Friday, December 20, 2013

Chili cook-off at Grossmont College

Here's a video montage of the annual chili cook-off at Grossmont College. The three-peat winner was Ken Emmons, who also won for best vegetarian chili. Michael Perez and Ernie Ewin tied for best meat chili. And the best spicy chili came from Grossmont College president Sunny Cooke!

College district offers lighting systems training program

 With help from San Diego Gas and Electric, the Continuing Education and Workforce Training program based at Cuyamaca College  is offering free training for installing and maintaining energy-efficient lighting systems.

The California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program, a 50-hour training program for state-certified general electricians, is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Jan. 15-Feb. 20, 2014, at SDG&E’s Energy Innovation Center at 4760 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. in San Diego.

The training program is a statewide initiative aimed at increasing the use of energy-saving advanced lighting controls in commercial buildings and industrial facilities. Building and facility owners whose electricians and contractors complete the training are eligible for utility rebates and other incentives.  The program represents a broad partnership between utility companies, manufacturers, electricians, contractors and select community colleges.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Grossmont College nursing students pinned amid drive for 4-year degrees

Esther Sanchez speaks at the Grossmont College nursing
pinning ceremony held at Cuyamaca College
Thirty Grossmont College nursing students were welcomed into the profession in a traditional pinning ceremony on December 11, as efforts are underway in California to allow community colleges to grant four-year degrees in high-demand workforce fields such as nursing.

Associated degree nurses are registered nurses qualified to work in hospitals.  Once the associate degree graduates have passed their national licensure examination they will become registered nurses, and are qualified to work at hospitals.  However, not all positions will be open to them unless they go onto four-year colleges to obtain a bachelor of science-nursing degree. Many hospitals in metropolitan San Diego are magnet hospitals, which seeks to hire a certain percentage of their nursing staff with at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

“The community college movement toward technical baccalaureates is a practical cost-effective answer to critical workforce needs. We are eager to answer that call,” said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chris Hill named as a senior dean at Grossmont College

Chris Hill
Chris Hill, a faculty member at Grossmont College for 11 years, has been named senior dean of college planning and institutional effectiveness.

In her new position, Hill will help to devise strategies to enable the college to meet goals such as increasing its outreach to underserved communities; assuring that students have the necessary support to complete their studies; and developing grant applications and budget analyses to support these efforts.

Hill has worn many hats since she began working as a geology instructor at Grossmont College in 2002. In 2007, she was elected as president of the college’s Academic Senate. Hill began a second two-year Academic Senate term in 2009, but before it was completed, she was tapped by the college to serve for a semester as its interim dean of Math, Natural Science, Exercise and Wellness. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Governing Board officers elected for 2014

Left to right, Governing Board Vice President Edwin Hiel, President Bill
Garrett, Clerk Debbie Justeson, Student Trustees Zack Gianino and Elsa
Hernandez, Board Members Mary Kay Rosinski and Greg Barr
The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board has unanimously selected Bill Garrett to serve a seventh  straight year as president, while Edwin Hiel and Debbie Justeson were re-elected to serve their second terms as fellow board officers for 2014.

Garrett has served since 2008 as board president for the East County district. Fellow board members also elected Hiel as vice president and Justeson as board clerk, posts they had held this year. The district serves about 30,000 students at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, in addition to the district’s Continuing Education and Workforce Training program.  

Garrett praised the Governing Board for its cohesiveness and its excellent service to constituents. He added that much has been accomplished by the district under the leadership of Chancellor Cindy L. Miles. A revamp of  the district’s public safety program, the re-staffing of key positions, and an extensive effort to bring back classes and students lost during the state budget crisis are just a few of the challenges undertaken during the course of the year. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cuyamaca College holds bone marrow drive for automotive instructor

It was his conquest over cancer the first time around and a changed perspective that led longtime mechanic Jake Konen to a new career teaching at Cuyamaca College.
From left, Jake Konen's son Josh; daughter-in-law Veronica Gehrich;
Be the Match representative Janet Higgens and Cuyamaca College
President Mark Zacovic

Four years after he beat non-Hodgkins lymphoma, cancer has returned to wage another war, this time in the form of acute leukemia. And Konen is determined to once again prevail.

On Thursday, while he was at the hospital with Tina, his wife of 22 years, his sons and other family members were at Cuyamaca, taking part in a donor registry drive the college sponsored on his behalf. The six-hour event netted 34 people who swabbed their cheeks for cell samples and signed up for a national registry --  a commitment until age 61 to donate stem cells or bone marrow to any patient with whom they’re found to be a match.

“It was a great drive – it only takes one match to potentially save a life,” said Janet Higgens, community outreach specialist with Be the Match, the largest registry of potential marrow donors in the world.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Community college leaders endorse proposal for 4-year degrees

A proposal that would enable community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees in selected majors with high workforce demands has been endorsed by the leaders of the nine community colleges in San Diego and Imperial counties. 

 Twenty-two other states already offer baccalaureate degrees at their community colleges, and the proposal is gaining momentum in California as a study group of representatives from higher education prepares to issue its final report.

On December 2, the chief executive officers of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association (SDICCCA) voted unanimously to endorse the concept.  SDICCCA members include all of the region’s community colleges and community college districts.

Our local community colleges excel at preparing students to enter the workforce in career technical fields such as nursing and allied health,” said Dr. Melinda Nish, president of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association and superintendent/president of Southwestern College.  This proposal would enable community colleges to grant four-year degrees in similar fields.  It’s time for California to join this national movement and address our local workforce and student needs.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Winter Wonder Jam music fest at Cuyamaca College

Lyrical Groove
If home-grown music is your thing, then the place to be this Friday night is the Cuyamaca College Performing Arts Theater, the venue for the always eclectic and entertaining Winter Wonder Jam, produced by students in the college’s Music Industry program.

Set for 7-10 p.m. Dec. 6, concert-goers will be treated to music ranging from rock, pop, jazz, acoustic and hip- hop.

Headlining this year’s show is the genre-defying group, Lyrical Groove, a 2013 San Diego Music Award winner for best hip-hop artists. Sharing the Cuyamaca stage will be the heavy metal sounds of It All Starts Here; the electronica band, D.L.O.D. (Digital Lizards of Doom) and rock/jazz instrumentalist Jay Williams.

Admission to the annual event is three cans of food to be donated to the San Diego Food Bank or $5.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Comet ISON, Thanksgiving and Chanukah -- all in one day

As if Thanksgiving and the first day of Chanukah falling on the same day were not coincidence enough, the comet ISON will be at its closest point to the sun—about 750,000 miles away-- on that day, Thursday, Nov. 28th.

Grossmont College Astronomy Prof. Ross Cohen says for people who don’t have the proper equipment for comet watching,  at the time of its closest approach to the sun, it is safest to turn to the Internet or to television to view images from satellites that will be tracking the comet from various vantage points in space.  

At its closest point to the sun, called the perihelion, Comet ISON skims past the sun– as viewed from Earth.  But various satellites have other vantage points and might even see it cross in front of the sun.

If Comet ISON survives the transit, it is expected to display a bright trail of rock, ice and other space materials gathered from its origin in the mammoth Oort Cloud, a vast expanse of comets surrounding our solar system.  Cohen suggests that pre-dawn in the first several days of December may be the safest time to see the comet because viewers won’t have to contend with the sun’s glare.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Registration open for winter, spring classes

         Registration is now open for the first winter session – or intersession -- classes at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges since 2009.

Registration is also now open for spring 2014 classes, which start Jan 27.

Thanks to last year’s passage of Proposition 30, the tax plan that fortified education after four devastating years of state budget cuts, the colleges are offering more than 50 intersession classes between Jan. 3-24.  Before the passage of Prop. 30, debilitating funding losses totaling $16 million to Grossmont-Cuyamaca forced the district to slash 1,600 classes and to turn thousands of students away at a time of record demand.

“After years of having to turn away students because fewer classes were available, we’re happy to offer more options for students to reach their educational goals,” Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said.

Friday, November 22, 2013

District joins county's Live Well San Diego network

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board voted this week to join San Diego County’s “Live Well San Diego” campaign, part of the district’s commitment to supporting the health and wellness of the campus communities at the two East County colleges.

The county program was launched in 2010 as a long-term initiative to improve the health and well-being of all residents by involving partners including cities and schools to promote healthy, safe and thriving communities. The program was created to tackle three behaviors that have contributed to more than 60 percent of the deaths of East County residents – poor nutrition, lack of exercise and tobacco use.

The Governing Board passed a resolution Tuesday ratifying the district’s partnership with the county, becoming among the first higher-education institutions to join the Live Well San Diego network.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

More than 240 high school students attend Day of Dance at Grossmont College

High school students dancing at Grossmont College
With California’s cash-starved K-12  public schools often feeling forced to deemphasize the arts in order to provide education in traditional academic subjects, East County high schools in cooperation with Grossmont College have an encouraging message for students with aspirations toward careers in the performing and visual arts.  There’s light --and movement--at the end of the tunnel!

More than 260 students from eight East County high schools recently attended technique classes and performances put on by Grossmont College’s Dance Department to familiarize themselves with the wide range of opportunities for aspiring dancers.

Prof. Kathy Meyer said that the high school students were treated on Friday, Nov. 15, to an abbreviated performance of “Breaking Boundaries,” the dance concert that Grossmont College presented in three performances last week at the Joan B. Kroc Theatre in San Diego.

In addition, high school students from Valhalla, Grossmont, Monte Vista, San Pasqual, Ramona, El Capitan, Helix Charter, and San Diego SCPA got to try their feet in a variety of dances demonstrated by Grossmont faculty.

David Mullen instructed the Jazz, Partnering, and Contact Improvisation classes, Kathy Meyer taught the Pilates mat classes, Melissa Adao instructed the Hip Hop classes as well as a Horton style Modern Dance class, Debi Toth-Ward instructed a Modern Dance class in the Taylor technique, Nancy Boskin-Mullen taught sections of both Salsa and Swing dance, and Colleen Shipkowski instructed the Ballet classes.
Meyer said over the years the day of dance has proven popular with serious young dancers.  “We often hear from students that their visit to Grossmont College for the High School Dance Day was the deciding factor in attending Grossmont College after their high school graduation,” she said. 

“It is an exciting event for the high school students, the Grossmont College dance instructors, and the high school dance educators and allows for a dialog that would not be possible without the one-on-one connection created during this annual event.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cuyamaca College wins green leadership award

            Cuyamaca College has been honored with a statewide award for its long-term commitment to keeping students at the forefront of the green movement.

The Rancho San Diego college was one of five community colleges across the state to receive a leadership award this month at a conference in Pasadena that brought together green-industry leaders and educators to focus on ways that two-year colleges have embraced the sustainability revolution.

The award to Cuyamaca College in the category of student engagement at the sixth annual Green California Community Colleges Summit and Exposition Nov. 6 was a testament to Cuyamaca’s history of engaging students and the community in its many conservation initiatives. The college has widely embraced green initiatives, ranging from cutting-edge training programs to regional conferences that bring industry and students together to address green workforce needs.

Cuyamaca College continues to lead the way in preparing future workers in the emerging green industry, Cuyamaca College President Mark J. Zacovic said. We are honored and delighted to receive this recognition. Cuyamaca has been focused on resource conservation long before going green became the popular thing to do.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cuyamaca College to enforce restrictions on use of nature preserve

Cuyamaca College has begun to enforce restrictions on use of a nature preserve at the Rancho San Diego campus that has been a popular – but illegal – spot for young bike riders.

A young biker flies over the dirt mounds at the nature preserve.
The mounds will be removed soon.
The area off Fury Road has long been used by bikers who created dirt mounds that enabled them to perform their daredevil tricks. The college is closing the area, part of a sensitive wildlife habitat, while it removes the bumps and replants vegetation to restore the area to its natural state.

College President Mark J. Zacovic and other college leaders met with about 50 bikers Saturday afternoon to explain why they could no longer ride their bikes there.

“We need to be responsible and follow the rules of state agencies to keep this as a habitat,” Zacovic told the group.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber speaks on diversity at Grossmont College

Shirley Weber
Simply putting people with differences in background at the same table does not assure that a workplace will have the benefits of diversity, Assemblywoman Shirley N. Weber (D-79) recently told students and faculty in a crowded Grossmont College lecture hall. “All the people around the table must feel empowered to speak up and advocate for their points of view,” she explained.

Assemblymember Weber, whose  Nov. 7 appearance was sponsored by the College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, was a featured speaker during its Political Economy Week  which included 30 lectures delivered by faculty and visitors on a broad array of political and economic topics.

Being African-American, female, and from an economically disadvantaged family, the Assemblymember said that she has been able to bring a different perspective to decision making by elected officials.  Assemblymember Weber is a former board member of the San Diego Unified School District and currently serves as a member of the California State Assembly representing District 79.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stoney's Kids donates $10,000 to Grossmont-Cuyamaca foundation to support foster youth

From left, Ron Oberndorfer, chair of the Foundation for Grossmont &
Cuyamaca Colleges; John Valencia, foundation CEO; Teresa Johnson,
Stoney's Kids board member; Bonnie Stone, daughter of
Stoney Stone; and Odie Goward, Stoney's Kids board member.
With its motto, “It’s all about the kids,” the nonprofit charitable organization Stoney’s Kids donated $10,000 Wednesday to benefit former foster youth now attending Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

“Stoney has been trying for the past 20 years to find some way to help foster kids and thanks to the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, he is finally able to live out his dream,” said Odie Goward, joined by fellow Stoney’s Kids board member Teresa Johnson and Bonnie Stone, daughter of the charitable group’s founder B.W. “Stoney” Stone, at a check presentation at Cuyamaca College during the foundation’s monthly board meeting.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Grossmont College water polo coach seeks team championship

Coach Brian Harvey and the water polo team
Grossmont College will seek its 20th men’s water polo championship and its coach Brian Harvey will be shooting for Career Wins No. 605 and 606 at Miramar College on Friday and Saturday during the championship rounds of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference

On Friday, Nov. 8, Grossmont will draw either Southwestern College or Miramar College as an opponent, and should the powerhouse Grossmont team win, as expected, it will play in the championship game on Saturday.  Harvey predicts his team’s opponent for that contest will be San Diego Mesa College, which last Wednesday fell 12-8 to the Griffins and gave Harvey his 600th career win.  Since then his team won four more games during a tournament held at Saddleback College.

Over his 25 years as a water polo coach for Grossmont College,  Harvey has compiled a record of 604 wins and 226 losses for a .727 winning percentage.  His team won its first conference championship in 1990 against Orange Coast College in a 12-0 season, and then dominated the Orange Coast Conference through 1998 and the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference thereafter.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Native American actor urges retention of traditions

Saginaw Grant
Actor Saginaw Grant, a Sac and Fox Indian who has played numerous Native American roles in the movies and on television, said at a Student Veteran Organization event at Grossmont College on Monday, Nov. 4. that every combat veteran comes home with hidden wounds caused by the things they saw or did.  However, he said, it’s important that they banish negative thoughts from their minds: “You can’t change those things by thinking about them.”

Grant, who had served in the Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict, said even after separating from the military service, veterans should continue to honor the proud military traditions that have been passed down for generations.  Likewise, Grant, who appeared in the 2013 movie The Lone Ranger as the Comanche Chief Big Bear, said that his Indian people should carefully listen and then honor the lessons that have been transmitted  for eons in their oral traditions.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Three new appointees to bond oversight committee

Two volunteers with previous citizens’ bond oversight committee experience and a longtime electrical contractor are the newest members of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District CBOC.

Gwen Miller, an administrative assistant for an electrical contractor; Edward Oremen, an architect; and George Bonner, an electrical contractor, were appointed by the Governing Board at its Oct. 15 meeting.

The 11-member committee is charged with ensuring that revenues from construction bond measures Propositions R and V are spent on campus construction as promised to voters. The committee’s role is to review and report on district spending of taxpayers’ money for construction and to provide a public accounting of the district’s compliance with legal requirements.

Proposition R, a $207 million bond measure, was approved by the East County electorate in 2001 as the most realistic remedy to overcrowded campuses and widespread repair needs at a time of decreasing state support. Voters passed the $398 million bond measure Proposition V last November to continue the work started by Prop. R to address longstanding facility, infrastructure and technology needs.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Political economy week at Grossmont College

 "Political Economy Week" sponsored by Grossmont College's Political Economy Department, is intended to "facilitate a close examination of the political and economic issues impacting our local, national and international communities," according to Todd Myers, the department chairman.

"The faculty of the department sh
are their own political opinions and involvement with the students, while also presenting speakers representing diverse viewpoints."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wheelchair basketball at Cuyamaca College Oct. 30

Eye-opening as it is exciting, the 16th annual Cuyamaca College Wheelchair Basketball Game is set for noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, at the Cuyamaca College gym as part of the college’s annual commemoration of National Disability Awareness Month.

The public is invited to watch and even join in the free game at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in Rancho San Diego.

An event where members of the college’s men’s basketball team quickly learn they are at a disadvantage playing against some of the most seasoned wheelchair competitors in the county, the game provides a new awareness to students and others of what dedicated athletes with disabilities can accomplish. And then, there’s the sheer fun of the game, where the sound of squeaking rubber isn’t from the soles of Air Jordans, but from low-to-the-ground, custom-built wheelchairs pivoting and spinning across the gym floor.

The five-on-five games feature a mix of Cuyamaca’s shooters playing alongside athletes who compete on local teams in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. Several of the wheelchair athletes – most of whom have suffered spinal cord injuries – have returned year after year to play in the popular Cuyamaca event.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Two Grossmont College artists featured in new Central Library's inaugural exhibit

Ceramicist Jeff Irwin and photographer Suda House, both members of the Grossmont College faculty, are among eight San Diego County artists whose works are now on display through March 29 in the Ninth Floor Gallery of the new Central Library in downtown San Diego.

Their works were selected by Kathryn Kanjo, curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, for the exhibit which opened September 30, the same day the new Central Library at 330 Park Boulevard was opened to the public. Kanjo reviewed works from 125 exhibitions that had been displayed at the Central Library’s previous site since 1997.

“It’s quite an honor for Grossmont College that our faculty members comprise fully one-fourth of the exhibitors selected for this inaugural event at the Central Library,” said Steve Baker, Dean of Arts, Languages and Communication.  “Suda and Jeff not only are widely admired artists but also are highly rated faculty members, who have inspired legions of students.”

House utilized the technique known in French as trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) to create an image on cloth of other fabrics.  She said that when she was in New York City on sabbatical leave, she went to various museums and galleries for research, “and we were coming back to the hotel and there were these three large dumpsters with sheets and towels and blankets just draping over them in the late afternoon light.  I photographed them, and printed them on poly-silk, which is coated with ink jet receptors, and so it looks like fabric.”

House titled her eight-photograph combination “Sanctuary,” explaining that people of her grandmother’s age would sometimes use such expressions as “I can’t handle it anymore; I am going to my bed.”  In the 19th century, House added, “they ‘swooned,’ or they ‘succumbed to the vapors’” and so beds were construed as places of sanctuary from the troubles of the world.  “I saw this fabric that way,” she said.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Grossmont College's new student trustee

Zack Gianino

Zack Gianino, who was installed Tuesday evening, Oct. 15, as a student trustee on the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board, describes himself as a man who is “strongly against apathy.”

“I do as much as I can to combat it,” said Gianino, who also serves as vice president of the Associated Students of Grossmont College.

It was not always so. He said that he was an indifferent student at West Hills High School in Santee.  However, in the summer before he began attending Grossmont College in Fall 2011, Gianino purchased an iPad, and started “researching politics, what it is, what types of governments there are.” His research led him additionally to inquire into why people behave the way they do, what kind of variables may influence their behavior, and how different religions differ.

High school friends, who preferred to talk about upcoming concerts and gossip about celebrities, soon tired of his probing questions, Gianino said. No matter, he was on an intellectual self-improvement mission.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Public invited to join Cuyamaca College in earth-friendly events

For the Saturday gardener or community volunteer, Cuyamaca College is hosting a pair of events that will score you some points with Mother Nature and answer the call of community service.

Local members of the California Conservation Corps are linking with Cuyamaca College for the Corps’ annual Volunteer Day event, Saturday, Oct. 19, and are inviting the general public to join in from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to work on the campus’ new Intergenerational Garden in Rancho San Diego. Two weekends later, from 9 a.m.-noon  Nov. 2, the public is invited to join the college’s Ornamental Horticulture Alumni Network at Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy for a morning of planting native plants along the San Diego River Park trail.

Friday, October 4, 2013

New vice president of student services at Cuyamaca College

Scott Thayer
Scott Thayer, Cuyamaca College’s new vice president of student services, is as passionate about helping students succeed as he is about sports.

And that’s saying a lot.

A three-sport letterman in high school in Minneapolis, Minn., Thayer was also a standout athlete at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn., where he was a regional MVP baseball player and football competitor. A baseball scholarship paid his way through Rollins College, a private school in Winter Park, Fla., where he received his bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Thayer grew up dreaming of a career in the NFL, but his mother’s wisdom prevailed and his boyhood dreams were supplanted by a more practical ambition. With a mother who always told him he would be a great school counselor, an uncle who was a longtime counselor at Los Angeles City College, and a brother working as a high school teacher, a career in education was the logical progression.

“Education has always been a focal point for my family,” said Thayer, who earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Southern California. He earned his master’s in counseling and guidance from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. “I always tell people I began my college career at 4 years old. That was when my mother returned to school to complete her bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota. She would take me and my brother to class with her. I remember how supportive her instructors were.”

With both Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges undergoing accreditation review – a process capped every six years with campus visits by an accreditation team of college administrators from across the state – Thayer’s arrival comes at a crucial time.

“Accreditation is the top priority as the site team will be on campus in mid-October,” Thayer said. “I am really excited to be here at Cuyamaca College.”

Monday, September 30, 2013

District communications office wins regional marketing awards

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Advancement and Communications Office took home gold, silver and bronze Medallion awards this past week from a national marketing organization for two-year colleges.

At its District 6 conference in Tempe, Ariz. Sept. 26, the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations lauded the district with:
·         A Gold Medallion of Excellence in the Government/Community Relations Project category for its communications efforts in the campaign for Proposition V, a $398 million construction bond measure approved by East County voters in November 2012

·         A Silver Medallion of Achievement in the Communication/Media Success Story category, an award the district shared with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, for a Grossmont College news conference in June announcing the launching of a new online tool, Salary Surfer.

·         A Bronze Medallion of Merit in the feature writing category for “A Garden for the Ages at Cuyamaca College,” which profiled the campus’ new intergenerational garden.

NCMPR President Andrea Hanstein, Chancellor Cindy Miles,
NCMPR Region  6 director Cheryl Broom
Also honored in Tempe was Chancellor Cindy L. Miles, the recipient of the 2013 NCMPR District 6 Pacesetter award for her leadership in communications and advancement of the East County college district.

The Medallion competition represents the only regional contest of its kind that honors excellence exclusively among marketing and PR professionals at two-year colleges. The District 6 region covers California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.


Friday, September 27, 2013

New associate vice chancellor joins college district

John Valencia
Santee native John Valencia, who’s returned to his East County roots to start a new, top-level job at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, describes his post as fundamentally helping students.

He chuckles over his lengthy job title: associate vice chancellor of Advancement and Communications and CEO of the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges.

Quite a mouthful, he concedes, but bottom line, it’s all about aiding students acquire a college education – the brass ring of American success. As the district’s chief advancement officer, Valencia is charged with creating fundraising strategies for the foundation that was formed in 2011 as the philanthropic arm of the two colleges. He’s also responsible for overseeing the district’s Communications Office and the GCCCD auxiliary, which solicits and administers grants and contracts for the district.

“This district has needed this position for quite some time and John will be a key part of our efforts to seek philanthropic support to supplement a budget heavily reliant on state funding,” Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said. “John has an impressive fundraising record and has a lot of exciting ideas to inject vigor, excitement and even fun into our donor-solicitation efforts. I’m delighted to have him join the district’s leadership team.”

Thursday, September 26, 2013

District chancellor wins award from community college marketing association

Chancellor Cindy L. Miles
Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, has been recognized by a national organization of community college marketing professionals for her leadership in communications and advancement of the East County college district.

Miles accepted the Pacesetter award Sept. 26 from the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations at its regional conference in Tempe, Ariz. As the award winner for the region covering five western states and the Pacific islands, Miles will be one of seven area winners eligible for the national Pacesetter award when the marketing organization meets in March 2014.

The award is the second honor this year for Miles, who has served as the district’s chancellor for 4 ½ years. Last month, Miles was selected as the top chief executive officer for two-year colleges in the nine-state Pacific region of the Association of Community College Trustees, an organization representing more than 1,200 community colleges nationwide. The national award recipient among the five regional winners will be announced Oct. 4 at the ACCT Leadership Congress in Seattle, Wash.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New HR chief at college district

Marsha Edwards
Marsha Edwards, a 22-year veteran in her field, has started her new post as vice chancellor for human resources for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

Edwards, who was born in Oregon and spent much of her life there, said she was intrigued by the job posting for the top human resources job at the East County college district.

 “When I looked into the position, it seemed like a good fit with my background and experience and would allow me the opportunity to work with two great colleges in a great climate – decision made!” she said.

Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said the district will benefit from Edwards’ experience and knowledge in labor law and personnel issues, as well as her skills in contract negotiations.

“We are very fortunate to have someone with Marsha’s talents and keen perceptions,” she said. “In these economically challenging times and with the tenuous budget picture, it is crucial to have someone with her adeptness and expertise in personnel management. I am delighted to have her aboard as a member of the district leadership.”

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Grossmont College panel to discuss banned books

What impels some people to call for certain books to be banned?  What might the world have missed if other people had listened to them?  In observance of National Banned Book Week, panelists will discuss these topics at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in Grossmont College’s Griffin Gate meeting room.

The amazing thing about many of the people who want to ban a book is that they often  haven’t actually read it, says English Prof. Joe Medina, who  will moderate the panel discussion  celebrating the constitutional guarantees of free speech and a free press.

In the area of fantasy, student James Strand will tell of the efforts to ban Superman after the Man of Steel made his first appearance in a comic book in 1938.  English instructor Linda Mitchell will discuss the current resistance to vampire literature, which has become increasingly popular.

Monday, September 23, 2013

GM training program back in gear at Cuyamaca College

Cuyamaca College students with ambitions of well-paying jobs in the automotive service industry have reason to celebrate.
Local General Motors and ACDelco service centers are once again partnering with Cuyamaca College to sponsor a highly-regarded training program that alternates classroom instruction on automotive repair with on-the-job training. The GM Automotive Service Education Program, or GM ASEP, had been offered at Cuyamaca for more than two decades, but it was suspended in 2009 when the recession forced scores of auto dealerships out of business. The economic uptick has allowed resumption of the program -- the only one of its kind offered in San Diego County -- that offers students two-year paid internships at service centers.
An orientation for students accepted into the program is one of the mid-semester short-term classes Cuyamaca College is offering starting Oct. 14. (See list, below for additional classes.) Registration is now open for all eight-week classes offered at both Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges. Students can sign up online using WebAdvisor at

Monday, September 16, 2013

Colleges to celebrate Constitution Day

In celebration of Constitution Week Sept. 17-23, both Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have set up events to commemorate this cornerstone document that is the foundation of America’s legal system.
All events are free and open to the public.
Cuyamaca College will celebrate Constitution Day Tuesday, Sept. 17, by welcoming federal Judge Louise DeCarl Adler, a U.S. bankruptcy court judge for the Southern District of California, from 11 a.m. to noon in Rooms 207-208 in the student center . Judge Adler will provide insight into the Bill of Rights and its effect on the public’s fundamental rights.
Judge Adler, who has served on the bench since 1984, served as the first female president of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges from 1994-1995. Before being appointed to the bench, she was in private law practice in San Diego for 12 years, specializing in debtor and trustee representation and serving as a bankruptcy trustee for the Southern District from 1974-1979.
A question and answer period will follow her presentation.
Constitution Day 2012 at Grossmont College 
At Grossmont College, Wednesday, Sept. 18, has been set aside as Constitution Day with a variety of activities planned:
·         A Constitution  wall in the patio of Griffin Center (Building 60) for passersby to post thoughts, questions, artwork, and comments on what the Constitution means to them
·         Screenings of the film, “American Independence, 1776,” between 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in Griffin Center
·         Giveaways while supplies last of a free pocket Constitution, courtesy of the Grossmont College Financial Aid Office and the Associated Students of Grossmont College. The giveaway is from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the ASGC, Inc. Office in Room 110 of Griffin Center
·         The San Diego chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution will be represented in period costumes from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Griffin Center patio, where a voter registration drive and student government information booth will be set up.
·         Political science professor Joseph Braunwarth will give a lecture, “Constitution Day on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington,” from 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. in Room 577 of Building 51.

Cuyamaca College is at 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway in the community of Rancho San Diego. Grossmont College is at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

District's budget picture improves, but funding recovery still ongoing

The $126 million 2013-2014 general budget approved Tuesday by the Governing Board of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District represents a far rosier budget picture than a year ago, but district officials are quick to point out that they are just beginning to restore course offerings and student enrollment losses resulting from four years of state funding cuts.
The passage last November of Proposition 30, the voter-approved tax plan that fortified education, allowed Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges to offer more class sections and increase student enrollment. However, the tax measure is a temporary fix, with a sales tax hike set to end in 2016 and an income tax on high earners scheduled to expire in 2018. With state funding still reduced from pre-recession levels, district officials are taking a cautious note with the improved budget.
 “Prop. 30 was a tremendous relief, but the overriding message is that we are still serving fewer students than at our peak in 2008-2009,” Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said. “We need an economic recovery to pick up speed, or we may find ourselves right back in crisis mode once the Prop. 30 benefits expire.”

Concerts to showcase three Grossmont College faculty members

Three members of the Grossmont College music faculty will collaborate in a pair of concerts presented by the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and Master Chorale at 8 p.m., Saturday evening, Sept. 14, at Grossmont College Recital Hall (Building 26, Room 220) and at 2 p.m.,  Sunday, Sept. 15, at All Saints Episcopal Church of San Diego, at the corner of 6th and Pennsylvania Avenues.

The faculty members are violinist Alyze Dreiling, lyric coloratura soprano Audra Nagby, and classical guitarist Robert Wetzel.  They will perform a variety of selections ranging from English lute songs to virtuoso works by Paganini to Spanish canciones.  Tickets for the Saturday evening performance at Grossmont College are $10 general admission and $5 student admission.  At All Saints Episcopal Church on Sunday, a free will offering will be encouraged.

9-11 remembrances held at Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges

With a vow to never forget the sacrifices made and the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Cuyamaca College on Wednesday held a ceremony and display of 2,977 small flags on the campus’ Grand Lawn, each representing a victim of the fateful day when two planes hit the Twin Towers in New York City, and when two other commandeered planes crashed – one into the Pentagon and another into a field in Shanksville, Pa.
Cuyamaca College's flag display
On a postcard-perfect summer morning with the San Miguel Fire Station’s massive 70-foot flag as a backdrop, the campus community and the public gathered to commemorate an event that even after a dozen years had spectators wiping away tears and speakers’ voices choking with emotion.
A few miles away, a similar ceremony took place at Grossmont College, where the morning began with the recitation of victims’ names interspersed with moments of silence corresponding with each horrifying incident that would forever leave an indelible mark on that historic day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

College district's annual report now available

Success Stories, the 2012-2013 annual report for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, is now available. The report highlights the district's commitment to student success throughout the year, and highlights some of the students, employees and alumni who exemplify success. For a printed copy of the report, contact Anne Krueger at the district's Advancement and Communications office at (619) 644-7842.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Grossmont College awards more than $45,000 in scholarships

The motto of Grossmont College, "changing lives through education," was dramatically illustrated Saturday, Sept. 7, at a Scholarship Award Breakfast at which more than $45,000 was distributed to 75 students in awards ranging from $150 to $2,000. Some students won multiple scholarships.

As smiling student after student walked to the front of the Griffin Gate meeting hall to accept an award, those in the audience who knew the hardships that some of them had endured could not help but feel a wave of gratitude. Now, in large measure because someone had believed in them, the recipients are on their way to successful lives.

Selam Gebrekristos, the Scholarship Officer at Grossmont College, is herself no stranger to adversity, having fled with her parents and siblings from their home in Eritrea to a refugee camp in the Sudan, where she lived for several years before coming to live in the United States.  "I've complained about things in my life and they were nothing compared to some of the things that these students went through at very young ages," she said.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Staged readings of Edgar Allan Poe's works at Grossmont College

Hear a dramatic reading of Edgar Allan Poe's works by Grossmont College president Sunny Cooke and Cuyamaca College President Mark Zacovic and other college leaders. The pair of events will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 7 in Building 26, Room 220 at Grossmont College.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $10 for students, with proceeds supporting the programs of Grossmont College's theatre arts department.

Other readers of Poe's classic works include Agustin Albarran, Grossmont's dean of English and social/behaviorial sciences; Grossmont College student Derek San Filippo; Grossmont alums Aaron Duggan and Adam Weiner; Joel Castellaw, Grossmont communication professor; Jeanette Thomas, Grossmont theatre instructor; Kurt Brauer, interim grounds and maintenance supervisor; and Manny Lopez, Grossmont theatre design production technician.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Intergenerational garden dedicated at Cuyamaca College

Preschoolers present their artwork to Supervisor Dianne Jacob
With the snip of the scissors, an intergenerational garden at Cuyamaca College was officially dedicated Tuesday with a “vine-cutting” ceremony led by county, college and college district officials, who touted the site’s educational and health benefits to East County.
Funded in part by a $25,000 grant from the county’s Health and Human Services Agency, the garden is a 1/3-acre plot between the Child  Development Center and the Water Conservation Garden that is well on its way to produce a bountiful crop of produce at a site made possible by not only by the efforts of eight senior volunteers – the “Gardening Grannies” --  but several community groups and vendors.
For the children, ages 2-5, the intent of the garden is to teach good nutrition to a population accustomed to diets heavy on processed foods. For the seniors, it’s a healthy outdoor activity and an opportunity to connect with kids.
“What a wonderful concept – our older generation working with and teaching the youngest generation who are here at Cuyamaca College in our early-childhood program,” said Chancellor Cindy L. Miles, who joined college President Mark J. Zacovic in holding the length of vine cut by Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents East County. “Not only do the generations interact, our youngest ones get to know about gardening and teamwork and about healthy eating. With today’s problems of childhood obesity and our kids not knowing where our foods come from – this is a very beautiful opportunity to address these issues.”
Supervisor Dianne Jacob cuts the vine held by Chancellor
Cindy Miles and Cuyamaca College president Mark Zacovic