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April 14, 2015

Coffee Chat This Thursday in Otay Mesa
This month’s coffee chat goes on the road with a meeting at the Higher Education Center at Otay Mesa. I hope you can join me on Thursday, April 16 from 10 – 11 a.m. in Room 4121. Great ideas come from these smaller group discussions.

Open Hours This Friday
Don’t have a chance to make it to the coffee chat on Thursday? Please feel free to set up a time to meet with me one-on-one during Open Hours on Friday, April 17 from 9 – 10:30 a.m. You can sign up for 15-minute private meetings by going to the webpage and filling out the form.

Good News in April Paychecks
Thanks to the unanimous vote by the Governing Board in March, all employees will receive a 2% pay increase—retro to July 1—effective this month. You will see the bump in your April paychecks.

Additionally on the Governing Board agenda tomorrow are two resolutions offering early retirement incentives for classified and academic employees. If approved, we will begin sending out additional information so employees can make an informed decision.

Open Arms for Guardian Scholars, Community

The beauty and generosity of Southwestern College was on full display for our community before spring break when we hosted our 11th annual Cesar Chavez Scholarship Breakfast and a special college and career day for San Diego County’s Foster Youth.

A sold-out crowd listened to the inspiring stories of the five students who received scholarships this year. They spoke of their academic and economic struggles and how the $1,000 scholarships would allow them to stay in school and pursue their dreams. These five students were reflected in the struggle and ultimate success of our keynote speaker—Dr. Olivia Graeve.

Dr. Graeve, who is now an associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering at UCSD, blazed the trail for the four siblings who followed her to Southwestern College. She spoke of social justice, the impact of the faculty and staff at Southwestern College who aided her journey and the importance of seeking out students who had her same goals.

Student Scholarship winners
Scholarship Winners pose with breakfast organizers.

Later that morning, we welcomed 100 foster youth and their advocates for a half-day session on college and careers. This student population is among the most at-risk, and we have knitted together our student support services with those San Diego County resources.

These Guardian Scholars participated in workshops on how to apply for college and financial aid. They explored the different academic programs we offer, and they learned about the college leadership opportunities awaiting them here.

We received many positive comments, and those in attendance felt welcomed and supported. Thank you to the committee with members from all across the college—Counseling, EOPS, CalWORKS, Child Development Center, Communications and Government Relations, Financial Aid, Food Services, Outreach and the Transfer Center. I look forward to our next event. 

Counselor Kimi Rodriguez-McSwain address students
Counselor Kimi Rodriguez-McSwain welcomes Guardian Scholars

Strategic Plan Kick-Off
We are beginning the next cycle of our Strategic Plan, and we’re hoping you will participate.

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness is hosting a community kick off on Monday, April 20 from 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. We have invited representatives from each of our college constituency groups, as well as members of our feeder school districts, city government and community organizations.

We will also host two college-wide town hall forums—Thursday, April 30 from 6-8 p.m. and Thursday, May 14 from 2-4 p.m. Be on the lookout for the global emails announcing the town hall forums.

Recognizing the Employee of the Quarter
Recognized as the Employee of the Quarter for April through June is Maria Beltran, the Education Center Coordinator for the Higher Education Center in Otay Mesa. As cited in her nomination, Maria exhibits an overall superior work ethic and she has an exceptional spirit of service.
Whether Maria is welcoming faculty to the Center or coordinating events the Center hosts in partnership with the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce, she is dependable, professional and eager to contribute to the success of the Center and Southwestern College.

Students, faculty and staff are comfortable seeking support from Maria because of her patience and willingness to provide her best assistance/advice.

The next time you are visiting Otay Mesa, be sure to congratulate Maria for a job well done.

Maria Beltran accepts EOQ award
Maria Beltran, Education Center Coordinator at the Higher Education Center in Otay Mesa, accepts her award as Employee of the Quarter.


Last updated: 4/14/2015 1:38:11 PM