Welcome to Fall Quarter 2008

September 23, 2008

Dear Colleagues,

I trust that the first week of fall quarter is going well for you. As I walk around campus, I see students being served with typical dedication, care and efficiency at Admissions & Records, the Bookstore, Dining Services and in all of our courses. The classrooms and grounds were wonderfully prepared by our staff, and I know our students feel very welcome.

Once again, we have more students on campus. As of yesterday, we have an increase of more than 6% in headcount and 8% in WSCH. This reflects a growing understanding among young people of the importance of education in their lives and their communities. Meanwhile, the state can barely contrive its own budget and the country reels from the near-collapse of its financial markets. These are the contradictions with which we begin the quarter, and the effects of a worsening job market and housing crisis are immediate and real in the lives of many of our students, and perhaps among some of our colleagues as well. Now is the time for us to be understanding and supportive, even as we immediately engage our students in the classes and programs that drew them to us.

Budget: After a record delay, the Legislature agreed to a state budget and the governor signed the document this morning. It has no long-term plan for balancing revenues and expenditures, but at least we finally have a base of state funding from which we can operate, funding growth at 2%, a very modest COLA of .68%, a partial property tax backfill, and maintenance of categorical funding and student fees. De Anza has one-time dollars with which we can meet our obligations this year and continue our strategic initiatives (Outreach, Retention, Cultural Competence and Community Collaborations). But we share with Foothill College the need to plan carefully over the next two years as the one-time dollars shrink and the long-term gap grows between what it costs us to deliver education and what the state is willing to fund. To learn more about the state budget, see the excellent Web site of the California Budget Project at www.cbp.org

Interim Appointments, Reorganization and Administrative Searches: I am delighted that Dean of Academic Services Christina Espinosa-Pieb has accepted the position of interim vice president of Instruction, a post she held during the 2003-04 academic year. Christina brings a thorough knowledge of our many programs and projects, in both Instruction and Student Services, and a deep commitment to the academic excellence and innovation that marks our college.

As part of the reorganization discussed by college governance groups last year, the dean of Academic Services position has been reclassified as an associate vice president. This interim role will be filled by Language Arts instructor Lydia Hearn, who last year served as interim dean of Language Arts. Lydia will be particularly focused on the creation of the new division of Learning Resources--another outcome of our reorganization discussions--in which the college will bring together the efforts of the Library, Distance Learning and the Student Success programs to continue the work of the faculty and staff who have made academic support programs a hallmark of excellence at De Anza. The search for the dean of that division will be opened soon.

Another key element of reorganization is the reclassification of the director of College Services position, held by Donna Jones-Dulin, as associate vice president of College Operations. Both reclassifications to AVP reflect the level of collegewide responsibility and breadth of duties the positions encompass.
The broader area of which Donna and her team are an integral part--Finance & College Services, led by Vice President Jeanine Hawk--has been renamed Educational Resources & College Operations, at the urging and agreement of the staff and managers. The new name reflects the essential services the team provides to students and the college.

In other news, we have renewed our searches for permanent appointments to the positions of vice president of Instruction and vice president of Student Services, and hope to announce those appointments by the end of the quarter.
Youth Vote 2008: I hope you enjoyed our interactive Opening Day presentation, "What's at Stake? Youth Vote 2008," complete with clicker technology. The election is November 4. Despite good and encouraging increases in youth voter turnout in 2004, college students are among the lowest voting citizens in the country. Their knowledge of public issues is often weak, and they are often ignored by candidates. This fall, we will do everything we can to increase our students' access to information about issues and candidates, and ensure students are registered and that they vote.

As you will recall from Opening Day, the Institute of Community and Civic Engagement (ICCE) and others will sponsor a series of public discussions about issues, provide occasions for students to debate, encourage participation in electoral work (for whatever party or issue students choose, of course), facilitate voter registration before the October 21 deadline, and host a major election night event.

DASB, led by new President Terell Sterling, will host a mock election on October 27 and 28, in concert with dozens of community colleges around the state. This statewide event has been organized by our own student leadership in an effort to increase student awareness about the real election, and facilitate the involvement of those among our students who cannot vote in November.

Faculty are encouraged to prompt and manage conversations about issues and candidates in the seven weeks leading up to the election, to integrate election issues into courses when it is appropriate and where learning goals can be facilitated, and to encourage their students to register to vote. We have 5,000 voter registration forms on campus, and these will be available in division offices for all faculty who wish to devote time during class to voter registration. This work will be scrupulously non-partisan, and is in keeping with our civic responsibilities as a public institution.
Information will be available at www.deanza.edu/communityengagement and www.deanza.edu/eventscalendar. We will also publish a weekly bulletin with information about youth voter events.

Please see this week's edition of the Campus Memo for additional updates and good news about awards and accomplishments. Welcome to fall quarter!

Brian Murphy

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