Sunday, October 30, 2016

Arabic instructor brings flavor of Middle Eastern culture to college


 Five instructors at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have been selected by their peers as the academic year’s best faculty members. The honorees were lauded at fall convocations for exemplary service to the East County campuses.

At Grossmont College, art history professor Marion de Koning received the Distinguished Faculty Award, and Administration of Justice instructor Shaun Donelson was picked for the adjunct award. At Cuyamaca College, English instructor Lauren Halsted and math instructor Terrie Nichols are co-winners of the Outstanding Faculty Member Award, and Arabic instructor Aklas Sheai received the award for adjunct faculty.


Here's a profile of one of the recipients, the fifth of an occasional series:



Aklas Sheai
Arabic instructor Aklas Sheai does her best to make her Cuyamaca College students feel at home from the moment they walk into the classroom. From the welcoming sound of their native language to Sheai’s daily practice of bringing Middle Eastern snacks, the roomful of mostly Iraqi refugees appreciate the effort.

Sheai, who immigrated as a Chaldean refugee along with her husband, son and daughter in 2005, graduated from Cuyamaca and became an adjunct instructor in 2008. A repeat winner of the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award from 2014, her contributions to the college have been many, not only as a popular instructor, but as a counseling office test proctor, peer adviser and translator, and producer of an annual stage extravaganza showcasing the Middle Eastern culture. 


Friday, October 28, 2016

Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department presents 'These Shining Lives'


The pay was good, but the job was killing them. 

Now Grossmont College’s award-winning Theatre Arts Department is staging a production of the historical drama These Shining Lives, which recounts the true story of four women who landed a well-paying factory job in the 1920s adorning the hour markings on clocks and watches with glow-in-the-dark radium paint containing dangerously radioactive properties that are unknown by the workers and downplayed by their bosses.  

Set in Ottawa, Ill., the story is narrated by one of the workers, Catherine Donohue. These Shining Lives, written by Melanie Marnich, details the women’s deadly ordeal in a search for justice that left a legacy of better working conditions for future generations.  

These Shining Lives is a remarkable story that impacted generations of American workers and still resonates today,” said the production’s director, Beth Duggan, who also chairs the Grossmont College Theatre Arts Department. “We are extremely proud to be present this groundbreaking production that details the sacrifices made by these women, sacrifices which we continue to benefit from.” 

Performance dates are Dec. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 3 and 10 at 2 p.m. 

Tickets, including a season ticket plan, can be purchased by phone, online, or at the box office. For online tickets, visit www.grossmont.edu/theatrebrochure or call (619) 644-7234. The box office is at Grossmont College, Building 22A/Room 200A1 (Back of Parking Lot #1). The box office opens one hour prior to each production. 

More information about the productions is at www.grossmont.edu/theatrebrochure.



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Grossmont alum returns to home field to head athletics program

Thomas Armstrong with volleyball coach Jamie Ivers and team.
As a former student athlete and successful college coach, Thomas Armstrong knows a lot about executing winning game plans. 

As Grossmont College’s new associate dean of athletics, Armstrong is now diagramming x’s and o’s for a program that has in the past three years twice won honors as the most successful intercollegiate athletic program in the 10-college Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

The San Diego native and Grossmont College alumnus is happy to return to home turf after a succession of jobs in college athletics, most recently as the associate dean of student services and athletics at Barstow Community College in San Bernardino County.


“I am a Griffin – I want to retire as a Griffin,” said Armstrong, who received his bachelor’s in kinesiology from Humboldt State University and his master’s in education with an emphasis in physical education and health from Western Oregon University.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Colleges hosting Employer Engagement Event


Local employers from law enforcement, healthcare, manufacturing and more will be sharing information about jobs and careers at a free public event from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Grossmont College Main Quad.
The Career Technical Education divisions at Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges are hosting a combined CTE Employer Engagement Event open to the on- and off-campus communities, including job-seekers and those interested in exploring new careers. Employers with job openings, internships, or a desire to reach out to students are welcome to participate. Display tables will be set up, where employers can talk to students, faculty, staff and community members about their business or organization. 

 “We are excited about kicking off this new annual event for employers,” said Javier Ayala, dean of Career Technical Education and Workforce Development at Grossmont College. “It will allow us to engage more closely with employers who hire our graduates.”
Developing closer ties with local employers will increase awareness of the types of workers and job skills that are in demand, event organizers say.

“Many people don’t realize that organizations like the YMCA offer more than careers in childcare and education,” said Leslie Blanchard, a CTE support specialist with the Grossmont College Career Resource Center. “They also have positions in accounting, office administration, driving, human resources, management, marketing, recreation, social services, technical support, and more.”
Blanchard recommends participants to dress professionally, bring a resume and to request an informational interview or an opportunity to job shadow.

“Also, inquire about the career and educational paths of various employers, ask about opportunities to volunteer or intern, and inquire about the culture of the organization or business,” she said.

Local employers expected to attend are: YMCA of San Diego, US Army, Sycuan Casino, San Diego Sheriff’s Department, Adult Home Health Care, Mauzy Heating Air & Solar, Big Brothers Big Sisters, National City Police Department, New Horizons Career Development Solutions, Casa De Manana, Volt Workforce Solutions, Higher Learning Academy, Aerotek, Home Instead Senior Care, San Diego Fire and Rescue.

Employers interested in participating should contact Blanchard at (619) 644-7647 or Kate Miller, a CTE specialist at Cuyamaca College at (619) 660-4695. 

 For more information about Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, go to www.gcccd.edu/



Monday, October 24, 2016

Study: College district contributes $1 billion to region's economy

A just-released analysis shows the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District annually generates more than $1 billion in increased economic activity in San Diego County, providing jobs to thousands and touching the lives of many as its impact ripples throughout the region.

The comprehensive report, based on data from 2014-15, was conducted by Idaho-based Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. The study analyzed spending by the college district on operations and payroll, the monetary benefits of a college education, and the savings to taxpayers through lower social service costs as the result of well-trained and employed alumni. 



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Math instructor calculating in making subject approachable to students

 Five instructors at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have been selected by their peers as the academic year’s best faculty members. The honorees were lauded at fall convocations for exemplary service to the East County campuses.

At Grossmont College, art history professor Marion de Koning received the Distinguished Faculty Award, and Administration of Justice instructor Shaun Donelson was picked for the adjunct award. At Cuyamaca College, English instructor Lauren Halsted and math instructor Terrie Nichols are co-winners of the Outstanding Faculty Member Award, and Arabic instructor Aklas Sheai received the award for adjunct faculty.


Here's a profile of one of the recipients, the third of an occasional series:



Terrie Nichols
 
Thinking back to her senior year in high school when her biggest achievement was ditching 54 days of classes, Cuyamaca College math instructor Terrie Nichols said it was only through the miracle of community college that she is where she is today.




Divorced with two young boys and pregnant with her third, Nichols returned to school in her late 20s, enrolling at Cuyamaca College. With no job skills, she viewed Cuyamaca as an opportunity to improve her lot in life. The move proved transformational.


“A counselor placed me into an English class and an elementary algebra class that first semester,” she said. “While watching the instructor prove the quadratic formula in that basic skills math class, I fell in love with math and decided right then and there that I wanted to be a math teacher – and more specifically a math teacher at Cuyamaca College.”


Friday, October 7, 2016

Administrator named to prestigious institute mentoring African-American leaders

Cuyamaca College VP Scott Thayer
Scott W. Thayer, Cuyamaca College’s vice president of Student Services, has been named one of 15 fellows with the Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership (Lakin Institute). The Lakin Institute is presented annually by the Presidents’ Round Table, a national association that helps prepare African-American community college leaders as chancellors, presidents, and chief executive officers.
 As Cuyamaca College’s vice president of Student Services, Thayer oversees counseling services, admissions & records, financial aid, student affairs, Extended Opportunities Program & Services (EOPS), Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS), and athletics. He previously held the position of assistant dean of Student Affairs at Pasadena City College near downtown Los Angeles, where he was responsible for providing comprehensive student involvement and engagement programs for 30,000 commuter students. Under his leadership, Thayer has secured over $2.6 million in additional funding in support of student success.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Grossmont College to host Fall Preview event Oct. 29

Grossmont College Student Center
Grossmont College, East County’s largest and oldest college, will host a Fall Preview event from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 29, on the Grossmont College campus at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon.

“While structured for students ready to finish their school years, this event is a perfect opportunity for anyone interested in attending our college,” said Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, Ed.D., who will welcome attendees at 10:30 a.m. in the Main Quad. “Whether it’s to start or continue their college journey, to improve their career skills or to learn a new language or maintain lifelong learning, Grossmont College is here for East County residents and their families.”


Monday, October 3, 2016

NSF grant for Cuyamaca College's Water and Wastewater Technology program

Students tour a water treatment plant.
Cuyamaca College has secured a National Science Foundation grant of nearly $900,000 for an innovative new program to improve and expand training of the next generation of water industry professionals needed to operate and maintain California’s complex water supply and delivery systems.

Funding for California WaterWorks: Building the People Pipeline comes at a critical time. The Water Research Foundation and the American Water Works Association anticipate that water utilities will lose up to half their workforce over the next decade as older workers opt to retire. A 2014 Water Research Foundation report estimates that nearly one-third of the water industry workforce is eligible to retire.

“Cuyamaca College's Water and Wastewater Technology Program has a well-deserved reputation for its commitment to quality, innovation, and a high standard of excellence in providing instruction and training to prepare our students for a career in the water and wastewater industry,” said Joe Young, who coordinates the program that has delivered water and wastewater management education for more than half a century. “This latest National Science Foundation grant will help us to improve and expand our program and continue to set the pace in water and wastewater workforce development.”


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Jessica Murguia: From first-generation college student to Cuyamaca College employee


Jessica Murguia
The past 18 months have been good to Jessica Murguia. Marriage. Master’s degree. And most recently, a new job as the Interim Student Services Coordinator in the High School and Community Relations Department at Cuyamaca College – a post that includes overseeing outreach to high schools and the community, scheduling campus tours, and organizing the East County Education Alliance’s annual college and career fair, “Got Plans?” 

She couldn’t be happier. 

“Serving first-generation college students, serving students who cannot afford to go into a four-year college or university straight out of high school, serving students from underrepresented communities, it gives you a rewarding feeling that you’re helping to make a difference,” said Jessica, whose personal experiences underscore the impact Cuyamaca College is having.