End of Spring Quarter

June 23, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

It’s that time again: the end of yet another academic year. Our students are now smiling – and sighing with relief – as they complete final exams, with commencement and summer on the horizon.

I want to express my deep appreciation for all the wonderful work you do. When Second Lady Jill Biden – herself a community college instructor – visited the campus, she was impressed to learn that our completion rate was 30 percentage points above the national average. Our national reputation reflects our local standing: Students want to come here, and they are successful when they do.

The event with Dr. Biden was very small, at the request of the White House, but she was able to meet with a number of our students in an informal and lively session. You can see a short video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xq9k0uLOIM.

Thank you for your work with the many programs that contribute to the success of our students, engaging us all in a community of equity and inclusion. Our institutional and personal commitment to student equity, the belief that De Anza can welcome the wide diversity of students, that we can stand for social justice, are hallmarks of this college. During a time when violence frames the experience of too many Americans, we have taken the time to reflect on our own responsibility to step up against racism and inequality. The campus will continue to be a place where we can have tough conversations about these and other issues, and take action.

In addition to this work, this has been a good year for the college in terms of the budget, as we slowly rebuild after five years of reductions and the painful loss of positions. State funding – both general and categorical – has increased (although we are aware of the call on some of these funds for additional district PERS and STRS contributions). We are slowly adding new positions. We have responded to new state requirements for formal Equity and Student Success plans, and have successfully completed a new college Educational Master Plan. Enrollment has been stable, as all of you have worked to encourage students to attend, persist and succeed.

When De Anza was recently ranked number one among large community colleges in the state in transfer and course success rates, I heard from colleagues nationwide, wondering how we manage to do it. My answer is simple: We have the finest faculty and professional staff I have ever worked with, and we have wonderful students who engage deeply in their own educations. Our mutual dependency on the work and commitment of each other defines our community.

I hope to see you on Saturday at commencement to celebrate the successes of our students. As a reminder, details are here: www.deanza.edu/graduation/.  Thank you all.

Best wishes,

Brian Murphy

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