Classified Employee Appreciation Week

May 15th through the 21st was Classified Employee Appreciation Week. This annual event is meant to highlight all the great work our Classified members perform daily. Without them our college would not function. Classified members work directly with students, faculty, administrators, community members, and business partners. Much of their work is done behind the scenes, but we are thankful for the vital role they play in the day-to-day operations of Palomar College. Several events were held throughout the week to celebrate our classified employees, and I was fortunate to attend the following two:

Classified Employee Appreciation Week Luncheon
I was happy to join everyone for the Classified Appreciation Luncheon held under the clock tower. The weather was perfect, and the barbeque was fantastic. A special thank you to President Anel Gonzalez for her leadership, Patti Serafin for being a great MC, and Matt Grills for his DJ skills. Also, a note of gratitude for everyone who worked behind the scenes to make this event a success!

Classified Employee Appreciation Ice Cream Social
I arrived a bit late, but I was able to attend the Classified Appreciation Ice Cream Social on Wednesday. It was well attended, and I had a great time connecting with some of our classified employees. Thank you for the invitation.

Upcoming Events
Workforce Partnership Opportunities with Palomar College
Next week on Wednesday, May 25th, the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce is hosting a workshop about how business and industry members can partner with Palomar College to access key talent. Nichol Roe, Associate Dean of Workforce Development and Extended Education will be the event’s guest speaker. Participants will learn about Palomar’s work-based learning opportunities. Thank you, Nichol, for representing Palomar so well and highlighting the many wonderful opportunities we have to offer.

2022 Commencement
Commencement will take place Friday, May 27th, at 5:00 pm. A reception for employees will take place beforehand had at 4:00 pm at the Chamness Courtyard. All are welcome to attend the reception, however, please remember full academic regalia is required to actively participate in the 5:00 ceremony.

Campus Engagement Highlights
Transfer Recognition
Our students who are transferring were celebrated over two days. The event honored the hard work of those students transferring from Palomar to a four-year university, or college, to continue their education. I was delighted to see the many students who came through to receive their certificates and enjoy the festivities. I spoke to several students who expressed their gratitude for the support they received all along their transfer journey. Great job P.J. DeMaris and Brittany Wong!

Puente’s End of the Year Celebration
This week Palomar’s Puente Program recognized Cohort 5 and 2022 graduates at the Puente End of Year Celebration. Professors Cynthia Cordova and Sonia Gutiérrez did an outstanding job supporting these students through the pandemic (zoomlandia) and helping them achieve this awesome milestone. I was extremely impressed with the level of detail that went into the planning of the event. It was one of the best Puente celebrations I have ever attended.

Governing Board Special Meeting
At this week’s Governing Board Special Meeting, Vice President David Montoya led a presentation on the upcoming Reorganization Process for the District, and he outlined the goals of the project. He explained that the purpose of the reorganization process is to improve educational services, develop organizational structure efficiencies, and create new opportunities for current employees to help Palomar grow successfully into the future. We will be hearing a lot more about this endeavor in the immediate future.

Disability Resource Center Graduation
The Disability Resource Center (DRC) Graduation was emotionally impactful! The event did an outstanding job celebrating its graduates this week. I want to thank the entire DRC team for hosting such a moving event, and I especially want to thank Director Shauna Moriarty for her leadership. DRC has been unwavering in its commitment to inclusion, accessibility, and educational innovation. Evidenced from the student stories at the event, the DRC clearly is making a great and positive impact on the lives of our students.

Black/African American Community Advisory Council Meeting
This week also included meeting with the Black/African American Community Advisory Council. It is a great group with invested individuals in creating an affirming environment for Black/African American students and employees. We discussed the current Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis that is currently underway. We also discussed potential upcoming, culturally relevant, outreach activities.

Service Learning Awards Celebration
I was able to stop by the Service Learning Awards Celebration hosted by Dr. Angela Kong and Gina Wilson. I learned a great deal about our Palomar Service Learning program, and it was nice to see our students recognized through the Excellence in Service Learning Award.

La Raza Achievement Celebration
The La Raza Achievement Celebration was phenomenal. A huge congratulations and gracias to the Association of Latinos & Allies for Student Success (ALASS). Entire families came to celebrate, and each graduate was honored with a stole. Keynote speaker, Dean Leslie Salas, shared her moving words with the over 350 attendees. I am already looking forward to next year’s event!

Asian Pacific Alliance in Higher Education (APAHE) Event
This week, I was also able to support another fantastic Asian Pacific Alliance in Higher Education (APAHE) event in honor of Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The event was titled “Liberation Through Collective Healing & Praxis” presented by Hossna Sadat Ahadi and student/employee Sina Laie. The workshop included activities that had us reflect on areas of racial tension and focused on fostering liberation through collective healing.

Employee Recognition Ceremony
We virtually held our annual Employee Recognition Celebration this week to honor our faculty, staff, and administrators for their accomplishments, years of service, retirements, and special awards received. It was inspiring to be reminded of the good work that all of Palomar’s employees do week in and week out. Thank you to all who made this event possible with a special note of gratitude to Luis Guerrero and Matt Grills for their outstanding planning and leadership.

Celebrating Social Justice Leaders
I was able to attend an event hosted by Dr. Hossna Sadat Ahadi to celebrate Palomar’s stand-out social justice leaders. Honored at the event was Dr. Jack Kahn, Jenny Fererro, Dr. Rocco Versaci, Teresa Laughlin, and Lawrence Hamilton Lawson. The work these individuals have done to move Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Antiracism (DEIAA) efforts forward have well positioned our institution for future gains in this area. Thank you all and congratulations on this well-earned honor.

Associated Student Government Banquet
I joined our student leadership at their annual Associated Student Government (ASG) Banquet to celebrate the graduation of several officers and the installation of incoming officers. A special thank you to Director Sherry Titus for her leadership in mentoring these students. It is amazing to see how much these student leaders grow over the course of an academic year!

IMPACT Magazine
​​This week I was able to read the latest edition of Palomar’s IMPACT Magazine. The award-winning, student-run, magazine was an excellent read. Thank you, journalism professor, and magazine advisor, Erin Hiro. The magazine has been published since 2011. IMPACT features the work of students in the college’s journalism program. Here is a link to the current issue. If you are interested in advertising with the magazine you can get more information here and here or e-mail

Community Engagement Highlights
Equitable Recovery in Action: Becoming an Antiracist, Student Ready Institutions
I attended the Chancellor’s Office webinar titled, Equitable Recovery in Action: Becoming an Antiracist, Student Ready Institutions. The webinar focused on addressing the need to accelerate system-wide equitable recovery. It highlighted ongoing efforts across the system to adopt, customize and scale equity-advancing strategies, tools, and resources to facilitate systemic change. The purpose of these efforts is to cultivate a more equitable, inclusive, and transformative teaching and learning ecosystem. The webinar focused on a range of issues required in becoming an antiracist, student ready institution, including designing strategic enrollment management policies and practices as a lever for system-wide changes in expanding access, outreach, retention, and completion. The recording of the webinar can be found in the Vision Resource Center Portal here.

COVID-19 Update Meeting
This week we held our bi-weekly COVID-19 update meeting. Here is the recording of the meeting. Please note, this upcoming week we will have antigen test kit distribution events on Tuesday, May 24th, and Wednesday, May 25th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center patio at the San Marcos Campus. All employees are eligible even if they have collected a kit previously. Students can continue to pick up kits from the Student Health Center during operating hours. If you happen to be at one of the centers, you can go to the COVID monitor station in any of the libraries and collect a kit there. And if you can’t make either of these events, you can request the antigen test kit via the facilities remedy process. Please note, as of May 31st, vaccines will no longer be required to enroll in face-to face campus courses. During the meeting discussed the metrics we are currently using to guide our decision making. From a public health standpoint, according to the CDC, we remain in a low-risk category for the county.  However, we will continue to monitor public health reports and make necessary changes if needed.

Comets of the Week
A couple of weeks ago, Palomar had a very successful day community outreaching at the Fallbrook Avocado Festival. Employees and volunteers engaged with hundreds of people throughout the day including high school students and Palomar Alumni. The team answered questions, spread the word about the Fallbrook Education Center, and encouraged many to join the Palomar family. I was very happy to see so many departments come together to support this event. The Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce stated it was arguably the largest number of attendees at well over 100,000 people. Here is a list of the Comets that made this day a success for Palomar: Nellie Martinez, Gabriela Lopez, Fabiola Hernandez, Maritza Martinez Garcia, Jonatan Miranda Eligio, Citlali Rodriguez Gonzalez, Yesenia Lazcano, Adriana Alvarez, Sheri Cully, Ryan Williams, Yvette Maynard, and Tracy Fung.

Have a great upcoming week. Go Comets!

For pictures of the various events, follow:
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