Fall Semester Monthly Update – November 2023

Happy November! I hope everyone having a great fall semester. I’m excited to share highlights of my activities from this past October.

Campus Engagement

Special Events

  • Attended the Disability Resource Center sponsored Webinar on Global Advocacy for Disability and Deaf Rights. Dr. Elizabeth Lockwood and Pamela Molina discussed their roles in advocacy at the global level with the United Nations, civil society organizations, organizations of persons with disabilities, and national deaf organizations.
  • Attended the Palomar College Foundation President’s Invitational Golf Classic. A huge congratulations to Executive Director Stacy Rungaitis and her team for pulling off another amazing fundraising event. Over 160k was raised to support our students achieve their academic goals.
  • Attended Political Economy Days. Thank you, Professors Peter Bowman, Jennifer Herrera, Anastasia Zavodny, and so many others who made it possible to offer such exceptional programming.
  • Attended Anthropology Days. Thank you, Professors Betsy Pain, Anne-Marie Mobilia, and so many others who made this awesome two-day learning opportunity possible for our students.
  • Attended the Palomar Faculty Federation Meet and Greet. Thank you, Co-Presidents Lawrence Lawson and Will Dalrymple, for the invitation and your leadership.
  • Attended, the always wonderful, Noche De Havana. Thank you, Professor Patriceann Mead for all your hard work! Also, a special thank you to everyone else who helped the well-attended 2-day event become a reality.
  • Attended the October Palomar College Foundation Board meeting.
  • Attended a sold-out performance of Time Flies: Rhapsody in Blue by the Palomar College Symphony Orchestra. Congratulations Professor Ellen Weller, and our symphony, for an amazing performance! The celebration of the remodel of the Howard Brubeck Theatre and celebration of Emeritus Professor Peter Gach made the event absolutely memorable!
  • Attended the Welcome Reception for our new Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Nicole Belisle.
  • Hosted “Paletas (popsicles) with the President” at the student union quad. Thank you to Palomar College’s Behavioral Health Counseling team, S.T.A.R. Tutoring, my assistant Valerie White, and Assistant Superintendent/ Vice President of Student Services Nick Mata for co-sponsoring the event with me! We gave out 986 paletas (popsicles)!
  • Participated in the last session of the Transforming Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) for Equity and Justice Book Club. This was a continuation of the work done during the Fall 2021 book club featuring Gina Garcia’s. This book club is designed to understand the framework that can help Palomar transform into a space that promote racial equity and social justice. Thank you, Professor Cynthia Cordova and Carmelino Cruz.
  • Visited Professor Kyle Owens’ Umoja class and Professor Brittany Wong’s counseling course. I always love to see the amazing work happening in the classroom led by our exceptional faculty.

Standing Meetings

  • Attended numerous standing and special meetings throughout the month. Three meetings that stand out are Accreditation follow up, Educational and Facilities Vision Plan finalization, and the first Board of Trustees Sub-Budget Committee meeting for the semester.
  • Participated in standing leadership and governance meetings with: College Council, Executive Cabinet, Faculty Senate, PFF,CCE, AA and CAST.

Board Meetings

  • Attended the Regular October Governing Board meeting and the Special October Governing Board Workshop. Topics covered included: General business matters, Palomar College’s Equal Employment Opportunity Plan, the Educational Facilities Vision Plan 2035, the Accreditation Follow-Up Report, and an overview of the Fallbrook 40 Facilities Plan.

Community Engagement

Local Representation: Educational Partners

  • Attended CSUSM Evening Reception welcome for the new statewide CSU Chancellor, Dr. Mildred Garcia.
  • Attended MiraCosta College’s Report to the Region.
  • Chaired the monthly San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association (SDICCCA) meeting.
  • Facilitated a panel at the “Vision 2030: A Call to Action: Adult Education Summit,” hosted by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The October summit provided participants with an opportunity to explore emerging strategies aimed at eliminating systemic barriers for adult learners.
  • Hosted 35 local high school students in my office visiting Palomar College for the first time.
  • Met with representatives from Apple regarding potential upcoming partnerships.
  • Met with representatives from the Huron Group to discussing exploring new Outreach and Retention efforts.
  • Met with Borrego Springs Unified School District Superintendent Mark Stevens & Principal Victoria Baay to see how to further collaborate and support potential and current students.

Local Representation: Community Partners

  • Recognized as a 2023 Latino Leaders of Influence by the San Diego Business Journal in association with the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Thank you, Board President, Roberto Rodriguez for your support at the ceremony.
  • Attended the San Marcos Boys & Girls Club Annual Auction & Dinner. Every aspect of the event was fantastic. Congratulations Cathy Baur and Christine Vaughan on hosting another outstanding event. A special thank you to VP Nick Mata, VP Christine Winterle, ED Stacey Rungaitis, and Trustee Roberto Rodriguez for attending the event and representing Palomar.
  • Attended the ROCA Latino Festival Community Event. It featured educational information and live musical performances. Thank you Carmelino Cruz for facilitating this outreach opportunity.
  • Attended Trades Day, a collaboration between the Construction Industry Education Foundation, Palomar College, and the San Diego County Office of Education. Trades Day introduces students to career opportunities in construction, sub-contracting, construction supply, heavy equipment, engineering, and related trades. The event featured hands-on exhibitions and demonstrations from employers and apprenticeship programs in the Building & Construction industry. Nearly 700 local high school students enjoyed the event. https://www.kpbs.org/news/education/2023/10/25/high-school-students-explore-careers-trade-palomar-college
  • Attended the 2023 MAAC Soirée fundraiser event to support our local community partner. It was a privilege to serve on the honorary committee. MAAC provides comprehensive social services in San Diego County in five key areas: Economic Development, Education, Health & Well-being, Housing and Advocacy & Leadership Development.
  • Attended the MANA de San Diego fundraiser event to support local mentoring opportunities for our current students and to support outreach efforts to potential students.
  • Interviewed by KGTV to promote the 5th Annual Pack the Pantry Virtual Food Drive representing all the region’s community colleges.
  • Met with Maria Mingalone, the Executive Director of the Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA), to discuss potential partnerships. I also was able to attend their annual fundraiser.
  • Visited the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum located in Vista with Dean Susan Wyche to explore potential partnerships.

Statewide Representation

  • Attended the California Community College Association for Occupational Education (CCAOE) conference. I was able to participate in a one-day CEO track portion of the conference. It was awesome to see Palomar College Assistant Superintendent/Vice President Tina Recalde representing us on a statewide platform. Thank you to all the other Palomar representatives who also attended the conference. We had a great turn out, and I heard nothing but positive comments about the work we are doing with Career Technical and Extended Education.
  • Welcomed the California Association of Black School Educators (CABSE), an organization consisting of elected and appointed school officials, administrators, and instructors from across California who are committed to advancing equity for Black students. Thank you, Assistant Superintendent/Vice President Nick Mata for your leadership in making this opportunity a reality.

National Representation

  • Attended and moderated a panel at the 2023 National Social Mobility Symposium event, “Higher Education’s Role in Advancing Social Mobility.” Thank you, CSUSM President Ellen Neufeldt, for allowing me to present on the importance of the Community College System on a national platform. The opportunity to meet the new CSU State Chancellor, Mildred Garcia, and Chair of the CSU Board of Trustees, Wenda Fong, was a professional highlight.
  • Attended the Community College Aspen Presidential Fellowships Alumni webinar.
  • Accepted into Excelencia in Education’s Presidents for Latino Student Success. This is the first step in Palomar earning a Seal of Excelencia. More information to come in the upcoming months.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI):

  • In October, through various activities and events, we honored the following designations: Hispanic Heritage Month, Filipino American History Month, Italian American Heritage Month, Disability Employment Awareness Month, LGBTQ+ History Month, Indigenous People’s Day (October 9), and Undocumented Student Action Week (October 16-20). Thank you to all who hosted and supported so many activities throughout the entire month!

Educational and Facilities Vision Plan Update:

  • Palomar College’s Educational and Facilities Vision Plan (Vision Plan 2035) is working its way through our governance process. College Council has recommended and moved the plan forward to the Governing Board. The Board received the full document at the beginning of October and engaged in a question-and-answer session during the workshop. The Plan is scheduled for action at the November 14th Regular Governing Board meeting. The draft plan is posted on our Vision Plan webpage. You can access the webpage using the following link:  https://www.palomar.edu/irp/education-and-facilities-plan-2035/.

Comets of the Month:

The first Comet of the Month is Benefits Specialist, Veronica Sadowski. She goes above and beyond to assist our employees with key questions as they transition into retirement. She is known for her outstanding service and is most certainly an asset to all our Palomar employees.

The next Comet of the Month is Accounting Manager, Patrice Nya. We thank him for his displayed leadership in the completion of the 311 report. Fiscal Services is responsible for the preparation of state-mandated financial and budget reports submitted to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. Patrice did an exceptional job with the completion of our most recent report!

Finally, our third Comet of the Month is our Performing Arts Staff members Heather Murray, Tony Cucuzzella, Tom Daily, Carl Thompson, and Lorrena Harvey who do an exceptional job preparing for countless events week after week. Your hard work is appreciated!

Thank you all for everything you do to make Palomar a fabulous place to work and learn!

Have a great November! Go Comets!

Pictures of the various events are posted at:

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