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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Skyline DREAMER Shares His Unaccompanied Journey

Darwin ValasquezDarwin Valesquez, a student at Skyline College, gave a powerful speech this week for the Latino Community Foundation, describing his emigration experience as an unaccompanied child. Valesquez emigrated from El Salvador at age 12, where he grew up in an impoverished community. He was born with cataracts, leaving him with limited vision. At his school in El Salvador, he learned only through listening and talking. However, after coming to the United States, he eventually learned to read and write through hard work and determination. He was a leader both in and out of the classroom.

Excited to continue his education after graduating from Washington High School, Darwin applied and was accepted to one of his dream schools. Unfortunately, upon finding out about his undocumented status, the college rescinded his acceptance. To Darwin, this felt like the end of his academic journey. However, he used this moment as motivation and decided to enroll at Skyline College, where he is now pursuing a degree in International Relations. Through programs like DACA and the SMCCD Office of Education Abroad, Darwin will become one of the first DREAMERS to study abroad in France this Fall.

The City of San Francisco’s Youth Commission named Darwin as one of their eight “Youth of Year,” an award given to those who display exceptional leadership and service to the community. Darwin also serves as an Outreach Ambassador for Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC), a role through which he provided hope, inspiration, and valuable information to the undocumented community. Eventually, Darwin plans to go to law school to study International Law.

You can read Darwin’s powerful and inspirational speech at:

Article by Lezra Chenportillo

Skyline College Hosts Successful Welcome Week 2014

Students at Welcome Week 3Last week, the Associated Students of Skyline College, faculty and staff kicked off the 2014 Fall Semester in full swing. The tradition of Welcome Week aims to make new and returning students feel comfortable here on campus, and this year was no different. Music out on the quad, a Club Fair, and lots of free food all contributed to the great experience.

Students at Welcome Week 1 Students at Welcome Week 4The week began early Monday morning with a plethora of free coffee and donuts. Sleepy eyed students were most grateful for the delicious jolt. On Tuesday, information tables and a Tycoon Typhoon game where students had chances to win prizes had students in high spirits. On top of that, the student body enjoyed free pizza in the afternoon. Wednesday was all about campus involvement. School wide clubs and services set up shop out on the quad for the Program Services and Club Fair. While students explored their campus resources, they munched on a free BBQ lunch. Thursday morning, Skyline College staff and faculty had a blast serving students a free pancake breakfast. Welcome Week came to a sweet close on Friday with an ice cream social out on the quad. Looks like an excellent start to what will be another excellent semester!

Article by Emily Colby | Photos by Nicole Palmer, Marlon Gaytan, Margo Feldman, John Saenz

SparkPoint at Skyline College Recognized 3 Times for Exceptional Leadership in California

Award CA Senate Recognition SPSC 2014In Ceremonies held at the United Way of the Bay Area’s Annual Regional SparkPoint Retreat, SparkPoint at Skyline College received a Certificate of Recognition from the State of California Senate stating, “SparkPoint at Skyline College has allowed many low-income families to be able to move from poverty to financial stability allowing for positive outcomes such as a livable income, good credit scores, the building of one’s savings, and reducing debt to below 40% of monthly income; therefore, be it resolved by Senator Ellen Corbett, that SparkPoint at Skyline College is commended on their long and distinguished record of community assistance and positive influence in the State of California.” Senator Ellen Corbett, District 10.

Award SparkPoint Challenge Goal 2014More great news from the retreat is that SparkPoint at Skyline College won a $5000 prize in the 2014 SparkPoint Challenge (among the eleven regional SparkPoint Centers located throughout the Bay Area) for serving the highest percentage of clients to achieve at least one long-term goal leading to financial self-sufficiency.

Finally, to expand the model which SparkPoint services are based upon, the Lumina Foundation’s Achieving the Dream (ATD) has been tasked with coordinating the expansion of the model (Working Families Success Network – formerly Centers for Working Families) in additional states across the nation. SparkPoint at Skyline College was selected by ATD and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office as the coordinating college in California which includes Cabrillo College, Cañada College and Porterville College. This three year grant award ($300,000) begins July 2014 and ends June 2017.

For more information about the model, please visit the Achieving the Dream Website at

Article & Photos by Dr. William Watson

Skyline College Wins Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Award

California Community Colleges LogoSkyline College is the winner of The California Community Colleges Board of Governors Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Award in the Faculty/Student Initiatives category. The Award was presented for The Green Gorillas: Student-led Waste Diversion Project, created under the leadership of Dr. Carina Anttila-Suarez, Professor of Biology. The students won $2500 in funding to implement the Green Gorillas project at the Be the Light of Change Sustainability contest last year, where their team presented the project.

The Skyline View reported that, “…The aim of this project was to enhance the efficiency in garbage disposal at Skyline. An eight-week study would be conducted to see how Skyline disposes of its waste and how we could make the process better. Also teams of students, …aptly named Green Gorillas would be trained to help others properly dispose of their waste.”

In another category, Proposition 39 – Self‐Generation, Cañada College was named winner for their Solar PV Installation

Congratulations to Skyline College – faculty, staff, students and especially the Green Gorillas – but great kudos and thanks go to Vice Chancellor José Nuñez and his Facilities, Operations, Maintenance team who work so hard to support and often lead our efforts in sustainability.

Article by Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud

Skyline College Success Summit Open for Registration

Success Summit LogoSkyline College’s Success Summit is coming up on Friday, September 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. If you are interested in attending this dynamic, solution-oriented event, or simply want more information, please contact Linda Bertellotti at (650) 738-4325.

The Success Summit is a half-day forum designed to bring together business and civic leaders from all sectors to discuss innovative strategies for solving tough issues that affect San Mateo County businesses and residents. In dynamic breakout sessions, participants will meet face-to-face with key decision makers within the county, including elected officials, business and industry leaders, employers and educators and gain insight on how they can effectively work to shape the future of their community and their business.

The Success Summit is presented by the President’s Council of Skyline College. Breakfast and materials are included.

Keynote Speaker:
Christy Dinges, VP People, Stella & Dot

Registration Fee: $75

Breakout topics include:
• What’s in it for us? Collectively addressing the socio-economic divide.
• City Manager Roundtable: “Innovations for our cities.”
• Hidden Gems, Hidden Opportunities: What’s unique, What’s possible?

To register, please visit

Article by Connor Fitzpatrick

Skyline College Present on the Green at SMCCD Foundation Golf Tournament

Skyline College at Foundation Golf Tournament 1On August 25, 2014, Skyline College was present at the San Mateo Community College Foundation Golf Tournament. In collaboration with Outreach, the Cosmetology Department, and MCPR, Skyline College was able to host a relaxing, kick-back themed hole for the donors that participated in the Golf Tournament. The main attraction was our Skyline College Prize Wheel, where everyone was a winner. The prizes consisted of five-minute massages, Skyline College golf balls, Skyline College Tees, and Skyline College wine glasses and a bottle of wine.

Skyline College at Foundation Golf Tournament 2The event was a great success with over one hundred donors participating at our table. This was a way to say thank you for all the donations given to the San Mateo Community College School District. Special thanks to the Office of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations, Cosmetology, the Bay Area Entrepreneur Center, and Outreach for coordinating this innovative event.

Article by Florentino Ubungen | Photos by Darrel Lee

ASTEP Hosts Successful Fall 2014 Retreat

ASTEP Retreat ParticipantsOn Friday, August 1, 2014, faculty and staff of the African-American Success through Excellence and Persistence program (ASTEP) at Skyline College held a unified meeting of the minds in the Oakland Hills, courtesy of Dr. Tony Jackson, to discuss plans for making this Fall 2014 semester the most memorable yet! Attendees included members of such departments as Cosmetology, Counseling, Math, Middle College, Biology, Psychology, and the President’s Office to name a few. The purpose of this retreat was to discuss key elements of how to best support ASTEP student success on campus. Such elements included the incorporation of Umoja principles into classroom curriculum, revisiting and refining strategies for recruitment, outreach, retention, and increased graduation and transfer rates for ASTEP students, course-linking between math and counseling courses, and finding meaningful ways to help ASTEP students carve out an esteemed space for themselves within the Skyline College Community.

New additions to the program included the implementation of bi-weekly ASTEP faculty and staff meetings in order to upsurge productivity. With Professor Nathan Jones taking the lead in coordination of the ASTEP program this academic year, there is much to look forward to including various ASTEP events such as ASTEP Family Night (October 6, 2014) and the Umoja Conference (November 20, 2014). We look forward to such events as the Black History Month celebration, the Brothers and Sisters Conference, and possible overseas opportunities for selected ASTEP students in Spring 2015. It was noted that effective support of students within the ASTEP learning community must stretch beyond academic support to accommodate the financial and mental/psychological needs of the student body. Two attendees had this to say about the retreat’s success:

“The ASTEP retreat was very collaborative, connecting African American faculty and staff from a variety of different departments and disciplines. Everyone present provided excellent ideas on how to better serve the African American student body population at Skyline College. ASTEP plans to make this upcoming school year memorable and pleasurable for all students who participate.”

-Kwame Thomas, ASTEP Counselor

“The retreat brought together a community of eclectic diversity and energy, bridging the old and new faces of ASTEP together to usher in a new direction.”

-Nathan Jones, Associate Professor and ASTEP Learning Community Coordinator

The ASTEP learning community welcomes students of all diverse backgrounds to join its ranks and strives to represent the experience of the African American community within Skyline College. For any questions about ASTEP, please feel free to contact ASTEP at 650-738-7037 or visit the program in Building 4.

Article by Chanel Daniels | Photo by Nathan Jones

SparkPoint at Skyline College Welcomes Kevin Eifler

Kevin Eifler SPSC OfficeSparkPoint at Skyline College welcomes Kevin Eifler, M.A., as our new Office Assistant II. Kevin will be working in the SparkPoint Welcome Office (Building One, Second Floor, Room 1214) and he will likely be the first point of contact for many who are new to SparkPoint at Skyline College. Kevin comes to us from College of San Mateo (CSM) where he most recently worked with the CSM Center for Student Life. Kevin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from the University of California, San Diego, and he pursued graduate studies in theatrical production and research to earn a Master of Arts degree in Humanities from the University of Texas. Please drop by the SparkPoint Welcome Office (Building One, Second Floor, Room 1214) and extend a warm Skyline College welcome to Kevin! He can be reached by phone at 650-738-7043 and his email address is

Article & Photo by Dr. William Watson

Facilities Welcomes New Operation Technician, Jessica Pulido

Jessica PulidoFacilities is proud to announce that Jessica Pulido has accepted the Facilities Operation Technician permanent position, effective Tuesday, September 2 at Skyline College.  Jessica has been with the Facilities Team since March 2011, and has served in a variety of capacities with increasing responsibility, including Student Assistant, Document Management Specialist, Staff Assistant / Temporary FOT at Cañada College, and Temporary Executive Assistant.  Jessica is nearing completion of her BS in Kinesiology at SF State, and looks forward to pursuing a Master’s degree upon completion of her BS.  Jessica is very excited to take on her new role.

Starting Tuesday, September 2, please contact Jessica at and/or 650-738-4115 for any Facility questions, concerns, work orders, and events.

Article by John Doctor

San Mateo County Community College District Assigned Highest Bond Ratings in the State

SMCCCD LogoThe San Mateo County Community College District received the highest ratings possible from Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Rating Services—AAA and Aaa—and is the only public higher education institution in the State (UC, CSU and community colleges) to be assigned these ratings.

The College District, which operates Cañada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College, is planning to refund approximately $120 million in general obligation bonds over the next several weeks. Based upon current rates, which could change before the refinancing, taxpayers would save approximately $17.4 million due to lower interest rates. High ratings help assure that the College District has lower overall interest cost for the refinancing, resulting in larger savings for taxpayers.

The Moody’s report cited the District’s sound financial operations, low debt burdens, healthy reserves and large and stable property tax base in their ratings analysis. Standard and Poor’s cited similar parameters in their review and added that the District’s general fund balances and new reserve policy are “very strong.”

Both agencies assigned a “stable outlook”—the most favorable possible—for the District which Moody’s attributed to its expectation that “the district will continue to maintain a strong overall credit profile reflected in a healthy financial position, above average socioeconomic indicators, large, growing tax base, and manageable debt levels.”

Article by Barbara Christensen

Coming Up…

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 – Friday, September 5, 2014

• Double Vision: Photographic Portraits from Cuba & Ghana, Skyline College, Art Gallery, Building 1, Room 121

• 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., Financial Aid Application Labs, Skyline College, Building 2, Room 2117-B

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

• 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Financial Aid Application Labs, Skyline College, Building 2, Room 2117-B

Thursday, September 4, 2014

• 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., Classified Senate Meeting, Building 6, Room 6203

Saturday, September 6, 2014

• 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 25th Anniversary Celebration for GeneConnection, Skyline College, Building 6, Level 2

Thursday, September 11, 2014

• 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., An Evening with Dr. Cornel West, Skyline College, Theater

For the latest information on events and activities happening at Skyline College, please view our calendar.

If you would like to include your college event or activity on the calendar, please submit the event, date, time and location to Cherie Colin via email at

Welcome to the New Academic Year – Opening Day Remarks

Dr. Stroud Speaking at Opening DayOver the past couple of years, we have all been answering a “Call to Consciousness” here at Skyline College – a deliberate and conscious awareness about our opportunity to engage in innovative and provocative teaching and service that will interrupt the status quo of unmitigated systems of power and privilege for some while others are marginalized or excluded from the regular comforts of being.

To answer this call we went through a major planning process throughout the college, identified six key areas of strategic priorities, with faculty, staff and students engaging in and implementing innovative programs and services within those priorities.

We have continued to bring in outstanding speakers such as Dr. Jeff Andrade – a scholar of critical pedagogy, Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings – a scholar of culturally relevant pedagogy, renowned poet, Santiago Baca, and CIPHER sponsored, Dr. MK Asante, renowned lecturer and author of BUCK – A Memoir.  On September 11 at 6 p.m. we will host American philosopher and scholar, Dr. Cornell West.

This year I am asking us to build upon that consciousness and engagement and focus on Delivering on our promise. Here are a few things we planned and promised:

  • Middle College – Much has been done and we expect to open the first Middle College class in fall 2015 thanks to the leadership of Dr. Raymond Jones.
  • Skyline Promise – We have been talking about it.  Thanks to the English and Math Departments who have been piloting some work to consider multiple methods for placement.  The Skyline Promise would incorporate the use of High School transcripts for placement.  Let’s deliver on that promise this year.
  • We have new programs such as Hospitality and Tourism Management thanks to the leadership of Andrea Vizenor, an expanded administrative medical assistant program, a new education Prep Program in ECE thanks to the leadership of  Kate Brown and Sarita Santos
  • We promised a culture and value of sustainability and the Sustainability Ambassadors Network has done amazing things.  Thanks to their hydration station project, enough water has been dispensed to fill over 14,000 20oz. plastic bottles (that won’t be in the landfills as a result).  Thanks go to Dr. Carina Antilla-Suarez.
  • The Global Learning Programs and Services Division secured a $620,000 Bécalos grant to host 75 international students sponsored by the Mexican Consulate for classes, and cultural experiences.
  • The Bay Area Entrepreneurial Center opened with a bang.  The community is raving about it and that is exciting in light of our hopes for completing the college through state funding and bond resources if the community supports it this November.
  • We have six more approved Associate Degrees for Transfer and are awaiting the approval of five more, giving students even more opportunities to transfer.
  • The CTTL has taken off and is doing an amazing job, especially with the launching of the second New Faculty Orientation.
  • We promised a comprehensive diversity framework.  Thanks to the leadership of Lucia Lachmayr and David Hasson, we now have a model that has been recognized and requested to be presented to our state colleagues at the Student Success Conference in October.
  • And after a year-long process of planning and connecting to the strategic priorities, and after moving the plan through the governance process, I am happy to announce that we were able to implement the staffing plan to the extent of hiring
    • 16 new full-time faculty
    • 15 new staff
    • 10 new administrators
    • While many of the administrative positions are the filling of vacated positions, we do have one new dean and four new director positions.

It takes all of us to support the students and community and I am excited to be able to support and implement such a bold staffing plan.

During the hiring process, I enjoyed the different personalities of the various disciplines.  When receiving the information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates at the first level interview…

  1.  The English Department wrote a composition – a long composition.
  2. The Math Department provided me with a spreadsheet. And my favorite,
  3. The counseling department would only provide strengths.

I often ask candidates why they want to make Skyline College their academic home.  I am not testing whether they did their website research homework but rather, I am looking at their “ganas” to work with and serve our community of learners.  I received some wonderful answers….

  1. Because we are student centered and have a sense of community – the Mission Statement resonates with them.
  2. Because we are the most progressive community college and focus on social justice and equity.
  3. Because we have reputed excellent and innovative programs and services.
  4. Because we care…about music, helping, people, and more.
  5. Because we are ionspirational, quirky, in the bay area, , are very diverse, have good faculty, and I particularly loved the one that said “you have a good president”… I say that person knows how to interview!
  6. But my favorite was from the Environmental Science Candidate – “Because we have low flush toilets!”

They are joining the faculty, staff and administration of this college that engage in an unprecedented amount of creative, innovative pedagogical strategies that question the traditional orthodoxy and align more closely to the communities we serve.

All of this is summarized in Skyline College’s Annual Report, which has won First Place awards from the Community College Public Relations Organization two years running. When you get a chance, please take a look at this beautiful reflection of the great work being done here at Skyline College.

Each and every one of you make this an awesome place to work, teach, study and learn for the entire community. This year, I am once again asking you to focus on getting students in, through and out of here with the credentials they need to succeed and plans to transfer or engage in work with a commitment to learn throughout their lives. That’s how we will continue delivering on our promise to students.

Chancellor Galatolo let all of us know just how wonderful the students think you are. In his presentation he showed marks of 90%, 93% and 97% on various indicators. Well, in my survey, with “n” = “me,” here is the mark that the faculty and staff of Skyline College received:


Thank you for all you do.

Article by Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud

Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud Appointed to Presidential Advisory Council

Dr. Regina Stanback StroudPresident Obama announced his intention on July 30 to appoint Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud, president of Skyline College in San Bruno, to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans. The Council, established in June, 2013, advises the President and the Secretary of the Treasury on how to build the financial capability of young people at an early stage of their lives in schools, families, communities, the workplace and through the use of technology. It is hoped that these recommendations will contribute to the nation’s future financial stability and increase upward economic mobility.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Stanback Stroud on this outstanding achievement!

Article by Cherie Colin | Photo by Raul Guerra

Opening Day

Opening Day Award WinnersWelcome to the 2014-2015 Academic Year! Skyline College is fortunate to be able to welcome many new faculty and staff to the college. Thank you for participating in the Opening Day celebration this year and congratulations on receiving a 100% score for your dedication and hard work last academic year from Dr. Stanback Stroud!

The agenda was full this year, first with comments by all facets of the leadership of Skyline College including Nicole Harris, Associated Students of Skyline College (ASSC) President, Alana Utsumi, Classified Senate President, Kate Williams Browne, Academic Senate President, Janice Sapigao, Representative from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and Chris Weidman, California School Employees Association (CSEA) 2nd Vice President.

President Stanback Stroud made her opening day remarks setting the focus for the year and inspiring each member of the faculty and staff to assist in “Delivering on Our Promise” this academic year. Attendees had the privilege of watching the moving President’s Innovation Fund Video demonstrating the impact the campus has had on student’s lives and the community. The Skyline Shines Awards were announced and presented to stunned recipients Dr. William Watson, Director of SparkPoint and Ms. Lee Guion, Community Member and Volunteer.

Faculty were recognized with awards for their years of service including 40, 30, 25, 20 and 10 years! Staff and Faculty members who completed degrees were recognized for continuing to pursue their education. Over 50 new faculty and staff members who joined since August 2013 were introduced to the campus community and officially welcomed to the Skyline College family.

There are many, many people to thank this year who were behind the scenes to make opening day look flawless – Theresa Tentes and Kat Tshifunda in Office of the President, Golda Margate in the Vice President of Student Services office, Bryan Besnyi, Maria Norris and Sherrie Prasad in the Vice President of Instruction office, Linda Bertellotti, in the Vice President of Administrative Services office, Amory Cariadus and John Saenz in the Center for Student Life and Leadership Development office, Katie Beverly and the staff in the Graphic Arts and Production Department, Kevin Chak and the staff in the Bookstore, Cherie Colin, Keisha Ford, Connor Fitzpatrick, Liz Gaudet, Raul Guerra, Annette Lee, and Claudia Paz in the Marketing, Communications and Public Relations office, Media Staff, Jim Petromilli in the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, the IT team including Yoseph Demissie, Dave Jorgensen and Rich Tid, Jan Phemester of the Chancellor’s Office, the Students, Annie Trinh, Nancy Argarin and Marci Escobar in Vice President of Administrative Services office, Rick McMahon and his staff in Pacific Dining, and last, but certainly not least, the staff of the Facilities, Planning and Operations office.

Thank you everyone. Here is to a great 2014-2015 Academic Year!

Article by Cherie Colin