Professional Development Days focus on recovery through the lens of equityby Jan Janes on Feb 5, 2021
The end of January brought staff and faculty together for two days of training opportunities and launched the Spring 2021 academic semester. The plan, developed by the professional learning work group led by Dr. Nicholas Park, continued faculty efforts to create a conference style approach with multiple sessions available.
On the optional Thursday schedule, staff and faculty could choose from 12 separate morning sessions. They covered training in student services, the new Ethnic Studies requirement, tools to improve online teaching and mental health issues arising from the COVID pandemic.
- AEC Roundtable
- Embedded Librarians
- Embedded Tutoring
- Academic Reading: Making the Invisible Visible
- Ethnic Studies, Area F Course Modification
- Zoom Skills & Training Techniques
- iLearn Grades, Assessments & SLOs
- Using Rubrics
- Online Course Accessibility
- Domestic Violence 101
A four-hour afternoon session, Creating a Culture of Dignity, was led by Diego Navarro, who delivered a shorter version of the program the following day. The equity work focuses on helping move first generation college students from poverty to a career using four constructs that instill a culture of dignity within an institution. Navarro, a professor at nearby Cabrillo College, founded Academy for College Excellence in 2011 and works with colleges and corporations to improve student success.
Dr. Kathleen Rose, Superintendent/President of Gavilan College, opened the Friday morning session in the virtual theater with nearly 200 people in attendance.
“Last year we focused on equity, inclusion and healing,” said Dr. Rose. “How do we recover with equity – spring, summer and next fall – and move forward with equity?”
She presented a slide show illustrating what the year has been, so far. “This is how awesome we are and how hard we have worked,” she said. She noted the exceptional work of the Distance Education team and what faculty have learned.
Her presentation included highlights about the next six months:
- Campus will be mostly closed
- Staff and faculty badges will be issued
- Scanning QR codes when entering and leaving areas will be used for contact tracing
- The college, currently a testing center, will become a vaccination center
- COVID has spread, creating budget challenges and uncertainty
- The Equity Committee work, participatory governance handbook and embedding equity practices in instruction, the new Equity Canvas shell, and new equity plan for the district
“The path of recovery should be E-shaped,” said Dr. Rose. “E-shaped, to help the state, the economy, and an educated workforce.”
Addressing the budget issues, Dr. Rose introduced three representatives from FCMAT (Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team), and Michelle Giacomini offered an overview of their services.
FCMAT is a statewide, independent agency that works closely with the Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges. Dr. Rose spoke with them about the district’s budget issues, and they approved the request for assistance. The Chancellor’s Office is paying for the services.
The FCMAT team conducts a study of fiscal health, specific operational areas, reviews the college’s vision of success, student-centered funding formula metrics, student services and cash flow. After compiling documents and interviewing the management team and other groups, they will develop a report of recommendations. The plan is to have the final report completed by April, after which it will be presented to the Board of Trustees.
Following the FCMAT presentation, Michael Renzi, Vice President of Administrative Services, noted two personnel changes. Lucy Alvarez has been hired as Director of Human Resources, the interim title removed, and Dave Vigo will join the college staff as Director of Fiscal Services in mid-February. Renzi also reported on the following highlights:
- Emergency preparedness, security and safety
- Budget workshops
- Employee badges
- Facilities standards
- Updates to the Emergency Plan
- The Emergency Operations Committee continues to meet twice weekly
- Return to campus protocols are constantly updated
- Classroom security and COVID mitigation retrofits are underway
- Banner ERP has migrated to the cloud, joining IT, student and administrative services
- The FY21/22 Governor’s budget proposal looks optimistic, with key dates set for budget development, negotiation, and revision, with an adopted final budget in August
- Grants management
- Direct deposit initiative for staff, student aid and vendors
- The computer laptop and wi-fi student loan program continues
Denée Pescarmona, Executive Vice President of Educational Programs and Services, announce that Dane Holmgren is now a full time faculty member in the Kinesiology department. She reported about how we will strategically return to campus, focus on timely completion for students, and ways the college will focus on serving the whole student:
- Guided Pathways progress and changes in team leads
- Enrollment management
- Work collaboration and dynamic enrollment management plans
- Planning for enrollment and outreach issues in response to COVID
- Establish discussion and meetings about summer and fall schedule development
- Homelessness and housing
- CARES Act student grants
- Food Distribution
- Tech Buddies and Embedded Tutors
- Technology and Materials Distributions
The Friday lunchtime session offered time for staff and faculty to learn about and discuss Gavilan College Faculty Association and Academic Senate issues.
Friday afternoon training sessions included sections in exemplary online course design, assessment techniques, student basic needs, open source textbooks, ethnic studies retention and success. Notably, five of the sessions focused on student and employee mental health, offering strategies for support.
You can access the full description of all the trainings.