Thursday, December 19, 2019

Lauren Sambrano: She found her way at Grossmont College

Lauren Sambrano
Lauren “Cookie” Sambrano was bouncing around from one community college to another unsure of her future or what she wanted out of life.
Grossmont College put her on track. Surrounded by support and enveloped by caring faculty and staff, Sambrano flourished in her studies, transferred to San Francisco State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. Today, Sambrano is living a block from the beach, working as a financial adviser at Morgan Stanley and giving back to Grossmont College with monthly payroll donations to the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges to support others in reaching their educational and career goals
“I’m always going to donate to the Foundation,” Sambrano said. “I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for Grossmont College.”

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Officers selected for East County college district governing board

Linda Cartwright
Linda Cartwright has been unanimously selected by her fellow board members for a second one-year term as president of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board for 2020.

Cartwright, a retired elementary school teacher, was elected to the board in 2018. Board members also voted to have Debbie Justeson continue serving as vice president, while Elena Adams will again serve as clerk of the board.

At its December 13 meeting, dates were also set for the 2020 board meetings. Meetings will alternate between Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges and will be held at 5 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month between January and June 2020, and on the second Tuesday of the month from July to December 2020. The exceptions will be May, when the meeting will be held on May 21; July, when no meeting will be held; and December, when the meeting will be held December 15.

The district’s two colleges, Grossmont College in El Cajon and Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego, together serve almost 30,000 students. More than 5,700 degrees and certificates were awarded to nearly 2,700 graduates of the colleges last June, a new record for the East County district.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Rice Family Foundation pledges $100,000 for student scholarships

Lisa Wilson and her daughter, Jessica,
holding the Bill and Judy Garrett 
Civic Leadership Award.
Cuyamaca College is naming a classroom in the Ornamental Horticulture Complex after a longtime benefactor which recently endowed the college district’s Promise Plus program $100,000 for student scholarships.

The Governing Board approved the classroom dedication Friday in recognition of the decades-long support of the Rice Family Foundation, which has donated more than $1 million to Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges over the years, particularly the horticulture program. 

A plaque will be posted outside a classroom in the complex currently under renovation as part of the college district’s Proposition V construction bond program. The $16.7 million project, scheduled to be completed in fall 2020, will include updated facilities, well-equipped greenhouses, an outdoor instructional area and expanded retail space for the college nursery. 

Friday, December 13, 2019

Trio at college district picked for annual classified employee excellence award

Three employees of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District have a good reason to celebrate this season as they are lauded for their exemplary work as classified professionals.
At the Dec. 13 Governing Board meeting, the three will be named the 2019 winners of the Chancellor/Classified Senate Award. The jobs of the winners – Tenille Venard at Grossmont College, Jane Lytle from Cuyamaca College and Della Elliott from District Services, -- are varied, representing the broad range of tasks performed by non-instructional staff.
 In recognition of classified professionals’ critical role, one member of each college and District Services is chosen each year for the honor and is presented with a trophy and a $250 gift certificate.
 “What these three classified professionals have in common is their unwavering commitment to excellence in their service to students and their campus communities,” Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said. “Our classified professionals are fundamental to our institution. They are the first faces that students see when they arrive at the campuses and it is often their guidance that students seek to navigate the twists and turns of their educational journeys.”
Tenille Venard

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Grossmont College’s ‘Shark Tank’ gives mock entrepreneurs biting lessons


A student makes his "Shark Tank" pitch.
Limited only by their imaginations, students in Julie Hansen’s Principles of Information Systems class at Grossmont College pitched their entrepreneurial ideas to a group of faculty and staff “sharks” Tuesday.

Fashioned after the ABC reality television series, “Shark Tank,” in which business tycoons in the making pitch proposals to a panel of five investors or “sharks,” this week’s daylong event at Grossmont College featured 11 presentations, most tailor made for sci-fi aficionados.
From a teleporting service that beams customers from place to place, a manufacturer of a contact lens that eplicates the features of an iPhone to a 3D printing operation that makes human organs, the teams of two to five students made their pitches, not for funding but for grades. 
Instructor Julie Hansen was one of the four "sharks."

Four judges gave from one to five points in 10 categories: logo, flier, website, testimonials, potential markets, global expansion, financials, database, presentation and one criteria that explains the futuristic quality of the proposals: disruptive technology. 

“The ideas should be well developed, creative and out of the box,” said Hansen, whose “Shark Tank” competition is one reason she was recognized in the fall as the adjunct recipient of Grossmont College’s Distinguished Faculty Award.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Finding a second career and a passion for the arts at Grossmont College

Diane Cozzens 

Diane Cozzens never thought about returning to college until her triplet sons enrolled in a digital arts class at Grossmont College.

“I just enjoyed watching what they were doing and I wanted to learn how to do it myself,” Cozzens said. “So I signed up for Introduction to Digital Arts in the summer of 2017.”

She was hooked. “I loved it and I continued taking classes to keep learning more,” she said. “Along the way I took a required art history class, and I loved that, too. So I took another one, and then another one and another one until there weren’t any more to take.”

Cozzens, 60, already had a full life when she decided to begin taking classes. She had raised six children and home-schooled three of them, worked as a bookkeeper and owned a small craft business, and spent countless hours volunteering in Santee, where she lives.

Cozzens is on track to graduate this June with an associate degree in digital arts, an associate degree for transfer in art history, and an associate degree in university studies – humanities and fine arts. She’s planning to transfer to San Diego State University next fall and has her sights set on a second career restoring art at local museums.

“I’m really glad that I went back to school,” Cozzens said. “At one point, I didn’t know if I could do it, but I’m glad I did.”

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Cuyamaca College student Johana Ibarra: Dreaming of a bright future

Johana Ibarra
By her reckoning, some of the teachers Johana Ibarra ran into as an immigrant at a San Diego elementary school were far from stellar. 

“I was there for two weeks before they realized I didn’t speak any English,” Ibarra said. “They thought I was just a quiet little girl who didn’t say much.” 

Ibarra’s solution: become an elementary school teacher herself. Thanks to Cuyamaca College, she is well on her way. 

Carrying a GPA that is just one “B” shy of a 4.0, Ibarra volunteers as a peer mentor with both the Resources for Immigrant Students in Education (RISE) and the Cuyamaca College Pathway Academy and serves as an Associated Student Government senator. 

She volunteers with a variety of organizations, including the nonprofit, and is on track to earn an associate degree in elementary teacher education in the spring of 2020. Ibarra has her sights set on transferring to San Diego State University or UC San Diego in the fall of 2020. 

Her accomplishments resulted in a California Coast Credit Union Scholarship from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, and she will be among the dozens of students honored at a January scholarship award reception. 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Register for intersession, spring semester classes at Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges

Whether it’s classes you want to take in a hurry over the winter break or a semester-length class, online or traditional courses, daytime or evening offerings – Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have something for everyone.

Open registration begins Dec. 2 for spring semester classes, which start Jan. 27. The cost is $46 per unit with most classes providing three units of credit. Financial aid, including scholarships, grants and loans, are available with information posted at Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College websites.
Registration continues through Jan. 3, 2020 for short-term spring intersession classes, which run from Jan. 2-Jan. 25.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Governing Board names Lynn Neault chancellor of Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

Lynn Neault, longtime Vice Chancellor of Student Services at the San Diego Community College District, is the governing board’s pick as the next chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

Neault replaces Cindy L. Miles, who is retiring at the end of the year after a record term of almost 11 years at the district’s helm. Governing Board President Linda Cartwright announced Neault’s selection at the board meeting on Tuesday.   Neault starts her new job in January.

“Dr. Neault brings decades of knowledge and experience in local community college administration and is well-versed in the statewide issues of student outcomes and enrollment and their impact on state funding,” Cartwright said. “She also brings a strong commitment to participatory governance and decision-making that comes after many years of working and consulting with varying constituency groups from a multi-college district.”

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Promise for a Lifetime event marks public launch of fundraising campaign

A December 6 celebration at Grossmont College’s new Performing and Visual Arts Center marks the end of an era for Chancellor Cindy L. Miles and the public start of a fundraising campaign to expand on her legacy of helping students succeed at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

 The “Promise for a Lifetime” event will be honoring Miles, who is retiring after serving more than a decade as the district’s chancellor. All of the proceeds raised from the event will go toward Promise Plus, established by the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges to ensure that students have the financial support they need to achieve their education goals.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Jonathan Noriega: Keeping his eyes on the prize during uncertain times

Jonathan Noriega Sandoval 

Jonathan Noriega Sandoval doesn’t want the journey to end. A Grossmont College scholar aiming to transfer to San Diego State University next fall, Noriega – brought without proper documentation across the border when he was a toddler – is protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a program that could be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June. 

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on Nov. 12.

“There is a lot of rhetoric going on right now about the DACA program,” Noriega said. “You hear people calling us ‘criminals,’ but you cannot be in DACA if you’re a criminal. We’re just trying to be the best we can, to contribute in a positive way. But I realize this is all out of my hands. You have to just go on about your day. I can’t let it get to my head too much. I can’t control what happens. What I can control is my work, helping my family, and doing well in school.”

Noriega has been doing well in school since he arrived at Grossmont College in spring 2017. His  grade point average is 3.7, including three semesters of nothing but A’s on his transcripts. He’s also a student ambassador to area high schools while helping his parents care for two younger sisters.

His efforts this fall yielded a Griffin Award of Excellence from the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges. Noriega will be among the scores of students honored at a scholarship reception in January.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Cuyamaca College educator honored for dedication to economics

Cuyamaca College economics professor emeritus Anthony Zambelli has been honored by the California Council on Economic Education with its Excellence in Teaching Award, the latest in a string of recognitions Zambelli has earned during his more than four decades as an educator.

 The council cited Zambelli’s immeasurable dedication to economic education and innovative leadership through the San Diego Center for Economic Education, which is now based at Cuyamaca College. The Center disseminates programs that promote economic and financial literacy to teachers and students throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. Under Zambelli’s leadership, the San Diego Center has conducted in-service trainings at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa to educate prisoners nearing parole on the ins and outs of managing their finances, holds financial literacy workshops for former foster youth, and recently launched the Federal Reserve Institute at the University of San Diego in association with five Federal Reserve Banks.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Cuyamaca College Student Center celebrating grand reopening

Student Center lounge

Dubbed the “Heart of the Campus” at its first opening in 2007, the Cuyamaca College Student Center is beating anew with vigor and fresh energy.

A grand reopening is set for 9-10 a.m. Thursday, Nov 14, to show off the refurbished center that will provide space to better serve students, including expanded services to veterans and career and employment guidance. The public is invited to tour the refurbished center. RSVPs are welcome at

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Grossmont College has eye on Aspen Prize

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named Grossmont College as one of
150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges. Based on strong and improving student outcomes — including in learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity — 15 percent of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

“We are gratified to be recognized for the second time in a row as the only community college in San Diego County for our efforts in improving student outcomes irrespective of college size,” said Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, Ed.D. “As the major awards program among two-year colleges, the Aspen Institute recognizes the best of the best. We are honored to be in such an esteemed group, and look forward to one day receiving the Aspen Prize as we continue to improve our support for more equitable and higher rates of student success.”

Monday, November 4, 2019

Grossmont College OTA students have designs on helping those with disabilities

What can $25 do to help make life a little easier for the physically challenged?
Maricel Yap's device helps her father grip his pool cue

Students in Grossmont College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program have grappled with this question for the past two months and on Nov. 7, the public is invited to the 12th annual Assistive Technology Show, where dozens of low-cost contraptions designed and built by second-year students will be demonstrated. The free event is from 6:30-9 p.m. in the first- and second-floor lounges of Building 34, the Health Science Center.

Independence Through Innovation is the motto of the 23 students enrolled in instructor Darlene Cook’s class, Assistive Technology in Occupational Therapy, which introduces the OTAs-in-training to a broad range of assistive devices, from low- to high-tech. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Grossmont College recognized as Champion of Higher Education

For the second year in a row, Grossmont College is being recognized as a Champion of Higher Education by the Campaign for College Opportunity for its work to significantly increase the number of students earning an Associate Degree for Transfer, an associate’s degree that guarantees transfer to a California State University institution.
“This award is an honor for Grossmont College.  It recognizes the diligence and partnership between the college and our students to help them reach their educational goals and full potential, including transfer to impacted California State University campuses,” said Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh.
The award for the college’s achievements during the 2018-19 academic year will be given at a Nov. 14 formal reception in Los Angeles. Grossmont College was recognized, among other factors, for the third highest percentage of  ADTs awarded in California regardless of college size.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Grossmont College Alum Diana Berriel finds new career in respiratory therapy

Diana Berriel
Diana Berriel’s career path changed when her father, diagnosed with lung cancer, was undergoing treatment at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego. “I just started talking to a respiratory therapist there, and I know it sounds cliché, but it was like a light bulb went off in my head,” Berriel said. “So I went back home and started researching the profession and found it was the perfect career.” 
The mother of four children, Berriel was 38 when she resolved to enroll at Grossmont College’s Respiratory Therapy Program, the only public program of its kind in the county. Three years later, the Spring Valley resident is now quickly progressing in a new line of work where she helps save lives almost daily. 
Berriel is one of more than 1,000 respiratory therapists who have graduated from the Grossmont College program since its inception 50 years ago this fall. Walk into any local hospital or medical center, and you’ll find a respiratory therapist trained at Grossmont College, said Rebecca Handley, the program’s director of clinical education. “We’ve had a big impact on San Diego County,” she said. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Two finalists named for East County college district's chancellorship

Dr. LynnCeresino Neault
Dr. David Potash
Two finalists have been named for the position of chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. 
The finalists announced by the Governing Board Tuesday are Lynn Ceresino Neault, vice chancellor of Student Services at the San Diego Community College District, and David Potash, president of Wilbur Wright College, a community college on the northwest side of Chicago,

Chancellor Cindy Miles will retire from the district at the end of the year after 11 years at the district’s helm.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Grossmont College Respiratory Therapy program celebrating 50 years of excellence

Neil Armstrong had become the first man to set foot on the moon just one month earlier, the minimum wage was just $1.60 per hour, and 50 years ago this fall, Grossmont College launched its renowned Respiratory Therapy program with an initial cohort of 20 students.
Respiratory therapy students 
 More than 1,000 respiratory therapists have graduated from the Grossmont College program since its inception in 1969, all of whom leave the El Cajon campus with 576 hours of hands-on, clinical experience at an array of local medical centers.
 “In any hospital you go to in San Diego County, you’re going to find a graduate of the Grossmont College Respiratory Therapy program,” said Program Coordinator Peggy Wells.
 “We’ve had a big impact in San Diego County,” said Rebecca Handley, Grossmont’s director of clinical education.
 With National Respiratory Care Week beginning October 20, Grossmont College has a lot to celebrate. The El Cajon campus offers the only public, not-for-profit Respiratory Therapy program in San Diego County, and its cost of approximately $5,000 is a fraction of what private schools in the region are charging.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Grossmont College forum featuring BlueTech industry leaders

BlueTech flyerAs Silicon Valley is to high tech, San Diego is to BlueTech.

So say leaders representing the region’s maritime, ocean and water industries who will gather Friday, Oct. 11, at Grossmont College for a panel discussion and networking session focusing on what they call the blue economy.

As defined by the Maritime Alliance, the blue economy is “the sum of all economic activity having to do with oceans, seas, harbors, ports and coastal zones.”

BlueTech is an emerging sector that includes science-based jobs in maritime, ocean, and water industries, said Renee Nasori, the college’s Career Services supervisor.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Grossmont students and community members to learn about the blue economy and employment opportunities, as well as network with industry experts,” Nasori said.

Register for the event at www.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Alex Zesati: Grossmont College alum finding a passion and a career

Alex Zesati
Alex Zesati had long thought about working in the medical field; he just wasn’t certain what he wanted to focus on – at least not until he found his calling at Grossmont College. Today, thanks to the training, support and encouragement he experienced at the El Cajon campus, Zesati is building a career helping to save lives as a respiratory therapist at Rady Children’s Hospital.
“This is probably one of the best programs of its kind anywhere,” Zesati said of the college’s Respiratory Therapy Program. “It’s recognized by doctors, nurses and other respiratory therapists. And you’re never alone; there is always someone willing to help you out.”
Zesati, 25, is one of more than 1,000 respiratory therapists who have graduated from the Grossmont College program since its inception 50 years ago this fall, and today’s graduates are finding starting wages that can reach more than $20 per hour in the region. Average annual wages surpass $79,000 for experienced therapists, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Grossmont College Career Expo a big draw

The Grossmont College Career Expo is sliding into middle age.

From recessions to boom years, one of oldest and largest community college job fairs in the county has seen it all, and with the support of the college and business communities, continues its successful run with the 41st Annual Career Expo set for Thursday, Oct. 10, in the Main Quad.. It is free and open to the public.

About 80 potential employers are expected for the 10 a.m.-2 p.m. event. Several college programs will also be represented to make the event both a job fair and an opportunity to explore careers.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Grossmont alum to speak about the Slants and his band's high court victory to keep its name

There’s more to the story of The Slants than meets the eye.

That’s the message that former Grossmont College student Simon Tam, frontman for the Asian-American rock band The Slants, wants to convey when he returns to his academic home of 1999-2000 on Wednesday, Oct. 16, to give a reading and multi-media presentation of his memoir,” Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court.” Scheduled for 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. in Griffin Gate as part of the English Department’s Fall Reading Series, the event is free and open to the public. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Taxpayers group finds district's bond program to be perfectly transparent

A rendering of the Grossmont College Performing and Visual
Arts Center 

Once again, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s Proposition V bond program has received a perfect score for its transparency in providing information to the public.

The East County college district received an A+ perfect rating by the San Diego County Taxpayers Educational Foundation, which evaluated 23 school and college districts that have active bond programs. Eleven other districts also received clean scores.

The foundation praised the college district as one that is providing “proper and timely dissemination of information” and urged other school districts starting new bond programs to look to Grossmont-Cuyamaca’s model for transparency. 

The foundation’s review of the district’s Proposition R and V website found that it provided key information to the public such as annual reports, oversight committee agendas and information, a project list, and project descriptions and progress updates. Financial information such as a budget overview, itemized project expenditures, and audit reports were also available, the study determined.

“We’re keenly aware of our responsibility to demonstrate to the community that we are spending taxpayer money wisely,” said Sue Rearic, the district’s vice chancellor of business services. “This positive review reflects our commitment and accountability to the public about the transformative projects underway at our campuses.” 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Grossmont College instructor gets international award for textbook

Dave Dillon shares book with student Hollyann Miller
Grossmont College Counselor and Professor Dave Dillon whose open-education textbook won a national textbook excellence award in Philadelphia in June has garnered global recognition.

The international, non-profit Open Education Consortium has selected “Blueprint for Success in College and Career” for an Open Education Award for Excellence. Its 17 winners represent 10 countries from North and South America, Latin America, the European Union and Asia.

The Open Education Consortium is a network of organizations that seek to eliminate barriers worldwide to high-quality education. Open Educational Resources, including Dillon’s award-winning book, are regarded as a way to reduce high textbook costs by acquiring educational material available online through the public domain or an open license and adapting the information for classroom use.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Top faculty lauded at Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges

Irene Palacios received Grossmont College's faculty award.
From the cotton fields of Arizona to a boyhood spent in Uganda, the four Grossmont and Cuyamaca College instructors honored by their colleagues this fall traversed unpredictable paths leading them to the two East County colleges.

What the honorees have in common is their exemplary service and contributions to the colleges, where each was introduced at convocation as the year’s standout faculty. Grossmont College math instructor Irene Palacios was lauded with the full-time Distinguished Faculty Award, and Computer Science and Information Systems instructor Julie Hansen was selected as the adjunct winner of the same award. At Cuyamaca College, English as a Second Language instructor Manuel Mancillas-Gomez was the winner of the Outstanding Faculty Award for full-time faculty, and English instructor Robert Stafford was selected as the adjunct winner.

“I always look forward to the announcement of winning faculty,” said Chancellor Cindy L. Miles. “Without exception, they represent the best qualities of commitment and caring in their interaction with students. They take great pride in the progress students make and they find satisfaction in knowing that as educators, they make a difference.”

Friday, September 13, 2019

Grossmont College student Caitlin Radigan is overcoming the odds

Caitlin Radigan 

Caitlin Radigan has overcome the kind of challenges she wouldn’t wish on anybody. An adolescence lost to drug abuse. Eight-hundred and ninety-one days in Juvenile Hall. Sexual assault as a young child. Foster care and group homes.

But the 26-year-old single mother has persevered. She is on track to graduate from Grossmont College in the spring of 2020 with an associate degree for transfer in business administration and plans to enroll at San Diego State University next fall.She was awarded the Albert and June Van Zanten Foster Youth Scholarship for fall 2019 by the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges. 

Radigan credits Grossmont College’s bevy of support with helping her reach her goals.

“No matter what your situation, whether you’re a parent, low-income or don’t know what you want to do, you will be provided with a team of people who will get you to where you need to go,” Radigan said. “Grossmont College will make it happen.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Public invited to accreditation open forums to be held at Grossmont, Cuyamaca colleges

The community is invited to attend open forums being held October 1 and 2 at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges to learn more about the administration of the colleges, the programs and goals of the respective schools, and to provide feedback about the needs of the community.

At Grossmont College, the forums will be held from 10-11 a.m. on Tuesday, October 1 and from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 2. Both forums will be held in the 2nd floor lobby of Building 34, the Health and Sciences Center.

At Cuyamaca College, the forums will be held from 5-6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 1 and on Wednesday, October 2 from 11 a.m. to noon. Both sessions will be held in I-207 on the second floor of the Student Center.

The forums are being held as part of site visits September 30 through October 3 by a team of peers who will make a recommendation to the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) on reaffirmation of the colleges’ accreditation. The commission is expected to determine the colleges’ reaccreditation at its January meeting.

“The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board and administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community supporters at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have worked hard to ensure that the colleges are maximizing opportunities for all of our students to be successful in achieving their academic and personal goals,” said District Chancellor Cindy L. Miles. “We are proud of the colleges and the work that is being done to continuously improve and meet the ACCJC standards of good practice.”

The purpose of accreditation is to assure students and the community that institutions of higher education maintain a high level of quality and support continuous improvement. In order to be accredited, Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges participate in a multi-tiered process designed to help the colleges assess and improve their overall effectiveness. As accredited institutions, Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are able to administer federal financial aid programs and credits earned at the colleges can be transferred to other institutions of higher education.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Cuyamaca College ECHO Chamber Music Series features top musicians

The ECHO Chamber Music Series, now in its third year, is taking its 2019-2020 season at Cuyamaca College’s Samuel M. Ciccati Performing Arts Theatre to new heights with 14 concerts featuring performers such as Jason Vieaux, Bach Collegium, the Dalí Quartet, and members of the San Diego Symphony and other internationally acclaimed musicians who have performed across the globe.

The season kicks off Sept. 28,with members of the San Diego Symphony performing works from the Elbe to the Moldau. The concert will feature San Diego Symphony principal oboist Sarah Skuster; the Symphony’s English horn player Andrea Overturf; Symphony bassoonist Ryan Simmons; Symphony violinist Julia Pautz; Symphony’s principal bassist Jeremy Kurtz-Harris; Symphony violist Ethan Pernela; and UC San Diego lecturer and harpsichordist extraordinaire Takae Ohnishi.

The ECHO Chamber Music Series (ECHO is an acronym for East County Harmonics Organization) is underwritten by Sam Ersan, a vice chairman of the San Diego Symphony Board of Directors who has helped transform the chamber music landscape in San Diego County through his support of classical musical organizations, including the San Diego Symphony, the Pacific Symphony, The Colburn School, the Philharmonic Society and Mainly Mozart. Ersan also is the founder of the Camera Lucida piano quartet and the Myriad Trio, both of whom will perform this season.

 The Samuel M. Ciccati Theatre, named in honor of Samuel M. Ciccati, former president, philanthropist and generous supporter of Cuyamaca College, is the only music venue in East County appropriately designed for musical performances of this caliber. Each year, Cuyamaca College presents concerts in a variety of genres that are open to the public for a nominal ticket price as part of a commitment to serving the East County community.

“Rarely will you find a concert series of this magnitude and star power anywhere but a leading concert hall, let alone a community college,” said Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes. “We are honored to present among the finest lineups of chamber music in San Diego County and we are grateful to Mr. Ersan for his generous and continuing support.”

Friday, August 30, 2019

Grossmont College Theatre Arts launches 2019-20 season

Tony Award-winning Clybourne Park, the Clifford Odets classic Golden Boy and the first full-length play written by actor/comedian/musician Steve Martin – Picasso at the Lapin Agile – are among the productions set for the 2019-20 Stagehouse Theatre season at Grossmont College.

  The new season opens Oct. 3 with Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile. 
“The Grossmont College Theatre Arts Program is among the leading programs of its kind in the region, and a lot of time, energy and dedication is going into making the upcoming season among the most entertaining ever,” said Theatre Arts Department Chair Beth Duggan. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Ornamental Horticulture renovation project to break ground

Orrnamental Horticulture Bldg. M renovation
A groundbreaking to be held Aug. 22 marks the start of a $16.7 million project that will renovate indoor and outdoor classrooms and facilities, and add new greenhouses for Cuyamaca College’s signature Ornamental Horticulture program.
The groundbreaking ceremony is set for 9 a.m. at the college’s Building M site. To attend, RSVP to . 
An outmoded greenhouse will be replaced.
“This Proposition V-funded project is a milestone for the campus because of the significance of the program and its link to the history of Cuyamaca College,” President Julianna Barnes said in reference to the $398 million construction bond measure passed by East County voters in 2012 to improve and add facilities at Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges.  “Ornamental Horticulture has a storied past at our college and it is long overdue for a renovation. With the modernizing of facilities and the new greenhouses in particular, students have a lot to be excited about.” 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Cuyamaca College receives national recognition for developmental education reforms

Cuyamaca College Math Instructor Terrie Nichols
 works with students. 
Cuyamaca College’s efforts to transform the way that students are taught math, English and English as a Second Language have been recognized by a national organization that promotes Latino success in higher education. 

The Rancho San Diego college was the only California community college selected as a finalist for the 2019 Examples of Excelencia, a national recognition for programs advancing opportunity for Latinx students in higher education. 

Sixteen finalists were selected from a field of more than 166 nominated programs from 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Winners in four categories will be selected by Excelencia in Education at their annual Celebración de Excelencia event on October 24 in Washington, DC. 

“Cuyamaca College opened the door to education’s promise for all students – including disproportionately impacted Latinx students,” said Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Juan Soto: An opportunity provided by the Grossmont-Cuyamaca College Promise

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca College Promise offers free tuition to first-time students attending college full-time. For many students, the Promise offered them a path to college. Here is the story of one Promise student. 

Juan Soto
A student at both Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, Juan Soto dreams of transferring to a University of California or California State University campus, earning a bachelor’s degree in music theory and launching a career as an educator working with public schools to develop strong music programs. 

Those dreams would be dead if it weren’t for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca College Promise, a program providing two years of free tuition for first-time, full-time students at either college. 

“It would have been hard going to college without the Promise,” Soto said. “Even if I would have been able to go, I would have been taking cell phone pictures of the pages in a textbook, because I wouldn’t be able to afford them.” 

Instead, Soto is the first in his family to go to college.  A percussionist who also plays the keyboards, Soto is well on his way toward reaching his dream; he performs with the Cuyamaca College Concert Band and has immersed himself in music theory and more. 

“The music programs at both Grossmont and Cuyamaca are great,” he said. “And the people are here to help you.” 

One of four children, Soto is living with his single mom who works a pair of low-paying jobs to make ends meet. When he heard about the Promise while attending Monte Vista High School, Soto said it made the decision to attend college a big ‘no-duh’ and eliminated the need of having to work full time, which would have diverted from his studies. 

“The Promise gave me an opportunity - an opportunity to go to college,” Soto said.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Four East County students chosen as ambassadors for statewide community college wellness program

Four students from Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are among 20 from community colleges across the state selected for the California Community Colleges Student Wellness Ambassador Program for the 2019-2020 academic school year. 
Grossmont College's Helena Ayersman

Helena Ayersman and Jordan Arechiga from Grossmont College and Hiba Jbouri and Warren Preston from Cuyamaca College will be heading next month to Sacramento for training on mental health and wellness issues to serve as advocates and to provide peer outreach at their colleges. They were selected from about 250 applicants. 

The function of the ambassadors is to connect students with resources and support, raise mental health awareness and help reduce the stigma. Under the guidance of a faculty adviser on campus, the ambassadors will also plan health and wellness events or activities. In addition to two days of training in Sacramento and online training throughout the year, the student ambassadors will receive a $1,000 stipend for their service.