April 11, 2016

Debate Team National Champions

For the first time ever, Southwestern College debate team novice members Arantxa Calles and Francesca Beaird outscored teams from Cornell, UNLV, West Point and Vermont to capture second place in the Novice playoff debates at the CEDA national competition. Even before getting to the finals, these two first-year students had to debate against the best debaters from Dartmouth, Texas, West Point and SUNY.

Adding to the honors, the entire Southwestern College Jaguar debate team was the second winningest community college team in the United States, based upon the number of wins accumulated throughout the season.

Congratulations to Professor Jordan Mills and all the debate team members for your hard work and for building a new dynasty.

Arantxa Calles (L) and Francesca Beaird (R) were nearly unstoppable at the national CEDA competition
Photo: Arantxa Calles (L) and Francesca Beaird (R) were nearly unstoppable at the national CEDA competition.

The Sun Adds Awards

The Sun reporters and editors have defended their Pacesetter status at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges annual convention. The Pacesetter award is based upon points earned on student publications coming into the convention combined with on-the-spot competitions.

Additionally, the newspaper and its online version earned a Silver Medal from the Columbia University Student Press Association. Southwestern College was the only community college in the US to win one of the six silver medals.

Congratulations to Dr. Max Branscomb and our student journalists for continuing a tradition of excellence.

Living Her Dream

Soroptomist International of Coronado is helping nursing student Beverly C. Dominguez live her dream. Beverly is in her first year of the registered nurses program at Southwestern College, and completed her prerequisite coursework one class at a time…while raising six children. Life has been very challenging for Beverly, but the $5,000 scholarship will give her some “breathing room” to help her achieve her dream of becoming a nurse.

Graduating nursing student Zayra Quintero is also a winner of the Living Your Dream scholarship from the Soroptomist International of San Diego club. Zayra, who will graduate in May, was awarded $3,000.

We are grateful to the members of both Soroptomist clubs for their support of programs that empower women.

Governing Board Vice President Tim Nader congratulates Beverly Dominguez at the Soroptomist International of Coronado luncheon Saturday.
Photo: Governing Board Vice President Tim Nader congratulates Beverly Dominguez at the Soroptomist International of Coronado luncheon Saturday.

SODA Winners Shine

Student award season began early this year as we held the Student of Distinction Award ceremony last week. Each of the 20 SODA winners is inspiring and has already accomplished so much. We recognized students who are majoring in everything from nuclear and electrical engineering to the theater arts. Especially heartwarming this year were several students who have been so inspired by their faculty and counselors here that they want to return as professors and counselors.

Thanks to the hard work of Financial Aid Specialist Adrianne Chun, we were able to award scholarships to a total of 140 students—our largest number of recipients in many years. This also was the first year we awarded scholarships in the fall and spring for a total scholarship disbursement of nearly $140,000 this academic year.

The success of the scholarship recognition ceremony relies on many departments coming together. In the end, it was a beautiful and meaningful way to honor the achievement our students. Thank you to all our faculty, classified professionals and administrators for making it a special evening.

This year’s SODA Award winners
Photo: This year’s SODA Award winners.

Our Hard Work Is Recognized

Last week, we had our first visit by the members of the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI) resource team, and I was proud that they were able to recognize the hard work each of us has done to improve Southwestern College.

The resource team spent all day Tuesday speaking with constituency groups to get a sense of our strengths and to understand the areas where we can improve.

It was a day filled with collegiality. While members asked probing questions, we recognized it as a way to build a foundation for systemic improvement.

At the end of the day, the resource team attended an open forum and provided a brief report where they highlighted many of our accomplishments. They ranged from observations of increased trust and transparency in the budget process to kudos to Academic Senate President Patricia Flores-Charter for her efforts in having President-Elect Andrew Rempt shadow her to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

The team recognized our strong committee structure and the large number of participants in shared governance, as well as the important efforts of those involved in CTE to ensure viable advisory committees and preparing reports for the Governing Board.

Overall, the team heard a consistent message among all those they spoke with. They saw the pride everybody had in sharing the highlights of their programs.

The next time they visit us—May 12—the team will be working with our employees to build a plan that helps us improve our processes for enrollment management and linking our budget to our priorities. When they leave, we’ll have the foundation of a plan that will help us receive additional funding from the Chancellor’s Office to implement the plan.

I look forward to seeing the best practices this collaboration will create.

Last updated: 4/11/2016 4:56:56 PM