Monthly Archives: April 2017

SparkPoint Helps Kick-off a New Financial Wellness Initiative by the State Chancellor’s Office

CCCCO Financial Wellness Event Cropped Photo for skyline shinesThe Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO), along with their Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI) department, invited Chad Thompson, Interim Director of SparkPoint and Career Services at Skyline College, and Adolfo Leiva, Director of SparkPoint at Cañada College, to speak at a launch event for their new Financial Wellness Initiative entitled: The Role of Financial Well-Being in Student Success.

Two all-day workshops, one in Southern California and one in Northern California, took place on April 24, 2017 and April 26, 2017, respectively, bringing together community college staff and faculty such as directors of financial aid, deans, counselors, student services vice presidents, program leads, admissions and records representatives, and student equity representatives, to learn new insights on how increased financial stability contributes to student success, program completion, employability, and well-paying jobs.

The SparkPoint presentations showcased the history and successes of both SparkPoint at Skyline College and SparkPoint at Cañada College, including practical takeaways for attendees wanting to implement financial wellness programs at their own colleges.  Strong partnerships with both the local college community and internal college services, such as Career Services, Counseling, EOPS/CARE, Guardian Scholars, and TRiO were highlighted as well.

SparkPoint staff members were excited to be able to invite Alex Kennedy, a current SparkPoint client, to share her success story in person.  Alex is a Skyline College student and student assistant in the SparkPoint Public Benefits Office. She is the embodiment of how using SparkPoint services can change lives, and support students in their efforts to reach their academic, financial and life goals.

Article by Rhonda Kaufman | Photo by Noelle Blanco

SMCCD Engineering Faculty Win Best Paper Awards at Regional Conference

ASEE-PSW 2017 Best Paper Awards (Amelito and Nick)On Friday, April 21, SMCCD Engineering Professors Nicholas Langhoff (Skyline College) and Dr. Amelito Enriquez (Cañada College) were awarded Best Paper and Best Diversity Paper at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Pacific Southwest (PSW) regional conference in Tempe, AZ. The award was presented during the dinner banquet to professors Enriquez and Langhoff, along with their co-authors and grant project collaborators Erik Dunmire (College of Marin) and Tom Rebold (Monterey Peninsula College).

Both awards are for a paper on the design and implementation of an online Engineering Graphics course. The paper details teaching materials developed (instructional videos, assignments, lesson plans, etc.), effective pedagogy for online engineering instruction, and student performance in both online and face-to-face sections in the Fall 2015 and Fall 2016 semesters. Also included are results from student surveys on background, course preparation and experience, course resources, and their lab experiences. Course results highlight that students in the online sections performed at least as well (if not better) than students in the face-to-face sections.

Development of the online engineering graphics course is part of a large collaborative project between Cañada College, Skyline College, College of Marin, and Monterey Peninsula College, set to develop a comprehensive lower division online engineering curriculum, with online lab courses in introduction to engineering, engineering graphics, circuits, and materials science. The project collaborators also presented two other papers on the online circuits course and the online materials science course, in addition to a poster presentation on the online Intro to Engineering course at the conference. The project is funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) under the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program. The project collaborators and authors extend their deep gratitude to NSF and the ASEE PSW conference coordinators.

Article by Nick Langhoff | Photo by Divyashish Kumar

CITD Springs into Action

CITD ConferenceCITD launched its 2nd annual Connect to Thrive Global Summit with People Centered Internet at Skyline College on March 24, 2017. Aaron McVean, Interim Vice President, Skyline College, welcomed the attendees to the Skyline College. The Connect to Thrive Global Summit served as the trading post on the frontier of the future – a place where academic leaders, community leaders, city managers and national leaders explored what others are doing around the world, and what science and technologies are useful for improving lives.

Attendees heard from and engaged with keynote speakers including Adam Cheyer, who led the development of Siri, Inc. and Viv Labs, John Ryan, organizer of the People Center Internet and founder of One LapTop Per Child, and Dr. Soma Stout, Executive External Lead at Health Improvement IHI, Harvard Medical School.

The summit ended with a networking session at Skyline College. Participants continued conversations about the future frontier as the potential of a globally connected world, enabled by science and technology, provides opportunity for many more people to fulfill their potential. Technologies an innovations are exploding around the world in hackathons, startups and in the hearts of small and large enterprises.

CITD and PCI want to thank all attendees, supporters, volunteer ambassadors and speakers. We look forward to having you join us at next year’s Global Summit.

For more information about CITD and their activities, please visit website: or contact Yvonne Reid, Director, CITD, E:, T:  650-738-7098.

Article:  Yvonne Reid | Photos: Gino De Grandis Photography


Two Skyline College Students Awarded $9,000 Gilman Scholarships

Gilman Scholarship recipients with Danielle PowellSkyline College and Women’s Mentoring and Leadership Academy students, Kalia Chavez and Angele Kizler-Sawado are two of approximately 1,200 American undergraduate students from 354 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to study or intern abroad during the summer 2017 term. Kalia and Angele will study intercultural communication in South Africa for 2 ½ weeks with Professor Danielle Powell.  The students each received $4,500 – the highest for students in the San Mateo County Community College District for studying abroad.

Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs.  The program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or internships abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic competitiveness. Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply.  Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies — making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.

The late Congressman Gilman, served in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chaired the House Foreign Relations Committee. When honored with the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Medal in 2002, he commented, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates.  Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience.  It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.

The program is administered by the Institute of International Education.  The list of students who have been selected to receive Gilman Scholarships, including students’ home state, university and host country, is available on their website: According to Allan Goodman, President and CEO of IIE, “International education is one of the best tools for developing mutual understanding and building connections between people from different countries.  It is critical to the success of American diplomacy and business, and the lasting ties that Americans make during their international studies are important to our country in times of conflict as well as times of peace.”

San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) Study Abroad is the district-wide study abroad program housed in the Global Learning Programs and Services Division at Skyline College. For more information about the program, faculty teach abroad opportunities and student scholarship opportunities please visit the SMCCCD Study Abroad website or contact Zaid Ghori at

Article by: Zaid Ghori

Introducing Communities of Practice at Skyline College

communities of practice posterHave you ever had a ‘hallway conversation’ about something you or a colleague is doing in your class, or thought, how can I bring other subjects or areas into your my discipline?  Creating Communities of Practice is a way to begin that conversation/process.

What are Communities of Practice at Skyline College?

Communities of Practice (CoP) are a new professional development opportunity to bring together small interdisciplinary teams of faculty, staff, and administrators (6-8) who will meet regularly throughout the academic year to discuss, strategize, address pedagogy or academia-related problem of mutual interest. The goal of each CoP will be to develop a work plan by October 2017 that outlines deliverables for the academic year. It is expected that each CoP will meet a minimum of once a month and present results of projects to the campus community on Flex Day, August 2018.

Each CoP will be led by one faculty lead who will facilitate the group and provide leadership throughout the experience. The objective of each CoP is to provide solutions for improving the experience of faculty and students at Skyline College.

The topic areas for the communities of practices this year are:

  1. Social Justice & Sustainability
  2. Service Learning
  3. Transformative Pedagogy and Practices
  4. Hybrid and Online Learning

Why are we launching Communities of Practice?

Skyline College is investing heavily in professional development for faculty and staff—infusing pedagogy with culturally fluency and digital savvy. Redesigned and more effective student experiences require multiple dimensions of faculty expertise. Mastery of content remains essential, but equally important is expertise in effective teaching practices, curriculum pathway design, instructional technologies, learning assessment, and student development. Communities of Practice create a cross-functional structure to improve student success.

Interested in being a CoP Faculty Lead?

We need you and your expertise to make Communities of Practice at Skyline College successful. Selected Faculty leads will receive:

  • Compensation of $1500 per semester.
  • Each CoP group will receive a base budget of $3600 for operational expenses (i.e. materials, travel, guest speakers, etc.)

Next Steps:

  • Complete and submit the online application to be a faculty lead for the topic area of your interest.

The submission deadline for applications is Wednesday, May 3, by 11:59pm.

  • Meet with CoP Steering Committee to discuss your interest in being a faculty lead during week of May 8th.
  • You will receive official notification about the status of your application by May 15th.

If you have questions or would like to know about the Communities of Practice at Skyline College, contact any member of the CoP Steering Committee:

  • Ricardo Flores
  • Lasana Hotep
  • Jim Houpis
  • Katrina Pantig
  • Bianca Rowden-Quince

Article by Jim Houpis

Students Attend 30th Annual Latina Leadership Network Conference

Members of WMLA Represented at LLN ConferenceFive students in the Skyline College Women’s Mentoring and Leadership Academy (WMLA) were invited by Vice President of Student Services, Dr. Angelica Garcia, to attend the 30th anniversary of the Latina Leadership Network (LLN) conference that was held at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, California on April 6-8, 2017. It was the first time that the five students, Yuffita Palacios, Jennifer Munos, Jane Arias, Kalia Chavez, and Martha Torres, were able to attend the LLN conference. LLN works to bring Latina women together in the state of California to help promote and encourage hard-working and underrepresented Latina women in higher education. The theme for this year’s conference was “Latinas: Building a Legacy and Advancing Leadership in Higher Education.”

Throughout the conference, the women attended workshops led by educators from across the state.  Through these workshops, the women were empowered to believe in themselves and to strive to reach their academic and personal goals.  They learned that despite what statistics say and the circumstances that may rise in a Latina’s life, such as being an immigrant, a woman and/or a first-generation student, they can achieve their goals and reach their fullest potential through dedication and with support from their Latina sisters. The conference also provided an opportunity for the women to network with other Latina students and leaders from across the state.

“Having the opportunity to go to the LLN conference and seeing all the beautiful and strong Latinas around me gave me hope of the great things I can do in both my professional and personal life,” stated Jennifer Munos.

The five students of WMLA who attended the conference would like to thank Dr. Angelica Garcia, Ms. Jessica Lopez, who was the chaperone for the conference, and the coordinator of WMLA, Professor Danielle Powell for the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and to network with other powerful Latinas in California.

Article and Photo by Jane Arias

ReUSE Hub in The Learning Center

reuse hubAs a result of being awarded a President’s Innovation Fund grant for their commitment to sustainability, the Environmental Club is organizing a station in The Learning Center to provide accessibility for reusable office and school materials. The ReUSE Hub allows students to easily pick up any school supplies needed for their academic success and/or bring some of their own to donate for the benefit of others.

The ReUSE Hub is designed to be a useful resource for the campus community and promotes the important ethic of reuse. Unused school supplies/ office supplies can be thrown away into waste streams and lose potential to be a valuable resource for a student. In the interest of student equity and campus sustainability, the aim of the ReUSE Hub is to divert school supplies from landfills and provide access to the school and office supplies necessary for the transformative process of learning at Skyline College.

This exciting, new venture will kick off on Friday, May 5, 2017. The ReUSE Hub will be located to the left of 5-102 in The Learning Center. Items welcome for donation include:  binders, calculators, rulers, notebooks, folders, one-sided clean paper, pens, pencils, scissors, art supplies, and other office supplies.

For questions or comments regarding the ReUSE Hub, please contact Dainen Bocsary at:

Share your unused school/art/office supplies with others through the ReUSE Hub or pick up something of value for FREE!

Article by Chanel Daniels & Joseph Armas | Photo by Joseph Armas

Skyline College’s CCSSE Results: Actions Faculty Can Take to Nurture Students’ Effective Communication and Critical Thinking

ISLO symbol As someone committed to empowering students, imagine how dismaying it feels to hear a college graduate on the BART train remark that he didn’t learn anything in college. Such a dismissive remark may reflect poorly on higher education; it may be more helpful to see it as a failure to convey to students what competencies they will master while with us. To make these competencies more explicit, Skyline College faculty and staff created Institutional Student Learning Outcomes (ISLOs) for students attaining an AA/ AS. These ISLOs are assessed in two ways, with a sample of faculty across the disciplines applying a common rubric, and by way of the results from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) administered at Skyline College in 2016, 2012, and 2008.

The CCSSE asks questions about student behaviors as well as institutional perceptions. With a decent sample size of about 10% of Skyline College students completing the survey, the results can positively inform our pedagogical and programming practices. Although not intended, the CCSSE also can be used as a proxy for achievement of the ISLOs. The primary drawback is that student responses are self- reported, as opposed to direct evaluation of student work and behaviors.

For this report, only the Critical Thinking and Effective Communication ISLOs are considered since the associated survey items remain the same. Eleven survey items were associated with the Critical Thinking ISLO, with steady gains between 2008 and 2016 for five items, and four dropping slightly in 2012 but increasing in 2016. As for the Effective Communication ISLO, there were eight survey items, with all but one of the items either holding steady or experiencing slight decreases in 2012 only to increase in 2016. Overall, the CCSSE results suggest that students are afforded many opportunities to strengthen their abilities to think critically and communicate clearly. But faculty may want to consider ways in which they can encourage more students to take advantage of their office hours.

ISLO 2Three items were used to assess both of the ISLOs, and two of those three items had the most striking increases between 2012 and 2016. They were the frequency in which students “worked on a paper or project that required integrating ideas or information from various sources” and “made a class presentation,” 9% gains from 2012 to 2016. The first item about the paper or project hovers at “sometimes/ often” (2.79 on a four- point scale).

On the other hand, while the item on “class presentations” showed a notable gain, it was less prevalent than the paper or project. Class presentations are “sometimes” assigned (2.08 on a four- point scale). This result drew the attention of the Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC). Should we be concerned that class presentations aren’t employed more frequently, since they are an effective means for students to teach is other? Context provides some insight to this question. Time is one factor. Highly enrolled courses may have far too many group presentations to accommodate. And if presentations are assigned, then some course content may be glossed over to accommodate them. Another factor are the presentation parameters. Time allotted for presentations is best used if students be asked to engage in higher ordered thinking, presenting their viewpoint and substantiating it with relevant evidence, as opposed to simply regurgitating in the form it was taught.

The only item to decrease steadily between 2008 and 2016 pertained to students “discuss[ing] ideas from [their] readings or classes with others outside of class (students, family members, co-workers, etc.).” The most recent result hovered between “sometimes” and “often” (2.39 on a four- point scale), which makes the overall decrease less alarming.

What may be of more concern is that respondents were less likely to “discuss ideas from [their] readings or classes with instructors outside of class,” with their responses between “never” and “sometimes” (1.77 on a four- point scale). The IEC agreed that office hours are critical to student learning, but conceded that students may get the information they need in class or lab. On the other hand, in one-on-one settings such as office hours, students can build constructive relationships with their instructors, in addition to securing what they need to learn.  Thus the IEC discussed strategies to accommodate students’ busy schedules, such as varying office hour times, or using technology such as phone conferences, virtual office hours, and the use of online discussion boards via Canvas and group e-mails to efficiently disseminate information.

Hopefully this brief prompted some reflection on your part as to what you can do as an instructor to strengthen student success. For those of you who would like to see the full results for your own use and/or for departmental discussions, please see .

If you would like to find out more about students’ overall responses to the CCSSE, please join us at the May 4 Academic Senate meeting, where Skyline College’s Planning, Research, and Institutional Effectiveness staff will highlight main findings. The 2016 CCSSE results also are posted at For more information about the CCSSE, visit, or for a copy of the actual survey, see .

Article by Karen Wong

Kappa Beta Delta Students Receive Scholarships

KBD Skyline Scholarship recipients 2017Five Kappa Beta Delta Business Honor Society members have received scholarships ranging from $500 to $1000 this year. Margo Feldman and Luis Hernandez were awarded the Kappa Beta Delta Dr. Andrew V. Stevenson Merit Scholarships from Kappa Beta Delta International. Emily Nunez-Rosario and Seng Bu Aung received the ACBSP Western Council – Region 7 Kappa Beta Delta Merit  Scholarships. Luis de Alba, Jr. received the Alpha Beta Chi Chapter at Skyline College Kappa Beta Delta Merit Scholarship. Congratulations to all the recipients!

Article and photo by Linda Whitten