Welcome to the 2022-23 Academic Year!

I hope everyone had a great first week back! Seeing so many students, and employees, on campus was awesome! I have high hopes for this year, and I can’t wait to see what the new year has in store for us. Here is a brief recap of my activities over the past week:

Campus Engagement

  • To kick off the academic year, I was happy to support and attend our 2-day Comet Together event at the Student Union. Tents were set up to distribute information and greet our students. I also had the opportunity to welcome our students back and hand out maps and swag bags throughout the week.
  • I was able to visit our Education Centers which are looking spectacular. A special thank you to our Education Center staff for doing such a great job in preparing for the start of the semester.
  • I attended the 2022 President’s Golf Classic Planning Meeting with our Foundation Executive Director Stacy Rungaitis. The committee looks forward to welcoming golfers at the beautiful Maderas Golf Club on October 10, 2022! Thank you to our dedicated committee members who support Palomar’s mission both on and off the course.
  • I attended the Disability Resource Center’s (DRC) Access and Equity Hour. This week’s topic covered how to support struggling students most effectively. The DRC is one of our great resources here on campus. The DRC assists our campus community in creating a more inclusive environment and equitable access to the college experience for students with disabilities.

Community Engagement

  • As for community engagement events, I attended the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Annual Budget Workshop with Acting Vice President of Fiscal Services, Nancy Lane, and members of her team. This was a statewide meeting where we learned about the state budget’s impact on the college, major policy issues, and planned allocation schedules and guidance. At the workshop, it was announced that the Chancellor’s Office will release budget guidance memos in a comprehensive packet. The resource, known as the Compendium of Allocations and Resources, will provide fiscal and program guidance for districts in one central location – facilitating access to information.
  • I attended the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council’s Annual Dinner. The event focused on the council’s accomplishments and future plans. The Labor Council’s mission is to fight for the well-being of all workers and to create solidarity among workers. It was great to see our Palomar Union leaders present.


Palomar College received notification of our accreditation status over the summer. The Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) has requested a follow-up report due in 18-months documenting the work the college is doing to fully institutionalize processes and practices for integrated fiscal reporting, internal controls, and financial planning to ensure long-term financial stability. We have developed an action plan to address this requirement and will prepare our report over the next year. Thank you to Senior Director, Michelle Barton, who is leading this effort as the college’s Accreditation Liaison Officer.

Educational and Facilities Long-Range Plan

This September we will kick off a new Educational and Facilities Long-Range planning process. Our College Council has approved the formation of a Task Force. As a governance body, the Task Force will be comprised of 33 campus community members. Calls for participation in the Task Force have gone out through your respective constituent groups. The Task Force will steward the development of our new 2035 Educational and Facilities Long-range Plan. This plan will establish the vision for Palomar’s programs and facilities over the next twelve years with a significant update in year six. During the fall semester, our educational planning consultants and architects will work with the Task Force to hold more than 50 listening/visioning sessions with our Palomar College community and external partners. We want to ensure that everyone has a voice in this process. We will continue to provide updates on our progress and invite you to participate through the task force, as part of a listening/vision session, survey, or open session. This is exciting work as it is our opportunity to shape the future of Palomar together!

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Updates and News

Our Acting Chief Diversity Officer, Carmelino Cruz, is currently exploring with campus leadership the possibility of submitting a proposal for Faculty Participation in the Open for Antiracism (OFAR) in California Community Colleges efforts that aims to make teaching practices and instructional materials more antiracist with the incorporation of student voices and experiences. A Palomar team of 4-6 faculty members would join the statewide Open for AntiRacism (OFAR) Faculty Cohort running from September 2022 through June 2023. Please reach out to Carmelino at ccruz@palomar.edu if you are interested as he is currently leading these efforts. Applications are due September 7, 2022. Find more information here: https://www.cccoer.org/ofar/ofar-application/#app

National Hispanic Heritage Month
September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. It’s a time to celebrate and promote the culture, history, achievements, and contributions of Hispanic Americans. If your department, center, or classroom is conducting activities related to this celebration please send details to Acting Chief Diversity Officer, Carmelino Cruz at ccruz@palomar.edu who is working across the institution to support and promote these efforts.

Comets of the Week
Our Comets of the Week are Education Center Directors Tom Medel and Ryan Williams. Tom Medel is the Director of the Escondido and Rancho Bernardo Centers, and Ryan Williams is the Director of our Fallbrook and Camp Pendleton Education Centers. I was able to see first-hand their outstanding leadership as I visited the centers this first week of school. They have done an outstanding job managing the multiple centers, and I commend them for leading their teams in ensuring our students feel welcomed and cared for when taking classes at the centers! Fantastic job Tom and Ryan!

Have a great upcoming week. Go Comets!

For pictures of the various events, follow:
Twitter: @palomardrstar
Instagram: @palomardrstar