Monthly Archives: May 2015

Honors Transfer Program Update

Skyline Honors Students Present at Stanford

ON May 2, 2015 six Skyline College honors students presented at the 8th annual community College Honors Research Symposium at Stanford University.  Skyline College is well represented with two faculty members on the Conference Committee, Joyce Lee and John Ulloa. The students attended the talks as well as had the opportunity to have a tour of the Stanford campus. Faculty Luciana Castro and Kathleen Feinblum acted as moderators for the sessions.  Dean Donna Bestock participated as a judge for the Heslet Award.  Find more pictures and a schedule for the Bay Honors Research Symposium on Facebook.

Student Presentations:

  • Wafa Zeidan presented “Evaluation of the Antimicrobial Activity of Rhodiola rosea
  • Elizabeth Vo-Phami presented “Snails to the Rescue:  How Land Snail Eggs Could Help Stop Global Warming”
  • Marlon Gaytan Jr. Presented “Monsters Among Us: A literary Analysis of a Grotesque Social Paradigm”
  • Justin Tom Presented “Street Art:  The Last Frontier of Individualism”

joyce leeHonors Transfer Program Counselor Joyce Lee Receives “Honors Faculty of the Year” Award

Our own Joyce Lee was awarded the prestigious Honors Faculty of the Year Award by the Bay Honors Consortium. The BHC selected Joyce for her outstanding dedication, commitment, and service to Honors students at Skyline College and for her consistently solid contributions as a member of the BHC were Joyce serves as the organization’s treasurer.

HTP Graduates 30 Students This Year! 

We had a robust year of graduates this year, with many getting into UC Berkeley and UCLA.  Congratulations to all of our graduates!

HTP Implementing Plan for Increasing Program Diversity

John Ulloa, Skyline HTP Coordinator along with his counterparts, David Laderman from CSM and Jessica Kaven from Cañada College will present at this year’s National Collegiate Honors Council annual meeting in Chicago.  Their presentation is titled, “Reconciling Honors and Diversity at the Community College.”

Submitted by John Ulloa and Nick Kapp

Message from the President

studentsYou did it again! Thank you for an incredible academic year.  Our students received some of the best instruction and services available.  Our community has embraced us ten-fold by connecting and engaging with the college, supporting you and your programs and services, and supporting a bond that will allow us to build a performing arts complex, a Workforce Development and Energy Systems Management facility and an Environmental Science Building on the Vista Point.

Whether you continue at the college through the summer or take several weeks to relax and regroup, I wish you a rejuvenating summer semester. Our incredible fortune and privilege to work with such talented faculty, staff and administrators and to serve such a fantastic student body is not lost on me.  Please allow me to simply say thank you – Merci beaucoup!  À bientôt!

Skyline College Leadership Team Adopts Standards of Excellence

admin retreat 15The Skyline College Leadership team, consisting of classified supervisors, certificated supervisors and administrators, completed a two day retreat in April at Cañada Vista. The group set out to consider perspectives on great leadership and define our own standards of excellence. After “confronting the brutal facts” by receiving a status report on where Skyline College is on student success, the group considered important indicators to be considered in order to support students in getting in, getting through, and getting out of Skyline College. The Leadership Team considered the many initiatives and mapped out how they are connected to support a common vision. After determining an overarching common vision, the Leadership Team defined the standards of excellence, goals for the leadership team and results we will see if we meet the goals.

The work, available online, was informed by a variety of factors including information from employee satisfaction surveys, leadership literature including “Good to Great for the Social Sector”, general feedback received in leadership evaluations, information received at all college forums, and feedback received in the course of college governance processes.

Please review it and provide any feedback you think would enhance our success. We are committed to standards of Leadership Excellence to support Skyline College in being the number one college in the state for student success, the employer of choice, the most innovative college, a central community resource and a place where the equity gap is eliminated – in other words, a Great College.


COMMON VISION: The Convergence of Institutional Success and Student Success

Skyline College students will successfully define and reach their goals on-time.


Lead with Integrity – Expect Excellence

Leading with integrity requires open and honest communication in an environment of transparency. Professionalism should be demonstrated in all efforts and interactions. Excellence is achieved in an environment that allows for risk, innovation, and creativity where what is seeded is given time to flourish, to promote a culture of continuous improvement. We expect excellence, from ourselves and from each other, and it is our responsibility to instill a sense of optimism even in the face of challenges.


Effective leadership requires confronting the brutal facts, challenging assumptions, and using data to help guide us in our actions and decisions. Engaging in constructive dialogue and debate to challenge assumptions while assuming the best intentions of colleagues and peers is essential. Ultimately, effectiveness relies on a willingness to make difficult decisions in order to achieve results.

Act as a Team of Learners and Teachers

Acting as a Team requires us to acknowledge and engage each other in collaboration, to think independently while still acting with unity, and to equally value each member of the team. As a Team, we must also hold ourselves and each other accountable, and at the same time empower and support each other to achieve excellence.

Deliberate Focus

A deliberate focus is needed in order to move the College forward. Leaders must maintain a student centered focus, be disciplined and engaged in all settings, and think and act with clearly defined goals to achieve results. The leadership must continuously reinforce the College’s commitment to social justice, equity and access. This requires us to think and act with passion, purpose, and humility, to be intentional and deliberate, and to know when to challenge the status quo.


  • Skyline College will be the number one community college in the state where students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education have access to the high quality programs that will allow them to achieve their goals.
  • Skyline College will be the employer of choice for faculty, staff and administration, attracting the most dedicated and talented minds.
  • Eliminate equity gaps in student success by promoting a comprehensive understanding of systemic issues that impact student success and a commitment to addressing those issues.
  • Skyline College will be regarded as the most innovative college in the district, region, state and nation.
  • Skyline College will be the central community resource and heart of the community for arts, athletics, speakers, and other events.

As a result of our commitment to these goals:

  • Placement rates into transfer level coursework in Math and English will increase by 50% for incoming students by the beginning of 2017-18 using multiple measures assessment.
  • 75% of Skyline College students will achieve on-time degree and certificate completion, and/or transfer, according to their educational goal by 2020-21.
  • Skyline College will be ranked among the Top Ten Great Colleges to work for based on the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Hermanos y Hermanas End of the Year Celebration

Hermanos End of Year CelebrationOn Monday, May 18, 2015 over 125 Hermanos and Hermanas students, family members, Skyline College faculty, community members, mentors and friends attended the Hermanos y Hermanas End of the Year Celebration. This culminating event acknowledges the educational and personal achievements of the Hermanos/as students and celebrates those students graduating from Skyline College.

This memorable event included a special keynote speech by educator Pablo Gonzalez, as well as speeches by Alberto Santellan, Hermanos instructor and Hermanos/as students, including South San Francisco High School students Clint Flynn and Hannen Alkusari and Westmoor High School student Alexis Guillen. Former Skyline College Career Counselor, Virginia Padron was our very special guest and she surprised Hermanos/as students with additional certificates of recognition from Senator Jerry Hill and Assemblyman Kevin Mullin. Lastly, a certificate of recognition was given to Aricka Bueno for her four years of service as a counselor and instructor at Skyline College and for her work with the Hermanos y Hermanas Program. Senator Hill joined Skyline College colleagues in Student Services in thanking her for her many efforts on behalf of this important student program.

The Hermanos/as students at both the high school and college-level received awards and Latino/a heritage sashes for all of their hard work throughout the academic year. Jenifer Espinosa received the Community Leadership Award. The Shining Star Awards were given to Luis Bautista, Nellely Castaneda, Karolyn Lopez, Xunaxi Lopez, Raul Magallon, Brayan Palma, Guadalupe Palomino, Rudy Ordonez, Jessica Ramirez, Allen Sanchez, and Priscilla Sanchez who are all graduating from Skyline College.

The event, which has been coordinated by Aricka Bueno for the past four years, is one of several events that serve to celebrate the academic, social, and emotional growth of students in the Hermanos/as Program at Skyline College. The Hermanos/as Program provides academic instruction, mentoring, and family support for Latino/a students with the goal of preparing students to transition out of high school and into college. The program strives to instill its students with confidence along with the academic and personal skills needed to succeed in college and in life.  The event was a true collaboration between the students and their families, the community, South San Francisco High School, Westmoor High School and Skyline College. Many of the high school students from South San Francisco High School and Westmoor High School will be joining us in the fall as Skyline College students! Congratulations to all of the graduating Hermanos and Hermanas! Best wishes in their future academic and career endeavors!

Article by Aricka Bueno

The International Student Program Congratulates Graduating International Students

International Students and Dean RobinsonThe International Student Program (ISP) celebrated the end of the 2014-2015 academic year on Wednesday, May 20. The purpose of the event was to recognize our international students graduating from Skyline College this spring. Many of them are transferring to 4 year universities, including UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and San Francisco State University, among others. Both graduating and continuing international students gathered for the afternoon event and enjoyed a nice break from finals.

Dr. Tammy Robinson, Interim Dean of Global Learning Programs and Services, welcomed the audience and congratulated graduating international students on their great achievement. Oladipo Toriola or “Dipo”, an international student from Nigeria, expressed his appreciation for the faculty and staff members at Skyline College: “I am honored to be a Skyline student. Skyline College welcomed me with open arms and provided nothing but support while I was here.”

Dipo, transferring to UC Berkeley for the Engineering Program, also encouraged his fellow international students to “keep up their hard work”.

Jacqueline Valentino from Greece agreed that Skyline College has always provided encouragement and support for her as well, saying: “Skyline is where it all started. Without your help and encouragement, I would not have been able to reach this point.” Jacqueline is getting her Associate Degree in Allied Health Science, hoping to continue her study in Radiologic Technology.

During the event, ISP also announced new officers for The International Affairs Student Club (IASC). “Yvonne” Jingjing Zhao from China self-nominated to become the new President of the club. Yvonne is excited about the opportunity and shared her agenda for the club with the audience. Other new officers include: Vice President, Soriannys Mosquera from Venezuela; Student Advisor, Jingyi “Roma” Feng from China; Communication Officer, Musab Albaltan from Saudi Arabia; Event Coordinator, Jiahui “Kalie” Tang from China; Multimedia Specialist, Mark Gustave from St. Lucia and Secretary & Treasurer, Yidi Feng from China.

The event concluded with a fun raffle prize activity where students shared their experiences at Skyline College. Nipun Pradhan, current international student from Nepal, told the audience, “I’ve been to two other colleges in the U.S. before Skyline, but no schools ever taught me as much as Skyline has. I am happy with my decision to come and study here.”

ISP would like to thank all the faculty and staff members who have contributed to the ongoing support and encouragement of our international students. As the size of the international student body on campus expands, your help is invaluable. Please contact ISP Manager, Wissem Bennani with any questions about the International Student Program at

Article & Photo by Chikako Walker

Ana Salazar: Supporting Student Success in The Learning Center

Ana SalazarAna Salazar has been working in The Learning Center as a Spanish tutor for approximately two years, being promoted to the role of Graduate Tutor during 2014. In the TLC, Ana has contributed a strong knowledge of the world and one of the foremost languages within it as a graduate of the University of California, Davis, having double majored in International Relations and Spanish.

Working under the direct supervision and mentorship of The Learning Center staff and Professora Luciana Castro, Ana has served as a true model of what a graduate tutor should exemplify, always knowledgeable in her subject matter and looking for opportunities to expand the horizons of her students into the Spanish language. Some of the ways that Ana has done this include taking the lead with preparation and delivery of Spanish workshops along with Peer Spanish Tutor, Maria Somarriba and in coordination with Spanish Professors Castro and Juan Carlos Gazulla, hosting Spanish Conversation Groups in The Learning Center with the inclusion of cultural field trips in the community and cooking Nicaraguan dishes prepared by herself, developing her own materials for use in tutoring sessions and workshops, and consistently exuding positive vibes and a liveliness that is unmatched.

Ana hails from Nicaragua where she was the youngest sibling of a large family. She immigrated to the United States in 1989 to further her educational pursuits and in order to seek refuge during a tumultuous period in her home country’s history. She attributes her late, but dearest mother as the source of her motivation to excel academically, and her mother would be proud to know that Ana has been asked to complete her Master’s degree in Spanish at Stanford University. This is an opportunity that she plans to embrace very soon in order to follow her long term dream of becoming a Spanish Professor.

During her spare time, Ana enjoys reading about literature, culture, and history of other countries, and when asked about her teaching philosophy for keeping students motivated, Ana had this to say:

“My philosophy that I convey to my students is that no matter how long it takes them to achieve their goals, what is important, is that they achieve them. Also, I say that perfection does not exist, but what is real is that we learn from our mistakes.”

Ana is one of many graduate tutors in The Learning Center who have served as warm and reliable anchors for empowering students towards mastery in their subjects, in harmony with the Skyline College mission statement of “transform[ing] a global community of learners.”

To get more information about TLC programs and services, please visit us in Building 5, or visit us on the web at

Article by Chanel Daniels

The Business Department “Focus on Change”

Business Department Vision OutlineOn Friday, May 22 the Business Department held a half day retreat at Skyline College to shape more robust programs in Business. The recurring theme throughout the day was the “Focus on Change”. Sarah Perkins, (Vice President of Instruction) opening remarks included encouragement and gratitude for faculty and staff in the Business Department for coming together to work on this endeavor. Dean of Business, Education and Professional Programs, Christine Roumbanis discussed changes already occurring in the Business Department and The Vision for the Business Department. Aaron McVean (Dean, Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness), presented data to validate the need for change. Alex Kramer, Small Business Deputy Sector Navigator, Bay Area spoke about Workforce and Industry Trends in the Bay Area, and Professor Ortiz relayed alternative models for structure and focus of Community College Business Departments which included lively discussions and positive input from faculty.

The day ended with renewed areas of focus and planning for 2015-2016. Faculty were energized and positive about making programmatic changes to business. There will be a follow-up Retreat II in Fall 2015. Faculty discipline groups will work on curriculum modifications and new course proposals in Fall and Spring for implementation in Fall 2016. I am very proud of the Business faculty for their positive attitude and professionalism.


Article by Christine Roumbanis

BILAF Meeting Meets with Resounding Success – Again!

BILAF FaciliatorsThe Bay Area CITD, in partnership with regional community colleges, expanded upon Global Trade and Logistics (GTL) employer needs in its second Business and Industry Leaders Advisory Forum for GTL on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. Yvonne Reid, MS BA, Director of CITD, facilitated an interactive session between Global Trade Logistics leaders and community college deans, faculty and DSNs from Skyline College including the Veteran’s Center, Cañada College, Contra Costa College, College of Alameda, and Hartnell Community College. Oakland Unified School District and So. San Francisco High School contributed to the discussion also.

Company and industry representatives included information community technology, global supply chain management, Northern California Small Business Development Center, Page Fura Law Firm, the Workforce Investment Board, and the Oakland and South San Francisco Unified School Districts, among others. This group outlined career pathways road maps in sales and marketing, purchasing, trade compliance, and freight forwarding. Richard Fratarelli of the San Francisco Airport Commission emphasized, “The strong need for well-experienced employees who are able to think critically and analytically to be able to perform the job up to the demanded standard.”

BILAF will hold quarterly meetings and webinar conference calls to further collaborate on the alignment of GTL curriculum and programs aligned with industry needs. Having regional community college CTE programs prepare students as GTL industry skilled workers who will serve as a pipeline for employers is essential for local and global economic growth.

For more information about the CITD and the Global Trade & Logistics Program, please contact Yvonne Reid, MS BA, CITD Director, email:, telephone: 650-738-7098.

Article by Alina Din | Photo by Petrual “PJ” Shelton

We are “Giants”

Skyline College End of Year PartyOn Friday, May 15, 2015 Skyline College administrators, faculty and staff gathered to celebrate another successful academic year with food, fun, fellowship, and fundraising.  The annual End-of-Year Luncheon is an event designed to recognize achievement and show gratitude for staff and faculty members who have made a difference with their service to Skyline College.  Woven throughout the luncheon is a student scholarship raffle fundraiser, where winners can take home elaborate gift baskets filled with goodies; donated from different divisions, departments or constituency groups across campus.

This year the theme “We are Giants” was evident throughout the rowdy and hilarious performance from Ray “Leftie” Hernandez and Michele “Little General” Haggar.  They inspired the crowd with cheers and hoorays by running through the aisles tossing Cracker Jacks and Popcorn, and from that point forward the fun never stopped!  Vice President (aka. “Vice-Hefe”) Sarah Perkins opened the ceremony with words of encouragement and gratitude for the accomplishments of the past year, further energizing and motivating the crowd.

Skyline College End of Year PartyPart of the annual end-of-year luncheon tradition is the awarding of two Classified Staff Special Recognition Awards, which are designed to demonstrate appreciation for “outstanding contributions to Skyline College.”  Only previous recipients of this award may nominate and determine the awardees each year, and the results are kept top-secret until the day of the event.  This year, the recipients were Regina Morrison (Financial Aid) and Alana Utsumi (SMT).  The awards were presented with heartfelt sentiments from their respective deans, Will Minnich and Ray Hernandez.

Additionally, the Skyline College Classified Senate, on behalf of all of the staff, presented an award of gratitude to those who have retired over the past academic year.  This year, there were five staff members honored: Karen Nielson (Cosmetology), Tony Gulli (Facilities), Sylvia Martinez (Admissions and Records), Pat Tyler (SMT), and Barbara Daley (Library).

Skyline College End of Year PartySkyline College’s Academic Senate, led by ECE Professor and Senate President Kate Williams Browne, recognized a handful of faculty members with special awards. Two adjunct professors — Jennifer Mair from the Communications Department and Kymberly Jackson from the Music Department — received nominations from their peers and the Skyline College Academic Senate Governing Council for prestigious awards at the statewide Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges (ASCCC). Mair was a nominee for the Hayward Award for Excellence in Teaching, and Jackson for the Regina Stanback Stroud Diversity Award. In addition, ESOL Professor Leigh Anne Shaw and Biology Professor Carina Anttila-Suarez received well-deserved awards from Skyline College’s Academic Senate for their invaluable, tireless, “above and beyond” level of work on behalf of Skyline College’s students and faculty.

The Meyer Award for Excellence in Teaching, given annually by the Academic Senate, is awarded to tenure-track faculty who have shown exemplary skills in teaching, making connections with students, and contributing to the mission and overall well-being of Skyline College.  This year’s award was given to two outstanding faculty: Dr. Sarita Santos (ECE/EDU) and Dr. Zachary E. Bruno (Music).

Amidst the fun and hilarity of the SF Giants-themed year-end celebration, Deans Ray Hernandez, Jonathan Paver, Christine Roumbanis, and Vice President of Instruction Sarah Perkins offered wonderfully heartfelt words of thanks and recognition to honor the six beloved faculty members who will be retiring from full-time positions at the end of this academic year: Daisy Araica (Mathematics), Carla Campillo (Counseling), Rick Escalambre (Automotive), Tom Hewitt (Library), Eric Larson (Counseling), and Regina Pelayo (Cosmetology). Congratulations to these excellent faculty members!

A big thank you to the President’s Office for planning, scheduling and providing our delicious lunch for this event.  Thank you to each office which supplied a gift basket for the successful raffle fundraiser – over $800 was raised towards the annual Faculty/Staff Scholarship! Finally, thank you to the Classified Senate and Academic Senate members who helped to plan and execute a fun and successful celebration.

We are GIANTS!

Article by Alana Utsumi, Kate Browne, and Zach Bruno


Soak Up Some Sun!

SAD lightSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder associated with depression and related to seasonal variations of light.

Skyline College has a unique weather pattern with many foggy and overcast days. A 2013 survey was administered to Skyline College’s faculty, staff, and students to see how this weather pattern might affect mood and behavior. A majority of respondents reported:

  • Experiencing little pleasure or interest in doing things they usually enjoyed doing
  • Experiencing changes in motor activity (e.g. feeling restless and fidgety or moving and speaking more slowly)
  • Finding themselves sleeping longer than usual
  • Experiencing trouble waking up in the morning
  • Feeling like they had low energy during the day
  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Experiencing food cravings and/or eat more sweets and starches

Skyline College has purchased two lamps designed to decrease the symptoms of SAD. The lights work by mimicking early morning full daylight and affects brain chemicals linked to mood and your body’s biological clock.

Research indicates 30-minute sessions are helpful in:

  • increasing levels of alertness
  • increasing energy levels
  • improving overall mood

These lamps are located in the hallway on the top floor of Building 6. Please stop by and try them out!

*This lamp does not produce ultraviolet light or full-spectrum light, and is not the same thing as a heat lamp or a tanning lamp.

Article by Jennifer Merrill