Welcome to Fall 2011

September 19, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to fall quarter 2011.

Opening Days: We will gather for District Opening Day this Thursday, September 22, and then for College Opening Day on Friday, September 23. I look forward to publicly thanking those of you who have worked tirelessly to prepare the campus for the start of school, and to welcoming back those who are returning to the campus.

While typically the location for District Opening Day alternates between Foothill and De Anza, we will host the event for the second consecutive year, as Foothill's Smithwick Theatre is under renovation. Continental breakfast begins at 8 a.m. on Thursday in front of the Flint Center, with the program moving inside at 9 a.m. We will hear remarks from Chancellor Linda Thor and an update on the budget from Vice Chancellor of Business Services Kevin McElroy. Lunch is on our own, and Dining Services will be open with a partial menu. Division meetings begin at 1 p.m. You will be notified if your division has made different plans.

On Friday, College Opening Day begins with an informal breakfast at 8 a.m. outside the Campus Center. The program starts promptly at 9 a.m. in the Dining Area. We will welcome new colleagues and hear from our Academic, Classified and DASB Senate leaders. Vice President of Finance and Educational Resources Letha Jeanpierre and I will provide an overview of the budget and strategy for this coming year. A centerpiece will be discussion of accreditation and the Evaluation Team visit Monday, Oct. 24 through Thursday, Oct. 27. Dining Services will be open for lunch, and departmental meetings on outcomes assessment begin at 1 p.m. Once again, you will hear from your dean or director if plans differ.

Campus Construction: The campus will be ready for our students on Monday, following a remarkable period of work on multiple, intersecting construction projects witnessed by all of us on campus.

The center of the campus was a maze of fencing and trenching for several weeks during the completion of infrastructure and pathway projects, including important accessibility improvements. All pathways will be open for the beginning of school. Fencing will remain only around the Sunken Garden as work on the area of the Historic Corridor is completed (the renovation of the East Cottage was finished in June). Also close to completion is the installation of solar arrays on Parking Lots A and B, which will generate significant energy savings for the district. Both lots will be open for the beginning of school, followed by partial closures during the final phase of construction in October. There will be sufficient parking for all during these limited closures.

This construction has put a great deal of pressure on Educational Resources, especially our custodial and grounds staff, to ready the campus for the start of school. My special thanks to all involved in ensuring that De Anza is clean, beautiful and accessible to all.

Enrollment: We are offering a full schedule for fall, equivalent to what we provided last year, and are fortunate to have the one-time funds to do so. As of this writing, enrollment numbers are on target, which is critical. As you will recall hearing last year, the district must match 2010-2011 enrollment figures to avoid further cuts to our base funding.

We expect the usual crush of students next Monday, looking to get into courses, or just to find their classrooms. I urge everyone on campus to reach out to the new students, or to those who appear dazed and lost, as well as to those we welcome back. Each year we work together with our students to build a community, and we are delighted they are with us.

Finally, a note about the times we're in. These have been difficult budget years, punctuated by the state's seeming inability to honor its historic commitment to open access. Hundreds of thousands of Californians have lost opportunity, been denied education or forced into greater debt to attend school. We are not out of those woods, and the state and national politics offer little relief in sight. In these times I am heartened by the particular strength of this campus community, by the incredible commitment every single faculty member and classified professional brings to our students, and by the intelligence and ingenuity with which we continue our work. I am enormously proud of De Anza College, and proud to have you as my colleagues.

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday and Friday at Opening Days. Have a wonderful fall quarter.

Brian Murphy

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