Monthly Archives: December 2017

Technology & the Comprehensive Redesign

funnelback screen shotTechnology is a critical and integral part of every piece of our comprehensive college redesign – and the progress we have made, and will continue to make in the months and years ahead, will reshape how we interact with students, and how students interact with the college.

This semester, we’ve capitalized on foundational work to take concrete first steps in our technology implementation. Here’s what we’ve accomplished so far:

Kennedy & Company

We’ve engaged consulting firm Kennedy & Company to guide us through the discovery phase to determine exactly what technologies we need and where we need them. They’ve already embarked on exploration by holding forums with campus stakeholders, asking questions about key needs and identifying existing holes in our capabilities that need to be filled.

From here, Kennedy & Company will provide recommendations on Customer Management Systems (CMS) that can help to meet our needs. This may be a single tool that involves additional plug-ins, or it may be a combination of several different tools. The District will be looking to move to the Request For Proposal (RFP) process around April 2018.

The ultimate goal with any CMS solution, is to create streamlined user interfaces for both faculty/staff and for the students we serve. These interfaces will allow students to easily navigate between a variety of information all in one place – things like notes from their counselor, access to degree progression, and browsing student services could all be in one web-based portal. And admissions staff could have easy access to information from the entire lifespan of a student’s Skyline College experience.

Ad Astra

AdAstra is a new, easy-to-use software that all faculty and staff will use to schedule events on campus and book event space. Launched just last week, this technology will allow faculty and staff to be more efficient and will eliminate a paper-based system that can often be slow and cumbersome.

It’s now easier then ever to see exactly when a room is booked and what’s available across campus at any given moment. The tool also allows us to be more accountable with our space, providing us with a mile-high view of our campus spaces at any given moment.


The Skyline College website launched a brand new search engine this semester. The new engine, called Funnelback, provides students, faculty and staff a vastly improved search experience. With this search engine, available on every page of the website, our campus community will now be able to quickly and efficiently find and sort any information within our site.

The advanced search function allows students to filter by professor, degrees, .pdf, class schedule, course number, phone number etc. Funnelback also offers powerful backend tools we can use to analyze trends and statistics on our website to customize the results, and ultimately provide a better, more cohesive experience to students, faculty and staff.

Classified Senate Volunteer and Fundraising Efforts Support Students and Community  

staff at AlcatrazThis past semester has been a busy one for our Classified Senate members! Outside of the day-to-day support we provide to the campus, we have been hard at work volunteering and fundraising!

On Saturday, October 14, a total of 9 Classified Staff members participated in land restoration on Alcatraz Island! Our volunteer efforts included pruning and weeding a large hillside to help support the growth of native vegetation and to prevent soil erosion due to the harsh climate on the island. And as a result of our participation in this conservation and land restoration effort we received free transportation to and from the Alcatraz Island via the ferries, an insider look into the rich history of horticulture and gardening ideas spanning many different eras, and access to areas on the island that are not accessible to the public. And as an added bonus our volunteers arrived on Alcatraz before other visitors to experience the island during the most tranquil time of day and we were treated to free Audio tours! For our volunteers this was a great way to “participate in community volunteer efforts to support Golden Gate Nation Park conservation efforts designed to help restore Alcatraz Gardens and Landscaping” for all future visitors to enjoy.

Volunteering to support our communities didn’t stop there. Classified staff members also participated in a 5K Run/Walk Fundraiser to raise awareness and funds for those in our local communities and out of state that suffered terrible tragedies due to the natural disasters that decimated lands, properties and lives. If you’re still interested in donating, the link is still up and you are more than welcomed to do so. Special thanks to Linda Bertellotti, Joe Morello, Christina Trujillo, Alana Utsumi, and the many other Classified Staff members who supported this event.

And because the staff love fundraising, we also hosted our annual See’s Candy drive to support Classified Staff Scholarship Award and Classified Staff! With over $1,000 raised thanks to the candy sellers and buyers, the Classified Staff will be able to continue to support our donation to the scholarship! Special thanks to Kathy Fitzpatrick and Jacquie Espino for supporting our efforts!

Lastly, to round out our busy year and take some time to give thanks, the Classified Senate also hosted our Annual Holiday Potluck on Thursday, November 16. With over 50 staff members participating laughs, stories, and special moments were shared over a delicious meal provided by all those in attendance. It was a great way for staff to take a break from our hectic schedules and to reconnect before the rush of what the end of the semester usually brings. Special thanks to all the staff members who took time out of their day to organize, plan, and decorate for the event.

With that, Classified are very much looking forward to the coming year as we have so much more fundraisers, volunteering, and work to do to continue to support our local communities, students, and colleagues.

From all of us to all of you, may you have a holiday break filled with love, laughter, and some R&R!

Article and photos by Michele Haggar

Middle College Students Spread Holiday Joy

On December 8, 2017, Middle College students in the “Student Life & Community Engagement” class expressed their want to give back in a way that would be meaningful for young children and decided to use their artistic abilities to create holiday cards. The Middle College students gathered together and created over 100 cards, in multiple languages (English, Spanish, Tagalog, Arabic) for children that will be spending the upcoming holidays in the hospital. The cards that were created will be distributed to hospitals around the bay area along with the Ronald McDonald houses for children.

“An uplifting card made from the heart can truly brighten a child’s day, make them feel special, and remind them they are not forgotten because they are sick during the holiday season,” Hailey Center said.

Happy Holidays!

Article and Photos by Martina Goodman

SparkPoint at Skyline College Selected to Participate in California Basic Needs Workgroup

On November 2, 2017, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) hosted a Basic Needs Workgroup to address the issues of food insecurity and housing insecurity for Community College students across the state. This full-day meeting was held in Sacramento and included representatives from Skyline College, Mission College, Saddleback College, the Los Angeles Community College District, Imperial Valley College and Santa Monica College, as well as representatives from the state Chancellor’s office, Foundation for California Community Colleges and the John Burton Advocates for Youth.

Student homelessness and student hunger are major issues in our region, as well as across the state. Recent research like the Wisconsin HOPE Lab report “Hungry and Homeless in College” , has drawn national media attention to this topic, which has influenced state-wide policy, but the Chancellor’s office continues to push for more support for at-risk populations (Hunger Free Campus Funding and Assembly Bill 801 are just two of the major changes that have been implemented year). The CCCCO approved a new initiative that includes the formation of a workgroup to identify and share best practices regarding food, housing, and other basic need resources available to students, to assess gaps in resources. The colleges invited to the workgroup were selected for their “distinct contributions at their campuses – what they are doing is ahead of the curve”. SparkPoint at Skyline College is proud to have been selected to join this cohort and discuss best practices, data, policy and systemic barriers.

The next steps for this Workgroup will be to support and present at a 2-day Spring Basic Needs Summit, which will take place in Sacramento in late April, 2018. Representatives from all of the California Community Colleges will be invited to attend, so that they can bring information back to their colleges and impact their local communities.

For more information regarding the SparkPoint at Skyline College, the Food Pantry or the Benefits Office, please contact the SparkPoint front office at 650-738-7035 or

For more information about the California Basic Needs Workgroup or Spring Basic Needs Summit, please contact the Director for SparkPoint and Career Services at Skyline College, Chad Thompson, at

Article by Chad Thompson

PACE Family Night Celebration

The PACE Learning Community* held its annual Family Night on November 30, 2017 in the Multicultural Center. Three cohorts of PACE students and faculty as well as their families gathered to celebrate their accomplishments and commemorate the people who have supported them in their educational journeys.

The hit of the evening was the potluck of foods from around the world, featuring dishes such as Indian samosas, Jordanian shawarma, Nigerian jollof rice, and Burmese tea leaf salad.

The MC for the evening, PACE student Maria “Lupi” Cervantes, began the evening with a warm welcome. Faculty and students then gave speeches about their experiences learning and being part of the PACE Community. Ava Renei Robles, from the Philippines, spoke about balancing school and work and how education has transformed her. Pearl Ibeanusi, from Nigeria, shared about her learning experience this fall, and Jason Ramirez, from Honduras, gave words of thanks to his family, teachers, and classmates. The evening concluded with a slideshow to music curated by PACE student Seng Maw.

This event was a celebration of the diversity that makes our learning community and campus special. The co-coordinators of PACE, Erinn Struss and Serena Chu-Mraz, would like to thank all those who have supported PACE and have made this event possible.

* The PACE (Proficiency in American Culture and English) Learning Community brings together English language learners and dedicated faculty and staff in a four-semester series of linked classes starting with ESOL 840 and culminating in ENGL 110.

Article by Serena Chu-Mraz and Erinn Struss | Photo by Franck Yao

Career Services Connecting Students to Jobs!

At the start of this semester, Career Services Center announced that we teamed up with College Central Network to provide students with a more convenient way to search for jobs! I’m excited to report that thanks to some great marketing and to the continued work of our staff, we now have over 700 students registered!

These students have access to over 126 employers, over 245 jobs announcements, and the ability to post their resumes online for immediate and first hand contact. Additionally, employers who have posted jobs using our service can search through registered students who have posted their resumes and contact them directly for interviews regarding part-time, full-time, and seasonal jobs, volunteer opportunities, and internships.

This is an excellent tool for our students to get that extra edge they need to connect to the jobs of today and to help establish direct contact with employers who have been vetted through our offices. We encourage you to share our Career Services Center Job Search page and to send your students to us to assist them with their job search! Our qualified and experienced staff provide one-on-one appointments focusing on topics such as job readiness, job search skills, resume writing, interview preparation and more. We can help students learn how to research companies they are interested in working for, find the jobs they are seeking, and explore possible career paths.

For more information about other services we provide such as Career Fairs, Employer Site Visits, and Employer Panel discussions, please contact us at or at (650)738-4337.

Thank you and we look forward to continuing to provide access to job readiness, career exploration, and employer connections to Skyline College students with your support.

Article by Michele Haggar



Classified Staff Participate in Guided Pathways and Meta Majors Re-Design Open Forum!

On November 3, 2017, in a well-attended event, over 75 classified staff members participated in an open forum to learn about and discuss the development of guided pathways, the implementations of the Promise Scholarship Program, and the revamping of general education to engage students in meaningful learning. Participation in this forum was an opportunity for those who are often first in line engaging and interacting with students to learn about these efforts and to ensure staff feel they have a seat at the table with the rest of the college as these efforts continue to develop.

The forum opened with Dr. Angélica Garcia providing a succinct and clearly articulated look into the College Re-Design, defining Meta-Majors, and discussing the Guided Pathways project. Academic Counselor, Lorraine DeMello and Classified Senate President, Michele Haggar then led several community building activities that gave staff the opportunity to explore in smaller groups why the college was engaged in this work, how these efforts might impact their area of work, roles and responsibilities, and in what ways leadership could help support them via professional development opportunities.

Overall the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and the forum proved to be a great start to helping ensure all employees are engaged in the work of student success. In a survey, participants shared that “thanks to the forum I was able to understand Meta-Majors and Guided Pathways. I understood why it is important to make a change and help our students succeed.” Others echoed this sentiment while also stating that “the forum was super helpful in raising awareness of the college’s effort…it was mind blowing to hear some of the statistics! I hope to hear more updates and ways to help!” For some, the forum provided the insight they were looking for, but also shared that they hope to attend more forums to continue to develop their knowledge of how they can support the college efforts and student success.

We look forward to see how these efforts will be implemented, but the conversations will not stop there. This forum was so well received, it was requested that we host additional ones, and we are excited to announce that a second forum for Classified Staff will be held on March 2! Furthermore, to help the conversation around these efforts move forward and to inform the discussion that will be taking place at the second forum, all staff are highly encouraged to attend and participate in the January 12 Flex Day activity starting at 8:30 am until 10:15 am. A portion of this all college event will center on “Beyond Meta-Majors & Guided Pathways: The Skyline College Comprehensive Redesign”. This discussion will serve as a continuation of the information shared and discussed at the first forum, while also helping to inform the agenda for the up-coming forum for classified on March 2.

Finally, a special thank you to the President’s office for hosting our lunch, to the Design team members who worked closely with your Classified Staff leadership team to prepare the agenda, and to all classified staff. Together, as a college, we will be able to continue to serve our students in the best possible way.

Article written by Michele Haggar | Photo Credit: Marketing Department

Skyline College Students Visit Google, and Connect With Employers through the Career Services Center!

Over this past semester the Career Services Center is excited to share that we have been hard at work connecting students to employers via the various programs and services we provide.

Since August we hosted a total of 13 Get Work Wednesdays, along with a hiring event for both Sprouts Groceries and San Francisco Unified School District. These visits allowed us to host over 32 employers from various careers and industries who were able to share with over 248 students various job announcements for both full and part-time positions. These same students also had the chance to explore various career options and industries they hadn’t initially thought about as options when they engaged in conversation with these employers. Additionally, of these employers who participated in a recent survey, almost 30% of them reported that they were able to hire between 1- 3 students as a result of their participation in our Get Work Wednesdays. This is higher then what was previously reported, so we are excited to see an increase!

We are also happy to share that the connections didn’t stop there. In anticipation for seasonal job opportunities, the Career Services Center also hosted a Seasonal Job fair on November 1. Despite the small scale event, approximately 40% of students in attendance reported that they learned more about their major to be able to make more informed decisions, while approximately 60% reported feeling prepared to discuss their goals.

And in conjunction to connecting students with employers who visit our campus, we also recently hosted an employer visit to Google headquarters in Mountain View on November 28. The tour included free transportation to and from Google headquarters, a visit to their campus store, a tour of the headquarters, and a panel presentation consisting of Google employees ranging from positions within Human Resources, Project Managers, Google Technicians, and Technical Recruiters. Our panelists shared stories about their own career exploration, their professional and educational journeys that eventually led them to a job with Google. They also shared advice with our students around resume and interview tips, the importance of volunteer work and establishing connections by participating in networking events and internships.

For the students who were selected to attend, it was an extraordinary experience. All students reported that attending the tour greatly contributed to career exploration, over 60% of them reported having more confidence in what they are majoring in, and over 80% of them reported that attending this tour has contributed to their potential in finding employment. Additionally, one student shared that “visiting Google HQ and having a panel discussion was very informative, especially listening to the personal journey. I felt like I was able to relate. They all came from diverse backgrounds and went through different journeys, yet they all ended up working at Google.” Another student reported that it was “especially encouraging to hear panelists’ share that they attended community college. It gave a student like me hope for success in the future.”

And with that, Career Services is looking very much forward to our up-coming spring semester as we prepare to host more employer visits, our Career Fair on April 17, more resume and interview workshops, and much more to continue to support career exploration and job readiness.

Article by Michele Haggar | Photos by Will Nacouzi

Skyline College Music Department Supports Sonoma County Fire Victims

The Skyline College Music Department presents “Play it Forward”: a benefit concert to support the fire victims of the Sonoma County music community.

This event will take place in the Skyline College Theatre on December 9 at 7:30 p.m. All funds raised from this concert will be donated to the Play it Forward Music Foundation, to help replace instruments lost by young musicians, working musicians, and schools in the recent Sonoma County fires.

The Santa Rosa Symphony and Play it Forward Music School have been actively working on an instrument donation drive to help replace instruments destroyed in the fires. All proceeds from the benefit concert will go towards supporting this effort, to help prepare donated instruments for distribution to community members.

The Skyline College Jazz Combo will open the show, featuring Skyline students Russ Akin, Daniel Taufer, Andrew Fenn, Gram Aguas, and Steve Mayeda. A guest student ensemble from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Oak Piano Trio, will also be featured.

Skyline College faculty members Meghan Dibble (mezzo-soprano) and Elizabeth Ingber (piano) will be performing, in addition to professional guest artists Aaron Rosengaus (viola), Jennifer M. Lee (piano), and Frances Peterson (soprano).

Community members that would like to donate an instrument can bring it to this event. There will be a representative from the Santa Rosa Symphony attending to accept the donations of instruments.

Join us for an evening of beautiful music, and support our Sonoma County neighbors! If you have questions about this event, please contact Elizabeth Ingber.

General Admission: $15 minimum donation* Students: $10* *cash and check only accepted at the door

Article by Elizabeth Ingber

Stronger Pathways through High Quality Employer Engagement

On November 30, 2017, the Center for Career and Workforce Programs (CWP) partnered with Skyline College’s Biotechnology Program to host the “Biotechnology Educators Event: Stronger Pathways through High Quality Employer Engagement.” This event included faculty and counselors from local high schools, community college, middle schools as well as biotechnology industry representatives. The goal of the event is to create stronger pathways from our feeder high school programs to Skyline College and on to high paying careers.

Skyline College hosted this event at the newly built AC Hotel by Marriott located in South San Francisco/Oyster Point. The venue was selected because our “Industrial City” neighbor is considered the heart of Biotechnology for our entire country. The event was organized around three speakers, Terri Quenzer, Gregory Theyel, and Dean Ray Hernandez, who spoke to leading industry trends, high demand careers and educational programming updates.

Terri Quenzer, Sector Navigator for Life Sciences/Biotechnology from California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) Division of Workforce and Economic Development spoke on the Chancellor’s Office status around collaboration between academia and industry for biotechnology. She also mentioned data from the annual report: “Life Sciences and Biotech Middle Skills Workforce in CA 2017”. With this report, participants learned that San Francisco has over 100K employees in biotechnology with an expected nine percent growth over the next five years.

Gregory Theyel, Program Director for the Easy Bay Biomedical Manufacturing Network spoke about his extensive research that highlighted high pockets of in-demand careers up and down the region where he surveyed biotechnology companies across the Bay Area. Like our weather he found that the Bay Area has specific micro climates of biotechnology companies that have a fast amount of talent needs. It was an interactive and highly engaging experience for participants to gain a clearer understanding of the various demands across company focus areas.

Ray Hernandez, Dean of Science, Math and Technology at Skyline College engaged participants in conversations that highlighted high school programming, community college and industry partnerships. He led a lively discussion with the group about how strengthening these partnerships will provide increased opportunities for students. Andrea Vizenor, Director of Career and Workforce Programs at Skyline College, discussed additional opportunities for expanded partnership in program development, industry engagement, and professional development for Spring 2018.

This event was made possible through the Strong Workforce Program and the National Science Foundation Grant. A special thank you to Dr. Nick Kapp the key program faculty for organizing the agenda, Career and Workforce Team Members Elizabeth Tablan, Claudia Paz, and Alexys Burns for handling meeting planning, logistics and event coordination and Rita Gulli for assisting with participant packets.

Article by Nick Kapp and Alexys Burns | Photo by Claudia Paz