Happy New Year to all of you! Did any of you make New Year's resolutions? Here at Cuesta, I think we should resolve to continue doing what we do every day, but to do it even better: provide outstanding service to students. And it's quite easy to make small improvements in this area. For one, smile. Greet students as you would a friend - with a smile and friendly banter. Your warm welcome could go a long way in creating an inclusive and warm environment. Another strategy: offer to help a student - with directions around campus, a suggestion on how best to fill out an application, or where they can find support services. We are in the people-serving-people business, and this year, I hope you continue to take the mission to provide quality service to our students to heart.
Dr. Gil Stork
Cuesta College Superintendent/President
PS - to hear more about how we can better serve our students, check out the video of Spring Opening Day under What's New; keynote speaker, Dr. Victor Rios, provided excellent strategies that are applicable to faculty, staff and management.
In this issue
Separation Incentive Plan (SIP)
At the January 2018 Board of Trustees meeting, the Board approved a Separation Incentive Plan (SIP). Under the program, District employees at the age of retirement, or 50-years-old with at least five years in one of the State's pension programs, can choose to retire or resign and receive 75 percent of their base pay distributed over a five-year period. Employees will have until February 23rd, 2018, to indicate their intent. At that time, the District will determine if the incentive results meet the desired fiscal and operational objectives for each employee group. A recommendation on how to proceed would then be made at the March 7th 2018 Board meeting, and any related employee retirements or resignations would be effective at the end of this fiscal year.
The plan will be implemented by PARS, Public Agency Retirement Services. Please check your cuesta.edu email for additional details, which were sent out on January 16th.
To answer questions about the SIP, informational sessions have been scheduled:
- Thursday, January 18th | 3:00 p.m. | SLO Campus | Building 2700, Conference Room 2711
- Friday, January 19th | 10:00 a.m. | SLO Campus | Building 2700, Conference Room 2711
More information can also be obtained by calling PARS at (800) 731-7884.
District Undergoes Proactive Budget-Saving Measures
The District is taking a proactive approach to address a projected deficit for the current fiscal year of $551,000 in its ongoing unrestricted general fund resources. The budget gap is created by the combination of slow enrollment-related revenue growth and rapid mandatory expenditure increases, including increases in pension payments to CalPERS and CalSTRS. Some of the strategies to mitigate the budget deficit are the aforementioned Separation Incentive Program, a CalPERS/CalSTRS stabilization investment, the current selective hiring freeze for management and staff positions, organizational restructuring, and more. For details on all cost-saving measures and strategies to increase revenue, check out this recent press release.
Presidential Search Update
The Superintendent/President position closed for application on January 4th. The search committee is currently screening the qualified applicants to determine whom they wish to invite for first-level interviews (scheduled to occur February 13th and February 14th). Open forums with selected finalists will take place February 20th. The Board of Trustees are scheduled to interview the finalists on March 1st. Please direct all questions to Human Resources at ext. 3279.
Spring Semester is Underway
The Spring semester is off and running! Many courses still have seats open so please continue to encourage students to check them out and consider registering.
On Friday, January 12th, the college held its annual Spring Opening Day ceremony. The morning featured an excellent keynote address by UCSB professor Dr. Victor Rios who conducts research on educational equity, juvenile justice, mentoring, and more. The event was filmed and can be viewed in its entirety here or on the college's You Tube page.
New SLO Campus Instructional Building is Open
New this spring semester is the opening of two new Measure L bond-funded buildings. Opening on the first day of classes was the SLO Campus Instructional Building, a 32,000 square foot, two-story structure comprised of eight high-capacity multi-discipline classrooms capable of serving up to 50 students each. It also contains one forum-sized classroom with a full capacity of 80 students and faculty offices.
Opening later in the Spring semester is the new North County Campus Center. The 43,000 square foot, two-story structure will house a variety of student services, such as counseling, admissions and records, and financial aid, plus the cafeteria, bookstore, and health center. For more information on the structures and other bond-related projects, visit the Cuesta College Bond Information website.
BSSOT Grant Update: Cuesta QuickStart
In 2016, the California Community College's Chancellor's Office initiated the Basic Skills and Student Outcomes and Transformation (BSSOT) Program, awarding 64 California Community Colleges $89 million in grant monies, $1.4 million of which was awarded to Cuesta. The purpose of the BSSOT Program is to improve the progression rate of students needing basic skills instruction into college-level instruction by implementing or expanding innovations, and redesigning areas of assessment, student services, and instruction. In order to update the campus community on the BSSOT Program, the President’s Newsletter is featuring its three components in separate issues. The December issue included the ¡Zoom! Program this newsletter features details on the Cuesta QuickStart, while the February issue will include the Faculty Learning Community component.
Cuesta QuickStart - this program consists of skills-refresher workshops targeting students who assess into pre-transfer-levels of math and English. The math component began with a Summer 2016 pilot workshop held on the North County Campus, followed by a workshop on both the SLO and NCC campuses in January 2017. Most recently, QuickStart math workshops were held in Summer 2017 on both the SLO and NCC campuses. Incorporating an English component for the first time this past summer, both campuses hosted workshops in math and English. Participants had the opportunity to reassess, and more than three-quarters placed into higher-level courses. Cuesta QuickStart is part of a comprehensive effort to help students progress more rapidly to transfer-level courses.
For questions on the BSSOT Program, contact Basic Skills Initiative Coordinator Regina Voge.
Upcoming Art Exhibit Explores Politics & Civic Movements
"Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of Self-Determination Movements” is a touring exhibition and event series that started in Philadelphia and Chicago in 2016. The project will tour throughout this year with a stop at Cuesta's Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery to kick off the 2018 year. The exhibit features new work by contemporary artists and poets that responds to the history of the mandate from the Black Power movement to “organize your own” community against racism.
- Exhibition opening reception and artist talk by participating artist Dan S. Wang:
January 18th, 4:30 p.m. -7:30 p.m.
- Screening of American Revolution II at The Bunker SLO:
January 24th, 7:30 p.m.
- Exhibition duration:
January 18th - February 16th
The Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery is located in building 7170. More information can be found on this webpage.
In Case You Missed It: AGS Teacher Appreciation Night Video
Last month, Alpha Gamma Sigma, Cuesta College’s academic honor society and service organization for students, honored seven instructors and three classified staff at the 7th Annual AGS Teacher Appreciation Night Ceremony for going above and beyond expectations and influencing students’ academic success. Check out the following video of the award ceremony.
Cuesta Again Named a Military Friendly School®
For the sixth time, Cuesta College has been designated a Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, the leader in successfully connecting the military and civilian worlds. The 2018 designation recognizes Cuesta College as a leader in embracing military students, and for its commitment to providing resources that ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation. Cuesta College received this designation in 2012 and 2014-2018. The college serves approximately 325 veterans annually.
Congratulations to Director of Admissions and Records Kristin Pimentel (who oversees the college's Veterans Resource Center), Veterans Resource Center Coordinator Karen Andrews, and all those at Cuesta who provide a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for our veterans.
For more information on this designation, check out this recent press release.
Awards Received by Cuesta Police Department Staff
On January 8th, the Cuesta College Police Department held its annual awards and appreciation night for department members, family, and special guests. The event recognizes the great work done by the police department staff during the 2017 year, while also presenting a look at the year ahead.
The employees recognized at this year's event were:
- Police Officer of the Year: Officer Juan Carranza
- Public Safety Employee of the Year: Dispatcher Michael Carroll
- Chief Commendations:
- Officer Eric George, PSO Fred Trombly, and PSO Alex Newsom for safely handling a bomb threat on the North County Campus
- Senior Officer Jason Stinson, Officer Scott Severn, and Officer Juan Carranza for their response to help during the Thomas Fire in Ventura County
- PSO Jenna Lewis and PSO Franklin Hallman for their outstanding work ethic and attitude
- Public Safety Support Assistant Fatma Shihadeh for handling the role of two positions during an employee hiring process
- Officer Scott Severn for demonstrating the department’s vision in action
- Sergeant Jason Hopkins for work to obtain new AEDs for Cuesta College
The event included special presentations tothe Paso Robles Police Department and Associated Students of Cuesta College for their assistance as 'Community Partners' and to Cuesta College Superintendent/President Dr. Gil Stork for his leadership and guidance to the department.
Congratulations to all for their recognitions, and thank you for providing Cuesta College with a safe and secure learning and working environment on a daily basis.
Elaine Holley Coats Service Recognition 2018 Award Recipient
At the Spring Opening Day Ceremony, Cuesta College Enrollment Success Specialist Estella Vasquez received the 2018 Elaine Holley Coats Service Excellence Award. Estella is a tireless advocate for student support via her outreach efforts, leadership role as the president of the local chapter of the Latina Leadership Network, and more. Congratulations to Estella - Cuesta College and our students are lucky to have you as an advocate for educational success. PS - check out the Opening Day video (featured in the “What’s New?” section above) for further comments on Estella and the award.
Congrats to Individuals Newly Granted Emeritus Status
At the January 10th meeting of the Board of Trustees, the following Classified staff were approved for classified emeritus status:
- Betta Knerr, Fiscal Services (1993-2017)
- Robert Maddelein, Facilities (1998-2017)
- Sean Landers, Information Technology (2004-2018)
The following individual was also approved for management emeritus status:
- Haila Hafley-Kluver, Early Childhood Education (1988-2017)
Each will receive a variety of benefits, including a library card, reduced price for admission to college events, a permanent parking permit, and more. Combined, these individuals served Cuesta College for a total of 86 years. Thanks to each for their service to the college!
Nursing Program Sees 100% Pass Rate on State Exam 4 Years in a Row
For the fourth year in a row, Cuesta College’s Registered Nursing (RN) graduates scored a 100 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). This achievement earns the licensure that allows individuals to practice nursing. The Cuesta College RN graduating classes of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 achieved a 100 percent first-test pass rate, meaning every student who graduated in the corresponding spring semester and took the NCLEX, passed it the first time they sat for the exam.
According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the average pass rate for the state of California in 2016/17 was 87 percent. Congrats to our awesome nursing department faculty, staff, management and clinical partners throughout the county! For more information on this news, check out this recent press release.
Cuesta Celebrates 1st Graduating Culinary Class at the CA Men's Colony
On December 15th, the first graduating class of Cuesta College's Culinary Program earned their certificates. The class was made up of 20 CA Men's Colony inmates, each of whom participated in the seven-week program put on by instructors Rosanna Field and Elisabeth DeSwart. The students learned how to prepare food while operating a Mobile Kitchen Unit, used to feed firefighters in the field. The goal of the program is to teach the inmates skills that are transferrable and applicable to the job market and, in the end, decrease their chances of recidivism. The course is again being offered this spring. Thank you to Rosanna and Elisabeth, plus all those who championed the effort to create this program.
Season of Hope 2017 Fundraising Results
Thank you to everyone who attended and took part in the Winter Gathering on the SLO Campus on December15th! We had a record year in donations:
- Toys: 62 (one more than last year)
- Food: 915 (a 40% increase from last year)
- Cash: $577 (also a 40% increase from last year)
All items were delivered the very next morning to the KSBY studio bright and early. In case you missed the broadcast, you can catch Assistant Superintendent/VP of Administrative Services Dan Troy and his ‘elves’ in this video clip, and this one as well.
Over the past few weeks, the following information was included in media segments:
- Superintendent/President Dr. Gil Stork's athletic career was featured in a local publication's cover story | SLO Journal Plus
- A look at the new SLO Instructional Building | KSBY & Tribune
- Student and faculty perspective on Cuesta's Culinary Program at the California Men's Colony | Tribune
- Cuesta opens its doors to mudslide-affected Santa Barbara City College Women's Basketball Team | Tribune
- A shout-out to Cuesta for its recent Military Friendly School designation | New Times
- Nominations are now open for the 2018 Women of Distinction Awards | Paso Robles Daily News
- A recent Letter to Editor was published about Cuesta's growing Agriculture Program | Tribune
- A Cuesta alum shares his opinion on Promise programs and his experience at Cuesta College | Forbes
- Cuesta students received South Bay Women’s Network scholarships | Tribune
- The news of Cuesta's Military Friendly School® designation was shared with the community | Tribune
- News of the Nursing Program's 100% passage rate was also shared with the community | Tribune
As the Cuesta College family changes, I would like to acknowledge our new full-time employees, changes in assignments, and retirements. At the January 10th meeting of the Board of Trustees, the following action took place:
Classified New Hires
- Lam Coong-Chuck, Children’s Center Toddler & Preschool Assistant Teacher
Michelle Wright, Administrative Assistant/Scheduling Specialist for the Dean of Academic Affairs, Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Changes in Assignments
- Monica Banta, Human Resources Specialist
- David Becker, Full Time Temporary Performance Arts Faculty
Adrienne Smith, Admissions & Records Evaluation Analyst
- Ruth Biering, Business Education (effective: 12/20/17)
- Madeline LaMon, College Success Studies (effective: 12/22/17)
Stephan Mueller, Biological Sciences (effective: 12/22/17)
Here’s a look at some of the events going on around campus. For the full calendar, visit the Cuesta College Events Calendar:
- January 18th: Opening reception and artist panel for the Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery exhibition titled “Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of Self-Determination Movements"
- January 18th - February 16th: “Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of Self-Determination Movements” Exhibit
- February 7th: meeting of the Board of Trustees