Welcome Back + Key Topics

Jan. 9, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Happy New Year, and welcome back to campus after a well-deserved holiday break with family and friends. I’m happy to see our students back, and the campus renewed with their energy.

Thanks, as always, to the terrific folks in Custodial and Grounds, whose work makes the campus look welcoming and clean regardless of the weather. Thanks, as well, to classified professionals in Admissions and Records, the Bookstore, the divisions, and across the college who worked to prepare for our students’ arrival.

There are several topics at the forefront as we begin 2018 at De Anza. Our enrollment continues to be soft, and this is not good news. For every 1,000 full-time equivalent students we lose, there is a subsequent loss of $5 million in state funding in the following year. I ask that our faculty colleagues, in particular, reach out to students during these first weeks and urge them to add classes -- and encourage their friends to enroll. A special thank you to our faculty members who continue to add students during the first two weeks of the quarter.

The recent decline in enrollment has led to the budget reductions we must make: at least $5 million over the next three years. Using target figures approved by College Council, the planning and budget teams will do their careful work over the next several months, and we will bring forward a budget plan by May. We will honor our pledge of no layoffs this academic year, but, sadly, have already lost valuable part-time faculty colleagues due to low-enrolled courses. We will continue to do everything we can to increase our enrollment for spring quarter and next academic year.

All of this takes place with the national political instability as a constant backdrop. The effects of the new federal tax law on California have yet to be fully assessed, but we anticipate significant policy debates over state-funded programs and state revenues in light of several of the law’s provisions. We will track this closely.

We are also monitoring the status of the DACA program, which remains unresolved. We are well aware of the anxiety this creates for our DACA students, their families, and well beyond, and believe that this fear has caused some of our students not to return to De Anza. Beyond the specifics of DACA, the newly emboldened voices of white supremacy and nationalism cause students of all races and backgrounds to fear for themselves and their families. We need to be mindful of the impact this anxiety is having on our students, talk about the issues, and support each other, in a time when a self-avowed “very stable genius” boasts about the nuclear button.

All of that said, we are caught between our necessary interest in the fate of the nation and the day-to-day joys and obligations of actually engaging young people, teaching classes, providing student services, taking the time to work with each student to be and do well. I wish you a great quarter, whatever the dust and turmoil surrounding us. It’s good to be back.

Brian Murphy

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