Monthly Archives: October 2013

Skyline Shines through Accreditation!

Skyline College just completed the external site team visit portion of the accreditation process which included more than 50 interviews with more than 100 people over the course of four days. The Self-Evaluation Report was reviewed along with hundreds of documents, manuals and links to demonstrate that Skyline College meets the standards set forth by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). At the end of the visit, the visiting team held an exit interview where the team chair gave a closing oral report to provide the college with a summary of the preliminary findings in the form of an overview. The work of the visiting team is a major part of the work that the commission considers in the development of the final report. Only the commission approved report is final and we will be receiving that report in January 2014.

The major purpose of the work was to determine whether Skyline College meets the standards set forth by ACCJC and to evaluate how well we achieve our stated purpose (the mission statement). The team is also required to review the activities related to the district offices, their functions and the board of trustees. The team chair expressed that the committee was very impressed with Skyline College and gave special thanks to Theresa Tentes and Sarah Perkins, Food Services (Pacific Dining), the IT staff, the facilities crew, Public Safety and the Distance Education Staff.

The team will recommend that the district develop an evaluation of the services provided and that the District make improvements in the professional development of the trustees. The team recognized and commended the district on the solid and stable long range financial planning and foresight that allowed the district to weather the economic challenges faced by many in the state of California. Of note, the team included in the commendation the foresight to pass the parcel tax, build faculty and staff housing and become a community supported district.

The team recognized the hard work of the Performance Evaluation Task Force, working to modify the evaluation process to include student learning outcomes. The team recommends that we work collectively to implement the new processes. The team indicated that they were “so impressed” with what we do.

The team commended the college on:

• The morale and enthusiasm which is “palpable and infectious.”

• Our commitment to learning and the civility and respect they had the opportunity to observe.

• The students first environment and our shared vision of social justice, integrity, diversity and access.

• Its spirit of innovation, creativity – noting such programs as SparkPoint, CTTL, Learning Communities, Boot-Up for New Faculty amongst many.

The entire campus, administration, faculty, staff, and student leadership were all commended for our compassion and sincere valuing of the diverse life experiences at our college. The team chair also took a moment to recognize the leadership of the president, “Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud, for her visionary leadership…..This is a fabulous, fabulous college and a great part is due to your visionary leadership.”

The team made suggestions and recommendations including:

• Provide a crosswalk or alignment chart from the plans to the standards.

• Develop a systematic assessment of resource and allocation cycle

• Ensure all Distance Ed classes have regular and substantive contact with students

• Adhere to the schedule of regular performance evaluations for part-time faculty.

The team chair closed the meeting by restating how wonderful the college is and how special the experience has been for the team. “Your culture and your spirit has touched us all. Your students and your community are very, very fortunate to have a true jewel of the community college system here in San Bruno. I want to thank you Skyline College; I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. And this concludes my closing report.” With those comments, the team left the room and the attendees took just a brief moment to congratulate ourselves on a job very well done.

As the president of the college, I would like to take a point of personal privilege and thank all of the faculty, staff, students and community members who were involved in the preparation of the report and in the execution of the visit. You all are amazing and I am quite humbled to have the honor of working with you for this college, for these students and for our community. Thanks to the Accreditation Co-Chairs, Donna Bestock and Christine Roumbanis. You led the way to an exceptionally well executed process. Thanks to Dennis Wolbers and Christine Themoleas for managing the evidence for the self-evaluation. Thanks to Nancy Kaplan-Biegel for editing and essentially, perfecting the report. Thanks to the accreditation steering committee for their leadership in the writing process. Thanks to Dr. Gina Rosabal who provided consultation and writing expertise to help us amass an impressive set of integrated plans and manuals that is more impressive than we could have imagined. Thanks to Kayla Razavi, ASSC President, Leigh Anne Shaw, Academic Senate President and Linda Allen, Classified Senate President for their leadership and support in responding to the standards, ushering the various plans through the processes and calling on the faculty, staff and students to be engaged. Thanks to the faculty, staff, students and district staff on the standard committees. Thanks to Chancellor Galatolo, Deputy Chancellor Jim Keller, Vice Chancellor Tom Bauer, Vice Chancellor Harry Joel, Vice Chancellor Jose Nuñez, Vice Chancellor Jing Luan, Vice Chancellor Kathy Blackwood, Chief Information Technology Officer Frank Vaskelis, Director Barbara Christensen, and the entire District team for the unconditional support and engagement we received during this process and always. Thanks to Katie Beverly, the staff in the Skyline College Reprographics Department, Kevin Chak and the staff in the Bookstore for the production of a beautiful set of documents and for being at the ready to do whatever was necessary to have a successful visit. Finally, thanks to Dr. Sarah Perkins for her leadership and guidance as the Accreditation Liaison Officer and to the staff in the Office of Instruction and the Instructional Leadership Team for putting forth stellar work before and during the visit.

During the visit, Theresa Tentes was stellar in managing all of the logistics and ensuring that team had appropriate accommodations. I want to add my thanks to all of the third floor staff for their tireless work to support the team, the administration, faculty and staff and the process. Thanks to Rick McMahon, Hector and all of the Pacific Dining staff for the exceptional job you did in serving our guest. Three community members, Michele Enriquez-Da Silva, Jessica Evans and Carolyn Livengood took the time to meet with the team and really made a clear impression of commitment to and support for the college. “I love this college” is the way Carolyn Livengood closed her statement. The Food Service staff, Public safety, Information Technology staff, the faculty and Jim Petromilli and the staff of the Center for Teaching and Learning, Facilities and grounds crew helped us show our best face.

The team made complementary statements about the website during the entire visit. Thanks to Cherie Colin, and the Marketing, Communications, Public Relations department for the great work to give us a great website and for helping us put forth a coherent and professional image for Skyline College (and yes, Keisha Ford provided an impressive tour for the team). The Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness faculty and staff, Dr. David Ulate, Katie Galvin, Karen Wong and Anjelica Gacutan were outstanding in ensuring all of the plans, data, manuals/handbooks were at the ready. Thanks to Dr. Joi Blake and the Student Services Leadership Team, you really helped us shine. Team members commented on the great work being done in student services. Vice President Eloisa Briones and the administrative services staff impressed the team members with the comprehensive and transparent budget processes. Finally, the faculty, staff and student leadership did a superb job of showing just how collegially we work together to serve our students and community.

The team chair indicated that we have a true jewel of the community college system……yes, that confirms it….like most jewels, Skyline College really does shine!

Article By Regina Stanback Stroud.


Coming Up….

Friday, October 18, 2013

  • 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Theater Club Meeting, Skyline College, Theater
  • 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Runners Club Meeting, Building 3, Gym #3200 1st floor in the Lobby.
  • 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., TRiO Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 5, Room 5115
  • 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Anthropology Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 1, Room 1250
  • 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m., Stigma & Mental Illness Panel Discussion, Skyline College, Building 4, Room 4180
  • 1:00 p.m.- 2:00 p.m., LASO Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 4, Room 4240A
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 7, Room  7304
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 7, Room  7304
  • 1:00 p.m., Women’s Soccer vs. De Anza College (DH), Skyline College
  • 3:00 p.m., Men’s Soccer vs. Monterey Pen. College (DH), Skyline College
  • 6:30 p.m., Women’s Volleyball vs. Chabot College, Hayward
  • 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Skyline College Concert Band Performance, Skyline College, Theater


Saturday, October 19, 2013

  • 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., Ceramics Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 1, Room 1-1103
  • 10:00 a.m., Wrestling Team, North Dual Meet, Santa Rosa


Monday, October 21, 2013

  • 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., External evaluation visit team for accreditation, Skyline College
  • 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Transfer Day Fair, Skyline College, Building 6, Dining Hall
  • 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., The Learning Center Workshop – College Success 1, Taking Personal Responsibility, Skyline College, Building 5, Room 5115
  • 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Transfer Center – UC Santa Barbara Rep Visit, Skyline College, Transfer Center – Building 2, Room 2227


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

  • 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., External evaluation visit team for accreditation, Skyline College
  • 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., The Learning Center Workshop – Free Internet Resources for Math Success, Skyline College, Building 5, Room 5115
  • 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Transfer Center, California Dream Act for Transfer/AB 540 Students, Skyline College, Building 2, Room 2117A
  • 2:00 p.m., Women’s Soccer vs. Hartnell College, Skyline College
  • 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., ASSC Meeting, Skyline College, Building 6, Room 6202-4
  • 7:00 p.m., Men’s Soccer vs. Cabrillo College, Aptos
  • 11:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., The Learning Center Workshop – College Success 2: Strengthening Self-Esteem, Skyline College, Building 5, Room 5115


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

  • 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., External evaluation visit team for accreditation, Skyline College
  • 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m., Women In Transition Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 2, Room 2307
  • 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., The Learning Center Workshop – College Success 3: Maximizing Your Time, Skyline College, Building 5, Room 5115
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., FREE English Conversation/Pronunciation Workshops, Skyline College, Bldg. 1, Room 1218
  • 12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m., The Learning Center Workshop – Doing Research to Prove an Argument, Skyline College, Building 5, Room 5115
  • 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., The Learning Center Workshop – Doing Research to Prove an Argument, Skyline College, Building 5, Room 5115
  • 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., The Learning Center Workshop – Doing Research to Prove an Argument, Skyline College, Building 5, Room 5115
  • 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Science Lecture Series, Skyline College, Building 7, Room 7106
  • 6:30 p.m., Women’s Volleyball vs. Gavilan College, Gilroy


Thursday, October 24, 2013

  • 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., External evaluation visit team for accreditation, Skyline College
  • 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., UC Berkeley Representative Visit, Skyline College, Transfer Center – Building 2, Room 2227
  • 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., The Learning Center Workshop – College Success 4: Teamwork & Interdependency, Skyline College, Building 5, Room 5115
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Skyline Auto Tech Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 8, Room 8204
  • 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Enactus Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 1, RM. 1311 or Building 4, RM. 4132
  • 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., Society of Asian Scientist & Engineers Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 6, Room 6205
  • 2:00 p.m. – 3:00., Veterans Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 2, Room 2307
  • 3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Dance Honors Society Club Meetings, Skyline College, Building 3, Room 3201
  • 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., The Black Student Union Meeting, Skyline College, Building 4, Room 4180


Friday, October 25, 2013

  • 11:10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Stigma & Mental Illness – Strategies to Reduce Stigma, Skyline College, Building 4, Room 4180
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., LASO Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 4, Room 4240A
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Club Meeting, Skyline College, Building 7, Room 7304
  • 2:00 p.m., Women’s Soccer vs. Canada College, Skyline College
  • 4:00 p.m., Men’s Soccer vs. Hartnell College, Salinas


Saturday, October 26, 2013

  • 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services – Mental Health First Aid Workshop, Skyline College, Building 6, 2nd floor


For the latest information on events and activities happening at Skyline College, please view our calendar at the following link:

If you would like to include your college event or activity on the calendar, please submit the event, date, time and location to Cherie M. Napier via email at





Institutional Planning Committee Update

Skyline College’s Institutional Planning Committee (IPC) held its second meeting of the year on Wednesday, October 9, 2013. Prior to the meeting, committee members received copies of the Comprehensive Diversity Framework draft for their review. At the meeting, the IPC engaged in a thorough discussion about the document, provided important feedback, and voted to recommend the document be forwarded to the College Governance Council. Other agenda items discussed were the accreditation quick guide, the task force on student success initiative, the administrative leadership and unit reviews, and the Balanced Scorecard. With regards to the Balanced Scorecard, the IPC reviewed the documents and discussed the process they will undergo to take a comprehensive look at the Scorecard and make sure it continues to be an effective instrument to measure institutional effectiveness. All suggestions regarding the Balanced Scorecard are welcome. Feel free to speak with your IPC representative to make sure they have your input!

Article by David Ulate.


CITD Executive Briefing with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)

BACITD2012On September 26, 2013, Skyline College’s Center for International Trade Development (CITD), in collaboration with the US Export Assistance Center–San Francisco, hosted its latest Executive Briefing between the African Business Roundtable and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Held in San Francisco, the briefing featured a presentation and discussion with Dr. Lawrence Spinelli, Director of Outreach and Public Affairs for OPIC. Dr. Spinelli provided details on how OPIC can better support US businesses as they conduct business in Africa-specifically in sectors such as energy, sustainability, the environment, and water.

The African Business Roundtable is a collaborative effort between the Skyline College CITD and the US Export Assistant Center–San Francisco. The vision of the African Business Roundtable is to:

  • Create a conducive environment to further economic development between African countries and California/the US Pacific RegionOPIC
  • Familiarize African leaders/nations with the diverse technology, financial/investment and multiple industry sectors of California. Current industry sectors of focus are: Energy, Environmental/Water Technology, Medical/Healthcare, ICT and ACE/Green Construction
  • Attract more African Trade and Investment opportunities to California
  • Create and prepare a focused-group of California-based companies to target trade and projects in African countries
  • Assist in globalizing the Skyline College campus via international partnerships

For more information on the African Business Roundtable, please contact Allison Mello at

Article by CITD Intern, Elizabeth Tablan.


Women in Transition (WIT) Empowers Students at Skyline College

IMG_5420A college campus may be a frightening place to a new student. At Skyline College for nearly 40 years, the Women in Transition (WIT) Program has been helping women, men, and members of the LGBTQ community make the transition back into an academic environment a little smoother and less intimidating so students can make constructive and informed decisions about their futures.

It is WIT’s philosophy that central to a student’s success is a comprehensive academic and social support system that extends from pre-orientation through graduation. To that end, The Women in Transition Program combines the rigors of an academic program with an integrated support network that help women persist and succeed.

The program provides academic and social support to help women succeed by providing pre-registration counseling, career and life planning courses, WIT seminars, core WIT courses in English, History and Math, information on transferability coursework and job placement. WIT provides support from orientation until graduation.

Moreover, the demographics of California are fluid, and as we enter the 21st century, the Women in Transition Program continues to redefine itself to meet the challenge of these changing demographics. Whether you are a re-entry student with a few college courses under your belt, a first-generation college student, or trying to become self-sufficient and learn new skills, the Women In Transition Program can assist you.

Melody Glines, a second year student at Skyline College and member of WIT, said, “I have been with WIT since the beginning and I would have been completely lost without it. The help, resources, and support for people like me floundering out there are a godsend. Additionally, Lori Slicton is the best as she has great ideas, listens and values our input.”IMG_5415

Kalyn Edwards, and Anthropology major, pointed to the value of WIT in her life, “I have been very fortunate to meet some amazing women and life-long friends from the WIT program and club. WIT has been a great support system for me as a returning older student. We not only study together and tutor one another, but we support one another on a personal level and when life gets tough, we’re there for one another.”

Lauren Tanedo, second year student and Psychology major, motivated by her female peers and by WIT Coordinator, Professor Lori Slicton, said, “I have been inspired to join WIT by the women around me. When Professor Slicton found out that I was returning to school after a lengthy absence, she recommended WIT to me so I could get acclimated to Skyline College. Through this first introduction, I have met many other women who are re-entry students, or first-time students. Most of these ladies are in the same boat as me–working and going to school. Finding and connecting with other non-traditional students really helped make me feel more confident about school. I felt so much better after meeting people who have had to overcome many of the same obstacles as I have.“

Jill Sellars added her sentiments on the impact that Professor Lori Slicton makes to Skyline College, “Lori Slicton really has a unique ability to identify women who might be prevented from going to school, who have been disempowered, and advocates for and inspires them to enroll in college. Lori is an advocate for empowering women and keeps us together and focused; without her, I am positive all of us wouldn’t be here. And now WIT students are utilizing the skills that Lori has modeled: identifying women under stress and advocating for communities of learning.”

IMG_5412WIT is a valuable resource on campus and steadfastly applies the Mission and Values of Skyline College: To empower and transform a global community of learners.

Please drop by WIT’s club meetings every Wednesday from 10am-11am in room 2307 to find out more about the power of women in transition.

WIT is located in the Women’s Center in building 2, room 2307, and is open daily for students to drop in. The Women’s Center is staffed over 30 hours each week.

Please contact Professor Lori Slicton, WIT Coordinator, or call her at (650) 738-4157 to set up a get-acquainted appointment.

Article by John Saenz and Bing Lei.



Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County Trains SparkPoint Staff on Immigration and Public Benefits

LegalAidSparkPoint Financial Coaches and Student Benefits Ambassadors with the Benefits Access for College Completion (BACC) project work with students and community members to connect them to public benefits as a way to further their educational and financial goals. However, public benefits can sometimes pose a special concern for immigrants. In order to improve our work with our students and community members, SparkPoint at Skyline College partners with San Mateo County Legal Aid Society’s Bettina Rodriguez Schlegel, a specialist in public benefits and immigration to present a training on August 8, 2013.

Ms. Rodriguez Schlegel, leads a project called LIBRE (Linking Immigrants to Benefits, Resources and Education), which seeks to educate immigrants about public benefits and to advocate on their behalf. Ms. Rodriguez Schlegel spoke to a packed room of SparkPoint staff and community partners on common myths and mischaracterizations about public benefits that exist in the immigrant community. She also detailed which public benefit programs raise a public charge concern for immigrants who are considering applying for benefits. At the end of her presentation, Ms. Rodriguez Schlegel explained how SparkPoint financial coaches and the BACC team can refer students and community members who would like a consultation with an attorney about public benefits.

For more information about SparkPoint and the BACC project, please visit the SparkPoint website at or come visit us in Building 1, Room 1214.

Article by Josh Jubelirer.

Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society

C4The Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society is the largest honor society in American higher education. The officers of the Skyline College chapter, Beta Theta Omicron, have been all over campus this semester, encouraging students to commit to complete their college education. Officers, including current Chapter President Elizabeth Gochez, invite all students to sign the Commit to Complete pledge (below), and hundreds of Skyline College students have signed the Commit to Complete banner thus far. Signing activities include a “graduation” photo opportunity with Skyline College President Dr. Stanback Stroud, to provide a memory of their goal.

The purpose of the pledge is to provide all students the opportunity to set, maintain, and achieve a goal, all while facilitating a higher completion success rate for Skyline College’s student population. The Commit to Complete banner and our ‘Dr. Stanback Stroud’ were most recently available at Club Rush.

Anyone interested in more information about Beta Theta Omicron or the Commit to Complete pledge should visit the Beta Theta Omicron webpage.

Student Pledge

  • I commit to planning for college completion.
  • I commit to discussing career planning with college instructors and staff.
  • I commit to seeking advisement on course selection to ensure timely college completion.
  • I commit to learning about and using college support networks and resources aiding college completion.
  • I commit to serving as a role model by attending classes, being prepared, and participating in discussions with instructors and students inside and outside of class.
  • I commit to reaching out to students in need by encouraging, nurturing, and guiding them toward college completion.
  • I commit to helping at least one other student succeed.

Article by Christine Case.


Professional Development for Staff Throughout the Regional SparkPoint Initiative

ProdevOn September 30, 2013, SparkPoint at Skyline College attended the quarterly Operations Learning Circle at SparkPoint San Francisco Plaza Adelante. The group of about 15 people consisted of staff from United Way of the Bay Area (UWBA), SparkPoint San Francisco, SparkPoint Fremont, SparkPoint Contra Costa, SparkPoint Richmond, SparkPoint Marin, and SparkPoint at Skyline College. This work group meets each quarter at different SparkPoint locations to review effective practices for each center. During this meeting, each center described actionable strategies their centers had implemented to increase client retention and follow-ups, and shared what was working best for their center. SparkPoint at Skyline was ‘spotlighted’ this meeting and Josh Jubilirer, SparkPoint at Skyline’s AmeriCorps Vista, described SparkPoint Skyline Colleges new process for clients and briefly described initial findings from a client focus group that included strategies for engaging clients effectively. Then a break-out session was lead by UWBA, where discussions on increasing each centers long term goals took place. The meeting concluded with a tour of SparkPoint San Francisco Plaza Adelante. SparkPoint at Skyline College would like to thank United Way of the Bay area for leading this meeting and the staff at SparkPoint at San Francisco for hosting.

Article and Photo by Julie Lamson.

New Mexico’s San Juan College Visits SparkPoint at Skyline College

San Juan College Site Visit to SPSCThe Kellogg Foundation has awarded a planning grant to New Mexico’s San Juan College (SJC) to develop and implement a program based on the model for SparkPoint at Skyline College (developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation called the Centers for Working Families).

The visiting team included: Sara Kaynor, director of ECHO (Economic Council Helping Others); David Eppich, Vice President Student Services; Dr. Barbara Ake, Vice President Learning, Laurie Gruel, Senior Director, Institutional Research, Planning; Mabel Gonzalez, Director of ENLACE, Christy Ferrato, Director of Counseling and Advising; and Betti Souther, Coordinator of the Center for Working Families Planning Grant San Juan College. San Juan College hopes that planning will result in the launch of Center for Working Families (CWF) for students to access a range of economic supports to help them and their families achieve their educational and economic goals. To achieve this goal, SJC will ensure that stakeholders understand and commit to the CWF model and submit an implementation plan approved by the President’s Administrative Cabinet.

The SJC Planning Team chose SparkPoint at Skyline College as a model site for their planning grant to explore effective strategies for program planning and implementation, and identify strategies for building an expansive network of partnerships to round out the services and resources required by the model (click here to see the Program Logic Model for SparkPoint at Skyline College). Throughout the day-long site visit, Skyline College put its usual best foot forward with the help of partners from the United Way of the Bay Area (Ena Yasuhara Li) and San Mateo Credit Union (Michele Enriquez-Da Silva). A fun lunchtime with community partners included a Rock the School Bells Showcase to illustrate SparkPoint’s outreach into the community. Thanks to everyone here who supported the event including: President Stanback Stroud, Vice President of Student Services Joi Lin Blake, Vice President of Instruction Sarah Perkins, Dean of Enrollment John Mosby, Interim Dean of Counseling Nohel Corral, Financial Analyst Barbara Lamson, Executive Assistant Theresa Tentes, Events Coordinator Linda Bertellotti, Counselor Nate Nevado, and SparkPoint’s Adolfo Leiva, Melanie Espinueva, Julie Lamson, Heather Smith, Josh Jubelirer, Julie Brewer, Glenda Benavides, Dennis Mitchell, as well as Pacific Dining. For more information about SparkPoint at Skyline College and our efforts to disseminate our work, please contact Dr. William Watson at 650-738-7035,

Article by William Watson.


Benefits Access for College Completion (BACC) Team Visits Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio

Heather Roundtable PictureThe Benefits Access for College Completion (BACC) team, consisting of the SparkPoint Director, William Watson, Financial Aid Director Regina Morrison, Research Analyst Katie Galvin, and BACC Assistant Project Director Heather Smith, attended the national cross-site convening at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio from October 7th through October 9th. Six of the seven colleges involved in the national pilot project attended the conference to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Reflect and learn from our successes and challenges since the beginning of the project in July 2012;
  • Gain tools and resources to build a model for continuously improving our processes, including using different kinds of data to inform these improvements;
  • Identify strategies and approaches that will strengthen and sustain benefits access on our campus

The two day conference commenced with a welcome dinner during which Skyline College’s BACC team had the privilege of reconnecting with its counterparts in other states, as well as Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) grant administrators. The next day of the convening consisted of a series of workshops and plenary sessions, which focused on findings from the evaluation team, and sharing of best practices among the colleges. BACC Assistant Project Director, Heather Smith, reported out to the group on her role as the coordinator of the project on campus. The afternoon consisted of peer learning sessions during which Heather shared best practices around working with county agencies to obtain data and improve benefits access results.

The second day of the convening began with a panel session highlighting the hosting college’s use of interns and student workers, and integration of BACC screening and application assistance into financial aid operations. The next part of the conference focused on self-assessments by each college on seven benefits access functions. This provided Skyline College’s BACC team with an opportunity to reflect on its strengths and areas of improvement in connecting eligible students on campus to public benefits, which we anticipate will contribute to an increase in success, retention and completion. Next, funders shared lessons they learned from observing the work of the seven BACC colleges over the course of one year and three months. The convening ended with a planning session during which our team identified four specific strategies we committed to implementing upon our return to California.

For more information visit the Benefits Access for College Completion (BACC) page. If you would like to speak to someone on campus, please contact Heather Smith at (650) 738-4240.

Article by Heather Smith, Photo by Dr. William Watson.