Vol. 3, Issue 5
May is Southwestern College’s month of celebration, with multiple student recognition ceremonies leading up to one of the largest number of graduates participating in Commencement on May 29.
Trustees at Graduation
Strategies to Increase Completion Rates
During our Governing Board meeting in May, we reviewed faculty research to help us increase the percentage of students completing associate degrees and transferring to four-year universities. Among the strategies is reevaluating the number of courses students must take from the lowest basic skills level to transfer level to determine if acceleration or compression of courses is possible. We will also review whether to automatically award degrees for students who complete their coursework, rather than have them apply for their degree upon completion.
Recognizing Student Trustee Sayaka Ridley
We sent our good wishes to our outgoing Student Trustee Sayaka Ridley and thanked her for her year of service on the governing board.
L-R: Trustees Griselda Delgado, Humberto Peraza, Tim Nader, Sayaka Ridley, myself, Governing Board Vice President Nora Vargas, Superintendent/President Dr. Melinda Nish.
Changes to Graduation Requirements
Faculty research over the last two years shows that local course requirements have increased the number of units our students must complete to earn a degree at Southwestern College. After consultation with all college stakeholders—led by our Academic Senate—the Governing Board accepted the recommendations to reduce some local course requirements. Southwestern College students will no longer be required to take health, exercise science and computer literacy classes to graduate. Additionally, we lowered the requirement for two other general education course categories. Students will now be required to complete 18-20 courses, rather than 27-31 courses for graduation.
Granting an Honorary Degree
Each year the Governing Board grants an honorary degree to a member of the community who has meritoriously contributed to the improvement of civic and social services, human relations, economic development, education, fine arts, medicine, science or technology. This year we granted the honorary degree to Ben Green. A lifelong resident of Chula Vista, Mr. Green is the president of the Southwestern College Education Foundation. On the foundation, Ben has been a key supporter of the Student of Distinction Award, the college’s highest academic award for students.
Proposition R Executive Update
Two of the college’s three major construction projects—the two-story addition at Higher Education Center, National City and site development for the new wellness center—are at the Division of State Architect (DSA) for review. The math, science and engineering building and the main building and pools for the wellness center are expected to go to DSA in June. All of the emergency communication blue poles have been installed on the Chula Vista campus and at the Higher Education Centers. They will all be fully operational by the end of the summer. Throughout the summer, additional buildings on the Chula Vista campus will be connected to the central plant—increasing heating and cooling efficiencies on campus.
Authorizing Series D Bond Sale
The Governing Board approved the sale of the fourth series of bonds under Proposition R in an amount not to exceed $135 million. The funds will be used to fully fund the projects for the corner lot. For additional information on the details of the bond sale, please read the district’s press release.
In other action:
- Passed a resolution in support of Classified School Employee Week
- Passed a resolution recognizing the contributions of Asian-American & Pacific Islanders in San Diego County
- Hired Omar Orihuela as the director of Extended Opportunity Program & Services
Governing Board Workshop on Tentative Budget for 2015-16
In a workshop held May 27, the Governing Board had its first discussion of the new 2015-16 budget. With a total projected budget of $105,467,021, the Governing Board reviewed projections for hiring additional faculty and some new positions brought forward through the program review process. The Governing Board will discuss the tentative budget again at its June 10 meeting.