you that no permanent employees will be losing their jobs or asked to take furloughs. As Dr. Marshall said, we do have healthy reserves and these will be put to good use in time of crisis. And it is my commitment that even as we have difficult decisions ahead, you as employees will know your welfare and safety come first.

I am grateful for the leadership that exists here at Cypress College and NOCCCD, and our ability to respond to these concerns. Our shared governance committees and academic senate have agreed to be available over the summer and we will be working together to ensure any decisions about critical matters — such as the college’s budget and our work to prepare for the safe re-opening of the college — is communicated openly and collaboratively.

As we work through these challenges, we also want our traditionally disadvantaged students to know they will find support here, and we will collectively embrace an equity-mindedness that reflects our shared humanity. We will not sit back while others are hurt or persecuted; we will ensure that all our students, but especially those who feel disenfranchised in our culture at large, will know they have a home here on our campus. This has always been important at Cypress College but right now nothing is more important. Cypress College must be that place that instills the capacity for empathy, resilience, and collaboration.

Please remind students that Telemental Health Counseling is available by calling (714) 484-7361 and they can find more information by clicking on the following link: Likewise, all employees can find support through our confidential Employee Assistance Program at More information can be found on the “Employee” tab of myGateway.

These are uncertain times but I am reminded that each generation has faced their own defining point; I hope this will be ours. I hope we will finally say “enough,” and stand together for change. Willing or not, change is upon us and we must choose a world where justice is offered to all. To quote the Greek poet, Aeschylus, “In our sleep, pain, which cannot be forgotten, falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the grace of the gods.”

Let’s not waste this pain or this moment, but vow we will be that place that others come to learn and find wisdom. I want you to know that you each matter, that every role at our college is essential, and that we will come through this together.

Wishing you peace, love and safety,

JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D.

Cypress College

A Message to Students in Light of Recent Events

Dear Students,

As we begin our summer, the tragic events unfolding across our nation demand a response, so please allow me to affirm our commitment to our work in support of equity on the Cypress College campus. Recent events remind us, yet again, there is no escaping just how far we have to go to eradicate the awful stain of racism within our communities and institutions. 400 years after the first slaves were forcibly taken from their homes, 160 years after their descendants were “freed,” 60 years after the civil rights movement, we still live in a country where too many of our citizens cannot go about their daily lives without the fear that a trip to the store, a jog down the street, or a drive into a new neighborhood could result in violence or death. Each death, each act of bigoted violence, each moment someone is silenced or told they don’t belong, diminishes each of us. It is a pain that cannot be ignored.

As members of an institution of higher learning, we must continue our resolve to take racism seriously on the Cypress College campus and stand up to the institutional norms that cripple each of us, no matter who we are. The responsibility of living within a democracy is both a gift and a chore. As we watch any sense of unity in this country tested daily by our hyper-politicized views, I am especially concerned by any rhetoric in our own community that seeks to pit us against one another.

I am grateful for the leadership that exists here at Cypress College and NOCCCD, and our ability to respond to these concerns. As we work through these challenges, we also want our students to know they will find support here, and we will collectively embrace an equity-mindedness that reflects our shared humanity. We will not sit back while others are hurt or persecuted; we will ensure that all our students, but especially those who feel disenfranchised in our culture at large, will know they have a home here on our campus. This has always been important at Cypress College but right now nothing is more important. Cypress College must be that place that instills the capacity for empathy, resilience, and collaboration.

Please remember that Telemental Health Counseling is available by calling (714) 484-7361 and you can find more information by clicking on the following link:

These are uncertain times but I am reminded that each generation has faced their own defining point; I hope this will be ours. I hope we will finally say “enough,” and stand together for change. Willing or not, change is upon us and we must choose a world where justice is offered to all. To quote the Greek poet Aeschylus, “In our sleep, pain, which cannot be forgotten, falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the grace of the gods.”

I vow to use the pain of this moment to work even harder to ensure that Cypress College will be that place that others come to learn and find wisdom. I want you to know that you each matter and that we will come through this together.

Wishing you peace, love and safety,
JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D.
Cypress College

President Schilling’s Board Report for April 9, 2019

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 April 9, 2019

Campus News

The Cypress College Green Zone training was featured on ABC 7 news on Sunday, March 31. ABC News was on campus several weeks ago to film the training and hear from students about what our veterans program has meant to them. Congratulations to Veterans counselor, Juan Garcia, who is featured in the news clip, and Dean Rick Rams for implementing this training across our campus. Over 50 staff, faculty, and students have been trained so far. We are #CYProud! To see the broadcast, please go to this link:

The Cypress College Grads to Be Program, which serves undocumented students at Cypress College, is preparing to launch enhanced support services for these students starting May 1, 2019. This program is funded through the Catalyst grant awarded to NOCCCD, and is designed to increase personal growth and development through academic, career and personal counseling, peer mentoring, legal aid assistance, and staff, faculty, and student development.

The Cypress College Dance Department attended the American College Dance Association regional conference being held on the campus of University of Southern California this past week. This conference supports and affirms dance in higher education by offering college dance students classes, observations, the opportunity to perform and be adjudicated for prepared pieces.

Congratulations to Alyssa Gorman, Cypress College’s Orange County Teacher of the Year. Alyssa is an adjunct faculty member in the English Department and was nominated by our students. She has served Cypress for almost four years and we are grateful for her thoughtful attention to our students. Clearly, her encouragement and excellent teaching is making a difference! Congratulations to Alyssa Gorman.

The college will be sponsoring a Homelessness 101 training from OC United Way on April 23 at 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in HUM 136. This training, similar to the training previously hosted at Fullerton College, is a two-hour workshop meant to elevate awareness about the costs, challenges, myths, and misconceptions about homelessness in Orange County. If you were not able to attend the previous training, please join us for this enlightening event.

Student Brandon Davis, Cypress College’s Opening Day student speaker, and who also spoke at Americana this year, has been awarded a $2,500-$7,500 scholarship from 1 Million for Anna Foundation, for Ewings Sarcoma survivors. Brandon will be graduating this semester and transferring to Cal State Long Beach. This scholarship will provide $2,500 per year for up to three years, and assist him continue his pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Math. We are so proud of this young scholar!

Our Cypress College Hall of Fame event was held on Saturday, March 30 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. This year we honored 11 athletes and coaches, who achieved a high level of success at Cypress, in their transfer institution, or at the professional level. In total, Cypress HOF now includes 77 athletes, coaches, and supporters of our programs. The 2019 inductees included former wrestling coach Ray Haas, Citrus College softball coach, Jackie Cosgrove, and two former major league baseball players.

Save the Date! The Cypress College Foundation Scholarships will be held on May 8 at 4:30 p.m. We decided to change the time for this year’s celebration in order to accommodate the attendance of faculty, families, and students.  We also changed our application process this year to an online application and more than doubled our applications. We are looking forward to honoring our excellent students and hope you will be able to attend!

Cypress hosted a Guided Pathways Summit on April 5, featuring keynote speaker Jessica Hurless from Skyline College. It was a great day focused on data, great discussions on how we can better serve our students, followed by table work groups of counselors and faculty working together to create course mapping for our 32 AD-Ts which will migrate into our new Program Mapper. Our hope is all our AD-T’s will have a clear pathway that students can easily follow semester by semester for a 2 and 3 year plan.

Cypress College hosted Board of Governors president, Thomas Epstein, as well as BOG trustees, Blas Villalobos and Bill Rawlings on March 28. The visit included a meeting with our Executive Team, a campus tour, and wrapped up with a luncheon to share ideas and concerns with the three BOG members. We thank our faculty, students, staff, as well as Dr. Marshall and Trustee Blount for attending.

Our Executive Team met with the City of Cypress officials to discuss important issues between the college and city. This ad hoc meeting helps to increase communication and collaboration with our city officials and find ways to support our students and keep the city informed about changes at the college. This year our focus was on housing support for our students and one idea was to explore hosting city “home stays” to help identify residents who might want to allow student to stay in their homes. We will be following up to identify residents who might be interested in participating in this program.

Dr. Schilling will be participating in the Vineyard Institute this year, a CEO leadership institute hosted by CCLC. This year’s institute will take place April 7-9; eleven CEOs will be participating this year. Thank you to Dr. Marshall and the Board for your support.

Attached to this board report are the results of a recent Guided Pathways survey we sent our students. This data will be used to inform how we develop and implement our pathways programs, but we are also heartened that the changes we are making seem to be well received by our students. We Take This Journey Together!

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

Moving Forward With Guided Pathways: Coming Attractions!

We continue to make great progress in becoming a Guided Pathways college, and this blog exists to provide updates on the various initiatives happening across campus. Guided Pathways is an intentional, holistic, student-centered approach ensuring students have the tools, guidance, and support to complete their academic goals. Think of it as a GPS for students—there are many ways to get to the same goal, but our responsibility is to provide a guided approach to ensuring the goal is achieved.

Meta Majors to Academic Pathways

Over the past 18 months, our work groups have continued making Guided Pathways a reality at Cypress College. Our deans, faculty, and counselors have worked diligently within the Meta-Majors Work Group and decided we would no longer use the term “Meta Majors” and, instead, would call our academic pathways by their division name. This means we are now using division nomenclatures to help students determine their area of interest. Fine Arts; Social Sciences; Science, Engineering, & Math (SEM); Business and Computer Information Systems; Career Technical Education (CTE); Kinesiology; and Language Arts are now official communities for Guided Pathways! Below is an example of how this will look on our website:

Program Mapping Project

Cypress is also one of only three colleges in California to participate in the Program Mapping Project. This initiative will be a game changer for our students, allowing them to map out their comprehensive academic plan based on if they want to complete their studies in two, three, or more years. Below is a preview of how students will enter this new portal. Faculty and counselors will be involved this spring in determining which courses students would take each semester to complete their degree or certificate. To launch Guided Pathways, this past fall we offered Connect2Cypress, a campus-wide effort to help students clarify their path and introduce our current and prospective high school students to Guided Pathways.

My Path

Another key project focused on a streamlined onboarding process for students utilizing My Path, a bridge between CCCApply and when the student actually registers for classes. This tool guides students through essential steps and directs them to the appropriate resources—all before they step foot on campus.

Anaheim Pledge

The college also launched its inaugural Anaheim Pledge class in fall 2018. This cohort was larger than expected, due to the great work of our Counseling and Student Development staff.  The Pledge is an integral part of Guided Pathways, as is our Dual Enrollment Program, helping students to focus on taking more units, being intentional in their decisions, and ensuring a guided approach to their completion. These are only a few of the many efforts our fabulous teams have engaged in, whether as a department or division, to help improve our students’ lives. I thank you for your continued commitment, and as we move forward I encourage you to remain involved and focused on the great work ahead that will take us into Phase II. The next 12 months will include the submittal of a Title V grant, written in conjunction with Dr. Al Solano and Nicola Perry, our new Guided Pathways consultant. The activities included in this grant were developed by our Guided Pathways Task Force, and will shape how Cypress College operationalizes the idea of creating guided pathways. For more information about Dr. Solano’s background and work, please visit his latest blog, where he details the work completed by Bakersfield College. Ms. Perry has consulted in our district, as well as in Southern California, and worked in the well-respected Maricopa (AZ) Community College District. The potential grant will allow us to focus on three critical areas:

  1. Distance Education: Increase Pathway options, increase the pools of trained faculty and adjunct faculty, strengthen SEM and CTE programs, especially for our underrepresented student populations
  2. Develop Completion Teams for Each Pathway: These completion communities have been tested throughout community colleges in California and have had great success here and in other states. The team is embedded within each school, providing a coordinated approach to supporting students by increasing the communication and coordination of our services.
  3. Develop a Faculty Center for Excellence: Invest in ourselves through professional development and continued learning opportunities. We have plans to create a Faculty Center of Excellence on the fourth floor of the Cypress College Complex. Whether the subject is writing and incorporating SLOs or ILOs, developing curriculum, and building equity and inclusion in your classroom, Cypress College will continue to have innovative, caring, and engaged faculty leading our charge to remain number one.

There is so much more ahead. This is an exciting time to be a Charger, as we are in the driver’s seat for building our future. Buen Cypress! We Take This Journey Together.

President Schilling’s Board Report for June 26, 2018

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 June 26, 2018

The past few weeks have been very busy as we continue to conduct summer classes, and get ready for fall.

Enrollment: Our summer enrollment continues to be slightly ahead of last summer. We are currently maintaining our enrollment and although we have dropped slightly from the first week, we are still up 2% in our headcount and our fill rate has increased to 88% from 78% last year. We held an Enrollment Management meeting with our academic deans and looked at new reports detailing historical trends in course offerings, fill rates, and productivity that we hope to build on in fall. Other topics included scheduling, extended day budgets, and new Tableau reports to help analyze our course offerings. My thanks to VPAS Emily Day, IR Director, Phil Dykstra, EVP Santanu Bandyopadhyay, and Senior Researcher Kristina Oganesian for all their work developing the presentations.

College Events

  • Dean Henry Hua hosted a Cyber Patriot workshop this week. Students from local elementary schools learned the ins and outs of cyber security as we help engage them in computer activities, and the academic powers of computer networking. The goal of these workshops is to engage rising 6th graders to participate in early Cyber Patriot competitions next year when they come to middle school.
  • Gail Taylor and Dr. Schilling visited the Loara High School campus to tour the Union Bank branch on that campus and provide two scholarships to Loara High School students who will be attending Cypress College in the fall as part of our 2018-19 Pledge class. Union Bank, which is also an Americana sponsors, offers 13 interns the opportunity to work at the branch office, provide workshops to high school students, and learn to work in a professional setting. It was our honor to award these outstanding students a scholarship and to view their operations. A great pathway program!
  • Thanks to Vice Chancellor Cherry Li-Bugg and her team for hosting a productive Student Team Retreat on Tuesday, June 12, to discuss Banner 9 and our onboarding processes for students. It was an excellent opportunity to brainstorm ideas on how to support our students in each aspect of their journey at our colleges. We look forward to more great ideas to come!
  • We also appreciate Dr. Marshall hosting a successful District Management Retreat on Thursday, June 14. There were excellent presentations on collaborations across the district. It was also an important time to collaborate with managers across the District.

Community Events

  • The Boys and Girls Club of Cypress joined us at Cypress College for the inaugural Camp Cypress, held June 18-21. We appreciated the time and generosity of our faculty for hosting workshops in Chemistry, Acting, Cyber Security, Anthropology, Basketball, College Readiness Jeopardy, and Soccer, among others. Our student Ambassadors helped to provide campus tours, facilitate the movement from one location to the next, and staff members, Rhonda Kraft and Liliana Huerta facilitated our organizational details. Thank you all for a successful community partnership.
  • The Foundation Board held its end of the year reception on June 20. Our Spring into Cypress campaign is ongoing, which is a board-led fund raising effort. So far, almost $25,000 has been raised. Our goal is to raise $50,000 by July 30, 2018. Thanks to Foundation Board member (and trustee) Barbara Dunsheath, Chancellor Marshall, and District Foundation Special Project Manager, Brent Hunter, for attending.

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

President Schilling’s Board Report for June 12, 2018

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 June 12, 2018

The college successfully completed our “end-of the-semester” events, adding a few more since the last Board meeting. I personally want to thank our Board members for their support at so many of these events; it means so much to our staff and faculty that you are invested in seeing our students succeed and flourish. It’s been a wonderful first year to acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments. We Take This Journey Together!

The past few weeks have been “quiet” only because we are between the spring and summer sessions. But it has been very busy as we prepare for the summer session, close out the fiscal year, and complete evaluations and end-of-year administrative tasks.

Enrollment: Our summer enrollment is going well. On the first day of our summer session, we are currently up 5% in our headcount (+500 students) as compared to last summer and our fill rate has increased to 86% from 78% last year. We attribute this increase to offering more dual enrollment courses, a reduction of previously low-enrolled courses and adding more high demand courses, and a focused approach to marketing our summer offerings.

College Events

  • Dr. Schilling and a District team made up of HR, Cypress, Fullerton, and NOCE faculty, staff, and administrators attended the NCORE conference in New Orleans the week of May 29 – June1. It was an exciting time to look at moving our Equity agenda forward at Cypress and within our District. The Cypress team consisted of faculty members Justin Campbell and Stephanie Tran, Executive Assistant Ty Volcy, and Dr. Schilling. We are still in the process of identifying action items, but will be reconvening to identify equity strategies in July.
  • Cypress held our Classified Appreciation Day on June 1. Over 100 classified employees and managers attended to enjoy great food, raffle prizes, games, and camaraderie in our Theater Lobby. Many of our retirees were honored and will be missed.
  • Our Toyota T-TEN Program held their graduation ceremonies on June 1. Each student was honored and accompanied by their Toyota industry partner, and all students are working and advancing in their careers in Auto technology. Thank you to Trustee Molly McClanahan for attending and supporting this event!
  • Also on Friday, June 1, our (STEM)2 Program honored their graduating students at a wonderful celebration at Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel. Fifty-seven transferring graduates and their families were in attendance; 34 students have obtained summer research projects. Biology faculty member, Adel Rajab, provided an inspiring keynote speech to our graduates.
  • The College will hold a Deans Enrollment Management retreat on June 18. We will be looking at making final changes to our fall schedule, based on reviewing our historical data, and additional topics will include scheduling, extended day budgets, and strategic enrollment planning.
  • Cypress is exploring how to “auto-award” degrees to our students. Although there are challenges and we want to be sure not to award degrees that will affect the ability of students to continue to receive Financial Aid, we are exploring the feasibility of notifying those students who may be close to completing a degree and offering incentives to complete. This will become more important with our new funding formula, so we are looking at ways to implement this slowly in preparation of helping students complete.
  • Cypress is exploring a collaboration with NOCE in the hopes of moving our Math 10 from Cypress credit programs and into a non-credit NOCE pathway. We appreciate our math faculty thinking creatively and for the opportunity to partner with NOCE.
  • Our math faculty are also ramping up to move many of their course materials and textbooks into an OER platform. The college is supporting math faculty this summer as they review how to reduce textbook costs for students. Thank you to Math Coordinator Cindy Shrout, and math faculty Amy Ward for their leadership on this important initiative!
  • Congratulations to Cypress Faculty member, Jolena Grande, who was named by Governor Brown to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. The 17-member board is appointed by the governor and formally interacts with state and federal officials and other state organizations.

Community Events

  • The Boys and Girls Club of Cypress are gearing up to attend the inaugural Camp Cypress June 18-21. We met to discuss the upcoming schedule or workshops, which include Bug Class, Basketball Camp, Library Scavenger Hunt, Chemistry Fun, and Acting Class, among others. We have many exciting workshops to share with our 6-10th grade boys and girls, and hope to show them they, too, can attend college one day!
  • Dr. Schilling and Foundation Director, Gail Taylor, attended the La Palma City Council meeting to discuss the kick off to the Americana Awards. They shared information about the committee membership, scholarships to La Palma students, and the process for choosing the 2019 Citizen of the Year.
  • The Cypress city representatives came to tour the Cypress campus on Monday, June 4. Marc Posner and Dr. Schilling shared the vision of the Measure J projects, and showed them our new water and energy saving projects.
  • Dr. Schilling and Marc Posner have identified over 21,000 Cypress College staff and alumni on Linked In. We are working on a focused campaign to connect with them and share the great work happening at the college. Our goal is to better engage our alumnus and encourage a robust fund-raising campaign.
  • On Tuesday, June 12, Mortuary Science Program Faculty member David McCament will be featured on the TV show “Storage Wars”; he will be filming an episode discussing the history of antique embalming equipment found in a storage unit and what it was used for. Airing dates will be announced soon!

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

President Schilling’s Board Report for May 22, 2018

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 22, 2018

The college has been in thoroughly engaged in “end-of the-semester” events and we are enjoying seeing our students succeed and flourish. It’s a wonderful time of the year to acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments!

College Events

  • Cypress College will be celebrating its 51st Commencement this Friday, May 25 at 6 pm. We will be welcoming over 1000 graduates receiving more than 1200 degrees and 649 certificates, including our first ever BA graduates in Funeral Services. More than 400 students will participate in this year’s ceremony. Also being honored is Abhiruchi Chaulagin, our Outstanding Graduate of the Year; Curtis Sheets, Foundation Board Member and our Outstanding Alumnus of the Year; Regina Rhymes, our Charger Award winner; Cindy Shrout, our Faculty of the Year, and Wayne Chang, our Adjunct Faculty of the Year. Our Commencement Speaker will be NASA’s Farisa Morales, a former community college student who now searches for new planets with JPL. We are looking forward to an inspiring commencement and hope all our board members will be there!
  • Eleven Cypress College psychology students have been chosen to present research projects at the CC2PhD Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference at UCLAon Saturday, May 26. The conference is one of two held annually by the UCLA-based CC2PhD Association and strives to provide an accessible opportunity for community college and transfer students to engage in research and encourage pursuit of a graduate degree. It will feature presentations from more than 100 California community college and transfer students in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and STEM.
  • The Cypress College Men’s Golf Team, led by Coach Dana Bedard, won their first CCCAA State Championship round on Monday, May 14, capturing the first team state title in program history. Sophomores Matthew Rafter, Georgios Bris, and Andrew Thomson posted top-six scores, earning them All-State honors. Congratulations Chargers!
  • Congratulations to our Women’s Softball team who finished third in this season’s CCCAA State Championship Tournament! The Cypress College softball team fought a good fight in their state semi-final appearance against Palomar College, losing by just one run in the seventh inning.
  • Sophomore Alejandra Gomezbecame the most decorated women’s diver in Cypress College history with her performance at this year’s CCCAA State Swim & Dive Championships. Gomez repeated as the CCCAA State Champion on the 3-meter board and broke the state meet record on the 1-meter board to earn her third state title in two seasons. Awesome job, Alejandra!
  • Our Performing Arts students have been busy with their end of year concerts, including the Jazz Band Concert on May 7, MAD Film Festival on May 11, Jazz Choir on May 18, Concert Choir on May 19, and our Dance Concert on May 20.
  • In other graduation and scholarship news, our Language Arts Scholarship Awards were held on May 14, our Forensics Showcase was held on May 15, Honors scholarship celebration on May 17, as well as our DSS graduation, Puente graduation on May 15, and Human Services graduation on May 18.
  • Our Court Reporting Program is 40 years old! Faculty member Carolee Freer organized a wonderful breakfast which was attended by past and present students, instructors and alumni of the program. Carolee noted that when the program began “nobody drove on the 91 Fwy – can you believe that?”
  • The Cypress College Foundation awarded over 72 scholarships, to 250 students at our Scholarship Awards Ceremony on May 21. It was a wonderful event attended by proud students and parents, as well as our generous faculty, staff and donors.

Community Events

  • On May 9, Dr. Schilling and Dr. Hua attended the Cypress Chamber Golf Reception at the Navy Golf Course in Los Alamitos, to support the work of our local chamber and our partnership with this important business association.
  • On May 10, Dr. Schilling, Dr. De Dios, Dr. Bandyopadhyay, Kathleen Reiland, and Hospitality Management coordinator, Lisa Clark, presented to 20 hotel General Managers representing large hotel chains in Garden Grove, to discuss our Hospitality Management Program and the opportunities we provide for training.
  • Schilling attended the CSULB Spring Educational Leadership Forum on Monday May 14. CEOs, VPs, and Academic Senate Presidents from across the LA/OC area attended to discuss opportunities for transfer and building intersegmental courses across our institutions.
  • Schilling, Trustee Stephen Blount, and VP Emily Day attended the annual Cypress Police Appreciation Luncheon on May 15. It was a wonderful event and opportunity to honor our great partnership with our Cypress Police department, and to honor them for the heroic work they do on our behalf.
  • On May 17, Dr. Schilling had the honor of sharing lunch at the Cypress Bistro with City Council woman, Mariellen Yarc, and Cypress City Manager, Peter Grant. They were impressed with our amazing students and the culinary experience they share with their guests.
  • On Friday, May 18, the college community said goodbye to Don Bedard, “Mr. Cypress”, who was one of the first Cypress College employees in 1967. Dr. Bedard served the college for over 30 years as Vice President and Interim President (twice). He was beloved by the campus community and his service was filled with blue and gold well-wishers.

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

President Schilling’s Board Report for May 8, 2018

Presented by Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D.
on May 8, 2018

The college has been in thoroughly engaged in “end-of the-semester” events and we are enjoying seeing our students succeed and flourish. It’s a wonderful time of the year to acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments!

College Events

  • Our inaugural Pledge Night, held on both the Cypress and Fullerton campuses on May 2, was a fabulous success. At 4:30 when our registration began, there were lines around the building as eager students and parents came to enjoy our program tables, free food, and to get ready for the Pledge kickoff. We hosted over 800 students and their parents, opening an additional overflow room to accommodate everyone. Thanks to Dr. Marshall. Superintendent Mike Matsuda, Vice Chancellor Cherry Li-Bugg, and attendees from UCI AUHSD, and CSUF for supporting and attending this event.
  • Thank you to Our CSEA colleagues who sponsored the annual CSEA Chapter Breakfast on May 8. Cypress College’s Melisa Barrios received an award acknowledging her outstanding service to the College and District. Congratulations, Melisa!
  • Cypress College faculty members Ann Sheridan-Solis and Adel Rajab are being honored at the University of California, Irvine’s 13th Annual Educator Recognition Dinner and Awards Ceremony on May 22. Solis, Rajab, and other honorees were chosen by UCI’s most academically successful transfer students who identified the faculty member or counselor from their community college who played a critical role in their successful transfer to the university. Congratulations Ann and Adel!
  • The Cypress Auto Technology Program added another acknowledgement to its growing list of accolades. ranked our Auto Technology Program as the #4 program in the United States.! Congratulations to Dean Kathleen Reiland and her excellent faculty.
  • On May 8 from 1-3 pm, the Transfer Center is hosting its annual Transfer Celebration to celebrate and recognize students who will be transferring to a four-year college or university in the fall. There will be food, certificates, and breakout sessions with local university representatives.
  • Please join us on Friday, May 11 from 6-10 pm as the Media Arts Design Department presents its annual Cypress College Film Festival featuring student-submitted works.
  • Our Veterans 5K on Friday, April 27 raised over $5,000 for our veterans and another $3,000 from the Cypress Women’s Assistance League who held their own fundraiser on Saturday, April 28 in support of our veterans. We appreciate the efforts of Mariellen Yarc, Cypress city councilwoman and Chair of our VRC capital campaign, for her support!
  • On April 25, the college planted its fourth Peace Pole next to the Theatre Arts Building. This project, spearheaded by English faculty member, Ambika Talwar, is designed to promote peace, and proper ecologic stewardship of our environment. The peace poles are a wonderful way to promote our core values of collegiality and inclusiveness on campus.
  • The Cypress College End-of-The-Year Luau was held on campus Thursday, May 3. Our retirees and colleagues celebrating their 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 year anniversaries with the District were honored.
  • The Cypress College Women’s Softball Team started off the playoffs with two quick wins against Southwestern College 8-2 and 6-4. The Chargers enter the next round this Friday at 2 pm against Bakersfield. Go Chargers!
  • On May 10, we will host the annual International Students Dinner as we both honor our students’ accomplishments and wish our graduating students well as they continue their academic journey.

Community Events

  • Schilling and Foundation Director, Gail Taylor, attended Service Night at Los Alamitos, celebrating and honoring our veterans.
  • Schilling, Dr. Hua and our academic deans will be attending the Cypress Chamber Golf Tournament reception on May 9 at the Navy Golf Course in Los Alamitos. We have appreciated the Cypress Chamber on our campus since January and support their efforts in our community.
  • Also on May 9, Dr. Schilling will be attending the annual Soroptimist Scholarship Awards presentation, honoring five of our EOPS students. We are grateful for the work this excellent organization does in support of our students.

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

Taking a ‘Choice Architecture’ Road to Guided Pathways

As the college moves forward with the important work of Guided Pathways, a few things have become extremely evident: our students want us to help them make more informed decisions about their educational pathway, and our processes are often unintentionally confusing. The students who are successful in navigating their way, are those who know where our resources are, find cohort programs on campus that provide a high-tech, high-touch experience, and know who to ask for help when their confidence wanes or their life becomes overwhelming.

The majority of our students are first-generation college students, receive financial aid, attend college part time, hold full-time jobs, have extensive family commitments, struggle with food and/or shelter insecurity, and do not have the time to join clubs or other extracurricular activities known to help students stay on their path. It is easy to approach these challenges with a deficit mindset — that is, adjusting our expectations downward because we are aware of the many competing demands on our students’ time. We are not surprised when a student takes 4-6 years to complete at our college. But what if we, instead, found ways to provide the direction that helps the student navigate our processes more simply and effectively? How do we help our students aim high, when we know they have so many real-life challenges?

Cypress College has responded with many thoughtful and effective interventions to address the real challenges our students face:

  • high-performing cohort programs such as Honors, (STEM)2, Puente, Legacy, and EOPS;
  • high-support programs like Veterans Program, ACCESS, the Food Bank, Embedded counseling, and MLC and LRC tutoring support; and
  • financial assistance in the form of scholarships, Hunger-Free grants, and DACA emergency aid, to name just a few.

These are essential programs with a proven track record of success.  But even with all that, we still only reach a small percentage of our students in need. And that is why looking at our institution through a Guided Pathway lens is so critical.

A recent research brief by Community College Research Center (CCRC) out of Columbia University found that the three most important guided momentum points that help propel students forward are Credit Momentum, Gateway Momentum, and Program Momentum. I encourage you to read this important report by clicking the link.

Below we take a look at the Cypress data on these key elements:

Only 12% of Cypress students completed 24 credits in the first year, and of the 16% who attempted 30 credits in the first year, only 4% were successful. This might lead us to question whether or not we should be discouraging students from attempting 15 credits a semester, or 30 credits in a year. But here’s another statistic to consider —  those students who completed 15 credits versus 12 credits each semester had a 9% higher chance to earn any degree, and saved over 20% in tuition and fees per degree earned. For students struggling to stay in college and make ends meet, this can be the difference between succeeding and being just another failed statistic. If our students are not succeeding by taking 15 units each semester, this is an area for discussion.

At Cypress only 7% of our students complete math and English in the first year. We are improving each year, so kudos to our faculty for this excellent progress, but we need to find ways to help students complete these critical gateway courses early in their academic career at Cypress. Here’s why:

Math and English are often the gateway classes where students get stuck. Either they are delayed in remediation, or they delay entering into their gateway courses (especially math) until they are well into their major courses. Students who pass a college-level math and English course were 50% more likely to complete their degree, than those who did not.  71% of students in transfer pathways who completed a college-level math class completed a degree or certificate and transferred successfully versus only 11% of those students who did successfully complete their college-level math course. The same goes for English courses — 52% of those who complete college-level English went on to complete and transfer successfully, versus 17% of those who did not complete any college-level English course.

Although the study did not look at the data supporting a student completing math and English, recent data in Tennessee showed that in the first three years of implementing Guided Pathways, and asking students to take math and English in their first year, 48% of these students completed their degrees versus 18% of those who did not complete these courses in the first year. A STEM student recently told me she did poorly in her Microbiology course her first semester, because she did not take Calculus first. The math was not a prerequisite, but she realized that she would have done much better if she had taken her math first. And so many students delay taking their English composition course, and then struggle with many of their GE courses that require research, writing, and reading comprehension.

At Cypress, we will be building upon our excellent Charger Experience Program by implementing these early momentum metrics with the anticipated 600 plus students who will be entering Cypress College this fall from AUHSD. As part of our inaugural Pledge class these students will be required to take at least 24 units, including math and English in their first year in exchange for math and English books, free tuition, and counseling support. Non-AUHSD students will still have the same advantages by participating in our Charger Experience Program.

This initial course will allow us to evaluate if these interventions will assist students, and help us expand this initiative to all students in a Guided Pathway model.

As we continue to design pathways that work for our students, let me remind you that we are not changing everything we do. We are looking at what works, and trying to ensure more students, not just those who are lucky enough to find the resources they need, can easily understand the steps needed to reach their goals. Choice Architecture is the process of guiding students toward the choices that will assist them in reaching that goal, rather than confuse them.

For example, Behavior Economics underscores that if people are overwhelmed by choices, they either don’t make a choice, or make a poor choice. Check out the graphics below:

When provided with an opt-out versus an opt-in choice, people overwhelmingly make the choice to participate.

Choice Architecture is not about limiting student choice; it’s about creating clear opportunities to make good choices that lead to a strong foundation for success. I believe their futures depend on us getting this right.

Progressing on the Path: An Update on Workgroup Activities and Our State Application

For those of you reading this blog for the first time, and are not yet aware of Guided Pathways, I urge you to take a look at the two previous blog postings. For those of you who have been reading and sharing your comments, this is an update on the conversations, discussions, questions, and progress we are making toward becoming a Guided Pathways College.

We now have a Guided Pathways website! Our Guided Pathways Task Force has been working on the college’s self-assessment, which will be sent to the State Chancellor’s Office by the end of December. Over 70 campus participants responded to the college’s self-assessment survey — we thank those of you who sent in excellent feedback, which was incorporated into our final draft.

Read on to see what your colleagues have been working on.

Workgroup #1: Meta Majors — Defining Areas of Interest to Help Students Identify the Right Major

A Meta Major can be defined as an area of interest. If a student thinks they are interested in health, they might declare a Health & Wellness Meta Major, for example, instead of declaring Nursing or Human Services, as his or her “major.” This is an example of possible Meta Majors:

Defining clear areas of interest are paramount to Guided Pathways working at Cypress College. Meta Majors are the umbrella for all the other workgroups, and, like the exploration that our students undergo, it is important that we do the deep thinking on Meta Majors before deciding how to define and set up these areas. Here are some of the questions being asked:

  • How many Meta Majors should we have? Start with a few and grow or start with many?
  • Should Meta Majors cross divisions?
  • What makes sense to a student and how do we ensure our students have a voice in this project?
  • For students who are unsure of their interests, how do we allow for some student discovery before narrowing the path into a major?

Workgroup #2:  Onboarding — Entering the Path

This workgroup has focused on the many entry points at Cypress College and how to streamline the process for students to successfully apply, enroll, and navigate their way through the maze of Financial Aid, Counseling, Education Planning, Scheduling, and enrollment in the courses needed for completion. Some ideas being generated:

  • My Path — this is a new version of CCCApply which will streamline the process for students applying to Cypress College. This is still being tested by the Chancellor’s Office Tech center, but should be available to us by Fall 2018.
  • Steps to Success App — an electronic app that helps guide students through the steps of Financial aid, counseling, education planning, and enrollment
  • College Scheduler — this scheduling software will allow a student to input their availability, their courses, and then search for classes with one click
  • One Year Schedule — allow students to register for an entire year, helping coordinators to anticipate need and ensure classes are available
  • Time to Complete Navigation — this app function would allow students to input time to degree status, allowing students to see the consequences of taking more or fewer classes and how this affects their time to completion

Workgroup #3: Communicating Pathways — Entering the Path

This workgroup is identifying how we currently communicate with students and how we can do it better. What technology is needed, and how can we effectively communicate so students are motivated to act?

  • An app, a better app, and an even better app! – the group is focused on developing an app that would allow us to send push alerts; provide access for each major or area to send specific messages on events, opportunities, and reminders; and engage with all the workgroups to identify how this app would interface across the campus.

Workgroup #4: Marketing for Pathways Initiative — Clarifying the Path

This workgroup is identifying ways to make the pathway meaningful. Real-time information that engages students in activities, informs them of clear choices, and puts career planning into the course-taking process is the focus.

  • Career Ladders for each Meta Major (including labor and salary data with on- and off-ramps)
  • Connect students in each Meta Major with mentors, workshops, research, service opportunities, and internship opportunities related to area of interest
  • Standardize Marketing Templates across disciplines so the message is clear, understandable, and recognizable to students


Workgroup #5: Retaining Students — Stay on the Path

This workgroup is focused on identifying and guiding students to the just-in-time assistance they need as they make their way toward choosing and completing their major.

  • Aligning Services to Course Progression — what support do students need in their first semester, third semester, last semester?
  • Early Alert — building a Cypress early intervention system that faculty and counselors can utilize and collaborate to identify at-risk students before they fall
  • Registration Drop-Down Menu — tying registration to meta major interest
  • Embedding Counselors within Meta Majors — tailoring counselors to areas of interest
  • Canvas shell to align Support Services with Courses — this would allow faculty and counselors to engage students with specific services and tailor the message for better engagement

If you have additional comments on any of the work group initiatives, or would like to participate, please add your comments in the discussion section of this blog. We appreciate your feedback!

Guided Pathways – Some Data to Consider

This blog is meant to provide updates on initiatives that affect our students and our campus community. In this next blog installment, let me discuss our progress to becoming a Guided Pathways College.

The California Community College Chancellor’s Office has issued the following timeline for completing the steps required to become a Guided Pathways college. Cypress is set to receive 1.4M over the next five years.

In September Cypress College sent twelve team members to a Guided Pathways workshop in Irvine. All Cypress employees were recently sent a survey to provide input on our Guided Pathways self assessment; in addition, the Guided Pathways task force will review your input and complete this assessment for submission to the state by December 23. We will then begin a campus-wide discussion on our Multi-Year Plan, which is due by March 30. In April we receive our funding.

One of the reasons Cypress College is taking on the important work of Guided Pathways is that students don’t just need assistance when they begin and end their college experience. They need support throughout their academic journey. But we have 16,000 students at Cypress College. How do we determine the support each student needs? How do we provide more guided interventions for our students, i.e. just-in-time assistance that can help provide support before a student starts falling?

In the past, reaching the 30-unit mark was an indicator that a student would complete their degree or certificate. This is a goal most Cypress students reach. But one of the biggest challenges Cypress students face is not in reaching the 30-unit mark; it is reaching completion, as you can see in the momentum tables below:

Data Source: Cypress College 2017 Student Success Scorecard (2010 – 2011 Cohort)

If you look at the momentum points above, you can see that most of our students successfully persist through the first year and eventually reach 30 units. But there is a large drop off after 30 units. What happens between 30 and 60 units?

You should also note that not all groups are progressing at the same rate. Any pathways initiative the college undertakes needs to prioritize how we will address the achievement gap occurring between demographic groups. How do we provide additional support for students who are experiencing economic challenges that make it difficult to stay in school?

The following data tables are meant to highlight where our students are achieving, and where they need help. The data below is based on new, first-time students, entering Cypress College in 2015-16.

One of the first things that you should notice is that most of our students are not enrolled full time. We are retaining our students, but 65% of our students attend part time. Students are succeeding in the classes they attend at a 74% average, but if students average 8 degree-applicable units per semester, they will not progress quickly,  allowing for too many “life happens” moments that can derail their path to completion.

An average full time credit load is 12-15 units per semester. In the data tables below, you will also see that a significant number (32%) of our students are completing only 15 credits in a year. Another 12% of Cypress students complete 24 units; and 16% of students attempt 30+ units in the first year. But only 4% actually complete 30 units. What happens to the 12% of students who attempt, but do not complete 30 units?

Where are we losing students on their way to completion? And how can we provide support at critical moments in their Cypress experience? Good data should lead to more questions. I am interested in hearing your thoughts and how you think our college should be addressing this.

We are continuing to convene workgroups looking at our On-Boarding processes, Meta Majors, Retention, Communication, and Marketing and Technology. Ideas such as developing a Cypress App, predictive analytics data, career marketing materials, a streamlined application process, one year scheduling and incentivizing students to take a full load in return for scholarship and mentoring support, are all being explored. If you are interested in participating, please let us know! The next blog will provide you with an update on the ideas your colleagues have identified to help move us forward.

Buen Cypress! We Take this Journey Together!

Guided Pathways

Many of you have heard the term Guided Pathways and may be asking, “what is it”? or even, “don’t we already have pathways at Cypress”? In this blog installment, I will try to explain what Guided Pathways is, what it isn’t, and what you can expect in the coming months.

The Guided Pathways approach asks colleges to look at current processes from a student’s perspective. For example, how easy is it for a student to get information, navigate the necessary processes required to enroll, to complete a degree or certificate, and/or understand how to succeed at Cypress College. How well do staff and faculty in different divisions interact on behalf of the students, and do you even know how a student accesses support services outside your own work area?

For a brief tutorial about Guided Pathways, please check out this informational video:

Students: – In the Discussion Board at the end of this blog, tell us where you feel you struggle at Cypress. Is it during enrollment? Trying to get classes? Talking with your instructor or counselor? Finding your way to the various support offices on campus? Receiving communication?

The Four Pillars of Guided Pathways

This year will be a Guided Pathways implementation year. Cypress will be engaging in conversation with all employees and, especially, students, on various topics ranging from:

Clarifying the Path (how a student understands the pathway options available to him/her);

Entering the Path (how easy is it to apply, enroll, choose his/her major, establish an educational plan, meet counselors, faculty and other students);

Staying on the Path (at what point do students struggle and why?);

Ensuring Learning (what happens in the classroom that helps students understand the connection between learning, completion, and career).

Faculty and Staff: In the Discussion Board below, tell us when you think students start falling off their path?

Funding for Guided Pathways

The State of California has dedicated funds to help the college create clearer pathways. Cypress can expect approximately one million dollars over five years. Here’s how we become eligible for this funding:

Meta Majors

One of the main cornerstones of Guided Pathways is the creation of Meta Majors. The “majors” are really Areas of Interest and students declare a Meta Major before declaring a specific major. An example of a Meta Major might be “Health and Wellness” – within that Meta Major might be all the health degrees and certificates, but also psychology, human services, and some kinesiology degrees. Advising, tutoring, specific general education courses, and other support services will be designed to assist students in this area of interest.

Cypress will be creating these Meta Majors, with the input of students and staff, during the 2017-18 year, with the goal of having these in place for students by fall 2018.

Next Steps

During the fall 2017 semester, we will be initiating conversations across campus on the following topics:

  • Meta Majors
  • Communication and Marketing
  • Using Technology to Engage Students
  • Just in Time Assistance and Student Momentum Points

This is an exciting time at our college and we look forward to building upon the academic excellence that exists at Cypress in order to ensure students receive the best educational experience available anywhere.

Tell Us What You Think

We welcome your feedback in the discussion boards below. Buen Cypress!



Cypress College Committed to Students Following DACA Decision

Dear Cypress College Community,

Today, the White House announced its decision to end the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The announcement that DACA protections will expire next March does nothing to diminish Cypress College’s commitment to maintaining a welcoming, inclusive environment that is free of discrimination.

While details continue to emerge, we hope that by sharing facts, we can reduce the anxiety some in our community may be feeling.

The college remains committed to the following:

  • Our college remains a welcoming place to all students who meet our admission requirements.
  • The “unwinding” of DACA does not impact a student’s ability to attend a California community college, qualify for an exemption from non-resident tuition fees under AB 540, or to apply for financial aid under the provisions of the California Dream Act.
  • The college ensures that students’ confidential information will remain private and inaccessible to everyone, including law enforcement, except through judicial orders. We take seriously our legal obligation to enact these protections granted as part of the Federal Educational Records Protection Act.
  • Current DACA recipients will retain both the full period of deferred action they have already been granted until they expire — even if it extends beyond the DACA expiration date announced by the White House.
  • Cypress College, the North Orange County Community College District, and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office are working together to ensure the protection of our students’ rights.

I am proud of the work we do here at Cypress College, and of our commitment to ensuring our students have a safe and supportive environment in which to learn. We are focused on providing a premier educational environment to help our students build better futures for themselves and their families. We are committed to exploring avenues to help address the needs and concerns of our students. Likewise, we will continue to ensure our DACA students and their families understand their rights and how today’s announcement may affect them.


JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D.
President, Cypress College


Note: Cypress College has prepared a comprehensive list of resources for students impacted by the DACA decision.













Dr. Schilling’s Welcome Message

Welcome to Cypress College! We have just completed our 50th anniversary celebration and are already looking ahead to the next 50 years as one of California’s premier community colleges. We are so happy that you have joined us.

Many of you are coming to college for the first time, and may even be the first in your family to attend college. Some of you may be returning to our college, or finding your way back after a long absence. We understand that this is big step and navigating your way as a college student while balancing your life, family, and finances can often feel intimidating. I want to assure you that not only have you made a good choice to attend Cypress College, but we are here to help you succeed. With 73 academic degrees and 176 certificate options to choose from, we are here to help you find a pathway best suited for your own academic and career goals.

Like many of you, I am also a new member of the campus community and am discovering a welcoming environment that is focused on achievement and success. I want to remind you that college success is a journey of self-discovery, underscored by deep learning and skills building. Learning may feel scary and uncomfortable at times, earmarked by moments of great discovery and enlightenment. Do not be afraid of the challenge; that’s how you know you are growing!

You are not expected to know everything on Day One, but you can maximize your experience here by visiting our many student support services, including our counseling and guidance services, tutoring and study skills classes, and by making an appointment to meet with financial aid and student health representatives. This catalog is your guide to accessing our support services and we hope you will refer to it often. And remember, our outstanding faculty are committed to helping you succeed, so please embrace their guidance and expertise, attend instructor office hours, and never feel that any question is too small to receive an answer. In short, you matter to us and we want to hear from you!

You’ll notice a lot of construction going on this year with a new science, engineering, and math building and a state-of-the-art Veterans Resource Center. We are proud of our efforts to bring Cypress College closer to a neutral carbon footprint and supporting our community by being good stewards of our environment. You hope you will find our campus a clean, safe, and inviting place in which to study, learn, and engage with other students.

In closing, I want to say to all students, new and returning, that we are so pleased you have chosen to become a Cypress Charger. We invite you to keep current with all our events and student activities by following us on Facebook and Twitter. You are joining a rich history of previous students, alumni, faculty, and staff who have been part of this special place we call Cypress College. Once a Charger, forever a Charger.

We wish you a great year of academic and personal success!

JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D.


Visit Dr. Schilling’s page to view additional entries and view her bio.