Winter Quarter 2014

Jan. 10, 2014

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that both the New Year and new quarter are off to an excellent start for you. As always, it has been wonderful to welcome students back to campus. Our enrollment, however, remains down, and we're actively examining potential reasons and ways to best address the issues.

The governor's proposed state budget bodes well in terms of our being able to focus on moving the college forward, rather than enduring the human cost of budget reductions and spending our time and energy on cuts. As ever, there is much that demands our attention. Closing the achievement gap, and pursuing all areas of equity, are core values of the college that will be in sharp focus as divisions and departments update their equity plans this winter and spring. It is also good news that the governor’s budget contains resources explicitly devoted to closing the equity gap, and we will make sure we get our share of the funds to further expand this work.

Also in progress is planning for the implementation of the state-mandated Student Success Act. This is the important work of the college's Student Success & Support Programs (3SP) Committee, chaired by Vice President of Student Services Stacey Cook and Associate Vice President of Instruction Rowena Tomaneng. The group's charge is to develop, per the law passed last year, revamped plans for assessment, orientation, counseling/advising, and the evaluation of student progress. The committee will present the draft plans to governance groups in the spring.

As you know from Chancellor Linda Thor, the district has been awarded a grant of almost $17 million for a statewide online educational initiative to streamline the provision and delivery of online courses. It is critical that student equity and student success are key components of the initiative. Please join Chancellor Thor and Vice Chancellor of Technology Joe Moreau for a town hall meeting at which they will provide an overview of the grant, describe next steps and answer questions. The town hall will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23, in Conference Rooms A&B.

Finally, great news to start the year: A wonderfully generous community member, Margaret Butcher, has given a $1 million donation to our California History Center. The gift will fund, in memory of Margaret's mother, the Audrey Edna Butcher Civil Liberties Education Initiative. An area schoolteacher during World War II, Audrey Butcher was deeply appalled and affected by the internment of Japanese American community members. She worked her entire life to enlighten her students and others about the crucial importance of civil liberties, so egregiously violated by the internment. This gift will both fund projects to build upon her legacy, teaching De Anza students and the community about civil liberties and responses to past and current challenges, and help ensure the ongoing operation and long-term sustainability of the CHC. Please mark Wednesday, Feb. 19, to attend the annual Day of Remembrance event from 1:30-3 p.m. in Conference Rooms A&B. A reception following in the CHC from 3:30-5 will honor Margaret Butcher for her donation, while showcasing student art and projects in civil liberties and human rights.

Best wishes for a productive and fulfilling winter quarter.

Brian Murphy

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