Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A message from Chancellor Cindy L. Miles

This message was sent to Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District employees Dec. 19.

It’s hard to believe another year has flown by so quickly! 2012 been a great year at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. East County voters showed their support for our colleges by approving the District’s Proposition V bond measure, and California voters gave their support to education by approving Proposition 30. Grossmont College had a golden year of recognitions as it celebrated its 50th anniversary, and Cuyamaca College received statewide recognition for its innovative green programs.

Most importantly, amidst all the ups and downs of the year, we continued to provide high-quality education for almost 30,000 students. I loved seeing the broad grins on the faces of so many of the 2,359 students who received degrees or certificates at Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges in May.

             As we look back over 2012, we can celebrate a number of highlights across the District:

·         More than 95,000 East County voters cast their ballots in favor of Proposition V, the district’s $398 million bond measure. This will allow us to continue to meet critical facilities needs and upgrade our technology infrastructure. We are moving forward with project plans, and I’ll keep you updated on our progress.

·         Grossmont College’s yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary culminated in a community open house in April attended by more than 4,000 people. Almost 1,800 people signed the college’s birthday card, setting a Guinness world record.

·         Cuyamaca College’s 19th Annual Spring Garden Festival attracted nearly 7,000 people to the campus to buy plants, learn about horticulture, and enjoy the food and festivities.

·         Grossmont College’s upgraded student center and student services and administration building received LEED certification, indicating they were designed, built, and now operate using green strategies that incorporate energy and water efficiency and sustainable building materials.

·         The California Chancellor’s Office awarded Cuyamaca College grants totaling $730,000 to train workers for green jobs. In the past three years, the college has received $7.3 million to train hundreds of students for solid-paying jobs, many of them in the expanding green industries.

·         We appreciate our entire team of dedicated faculty and staff members, and some received special honors this year:

o   Cuyamaca College faculty member Tony Zambelli was honored by the California Council on Economic Education for improving K-12 teaching of economics and financial literacy.

o   Pat Murray, health science lab technician at Grossmont College, was named Classified Employee of the Year for the California Community College system, one of five in the state.

o   Joe Orate, coordinator of the Culinary Arts program at Grossmont College, was honored with a gold medal and perfect score for his hot foods tapas display at the San Diego Chefs Association culinary competition.

o   Brad Daluiso, a Grossmont College alumnus and member of our foundation board, was among five outstanding community college alumni recognized by the Community College League of California.

o   Tim Seaman, Cuyamaca College’s cross-country coach, participated in the Olympic Games in London this year, serving as a coach for three race-walking competitors.

·         Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges launched our local chapter of Global Corporate College, a global network of leading colleges and universities providing customized solutions to help businesses develop their workforce. We’ve already trained hundreds of students in a variety of fields, ranging from green jobs to computer maintenance.

·         The District’s new Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges is now a year old and growing fast. We’ve strengthened our connections with alumni, retirees, and the community, and raised more than $750,000 that will provide scholarships for deserving students and strengthen college programs.

·         Both colleges made major advances to improve student success, including a new priority registration system, curriculum upgrades, new SB 1440 transfer degrees, and numerous innovative instructional and student services programs with a growing body of evidence of their impact on student retention, learning, and completion. Kudos to our Student Success Innovators!

We’ve had many triumphs this year, but our greatest were transforming the lives of thousands of students and giving them an excellent preparation for jobs or transfer to a four-year university. And 2013 holds new promise as we move toward implementation of our Proposition V projects and prepare for accreditation visits next fall.

Despite the high points, 2012 also brought us plenty of challenges. Our District suffered another $9.1 million in state funding cuts in 2011-12 and had to navigate tremendous budget uncertainty surrounding the threats of an additional $5.6 million cut and loss of another 300 course sections had Proposition 30 failed. Even with Proposition 30’s passage, we recognize that we are on a long, slow recovery from the devastating losses in classes, employees, and purchasing power we have suffered in the past four years. Our employees’ and students’ collective resilience in the face of such adversity is inspiring.

Our many accomplishments this year are testimony to the power of shared purpose and focus. I am particularly proud of our students, and I thank you for all you do on their behalf. Even if you are not directly supporting students, never doubt that the work you do matters – all areas must function effectively and in harmony for our institution to sustain its status as a great place to work and learn.

Have a wonderful holiday – you’ve earned it! I hope you have the opportunity to relax, rejuvenate, and enjoy your family and friends.  I look forward to seeing you in January, rested and energized for a wonderful New Year!


Cindy L Miles
Chancellor, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District