Archives: Opening Day and Message from the President
Dear Skyline Campus Community,
On behalf of myself and President’s Cabinet, we are elated to welcome you and our students to a new academic year! It is remarkable to think that 2022-23 is already upon us. We show up with you on Opening Day and every day thereafter with an enormous sense of gratitude for your investment of time and energy in moving Skyline College forward and serving our students.
As an administration, we have heard numerous requests for no new major initiatives. In response, this academic year we will honor your collective requests by focusing on completing the major initiatives we have started, and the work to institutionalize them. We will also take the much-needed time to appreciate our students and each other. The following major items will be the focus of this academic year:
- Celebrating the People
- Improving the Divide in Access and Completion for our Hyper-Marginalized Populations
- Integrated Strategic Planning in Action – Launching a New Educational Master Plan, a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan, an Equity Plan, and a Technology Plan
- Institutionalizing the People’s College Initiative and Intergroup Dialogue
- Completing the Comprehensive Redesign
- Piloting our first “Bring Skyline to the People” Community Presence
- Reimagining Communication from Administration
Taking the Time to Celebrate and Honor Each Other
This past year, together, we worked through the uncertainty of returning to campus and now we are reorienting with greater confidence that we can safely serve our students in-person and effectively manage the changing dynamics of what Covid may continue to bring. We have been through unprecedented times and I know we are stronger for it – but we have all experienced something that took its toll on our well-being – whether it was loss, illness, burn out, or something else; and more than ever before, now is the time to show each other some love, compassion, and appreciation – so people are cared for, seen, and heard.
- Celebrate the People! It is in this spirit that we bring a theme to this academic year: Celebrate the People! We are planning a monthly calendar of Celebrations – where programs, departments, and divisions can share with our campus a creative and cultural presentation to honor, love and appreciate our students, your teams, and your work.
- Honoring Our Student Accomplishments and Breaking the Barriers: Our “why” is always our students. We come to work every day to serve students knowing that everything we do is meant to help our students succeed. And, through the unprecedented challenges of the past two years, our students have worked so hard and continued to succeed! While we celebrated all of their accomplishments at the most inspiring outdoor commencement – the first in Skyline College’s history – let’s keep up the appreciation and encouragement of our students and find new ways to break down our barriers to their success. Disrupt!
Challenging Ourselves to Improve Access and Persistent Gaps
While course success rates improved for all demographic student groups at Skyline College, the gap for completion rates of our underrepresented and marginalized students persists. No one in the State has yet to understand how to close this gap. I am challenging us to be the first in the State to figure out how to improve this gap! Our holistic, wrap-around approach, providing instruction coupled with free SMCCCD supports (such as Dual Enrollment, Middle College, Promise Scholars, TRiO, EOPS, and OER/ZTC), basic needs support, personal counseling, academic counseling, cultural supports, learning communities, and peer mentorship certainly helps our students enroll, register, and develop a deeper sense of belonging and a feeling that Skyline College is a safe place – and the data shows this work improves completion for all groups. This is the Skyline College way! What else do we need to do? Skyline College has funded a number of new ideas this year through the President’s Innovation Fund to support completion for our most marginalized groups. Our PRIE team continues to populate new data dashboards to increase open access to data to help identify more targeted approaches to improving the gap. The PRIE team is responsive to the multitude of special data requests that come from staff and faculty all year long. And, the Stewardship for Equity, Equal Employment and Diversity committee (SEEED) has taken the lead to address the persistent gaps among student groups, especially the worsening gap for our Black/African American students. We will continue to work closely with SEEED and assess the need for additional resources to support their work as we strive to set the model for the State.
Integrated Strategic Planning in Action
This year we will see a number of college plans being worked on and completed through the participatory governance process: the Educational Master Plan, the Equity Plan, the Technology Plan, and the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan. We will work together to ensure all plans are integrated and aligned with our Educational Master Plan and the District’s Strategic Goals. All constituencies will be given opportunities to provide feedback, and ultimately, we will see these plans come through College Governance Council for approval and they will be presented to the Board of Trustees.
An outcrop of our early climate review work last year is to address Gender Equity issues in addition to our Antiracism and educational equity efforts. CGC authorized the creation of a Gender Equity task group in late Spring. I will be calling for constituency representation on a task group this semester to begin focused work on this and other issues. Also, we are planning to engage in efforts to become part of the Campus Pride Index, which will include a self-assessment with the goal to ensure that our campus has LGBTQIA+ inclusive policies, programs and practices. In addition, Dr. Lopez is working to populate the new Enrollment Strategy Committee, to begin the work of our Strategic Enrollment Management Plan.
Our “work ahead” items will be completed by our PCI task groups. If you are curious about the “work ahead”, please view the task group pages. We have been working since last Fall, Spring and Summer to complete this work – and appreciate the campus community coming together to reimagine our future as the “People’s College”. PCI’s goals are real:
- Become an antiracist and equitable institution;
- Integrate a civic-mindset into our curriculum and institution;
- Democratize the institution through an open participatory governance process; and
- Engage in regular climate review.
We have received an IEPI grant of $200,000 from the State to help us move all of this forward. If you haven’t had a chance to work with us, there’s still plenty of opportunity! If you are interested in being involved, please reach out to Dean Ingrid Vargas. This “work ahead” will be completed by June 30, 2023. At the same time, we are institutionalizing the PCI goals we have grown to love into our Educational Master Plan. This work will continue under the auspices of our master plan over the next five years. Once the Educational Master Plan has been implemented, we are the People’s College!
Completing the Comprehensive Redesign
The Comprehensive College Redesign has been on our plate for years. I describe it as a three-pronged approach to improve persistence and completion rates and truncate the number of units students take to put them on a significantly more efficient path to completion. The three prongs are: (1) Promise Scholars Program; (2) Transformative Teaching and Learning; and (3) Guided Pathways. Two of these three redesigns have been fully implemented and are now institutionalized. We are now ready for the final push to complete the Guided Pathways initiative and institutionalize this work, but we need a leader. As such, I am working with the Academic Senate to approve a one-year position of a Guided Pathways Coordinator for a full-time faculty member to serve in this role on release time. In addition, we have an upcoming accreditation report due in 2023 to address our progress on the Comprehensive Redesign. This coordinator role will be critical in assisting with the progress report, and taking the final step of our Comprehensive Redesign: institutionalizing the Guided Pathways work.
Piloting “Bring Skyline to the People”
As we shared with our constituency and CGC last year, we are working with a team of community members to launch a public/private partnership pilot program for families this Fall in our community – where parents and grandparents bring their families to an elementary, middle, or high school (we are still working with the K-12 District to secure a location in Daly City) in the evenings for nights of child care, food, homework help, educational and enrichment offerings from Skyline College and our Adult Education partners, and wellness services. If you would like to be involved, please reach out to Vice President Dr. Vinicio Lopez.
Communication from the Administration Reimagined
We have received feedback that as an administration we may not be communicating enough or offering the right kind of communication to our campus community. So, in response, we are going to try some new things this year based on your feedback. We are wholly committed to openness and transparency, and we have made great strides in the last two years improving transparency. We are also committed to continuous improvement, so, if there is anything you feel we should specifically communicate about, please let us know. Here is our reimagined administrative communication plan:
- Weekly Skyline Shines: Sent every Friday and includes your submissions about your students and program accomplishments.
- Weekly Campus Communication: Sent every Monday and includes important campus events/happenings of the week and beyond.
- Live Whale and Event Planning Process: MCPR will be sharing an event planning guide that requires entry of events into Live Whale, so that we can all know what is happening on campus. We need to be better about creating calendar invites too!
- Weekly Construction Update: Given that SKY B1 and SKY B2 are undergoing major renovations and construction, we will continue to keep our campus updated weekly.
- Weekly President’s Message: I will be starting a weekly blog to include operational updates, Presidential work updates, President’s Cabinet updates, and a synopsis of the monthly work of College Governance Council.
- President’s “Free Form Fridays” Will Resume. These are open zoom meetings to have a conversation with the President and with whomever joins. We have had some very interesting discussions! Topics are wide open and free form. Look for an announcement with dates and a zoom link for this academic year.
- Cabinet Communications Each Semester. Every member on cabinet is encouraged to communicate campus wide on matters of import in their area. You should expect communications from the cabinet periodically throughout the semester.
I am honored and humbled to serve as your President and to have entered our third year together. I look forward to the wonderfully transformative work ahead on behalf of our global community of learners!
A heartfelt welcome to Fall, 2022!
Dr. Melissa Moreno
President of Skyline College
Dear Skyline Campus Community,
As we begin a new academic year, I would like to reflect on our experiences and work this past year, and set the stage for what is ahead for us as a campus community.
Where We’ve Been
Our 2020-2021 academic year was full of contrast. We accomplished and gained so much more than we could have imagined in a pandemic and yet we faced enormous loss. We deeply connected as a community, and although we were apart, and in isolation; we were strong, tenacious, resilient, and clear about our student-driven mission; all in the face of being grossly challenged by uncertainty and ambiguity. Despite the unusual experience of extreme contrasts this last year, we made it through. We were tough. We were flexible. We checked-in with each other. We took care of each other. We had each other’s backs. We cried together. We prayed together. We supported each other. We were a team, in the greatest sense both unimaginable and unfathomable new experiences. We pursued excellence despite the new terrain with so much love and humility; all the while keeping our students first, and at the forefront of our motivation. This is why students choose us. This is who we are. Welcome to the Skyline College family!
We beautifully cemented a foundation to move through whatever comes next, together. We are prepared to flex, as the world of relentless external forces attempt to disrupt our path. We have what it takes to build upon what we have started this past year as an adaptive community, as a team. Nothing can stop us! And so, I thank you and congratulate you for everything you did this last year to serve our students and community. Every single person contributed in a meaningful and exceptional way to make up the whole of who we are at Skyline College. Our groundskeepers and custodians, our public safety and facilities teams, our classified professionals and faculty, our managers and administrators, our instructional and student support teams, our District partners, all came together in service of our students. I see you. I appreciate you. I thank you.
Where We’re Headed
We also worked hard to set the stage for what is up next. I spent this last year listening carefully to you and gained a much deeper understanding of where you would like to go as a campus community. Here’s what I learned:
- We need to rid ourselves of this “secret society” feel to our governance;
- We need to greatly improve the relationship across constituent groups with the Administration, but especially with faculty;
- We need much greater transparency in our decision-making and committee work;
- We need open and regular communication from the President and the Cabinet;
- We need to be more inclusive and equitable;
- We need to sustain engagement with our community of supporters and stakeholders;
- We need to improve our campus climate and create a lasting and sustainable culture of democracy and participatory governance;
- We need greater transparency in our processes and, in particular, with our budgets and integrated college planning;
- We need cohesive and coordinated equity and antiracism efforts that everyone is involved and included in;
- We need to assess our Comprehensive College Redesign work and address persistent barriers and opportunity gaps for our most marginalized student groups.
There’s so much work to be done!
We got a head start on this work during the last year and laid an important foundation for reshaping our participatory governance structure, college planning, and antiracism and equity work. Here’s what we did:
- We adopted an integrated planning and resource allocation model , and started training with the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) – as we embark on revising our Educational Master Plan this fall;
- We reformed our College Governance Council (CGC) to remove the vote of the President and her Cabinet in order to honor the true purpose of CGC as a recommending body to the President. No more double-dipping!
- We also recognized our Management Council as a constituency group, and created seats on CGC for our managers;
- We also opened CGC to the entire campus community and had more participation than ever;
- We adopted the Intergroup Dialogue model as the basis for our antiracism and equity work, and began training the community in how to listen and have constructive dialogue. Our intention is to reach a critical mass of campus community training and to conduct dialogues on difficult subjects;
- We released the McPhail Report , and completed the work of the “Climate Review Work Group” to bring forth the valuable recommendations to CGC in that report;
- We hosted an incredibly successful President’s Breakfast that engaged our community raised $100,000!
- We adopted a Participatory Governance Model , and completed the work of the Participatory Governance Work Group to revise and simplify our structure and compendium
People’s College Initiative (PCI)
The People’s College Initiative was born as a framework to address the challenges identified during my listening tour, while building upon the foundation work we began last year. The Statewide Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI) invited us to submit a letter of interest. As such, I submitted the concept of the People’s College Initiative, and it was accepted. Please read the Letter of Interest starting on page 18 of our CGC agenda packet of May 19, 2021 . What this means for us is that we are preparing to welcome a Partnership Resource Team (PRT) from the State Chancellor’s Office this fall. The PRT will help guide us through the initiative, and grant us $200,000 to accomplish these goals. The Chancellor’s Office is interested supporting initiatives that might be of benefit to other colleges in the State and so they are hopeful this could become a model for other colleges.
Here’s the concept in a nutshell:
- PCI focuses on creating a healthy college and workplace experience through a robust participatory governance process that people trust and believe in, resulting in open and transparent decision-making a way of life at Skyline College;
- We want to create an antiracist and equitable culture that embraces campus wide training, practice and action toward becoming an antiracist college;
- We will engage in regular climate reviews in order to measure our transformation in becoming a true institution of the people, for the people.
We will be working together to fully flesh out the PCI concept to norm participatory governance, equity and antiracism activity, and regular climate review. We did some work along these lines with our constituent group leadership this summer to prepare for the PRT visit. My goal is to cement a democratic culture and healthy climate that will sustain evolving and inevitable change in leadership. In addition, this initiative will ultimately support the greater goal of ensuring a democratic and civically-engaged classroom experience for our students. Until we get this right for ourselves, we cannot get it right for our students.
Here’s where you come in: I need your support and help to bring these changes to our college community. College Governance Council will be authorizing a number of work groups to tackle the work of implementing the PCI. We want each and every one of you to be involved, because this is about you, and about us, and about how we work together to shape our future. There will be lots of communication about the PCI and the opportunities for your involvement early in the fall semester. Your voice matters, and I encourage you to join us.
I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be your President, entering our second year together, and doing this wonderfully transformative work with you! We will continue to work with the District to do our best to bring us safely together in-person again. But let’s not forget to remain flexible and adaptable in an ever-changing landscape of this persistent pandemic.
A heartfelt welcome back to fall semester!
Dr. Melissa Moreno
President of Skyline College
As the new President of Skyline College, you can imagine the excitement I feel getting to know you - the students, faculty, classified professionals, administrators, and community. I feel like a freshman student - everything is new and unfamiliar, and yet there is a marvelous anticipation of all that is yet to be discovered! At the same time, I am deeply humbled and privileged to have been chosen as your new President, and I step into this role with profound gratitude for the work of my predecessors.
I want to honor and recognize the incredible work of Dr. Jannett Jackson. She accomplished so much in this past year to address some critical objectives: greater transparency, examination of our participatory governance process, investment in professional development, a commitment to our comprehensive redesign, and the successful completion of the accreditation process.
Let me assure you, my support of these and other active initiatives will continue, and I want to thank those of you who have participated and contributed in furthering these goals during this past year.
I have spent a very busy month of July visiting with my executive team, meeting classified leadership and faculty leadership, getting to know Chancellor Claire and his cabinet, meeting the Board of Trustees, and relocating from Santa Barbara to the Bay Area! This is a remarkable college community, rich with opportunity and talent, which means you made the absolute right decision to join the Skyline College family – whether you are a student or employee. Every person I have met at Skyline College is incredibly knowledgeable with prodigious expertise, dedicated, has a strong work ethic and a passion to focus on students, to help, to serve, and elevate student success. What an amazing college!
I bring to Skyline College a vision to ignite a spirit of authentic collaboration. While we center everything we do around a “students first” philosophy, I intend to unite us in building a much sturdier foundation of trust and lasting relationships, so that we can work better together, and free ourselves to truly empower and transform students, and allow us to focus more keenly on our key initiatives to bring about student success.
I share Skyline College’s core values and goals, and this year, bring a focus on listening from the heart, caring for others, and an emphasis on connecting with each other given the challenges we face today.
This year, we embark on a new chapter, as we come off the heels of our 50th Anniversary, and enter our second half century with the enormous and unprecedented challenge of a pandemic. We will be shaped, in part, by this health crisis, and learn lessons we never imagined. This “new normal” of remote interaction wears thin at times, I know. We need to press on regardless and lift each other up when we feel discouraged. The occasional live, yet virtual, interaction is important to feel and stay connected. We would be lost without virtual meetings, so hang in there!
We will continue to address the deep injustices facing our communities of color, and have made staunch commitments and taken firm action to dismantle racism in our college structures and practices, to ensure that our black students and colleagues can be safe at Skyline College, and pursue their college and career dreams. Skyline College uniquely sets the example in our District, in the State, and across the nation, with its innovative and disruptive approaches to inculcate anti-racist practices in everything we do. I am so proud of this resilient determination and join you in this effort with humility. I commit to you, as a strong ally, to use my position of power and privilege to support anti-racist actions and changes across our structures and classrooms, as we continue the work to reach our most minoritized students, and lift barriers to their success.
I am looking forward to the year before us, and have observed a few key areas in need of focus this year:
- We will be working to build trust and caring relationships across the college. I have spoken to so many who feel trust has been lost, and yet everyone is fully on board to work on this and support this effort;
- We will continue the work already started to create a stronger commitment to transparency and shared decision-making. I think of participatory governance as a way to hear and consider all voices before major college decisions are made. We don’t have to agree necessarily, but we all want to be heard and feel our point of view has been genuinely considered. We will infuse participatory governance into our decision-making practices across the college.
- Finally, we will continue to dismantle institutional practices that interrupt our anti-racism efforts. We will continue to examine our hiring practices, our curriculum, our pedagogies, our meeting practices, and seek to change how we do business and teach in the classroom, to ensure we stay true to our commitment to be an anti-racist institution. We will also continue our practice of offering caring spaces to our communities of color who continue to be harmed by current events. We will integrate allyship training to develop a daily practice of de-centering the privileged voice and amplify the voices of the oppressed.
Because this pandemic is so persistent, look for a series of virtual meet and greet opportunities with me throughout the fall semester. I want us to get to know each other, even if through a screen.
I hope you all have a successful semester, despite these trying times. And, in the spirit of authentic collaboration, I am here to support you, serve you, and work with you throughout the year.
Dr. Melissa Moreno
President of Skyline College