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July 9 - September 10, 2014

2014-2015 is shaping up to be a fun and exciting year for the district. Southwestern now has a refurbished DeVore Stadium that will host all Jaguar games and graduations. This summer the Governing Board also approved several important partnerships that will generate revenue and help guide Southwestern College students to their goals. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Prop R Update

Construction at DeVore Stadium is finished. As of Fall 2014, 78 classes are being taught in the new field-house/classroom building.

The new fieldhouse has also met US Green Building Council Gold Certification. It was slated for only silver certification originally.

A new wellness center and a new math, science and engineering building on the Chula Vista campus and a two-story building at the National City Higher Education Center have all entered conceptualization stages, and are the next three large projects for Proposition R construction.

Solar panel construction has finished at the Southwestern College Chula Vista campus. All parking lots are available for parking now that construction has concluded.

Grant Acceptance

Over $2.5 million in grants were accepted by the Governing Board in September.

These funds were received from three different organizations – California Department of Education, U.S. Small Business Administration and the City of San Diego Small Business Enhancement Program, which gave Southwestern two grants.

Puertas al Futuro received $2,397,158 dollars from the California Department of Education, the Imperial Valley Portable Assistance Program was granted $100,000 from the U.S. SBA, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center received $22,500 from SDSBE and the college’s Slingshot Program was given the last $18,250 from SDSBE.

2014-2015 Budget Passed

At the September 10 meeting, the Governing Board approved a $99,432,143 budget for the 2014-2015 school year. The budget includes a five percent reserve.

Other actions taken on September 10:

  • Review and approval of Superintendent/President’s Goals and Objectives for the 2014-2015 school year. Available here.
  • Brenda Mora, Publications Associate, Communications, Community and Government Relations was named Employee of the Quarter.

Emergency Preparedness

Southwestern College Police Chief Michael Cash led Governing Board Members and College leadership through several emergency drills as part of an emergency preparedness workshop September 15.

Governing Board Approves Plans for Wellness Center

The Southwestern College Governing Board approved plans to build three pools in the soon-to-be-built wellness center.

This decision was made after hearing two separate pool options, one of which became part of the wellness center business plan.

Option A included a 50-meter variable-depth pool and a 25-meter therapeutic pool. Option B, which was recommended by college staff and approved by the Governing Board, included an additional 50-meter pool of constant depth for competitive purposes.

Option B gives the wellness center pool area more flexibility to adapt to student needs and will result in a higher potential revenue stream.

Emergency Lights

Southwestern College entered into an agreement with Steiny and Company, Inc. to build an estimated 45 blue emergency call boxes around four Southwestern College campuses.

Construction and placement began in September. Steiny and Company will be paid $2,646,000 to build the boxes.

Wi-Fi Upgrade

A $748,889 contract for a district-wide upgrade to Southwestern College’s wireless internet network was awarded to Chula Vista Electric Company.

Under the agreement, Chula Vista Electric Co. will install internet access points throughout all classrooms and staff/administrative offices as well as extension antennas for outside areas and parking lots.

Second Chance Agreement

Second Chance, a life skills agency that specializes in relapse prevention for newly sober and recently incarcerated persons, has entered into a year-long agreement with Southwestern College. For $20,062.50, Southwestern will offer noncredit literacy, numeracy and computer courses to clients of Second Chance, as well as to the general public.

Southwestern College will provide a project coordinator and tutors for the program.

Other actions taken in August:

  • Approved the minutes for the July 15 special governing board meeting during which the board toured the recently renovated DeVore Stadium.
  • Southwestern College Foundation President Benjamin Green presented the foundation’s annual year-end report to the board. The report is available here.
  • Adopted Resolution 1858, allowing Southwestern College staff to develop a bond-financing plan for current Proposition R projects and continue with design development for future projects.

OpenAire Marketplace

An agreement for Straight Talk Clinic, Inc. to manage, develop and operate a community marketplace in a Southwestern College parking lot is projected to bring in $816,000 to Southwestern over seven years.

The contract will last seven years during which time the College will receive a percentage of Straight Talk’s income from the market. The percentage fee begins in year two at five percent of the market’s net income. By year five it will increase to 27 percent of the net income. For the final two years Southwestern will receive 20 percent of the market’s gross income.

Straight Talk will give the college an annual $18,000 license fee and provide $104,000 in start-up costs, 50 percent of which will be reimbursed by the school from the revenue generated by the project.

The OpenAire Market debuted October 25, 2014. Its hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and it will soon be opened on Fridays.

Selling Surplus Goods

In an effort to dispose of excess supplies and obsolete equipment, the college entered into a year-long contract with Cal Auctions, LLC, to auction off items declared surplus by the Governing Board.

As part of the agreement, Cal Auctions will receive 20 percent of the revenue generated by all auctions, except in auctions of motor vehicles, of which they will receive 15 percent of the profit. Southwestern will receive all remaining profit.

All revenue generated by Southwestern will go to the district’s general fund.

Job Description for Campus Police Revised

Peace Officers Standard and Training Academy enrollees and police currently employed by a California law enforcement agency can now apply to the Southwestern College Police Department, after a unanimous vote by the Governing Board to change the Southwestern College Police Officer job description guidelines.

Previous to this, only POST graduates could apply for a position at the department. This change will not affect salary.

Other actions taken in July:

  • Approved the appointment of Lucas Rathe, P.E., to the Proposition R Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee for a two-year term.
  • Changed the start time of Governing Board meetings to 5:30 p.m., instead of the current 6:15 p.m.
  • Hilda Carey, Senior Account Clerk, Financial Services, was named Employee of the Quarter.
  • Established two tenured counseling positions.
  • Entered into an agreement with Balfour Beatty Construction, LLC, to provide Construction Management at Risk services for wellness center and pool construction.
  • A tentative Governing Board workshop schedule was passed. It is available here.

April 30-June18

The Governing Board and administration of Southwestern College finished the semester sprinting. The last meetings of the quarter saw milestones reached, helping jump start the 2014 fall semester. Here are the highlights:

April 30, 2014

Student Success Policy

Vice President of Academic Affairs Kathy Tyner and Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Angelica Suarez, along with several other members of the Southwestern College community, gave a comprehensive presentation on student success.

They reviewed the Student Success Report Card and information on Southwestern College’s transfer rate into UC San Diego. Each academic dean also presented the programs they were implementing to meet the college’s goal of increasing graduation rates.

Superintendent/President Dr. Melinda Nish and Governing Board Members Humberto Peraza and Tim Nader presented a draft policy on student success. The draft policy called for Southwestern’s budget to clearly reflect the institution’s efforts to increase student success and college completion. It also called for long-term partnerships with other colleges and K-12 schools, as well as increased research into student satisfaction and success.

May 7, 2014

Resource Allocation

American Federation of Teachers Guild President Jim Mahler and San Diego Community College District Vice Chancellors Bonnie Dowd and Will Surbrook offered a comprehensive look at their resource allocation formulas, which is an alternative way of building the district’s budget.

May 14, 2014

Recognizing Service

Governing Board members and Dr. Nish thanked Academic Senate President Professor Randy Beach, SCEA President Eric Maag and CSEA President Bruce MacNintch for leadership on campus and congratulated them on their last official board meeting.

Additionally, ASO President and Governing Board Student Trustee Laura Jessica Del Castillo was recognized for her term.

Emergency Preparedness To-Go

Police Chief Michael Cash and the Southwestern College Police Department have provided dozens of innovative, fun and informative safety trainings to college faculty, staff and students.

Now those trainings will be available to everybody. The department has hired consultant Yvette Bowlin to create emergency preparedness videos over a three-month period.

Other actions taken in May:

  • Hired six new assistant professors.
  • Named Ronald Bajet Interim Director of the Medical Laboratory Technician and the Medical Office programs for the Higher Education Center, National City.
  • Hired Nicholas Montez as the Director of Admissions & Records.
  • Accepted a $292,434 grant from California Community College Board of Governors and California Community College’s Chancellor’s Office for the creation of an Adult Education Consortium agreement between Southwestern College, Coronado Unified School District and Sweetwater Union High School District.
  • Accepted a $33,350 grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Boating & Waterways to purchase new boating equipment for Crown Cove Aquatic Center and provide scholarship opportunities for youth and leadership camps hosted at Crown Cove.
  • Approved a partnership between The Center for International Trade Development at Southwestern College’s Higher Education Center, Otay Mesa and the National Latina Business Women Association to provide joint training in international business.
  • Designated the third full week in May as Classified School Employee Week.
  • Vice President of Business and Financial Affairs Dr. Steven Crow presented a workshop on the 2014-2015 tentative budget. More available here.

June 18, 2014

Administrator Awards

Several Southwestern College administrators were honored for leadership and commitment to the goals set for them by the Governing Board, as part of the annual award recognition.

The Emerging Leader award is given to an administrator who has been on staff for less than five years. Mink Stavenga, dean of the School of Continuing Education, Economic and Workforce Development and dean of Instructional Support Services, was awarded the honor. Stavenga was recognized for his work with accreditation and for fostering professional growth for those under his supervision.

The Team Jaguar award was shared by Dean of Counseling & Personal Development Bea Zamora-Aguilar, Systems & Programming Supervisor Everett Garnick, Director of Information Technology Dr. Ben Seaberry and Dean Mink Stavenga for their roles in implementing the Ellucian online suite of student services.

Director of Nursing and Health Occupations programs Cathy McJannet received the Distinguished Administrator award for going above and beyond in her appointed duties, which include supervising one of Southwestern’s most successful educational schools.

Welcoming New Leaders

The Governing Board welcomed new Academic Senate President Patricia Flores-Charter, CSEA President Andre Harris and SCEA President Frank Post to their new leadership positions.

Other actions taken in June:

  • Hired Deanna Reinacher as Director of the Medical Laboratory Technician & the Medical Office Professional programs at the Higher Education Center, National City.
  • Hired seven full-time faculty.
  • Appointed Omar Orihuela as Interim EOPS Director.
  • Hired Dr. Mourad Mjahed as Project Director for the Qatar International Student Program.
  • Swore in ASO President Sayaka Ridley as the Governing Board Student Trustee.
  • Adopted the 2014-2015 tentative budget. More available here.

Prop R Report April-June

The field house classroom building and stadium improvements are nearing completion. In May, new stadium lighting was installed, as was the artificial turf field. The Central Plant is in full operation and piping is being laid across the college to connect the plant to existing buildings.

Interior work for the fieldhouse classrooms was completed in June and the building will be complete in time for the new semester beginning Aug. 18.

Solar panels are being constructed in six parking lots around the Chula Vista campus. When completed, it will be the largest solar project in San Diego Gas & Electric’s service area and will provide the college with 3 megawatts of power.

Prop R Funding Report

In a workshop, the Governing Board heard different options for maximizing available bond funds and the timeline required for accessing the funds to coordinate with construction projects.

Prop R Annual Report

Nicholas J. Segura, Jr., vice chair of the Proposition R Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee, presented the annual Prop. R report to the Governing Board.

The report reflected the completion of the Facilities Master Plan and its acceptance by the Governing Board. The report also outlined construction spending and included the bond’s annual performance and financial audits—which were found to be in compliance.

Looking ahead, the report briefly described projects that were scheduled for completion over the next three years: new two-story classroom and lab building at the Higher Education Center, National City; a new wellness center on the Chula Vista campus; and a new multi-story math, science and engineering building on the Chula Vista Campus.


Terri ValladolidApril, 2104

As spring break approaches, Southwestern College’s Governing Board is not  adjourning early. Here are some highlights from the spring semester so far.

Recognizing Excellence

The Governing Board recognized outstanding faculty and staff at recent meetings. At the April meeting, full-time and part-time faculty, as well the Puente team, were honored as this year’s Faculty of the Year.

Jessica Posey, Part-Time Faculty Excellence
Jessica Posey, Part-Time Faculty Excellence

Joyce Bayles and David Ramirez, Team Faculty Exellence
Joyce Bayles and David Ramirez, Team Faculty Excellence

Lizzette Herrera Castelanos, Part-Time Professional Leadership
Lizzette Herrera Castelanos, Part-Time Professional Leadership

Dr. Rebecca Wolniewicz, Full-Time Professional Leadership
Dr. Rebecca Wolniewicz, Full-Time Professional Leadership

Dr. Nouna Bakhiet, Full-Time Faculty Excellence
Dr. Nouna Bakhiet, Full-Time Faculty Excellence

In March, Jose Islas, an Administrative Secretary at the School of Mathematics, Science & Engineering, was honored as the Employee of the Quarter. One of the perks that all employees can enjoy is ordering the custom Employee of the Quarter sandwich in the cafeteria. Jose’s favorite sandwich is a Milanesa torta on ciabatta bread with lettuce, tomato, guacamole, green chile and a slice of pepper jack cheese.

Jose Islas Receiving Employee of the Quarter Award

Harnessing the Sun’s Energy

Southwestern College is estimated to save about $8.4 million over 25 years with the installation of new solar panels in parking lots across the Chula Vista campus. The Governing Board unanimously approved a contract with SunPower Corporation. Installation is scheduled to begin in April.

Corner Lot Construction

The Governing Board Voted selected M. Arthur Gensler Jr. & Associates, Inc. as the architect to design the projects for the corner lot of the Chula Vista campus. Gensler is already busy meeting with user groups to include their ideas in the design of the new wellness and aquatics center. If you are interested in having somebody from the college present information on Proposition R, please sign up at

Teachers Give Back During Sabbatical

Kathy L. Tyner, vice president for academic affairs; and Randy Beach, academic senate president showcased a video on what faculty members did during their sabbaticals last year. Here are some highlights:

  • Many teachers said they worked to improve the effectiveness of their online classes or wrote textbooks and guides for their field of study.
  • Dr. Jeff Nevin compiled mariachi music that had never been written and created sheet music for local high school bands to use.
  • Professor Valerie Pennington worked on her educational YouTube channel “The Penguin Professor” and shared a personal anecdote about a Saudi female who sneaks out of her home to learn biology from the professor’s YouTube videos.
  • Southwestern’s photo department constructed a new webpage, and added tutorials for their equipment.

Later in the meeting the governing board approved sabbatical leave for nine professors, eight for Fall and Spring of next year, and one for just the Spring of 2015.

Four-Year Degrees in Community College

In a special workshop, the Governing Board hosted San Diego Community College District Chancellor Dr. Constance Carroll to understand California Senate Bill 850, which would allow bachelor degrees to be offered at community colleges.

Carroll’s presentation cited a growing trend amongst state legislators in other states allowing community college bachelor degrees and California’s own history of allowing community college bachelor degrees on a case-to-case basis. She also presented statistics showing the demand of skilled laborers and how offering more four-year options for students would help California meet those workforce needs.

The Southwestern College Governing Board has adopted a resolution in favor of community college’s offering four-year degrees in specific workforce areas.

Other actions taken in February:

  • Southwestern College District presented and the governing board approved an audit of Proposition R and AA spending.
  • Approved a contract with Urban Corps of San Diego County for recycling collection on campus.
  • Updated and approved Southwestern’s honorary degree policy.

Puente Agreement Renewed

Southwestern College renewed its agreement with the Puente Project, an organization whose goal is to increase the rate that educationally disadvantage students are enrolling and/or transferring to four-year universities.

Under the agreement Southwestern is required to teach Pre-English and English 1A classes and retain counselor and writing tutor staff for Puente students.

Puente will provide training for staff and $1,500 for mentor support.

Zero Cost Agreements

Southwestern College entered into three agreements with community organizations with budget-neutral effects:

  • Entered into a job training agreement with South University in Savannah Georgia. Students from South University will receive internship training at Southwestern College with curriculum set by South University, but taught by Southwestern Faculty.
  • Southwestern’s Center for International Trade Development (CITD) entered into partnership with Camara Nacional de la Industrial de la Transformacion (CANACINTRA) opening doors for improved export opportunities for CITD’s clients.
  • Approved a contract with Sharp HealthCare giving Southwestern students clinic training experience at no cost to the College.

Other actions taken in March:

  • Casamar Group, LLC was chosen to act as the project labor coordinator for facilities master plan construction.
  • Marlene Imirzian & Associates Architects, Ltd., was chosen to design the new math & science center.
  • A partnership was approved between Yosemite Community College District, Child Development Training Consortium and Southwestern College.
  • Superintendent Dr. Melinda Nish, Accreditation Liaison Officer Dr. Mink Stavenga and Rebecca Wolniewicz, institutional student learning outcomes coordinator, presented an update on Southwestern’s accreditation, reviewing past recommendations from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, and showcasing recent changes in their process.

Honorary Degree Recipients

A select committee of Southwestern College Administrators and Faculty recommended two honorary degree recipients to the board:

  • Irv Silverstein, DDS for his continual efforts to bring dental work to the poor not only locally but elsewhere in the world.
  • William Alexander Virchis, theatre arts educator and multicultural performance advocate for his constant work as a liaison between higher education, performance arts and civil rights.

Contracts Approval

Faculty members, classified employees and academic administrators will be seeing a 1.57% salary increase effective retroactively from July, 2013.

Additionally the Southwestern College District agreed to contribute $400,000 more into the employees’ health and welfare plans each year.

Other actions taken in April:

  • John Clark was hired as Vice President of Human Resources.
  • The board revised the success and support program policy for students. The purpose of Student Success and Support Program services is to bring the student and SWC into agreement regarding the student’s educational goal through the District’s established programs, policies, and requirements.

Prop. R Update

Spring 2014 is bursting with a choir of drills and hammers as Prop. R construction gets closer to completion.

Fieldhouse classrooms have entered the interior design phase and they will be ready for occupation this fall.

Central plant extension construction began in late March. Its completion will mark another major milestone for Prop. R construction.

The college’s H Street entrance will reopen April 21 after the completion of the project to realign the road around Lot J. Parking will still be off limits through the summer as the new solar project construction begins.

A future emergency communication network has been designed for Southwestern College. Expect to see its completion soon.

Three of the four cornerstones of the of the facility master plan – the new math and science building, the wellness center, and the performing arts center – are all entering planning stages.  The forth pillar, the stadium, will be finished by fall.


  • The National City campus will be entering the environmental planning phase for their new building.
  • Southwestern’s Chula Vista campus will be getting updated furniture and interiors as well as new audio-visual equipment.
  • Classrooms will be receiving new locks, to increase safety.
  • Fire and drinking water lines will be updated.

Last updated: 11/25/2014 4:49:40 PM