Welcome to Spring 2023

We are looking forward to the many exciting opportunities that await us this semester! I hope this update finds everyone in good spirits as we head into the second week of the new semester. Below is a brief recap of my Campus and Community Engagements from the previous week and some notable ones that took place over the break.

Campus Engagement

  • Congratulations to our Governing Board President, Christian Garcia (area 2) who was appointed to the Escondido City Council this past week. This means we will have to seat a new board member within the next 60 days. Plans on how we will move forward will be discussed at the February 14th Regular Governing Board meeting. Wishing you the best of luck, and we thank you for your service, Councilmember Garcia!
  • Attended the January Regular Governing Board Meeting and Special Governing Board Workshop where the District’s budget was reviewed, and an overview of the Board’s 2022-2023 goals was conducted.
  • Attended the Governing Board’s Spring 2023 Retreat where new trustee onboarding took place, the Brown Act was reviewed, and an overview of our District’s governance was provided.
  • Attended a preview screening of Palomar College TV’s new film, Almost Home: Life After Incarceration at the Howard Brubeck Theater. The subject of this documentary is about the lives of some of our formerly incarcerated students and their academic experiences at Palomar College. It was both heartwarming and uplifting to see the stories of these students represented, and shared, through this powerful film. I am very proud of the students, our employees that support the program, and the documentary filmmakers who did an excellent job telling the compelling story. This film is a reminder that Palomar’s doors are open to all students. A campuswide screening will take place later in the semester.
  • Attended the Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Speaker Series event with Dr. Gina Ann Garcia. Dr. Garcia challenged us to examine what our designation of being a Hispanic Serving Institution means and asked us to reflect on how we can better serve our close to 50% Hispanic/Latino student population.
  • Presented at the Spring 2023 Flex Week General Session where Campus Leadership provided general institutional updates. Throughout the presentation of general institutional updates there was a specific focus on our efforts to support becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution. It is events such as this that help us to remain focused on our institution’s approach/commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Competencies and Criteria Recommendations. You can find detailed recommendations with descriptions in each area here.

Community Engagement

  • Attended the Effective Trusteeship & Board Chair Workshop with our Governing Board Members (Kaiser, Patacsil, Rains, Rodriguez) and PIO Julie Lanthier Bandy. This conference was hosted by the Community College League of California in Sacramento. At this conference, state leaders and experienced trustees provided comprehensive training on how to become an effective trustee.
  • Attended the Annual Legislative Conference hosted by the Community College League of California in Sacramento. This annual conference provides the opportunity for California Community College leaders to connect and meet with members of the California State Legislature to advocate for the needs of the community college system.
  • Attended the first inaugural San Marcos Unified School District’s Rising Stars Program event. It was hosted by the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce and the Palomar College Foundation. Students from San Marcos High School, Twin Oaks High School, and Mission Hills High School were recognized for their outstanding achievement. Several dignitaries were in attendance including Mayor Rebecca Jones.
  • Participated in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in Downtown San Diego. Thank you to all the students, employees, and friends who came out to represent Palomar and to show their gratitude for the incredible work Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. accomplished during his lifetime.
  • Attended the North San Diego County NAACP Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Solidarity and Service” Community Breakfast. A special note of appreciation to the North San Diego County Promise for the generous invitation. I love the progressive social justice work happening in North County and I am proud that Palomar College is part of the conversation and the good work happening.
  • Presented at the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Carlsbad- Oceanside-Vista Chapter to talk about the amazing opportunities we have at Palomar College. AAUW has been advocating for the advancement of education for women over the past 100 years.
  • Met with CSU, San Marcos President Dr. Ellen Neufeldt, and MiraCosta College President Dr. Sunita Cooke to discuss how our colleges can work together to strengthen our tri-campus alliance.
  • Met with Bob Deegan, former President of Palomar College, to learn more about our rich institutional history.
  • Attended the San Diego & Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association (SDICCCA) Board Alliance Meeting.
  • Met with the Board of Directors of the National Community College Hispanic Council.

Educational & Facilities Vision Plan 2035

Attended several meetings dedicated to developing our 2035 Educational & Facilities Vision Plan. The Educational and Facilities Planning Task Force held two workshops in January to bring together what we have learned through our internal and external scans and to develop goals and objectives for the 2035 Educational Vision Plan. As we begin to consider our facilities plan, the Task Force toured the Rancho Bernardo and Escondido Education Centers and will hold the February meeting at the Fallbrook Center.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Upcoming Events

The Palomar Black Faculty and Staff Association hosted the Black History Month (BHM) Fair on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, to help kick-off a month-long commemoration of Black History. Please support other BHM Workshops that will be offered throughout the entire month of February. We are excited about the educational, insightful, and uplifting workshops planned for our Palomar students, employees, and community. For more information visit the PBFSA website here.

Comet of the Week

The Comet of the Week is Dean Patricia Menchaca! Dean Menchaca’s peers asked me to share the following, “Dean Patricia Menchaca is an outstanding leader, often shining as a beacon of stability in an otherwise turbulent, ever-changing time. This was especially evident during the roughest part of the pandemic in which the capabilities that the MSE division had in meeting student needs was largely due to the sound advice and wise future insight that Dean Menchaca possesses. On several occasions, her foresight stayed us from potential supply disasters and allowed us to keep classes going! She has always been an incredible listener with a dedication and focus towards supporting the MSE division to its fullest, with a sage usage of grace but also necessary fortitude to press into anticipated resistances where needed. It is a pleasure and honor to work alongside such a resourceful, resilient leader whose attention to detail and to her division’s personnel has allowed us to put our own best feet forward.”

Have a great upcoming week. Go Comets!

For pictures of the various events, follow:
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