In this issue

What's New | Shout-outs! | In the NewsHello/Goodbye | Calendar

What's New

At the December 6th meeting of the Board of Trustees, action was taken on the following topics:

1.  Policy Establishing Cuesta as a Smoke & Tobacco-Free College

The Board unanimously approved a revision to Board Policy 3570, effectively establishing Cuesta College to be a smoke-free and tobacco-free institution. The policy will not take effect until January 1, 2019, allowing the college to develop and vet a thorough, well thought administrative procedure to implement the policy as well as develop appropriate signage, materials, and support programs.

The goal of this initiative is for Cuesta to provide faculty, staff, students, and the public with campuses supporting the principle of one’s freedom to learn, teach, work, think and take part in their intellectual endeavors in a fulfilling, rewarding, safe and healthy environment. Cuesta College now joins over 1,800 other colleges and universities nationwide (including the UC and CSU systems) in the creation and establishment of a smoke and tobacco-free environment.

Thank you to the cooperative efforts of the 15 members of the Truth Initiative Grant Taskforce (representing faculty, administration, staff, Human Resources, campus police, and students from ASCC) for the many hours put into this policy revision. For questions, please contact Nutrition Instructor Cherie Moore at

2.  2018 Board President & Vice President Established

In order to provide continuity During the executive search process, board leadership will remain as is in the year 2018. In order to provide continuity, current Board of Trustees President Dr. Barbara George will serve another one-year term, as will Board Vice President Patrick Mullen. Thank you to both for their continued leadership.

3.  Leasing of North County Campus Property

At the July 5th, 2017, meeting of the Board of Trustees, a Land Use Study for the North County Campus was presented, as well as an appraisal of the retail value of two auxilary parcels. The Board then requested additional information regarding leasing options. A subcommittee was formed and tasked with devising recommendations regarding the sale and/or lease of the NCC property. 

After reviewing the appraisal information with regard to the North County parcels and a report from the second meeting of the Board Sub-Committee, the Board voted on December 6th to support the subcommittee's recommendation to authorize the superintendent/president to begin the Request for Qualifications and Proposal (RFQP) process for potential leasing property on the North County Campus. The purpose is to develop a revenue stream benefitting the District.

What is an RFQP? An RFQP is for soliciting the qualifications of vendors, purchasers, etc. An RFP (Request for Proposals) is used if only pricing is at issue. An RFQP (Request for Qualifications and Proposal) is used when the District is soliciting both qualifications and proposal. This is a recognized process to obtain pricing for a wide variety of different uses. It can be used as a competitive process for services such as architects, construction managers and other consultants and for use in obtaining offers for transactions that require a competitive process, such as a property lease. There are many different formats this process can follow, some of which are specifically prescribed by code or law. 

4. Expansion of Presidential Search Committee

As the search for a new superintendent/president continues, additional search committee member positions were recommended to the Board: the assistant superintendent/vice president of administrative services and one academic dean. The Board approved the recommendation, and VPAS Dan Troy and Dean of Sciences, Mathematics, Kinesiology, Athletics, Nursing and Allied Health Jason Curtis were added to the search committee. 

As a reminder, the Board of Trustees launched the search for a new superintendent/president in October. A presidential search website is online and fliers have been distributed. The deadline to apply is January 4, 2018. Please spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested in applying.

Repaving SLO Campus Roads over Winter Break | Dec. 26th-Jan.12th

Heads up that there will be road and parking lot closures on the SLO Campus!

The San Luis Obispo Campus Romauldo Road Asphalt Overlay project is scheduled to start on Tuesday, December 26th, with an anticipated completion date of Friday, January 12th. Work to be performed includes grinding of existing asphalt, installation of paving fabric, asphalt overlay and striping on Romauldo Road, Administration Loop, and part of Cuesta College Road. In addition, Hollister Road will be slurry sealed and striped. 

Work will occur between the hours of 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. During this timeframe, expect intermittent road closures, parking lot closures, traffic control and flagging, increased truck and equipment traffic, increased noise from grinding, equipment operation and backup alarms, as well as odors from hot oil, asphalt and slurry materials. 

Traffic control devices, signage, and flaggers will be implemented to provide access through and around the campus at all times. Romauldo Road, portions of Cuesta College Road, and Education Drive Circle will be closed intermittently for grinding, paving and striping operations. Parking Lots 1A, 2A, 3 and 4 will be closed for the duration of the project.

Contact Facilities Services at 805-546-3283 if you have any questions. SLO Campus Map.

Spring 2018 General Registration is Open

spring schedule

The Spring 2018 semester begins Tuesday, January 16 and registration is now open. Encourage students to register now before they leave for winter break! The semester begins January 16th.

You may have seen around campus a printed Spring 2018 Schedule-at-a-Glance. It contains a list of the hundreds of courses available, plus enrollment and financial aid information, degrees and certificates offered, and much more. The booklet is available throughout the county. For a complete listing of pickup locations, visit

Spring Opening Day - Mark Your Calendar!

The Spring 2018 Opening Day Ceremony is just around the corner. Join your colleagues on the SLO Campus in room 5401 on Friday, January 12th, as we welcome each other back from the winter break and get updates on exciting college initiatives and events to come. Be sure to keep an eye on your email for details leading up to the day.

Reminder: Get Involved in the Accreditation 2020 Institutional Self-Evaluation Report

As a part of the accreditation process, the college is starting the next cycle of developing its 2020 Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER). Currently, the college is identifying standard co-chairs, timelines, educational support, supplemental materials, and more.

As we begin this process of developing our next ISER, think about your work at Cuesta and/or what accreditation standards interest you. The ISER is our time to identify and highlight all the things Cuesta does well in achieving compliance with ACCJC policies, standards, and eligibility requirements. Your involvement in this process is valuable and you can make a difference in the programs and services Cuesta provides to its students.  Submit your interest, or how you would like to get involved, to either Accreditation Steering Committee Co-chair Kevin Bontenbal ( or Co-chair Dr. Deb Wulff (

PS – take the Accreditation Training Quiz to be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card! Winner will be announced Spring Opening Day.

BSSOT Grant Update: ¡ZOOM! First-Year Experience Program

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 the next three newsletters, an update on the three program elements will be provided, beginning with the ¡Zoom! Program. The January newsletter will feature details on the Faculty Learning Community component, while the February newsletter will provide an update on Cuesta QuickStart.

¡Zoom! - Cuesta College's integrated first-year experience program expanded this year from the North County Campus and now includes students on the San Luis Obispo Campus. Now serving 75 students, ¡Zoom! provides students with an accelerated curriculum and built-in support system to help them be more successful and quickly reach their transfer-level or degree applicable courses. During the Fall 2017 semester, students took College Success Studies 225, English 156, and a math course; during Spring 2018, they will complete English 201A and follow their individualized Student Educational Plans for their other courses. ¡Zoom!  students are supported by a dedicated cohort of instructors, classroom-embedded tutors in their core courses, study hours in a dedicated space for community building, workshops, free core textbooks, and the support of program-specific counselors and academic success coaches. Additionally, the !Zoom! Elite - peer mentors recruited from the previous year’s !Zoom! students - provided additional support to this Fall’s group of !Zoom! students.

For questions on the BSSOT Program, contact Basic Skills Initiative Coordinator Regina Voge.

Rotary from Mexico Visits Cuesta College

On December 5th, a Rotary group from Compostela, Mexico, spent the day at Cuesta, touring the campus and learning about our programs. The group spoke with Dreamer students, toured the Student Success Center and library, and observed a live nursing lab. 

Student Sculptures Bring Awareness to Human Trafficking

human trafficking

This year's Beginning Sculpture class (Art 271) will be installing a temporary site-specific piece on the SLO Campus during the week of December 18th - 22nd. The piece will be composed of nine life-size sculptures of children in a variety of materials and exhibited in nine different locations scattered around campus. The sculptures are designed to draw attention to human trafficking, the fact that those affected are in our community, and the fact that these individuals are seen as disposable humans occupying undesirable jobs. For questions, please contact Fine Arts Division Chair Margaret Korishelli.

Artist Residency Now an Exhibit on Campus

oliver herring

For four weeks, internationally-recognized artist Oliver Herring conducted a residency in Cuesta College’s Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery. Essentially transforming the gallery into his own studio, Herring produced works of art that are engaging and diverse, including elements from various practices: performance, photo and video, choreography, music and sound, and more. The gallery is now hosting an exhibit displaying the artworks created through December 22. More information on Herring and the Gallery are available in the college's online Newsroom.

Winter Gathering on December 14th

winter gathering

Get in the holiday spirit this Thursday at the college's annual Winter Gathering! Set for December 14th at 3:30 p.m. on the SLO Campus in room 5401, faculty and staff are invited to attend and take part in the annual raffle and food drive. The college is once again teaming up with KSBY's Season of Hope Toy & Food Drive and encouraging everyone to bring unwrapped toys and/or non-perishable food items for donation. Each item will earn you one raffle ticket; tickets can also be purchased at the door for $2 each or $5 for three. Raffle prizes this year include items from the Avila Valley Barn, Trader Joe's, local wineries, Hearst Castle, and more. For questions, call the college's Advancement Office at 805-546-3279.

In Case You Missed It: Faculty Lecture Series

Two Faculty Lecture Series took place of the past couple of months and videos of both are now available on the college's You Tube page.

Poetry in Motion | November 2nd

Featuring poetry read by English instructors Matthew Kearsarge Fleming and Emily Shipley, and History Instructor Dr. Anthony Koeninger.  

The Hollister Adobe | October 11th

Featuring an oral history of the Hollister Adobe by Emeritus History Instructor Dennis Judd.


Cuesta Honored for its Transfer Success

Cuesta was recently recognized by the Campaign for College Opportunity as a 2017 Higher Education Champion for Excellence in Transfer. The college was one of only seven California community colleges to receive the award, which recognizes institutions that are producing the largest number of students earning an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) and have demonstrated significant growth in students earning the degree year-over-year. 

So what makes us great? Cuesta conferred 442 Associate Degrees for Transfer in 2015-16. Cuesta grew ADT production by 121 or 27% from the 2014-15 academic year. Cuesta ranks 3rd in the number of ADTS (563) conferred relative to its enrollment size (and now offers a total of 26 different ADT's). In 2015-16, Cuesta transferred 535 students to the CSU system.

Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Student Services Mark Sanchez attended an award ceremony in Los Angeles on December 5th to receive the award on Cuesta's behalf. Congratulations to all those who work hard to ensure Cuesta College students are set up for transfer success!

Cuesta Police Department Fundraises for Breast Cancer Research

Pink Patch project Group with big checks phot outdoors hold checks for Pink Patch project

Congratulations to the Cuesta College Police Department! Members of the department launched a successful Pink Patch Project fundraising effort during October and raised $1,075 in support of breast cancer awareness and treatment.

The department, along with the Grover Beach Police Department, presented checks to the Hearst Cancer Resource Center at Dignity Health French Hospital Medical Center. The two agencies raised a combined total of $8,075 dollars. Well done!

Foundation Exceeds Fundraising Goal on #GivingTuesday

Thank you to all who participated in the college Foundation's #GivingTuesday last month - the fundraising goal was exceeded with more than $16,000 raised! The funds help to replenish the CASE (Cuesta's Assistance for Students with Emergencies) Fund and support other critical programs and services. Additional thanks to the match sponsors - ASCC and Pacific Western Bank - who teamed up to provide a dollar-for-dollar match of $5,500.

Missed your opportunity to give back on #GivingTuesday? Support the college Foundation this holiday season by shopping on and Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase to the Cuesta College Foundation.

J. Vard Loomis Award for Distinguished Board Service

iris swisher

Congratulations to the 2017 J. Vard Loomis Award for Distinguished Board Service recipient Iris Swisher. This annual award is given out by the Cuesta College Foundation to recognize an individual's excellent service to the college's Foundation Board of Directors. Iris has served on the Board since 2002, is a past-president, and has been in the banking industry for over 40 years. Thank you Iris for your service and support of Cuesta College!

Instructors, Classified Honored at AGS Teacher Appreciation Night

Last week, 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.

The honorees are:

  • Cerena Caeser, Academic Success Coach
  • Denise Chellsen, Mathematics Instructor
  • Susan Gossard, Academic Counselor
  • Ann Maliszewski, Biology Instructor
  • Katherine Neidhardt, Psychology Instructor
  • Jennifer Noriega, Student Success Center Technician
  • Judy Rittmiller, Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS) Program Assistant
  • Ignatios Vakalis, Business Education Instructor
  • John Veres, Biology Instructor
  • Michael Walker, Music Instructor

Congratulations on the well-deserved recognition! 

In the News

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

  • A local industry leader pens a Letter to the Editor promoting Cuesta’s agriculture programs | Santa Maria Times
  • Cuesta student living with epilepsy, raising money for service dog | KSBY
  • SLO Food Bank program helping fight student hunger at Cuesta | KSBY
  • Oliver Herring comes to Cuesta for collaborative residency, exhibit | New Times
  • A look at Oliver Herring’s residency at Cuesta | KSBY

Hello / Goodbye

As the Cuesta College family changes, I would like to acknowledge our new full-time employees and retirements. At the December 6th meeting of the Board of Trustees, the following action took place:

Classified New Hires

  • Ruth Cook, Counseling Assistant

Management, Supervisor, Confidential New Hires

  • Jeffrey L. Alexander, Jr., Director of Outreach, Orientation, and Success Activitiies

Faculty Retirements

  • Siowting Suzanne Toh Ng, Mathematics

Classified Retirements

  • Betta Knerr, Lead Students Account Cashier


Here’s a look at some of the events going on around campus. For the full calendar, visit the Cuesta College Events Calendar.

  • December 7th-22nd: Oliver Herring exhibit at Harold J. Miossi Gallery
  • December 14th: Cuesta College Winter Gathering
  • December 15th: Jazz Ensemble Concert
  • December 19th: Cuesta Combos Concert: Combopalooza
  • December 20th: Chamber Music Concert
  • December 25th-January 2nd: All District sites closed

Questions? Comments? Email