In this issue

What's New  • College Governance Communications

Shout-outs!  • In the News  • Hello/Goodbye  • Calendar

What's New

Enrollment Time for Early Summer, Summer & Fall Semesters

cuesta campus

Priority registration is now open for Early Summer Session, Summer Session and Fall 2018 semester! 

Please let students know that they can now check their priority registration status by logging into myCuesta. For the first time ever, the college is offering an Early Summer session, which includes 10 online courses running six-weeks in length and beginning May 21. Also new this year is the opportunity for students to register for their summer and fall courses all at once, making it easier for them to plan out their academic futures. For questions, please call Admissions & Records at (805) 546-3140.

Food Pantry Open to Students

Cuesta is proud to offer students who are food-insecure a new option to grab food on campus. The Cougar Food Pantry is now open on the SLO Campus and stocked full of a variety of foods, including can tuna, oatmeal, granola bars, can beans, soups, and more. Located next to the bookstore, the pantry is open select hours Mondays-Thursdays and available to all students with a current student ID number. 

Questions? Contact Please help spread the word about this great new resource!

UC President Janet Napolitano to Visit Cuesta

University of California President Janet Napolitano is set to visit Cuesta's SLO Campus on April 30. The purpose of her visit will be to discuss the UC's intention to increase its four-year graduation rate to 70% within 10 years (equating to an increase of 32,000 UC graduates), the recently announced transfer agreement between the UC and CA Community College systems, and new scholarship opportunities for transfer students. The event agenda is as follows:

  • Dialog with college administration (10:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., room 3134)
  • Campus forum (11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., room 5401)
  • Lunch with faculty (12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m., room 2711)
  • Campus tour (2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.)
  • Regional education discussion (3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., room 5403)
  • Community conversation (5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., room 5401) *This is a San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce event, there is a fee associated for attending this activity

For questions, please call the office of the Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Student Services at (805) 546-3116.

 Pick Up the Butts Event Brings Tobacco-Free Awareness

As a part of Cuesta's plan to become a tobacco-free District by January of 2019, the college is holding a Pick Up The Butts event on the SLO Campus on April 25 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. The event will take place outside the 5400 building and will honor Earth Day, create awareness of the new tobacco-free District policy, and offer resources to students. The college has also partnered with the SLO County Public Health Department to offer a free six-week smoking cessation course every Wednesday through May 6. It takes place on the SLO Campus in room 2758 from 12:00 p.m. – 12:50 p.m. Folks are encouraged to register for the course by sending an email to, but are welcome to walk-in as well. 

For more information, check out this press release.

Annual Student Art Exhibition + Open House Coming Up

student art

Cuesta College Fine Arts students will showcase their original works of art in the college’s Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition, running April 19 – May 18 in the Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery. An opening reception, open house, and awards ceremony will take place on the evening of April 19. The events celebrate the hard work and talent of the Cuesta College Fine Arts Program students and will include original pieces in various mediums.

For more information on the opening reception and exhibition, check out this press release.

Community & Family Fun Day at the Pool

Cuesta College is closing its pool in just a few weeks! But before that happens, you are invited to a Community & Family Fun Day at the Pool - Saturday, April 28 from 12:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Hear from Cuesta reps about the pool closure from 12:45 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. and then it’s time to jump in! Free swim will be offered to all from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. The pool closure is part of a scheduled Measure L bond project. Please direct all questions to, and for more information on Measure L projects, visit

Student Outreach Event Coming Up

cougar welcome days

The first annual Cougar Welcome Days events are set to take place at the North County Campus on April 21, and at the SLO Campus on April 28. Event organizers still need more volunteers to help Cuesta showcase what the college has to offer and welcome prospective students to an encouraging environment. If you are interested in helping, please sign up through this webpage. If you have questions or need more information, email Director of Outreach Jeffrey Alexander, or call him at (805) 546-3100, ext. 2299.

Agriculture Program Plant Sale 

On April 21, the North County Campus will also be hosting the college's first-ever Plant Sale from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. in the Plant Science Facility. Agriculture program students have been busy planting seeds of heirloom and hybrid vegetables, and herbs for sale. They have planted different types of tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, melons, cucumbers, pumpkins, and summer and winter squash. The selection of herbs includes basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, oregano and thyme.  Head out on Saturday and check out the fruits of their labor!

Commencement is Coming


Just a reminder that the 53rd Commencement Ceremony if set for May 18, at 3:00 p.m. in the SLO Campus gym. The ceremony recognizes the culmination of years of hard work by our students, their great potential and bright futures. Following commencement, you are invited to the President’s Reception in the Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery Courtyard. I do hope to see you all at the graduation and reception.

 Upcoming Drama Production: It Can't Happen Here

The college's award-winning Drama Department is once again getting ready for the spotlight with Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here. Set in 1935, the play tells the story of a divided United States under the control of a native-born dictator. The production runs May 4-6, and May 11-13. Tickets can be purchased at

 Book of the Year: Video of the Author Talk

Missed the author talk featuring Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Ron Suskind? Then check out a video of the event on the college's You Tube page. The 2018 Book of Year Program was a huge success; many thanks to the Book of the Year Committee for another great year of events! 

College Governance Communications

Each month, the President's Newsletter serves as a communication conduit for College Council, Planning & Budget Committee, Academic Senate Council and the Board of Trustees. 

Board of Trustees Meeting of April 11th, 2018

Contract Approval for New Superintendent/President Dr. Jill Stearns

Cuesta College’s Board of Trustees officially approved the contract to hire Dr. Jill Stearns as Cuesta College’s seventh superintendent/president. Dr. Stearns’ was selected in March by the Board to become the college's next president. Dr. Stearns has served as president of Modesto Junior College since July of 2012. 

Dr. Stearns will take the reins at Cuesta College on July 1, 2018.

Academic Senate Council

March was a busy month for the Academic Senate Council.  The Council crafted its Cluster Plan and identified faculty professional development as the number one funding priority. The Council recognizes that faculty professional development is critical to the delivery of a quality education and to ensuring the success of our students. In addition, after a tremendous amount of work by varied campus communities, the Academic Senate Council approved the Guided Pathways Work Plan. 

 College Council

The major accomplishment of College Council last month was the approval of the Guided Pathways Plan. 

Planning & Budget Committee

In March, the Planning and Budget Committee continued to discuss updates from Sacramento concerning a proposed new performance-based funding formula for community colleges. The Committee also reviewed the District’s FTES targets for the year and finalized membership for a Bookstore Review Workgroup. Cluster leaders submitted their funding requests to the Committee and made presentations at the April 17 meeting. The committee will then rank the proposals through the District’s Resource Allocation Prioritization process. Results of the prioritization will be available in May.

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Strong Workforce Stars

Congrats are in order for many of our Career Education students and faculty! Multiple programs were recently named Strong Workforce Stars by the CA Community College Chancellor's Office. The annual recognition is bestowed upon college's whose students show significant gains in factors important for advancing social mobility – a substantial increase in earnings, attainment of a living wage, and a job closely matched with the field of study. 

Congratulations to the following programs, students, and exceptional faculty!

Silver Stars (attained threshold outcomes on two metrics)

• Licensed Vocational Nursing: 135% increase in earnings and 82% of students attained the regional living wage
• Electronics Technology: 61% increase in earnings and 77% of students attained the regional living wage
• Paralegal: 53% increase in earnings and 73% of students attained the regional living wage

Bronze Stars (attained threshold outcomes on one metric)

• Accounting: 51% increase in earnings
• Child Development-Early Care and Education: 61% increase in earnings
• Family Studies: 51% increase in earnings
• Construction Crafts Technology: 81% increase in earnings
• Medical Assisting: 158% increase in earnings
• Paramedic: 95% of students attained the regional living wage
• Nutrition, Foods, and Culinary Arts: 69% increase in earnings
• Radio and Television: 73% increase in earnings
• Computer Information Systems: 88% increase in earnings
• Computer Infrastructure and Support: 80% increase in earnings
• Administration of Justice: 69% increase in earnings

 Campus Safety Officers Receive Distinguished Service Awards

The International Footprint Association (Central Coast Chapter) is dedicated to supporting law enforcement. They host the Cops and Kids Festival each year in Arroyo Grande and provide scholarships to graduates of the Allan Hancock College Law Enforcement Academy each year. One of their yearly efforts is the Peace Officer and Dispatcher recognition program, where they honor a peace officer and dispatcher each month from the different county agencies.  

This month’s meeting featured Cuesta College and Cal Poly PD; Peace Officer Guadalupe Lopez and Dispatcher Renee Metoyer were honored with Distinguished Service Awards. Congrats to our hard-working Campus Safety department!

campus safety awards

Pictured left to right: Peace Officer Guadalupe Lopez, Sergeant Jason Hopkins, Chief Bryan Millard, and Dispatcher Renee Metoyer.

Awards & Honors for Performing Arts Faculty

Over the past few months, the Performing Arts Division faculty have racked up some impressive recognitions.

Ron McCarley orchestrated the 35th Annual Central Coast Jazz Festival. Twenty-five schools participated, and the event closed with a sold-out and very successful evening concert. Thank you to all who helped coordinate the successful event.

In addition, Ron's students were recently chosen as the best small jazz group at a Community College in America by Downbeat Magazine. This is one of the most prestigious awards given out by the oldest and largest jazz journal in the country.

George Stone has also racked up some great accomplishments recently. They include:

  • Director of the California All State Jazz Band 2017.
  • Commissioned by the US Air Force Band of the Golden West for their 70th Anniversary to compose a jazz band piece entitled “West Wings.” George conducted his piece with the band in Sacramento. 
  • Guest composer residency and concert at the University of Northern Iowa.
  • Commission for the Monterey Jazz Festival Next Generation sight reading piece entitled “Friend of a Friend.”
  • New CD release of "Texting and Driving,” by jazz artist Dave Tullt, on which George and Inga Swearingen performed.

John Knutson and our Cuesta vocal jazz ensemble Voce were invited to perform at the California Music Educator's Association (CMEA) conference in San Jose in February. CMEA invited two vocal jazz groups from California, and Voce was honored to put on an outstanding performance in a hall filled with State music educators.

Congrats to all three for their deserved recognitions!

Rodeo Club Ropes in Success at the Cal Poly Royal Rodeo

The Cuesta College Men's and Women's Rodeo Club teams are in the midst of yet another successful competition year. After recently competing at the Cal Poly Royal Rodeo, the Men's Team is now ranked second in the western region, while the Women's Team stands at sixth place. At the Cal Poly Royal Rodeo, student athlete Will Centoni, the top all-around cowboy for the Cuesta Rodeo Team, blew away other top riders in the region in the one-shot bull riding event with an 8-plus-second ride and a score of 83.00. Will also won the inaugural event, part of a 10-event showcase on the opening night of the rodeo.

Congrats to Cuesta Rodeo Club coaches and student athletes!

 Emeritus Status Received by Ron Eminhizer

At the April 11 meeting of the Board of Trustees, the following Classified employee was approved for classified emeritus status:

  • Ron Eminhizer (1985-2018)

Emeritus recipients receive a variety of benefits, including a library card, reduced price for admission to college events, a permanent parking permit, and more.

Ron served Cuesta College for 33 years; thank you, Ron, for your dedication to the college!

 Video: 2018 Women of Distinction Award Recipients

women of distinction

For those who missed the 2018 Women of Distinction Awards ceremony - good news! Video of the reception is now on the college's You Tube page. Congratulations to the four recipients (pictured above, left to right): Progress for Women Award: Betsy Umhofer, Community and Public Service Award, Professional: Grace McIntosh, Community and Public Service Award, Volunteer: Anita Shower, and Grace N. Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award: Phyllis Davies. 

 Video: 2018 Honored Alumni & Volunteer Award Recipients

In addition, the college's You Tube page now also features a video of the Foundation Awards Ceremony, where the 2018 Honored Alumni and Volunteer Award recipients were honored. Please check the page in the next few days for a look at the celebratory event.

This year's Honored Alumni are (pictured below from left to right): University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Emergency Physician Dr. Sarah Ashley, San Luis Obispo City Mayor Heidi Harmon, City of Atascadero Mayor Tom O'Malley, and Grover Beach Elementary School Teacher Maria Spaeth.

honored alumni

This year's Volunteer Award recipients are (pictured below, left to right): Stan and Janice House (Betty Nielsen Volunteer of the Year Award), Kailey Schwabenland (John Schaub Student Volunteer Award), and Howard Carroll (Dr. Frank Martinez Superintendent/President’s Award).

volunteer awards

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In the News

Over the past few weeks, the following information was included in media segments:

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Hello / Goodbye

As the Cuesta College family changes, I would like to acknowledge our new full-time employees, changes in assignments, and retirements. At the April 11 meeting of the Board of Trustees, the following action took place:

Full-Time Faculty New Hire

  • Gabriel Cuarenta-Gallegos, Mathematics
  • Pamela Gordon Johnson, Early Childhood Education

Classified New Hires

  • Michaela McLaughlin, Student Services Division Department Assistant

Faculty Retirements

  • Dennis Baeyen, English (effective 6/30/18)
  • Edward Conklin, English (effective 6/30/18)
  • Jeffrey Grover, Geology (effective 5/31/18)
  • Linda Harris, Nursing (effective 6/1/18)
  • Katherine Jimison, Chemistry (effective 5/31/18)
  • Marie Larsen, Mathematics (effective 6/1/18)
  • Susan Lloyd, French (effective 6/30/18)
  • Nancy Mann, Biology (effective 6/29/18)
  • Michele McAustin, Business (effective 5/19/18)
  • Barbara Miller, Mathematics (effective 6/30/18)
  • Don Norton, Human Development (effective 5/21/18)
  • Marilyn Rossa, English (effective 6/30/18)
  • Antonia Torrey, Nursing (effective 5/18/18)
  • Regina Vriend, Counseling (effective 6/29/18)
  • Kyi Zin, Mathematics (effective 6/30/18)

Classified Retirements

  • Jean Leleaux, Academic Affairs Scheduling Technician (effective 6/29/18)

Management/Supervisor/Confidential Retirements

  • Trudy Bell, Director of Bookstore and Auxiliary Services (effective 6/30/18)
  • Ursula Bishop, Supervisor, Nursing and Allied Health Student Success Specialist (effective 4/13/18)
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Here’s a look at some of the events going on around campus. For the full calendar, visit the Cuesta College Events Calendar:

  • April 19: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event
  • April 19: Annual Student Art Show Exhibition: Open House
  • April 19-May 18: Annual Student Art Show Exhibition 
  • April 20: Annual Child Abuse Prevention Academy
  • April 21: Cougar Welcome Days: North County Campus
  • April 21: Agriculture Program Plant Sale
  • April 24: Spring Job Fair
  • April 25: Pick Up The Butts event
  • April 28: Cougar Welcome Days: San Luis Obispo Campus
  • April 30: UC President Janet Napolitano to visit
  • May 2: Board of Trustees meeting
  • May 2: Food Pantry Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
  • May 4-6 & 11-13: Drama production: It Can’t Happen Here
  • May 7: General registration open for Early Summer Session, Summer Session and Fall 2018 semester
  • May 8: Food Bank Distribution Site open
  • May 11: Voce Concert: Europe Send-Off
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