Developmental Education Projects and Invitation

July 9, 2009

Dear Colleagues:

Welcome to summer quarter. In addition to the wonderful instruction and services we offer to students, summer also gives us the opportunity to plan for the future -- even in the midst of the budget madness in Sacramento.

On the budget, there is no news beyond what we already know: We face serious cuts over the next two years. When there are actual and concrete details -- and a new state budget is approved -- we will share those details with everyone.

But we cannot pause our planning in several critical areas. Basic skills courses and programs are a primary focus for us, with more than 80 percent of our students coming to us underprepared. We will be hosting a developmental skills planning retreat from noon to 5 p.m. next Thursday, July 16, in Campus Center Conference Room B, and I invite you to attend. Each of you is integral to the success of our students in these critical areas.

The central goals of the planning retreat are to develop the charge and composition of a task force that will address developmental education, student retention and student success over the next year, and to frame the topics the task force will address. You will be receiving a MeetingMaker invitation complete with the agenda.

In the basic skills self-assessment we conducted last year, with broad representation campuswide, two key themes emerged: first, the desire for clearer understanding of the various aspects of developmental education, and, second, the improved integration of resources for students at the developmental level. This integration includes an effective relationship between Instruction and Student Services. Christina Espinosa-Pieb is providing leadership as our permanent vice president of Instruction, and we are eagerly awaiting the search committee's recommendations of finalists for the position of vice president of Student Services. I hope you will attend the candidate forums scheduled for next week.

We are deeply fortunate to have received both federal Title III and state Basic Skills grants to help meet the developmental education needs of our students. The effective coordination of these two grants will be the responsibility of Interim Associate Vice President of Instruction Lydia Hearn, who will also work to integrate the component of the API grant that focuses on developmental education.

These efforts, as well as the work of governance groups such as the Instructional Planning & Budgeting Team, will allow for a deepening commitment to student retention and success, respond to the stated desire of faculty and staff to better integrate our basic skills resources, and leverage our fiscal assets as effectively as possible. This is especially critical when our resources will be under considerable strain as a result of the state budget reductions.

I encourage you to attend the developmental education planning retreat -- as well as the Student Services vice presidential candidate forums -- next week. Thank you.

Brian Murphy

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