Daily Archives: August 22, 2019

The Equity Institute Launches Two Academies

EquityOn April 17-19, 2019, the Equity Institute (EI) hosted its inaugural equity academy, The Anatomy of a Transformative Course: Critical Competencies for Student Success at the San Mateo Marriott. Equity academies are intensive multi-day professional development experiences introducing participants to baseline concepts, interrogating data, and mapping implementation strategies for participants to focus on creating strategic institutional responses to issues around race, gender, and equity. In the inaugural academy, 17 California community colleges sent teams of 10 people representing faculty, instructional support staff, academic deans, and vice presidents of instruction to learn new ideas, strategies, and resources that advance student success.

Day one of the academy opened with keynote speaker, Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud, President Emerita of Skyline College, consultant, and an influential voice education with a 30+ year career in the California community colleges. Her message called for faculty to be courageous, committed, and work collaboratively to show up differently for our students. She emphasized the agency and influence faculty and institutional leaders yield to impact students’ lives stating, “You are the people who get to shape the education of the students that are in your classrooms…use your power, don’t waste it. If you’re in a position to allocate resources, allocate resources. If you’re in a position to remove barriers, remove barriers…” Following the keynote, EI Executive Director, Lasana O. Hotep welcomed participants to the academy introducing them to the T3 Framework, a practical framework developed by the EI that encourages educators to measure the foundational aspects of their course by critiquing the lens under which the tools were developed. His welcome provided context around the purpose of the academy and the journey participants will embark on.

Throughout the academy, teams worked collaboratively in sessions facilitated by instructional faculty, staff, and administrators at Skyline College. In the sessions, teams engaged in experiential learning activities and discussions around how to approach their course syllabi, design lesson plans, and develop pedagogical and grading practices through a lens of equity. Team members also received a guidebook developed by the Equity Institute that provided reference materials to the content taught in the sessions, activities participants work on when they return to their institutions and resources.

Day two of the academy featured a lunchtime conversation with Kenyatta Weathersby, Professor of Statistics, and Jessica Hurless, Professor of Communication Studies of Skyline College. In their conversation, Weathersby shared how he used the Flint Water Crisis as a model and framework for students to learn statistical concepts and develop their own experiences and projects. This approach came from a desire to have the course content connect to students’ lives. He said, “ I was always thinking about what can I do to make students excited? What can I do to get them to put the pencil in their hand?”

The academy culminated with keynote speaker, Dr. Pedro Noguera, an award-winning educator, author, and activist. He opened his message sharing, “I had no idea how deep you were going in this work…as you’ve heard, I’ve taught at Berkeley, at Harvard, at NYU, and now UCLA, none of those universities has ever done what you’re doing. Not one. Not one.” Dr. Noguera talked about how effective faculty and transformative instructors teach students in a manner that revives their curiosity about the world, helps build agency, and instills self-confidence. He said, “You’ve been focused on equity the last couple of days and so it’s really important to make it clear what this is about. It’s about giving our students what they need to be successful recognizing the academic needs and social needs are interconnected. Following the closing keynote, academy participant, Nikki Dequin who serves as Academic President at Gavilan College shared, “This work is ultimately going to lead to student success….it’s helping our bettering ourselves and what we’re doing to better our students. That’s the value in itself. As a result of this, our students are going to be more successful.”

On June 12-14, 2019, the EI hosted the academy, Counseling in the Era of Equity: Critical Competencies for Student Success. The experience created a space for counselors to engage in a process that shifts their approach from “fixing” students to empowering students, exposed them to innovative and practical pedagogical counseling practices, develop a transformative College Success course outline, and learn how this work can be applied within a Guided Pathways framework. For this academy, 18 California Community Colleges sent teams of counselors, counseling deans, and vice presidents of student services to gain information, ideas and develop strategies to move their Counseling departments and colleges towards an equity-minded approach.

Day one opened with keynote speaker, Dr. Darrick Smith, a Consultant and Professor of Education at the University of San Francisco. His message called for a shift in consciousness for community colleges to re-think what it means to advise and counsel students. He said, “We must make our instruction and our assistance more directly relevant to the issues that they face highlighting the complexity of their realities on a daily basis and empowering and teaching them to confront both their daily realities and the institution at the same time.” He explained that the duty of a counselor is not merely about matriculation but developing a critical lens and counseling practices that empower students to understand, learn, and move through the institution while also developing skills that equip them with skills to navigate their own challenges and experiences.

The four areas of counseling addressed in the sessions were the identity of a counselor, counseling pedagogies, how to develop a transformative student success course and 1-on-1 appointments, and how these efforts can be executed collectively as a college through the Guided Pathways framework. Teams referred to their counseling guidebook while engaging in the sessions and worked with their groups to identity how they want to bring the ideas back to their counseling departments, guided pathways committees and college leadership.

Day two of the academy also offered a lunchtime conversation with Michelle Batista, Director of Student Support and Nate Nevado, Counseling Faculty at Skyline College. In this conversation, Nate Nevado spoke about his counseling approach using Hip Hop Pedagogy and the elements of hip hop as a pedagogical tool to better connect with students. The academy closed with keynote speaker, Dr. Michael Benitez, nationally acclaimed scholar-practitioner and Dean of Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity at the University of Puget Sound. Academy participant, Juztino, a Counselor at Chabot College shared,  “We were inspired to come here by our previous group that came to your first academy. The knowledge, skills and tools they came back with already have been transformative at our college…I was really appreciative to be here. It’s been a super meaningful and humbling experience for me.”

Article by Katrina Pantig

SparkPoint Spotlight Award Recipient: Eric Torres

Eric SparkPoint at Skyline College would like to recognize our second annual SparkPoint Spotlight Award Recipient. Each year SparkPoint recognizes one student that has demonstrated their commitment and dedication to their financial goals and involvement with SparkPoint services.

As a full-time student and single parent, Eric Torres qualified for the CalWorks program on campus which connected him to additional programs including: EOPs, SparkPoint, and child care services. Eric acclimated quickly to the campus and started a Student Assistant position at the Financial Aid office. Working in a department where he was exposed to different avenues to generate income, led him to apply to the Grove Scholarship. This was the commencement of Eric’s engagement with SparkPoint, but like the other areas campus, Eric immersed himself in the support that was being offered. He has accessed the following services: Grove Scholarship, financial coaching, SparkPoint Cash, career coaching, our on-campus food pantry, the Free Community Market, and public benefits access.

In one year, Eric eliminated his entire $15,000 debt, increased his credit score to a 748 and currently has 3.54 GPA. Eric is elated by his current situation and attributes his success to the resources and benefits that SparkPoint and Skyline College have provided for him.

Please visit the SparkPoint Center at Building 1, Room 1-214, to see the display for Eric Torres, additional information about his story and success, and for our available services.

Article and Photo by Flor López

SMCCC Foundation 2019 Golf Tournament Raises a Record of Over $240,000

SMCCD GolfThe 8th Annual San Mateo County Community Colleges Foundation’s Golf Tournament, which took place August 5, 2019 was a tremendous success, grossing more than $240,000 for the SMCCCD’s Promise Scholars Program – a new fundraising record!

The Tournament, once again held at the Stanford Golf Course, attracted over 200 supporters, including golfers, sponsors, dinner attendees, and volunteers, both from the District and the community. Local business leaders, members of the District’s Board of Trustees and the SMCCC Foundation’s Board of Directors participated in the day’s festivities. In addition to an exciting day on the links at the exclusive course, the event featured a raffle, putting contest, golf pro tips, and themed holes with fun games. There was also a laid-back dinner and awards ceremony with a taco bar and music from the Blue Flamingo Quartet.

A perennial highlight of the event is the themed hole sponsored by Skyline College, Cañada College, and College of San Mateo (pictured) – golfers always appreciate and enjoy meeting college representatives and students on the course!

Each year, this charity tournament raises funds to support students at Skyline College and the rest of the SMCCC District. And, each year, it is through the generosity of our sponsors that the Foundation is able to steadily increase the amount of funds raised for scholarships. A special thank you to our lead sponsors:

Tournament Sponsors: Blach Construction/ELS Architecture and Urban Design, and Schneider Electric

Chancellor Sponsors: Allana Buick & Bers, Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital, and Swinerton Management & Consulting

President Sponsors: Robert A. Bothman Construction, InterMountain Electric Company, Jay Paul Company, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., Provident Credit Union, Siemens, Western Allied Mechanical, Inc., and XL Construction

Director Sponsors: Atlas/Pellizzari Electric, Inc., BCA Architects, BKF Engineers, Casey-Fogli Concrete Contractors, Inc., CIS, Inc., DPR Construction, Group 4 Architecture, Research + Planning, HGA Architects, Rodan Builders, Inc., and Turner Construction Company

Thank you to all our College Sponsors, Hole Sponsors, raffle prize donors, and volunteers!

Article by Dafna Kapshud | Photo by Darrell Lee

New Semester, New Bookstore Website

bookstore skylineWelcome to fall 2019 semester and hope you have a great start at Skyline College!

This past summer, a cross-district team worked on updating the Skyline College Bookstore website to be more responsive and user friendly, which allows students to browse quickly on different devices. This crucial, high-traffic website is a common touch point for many students, so it is essential that their online experience is seamless and streamlined. The new website design simplifies the often-cluttered layout of the old website, making it easier for students to find the products and information they are looking for, ensuring their purchasing experience is a positive one.

Students can now easily purchase Skyline College merchandise, goods, and textbooks and obtain information about the services Skyline College’s Bookstore provides. The new design is more accessible, allows users of assistive technology equal access to the site, and guarantees a more equitable experience while browsing.

We hope to continue to develop the Bookstore website to serve the best to our campus community. Special thanks to Bryan Besnyi, Kevin Chak and Soe Hlaing for their effort in modernizing the Bookstore website. Do not forget to check out our new Skyline College Bookstore website!

Article by Bryan Besnyi and Soe Hlaing

A Shining Night Sky – Skyline College Astronomy Club’s First Field Trip!

From June 6 to June 7, 2019, the students from the Skyline College Astronomy Club went on their first field trip. The students went out to Stanislaus National Forest in the Sierra Nevada for an observation night of exploring the stars. There are only a few settlements in this region and therefore the night sky is stunningly clear.

The crew camped at the Big Meadow Campground, between Lake Alpine and the small town of Arnold. For some of the students, this was their first time camping. There was a summer surprise: some snow! But this didn’t hinder the crew to proceed with their observations of a clear night sky without light pollution and an arsenal of various telescopes.

From the breathtaking sight of the Milky Way to amazing star constellations, students were able to take magnificent photos to add to the club’s collection. The students were lucky since they were able to observe Jupiter with its moons and the rings of Saturn.

The atmosphere was great, the students switched between warming themselves at the camp fire and gazing at the night sky. Stories were told, s’mores were eaten and everyone had a good time. Food for this expedition was paid out of the club’s funds. This is the kind of trip the Skyline College Astronomy Club plans to conduct on a regular basis: a fun experience for any astronomy enthusiast.

The students who attended the event were: Rod Regado, Jakarta Kumasi, Jack Samman, Justin Morales, Melvin Tanedo, Lucas Sahawneh, Diego Arell, Michael Toledo, Filip Amborski and Jonathan Kwong. The club advisor, Marco Wehrfritz, was joined by Nick Kapp from the Biology Department and our new full-time Physics faculty, Emilie Hein. A special thanks to both for helping coordinate and supervise the event. Special thanks also goes to Joe Morello, Dean of Kinesiology, Athletics and Dance, for letting us use two of the school vans to transport all the equipment and the students. The trip was also supported by Ray Hernandez, Dean of Science|Math|Technology, who covered for the costs of gas.

If you’re interested in astronomy, would like to learn how to use a telescope and observe celestial objects or just would like to meet new people, come and check out the Skyline College Astronomy Club! For more information, you can contact them at skylineastronomyclub@my.smccd.edu.

Article by Rod Regado and Marco Wehrfritz | Photo by Nick Kapp

SMCCCD Students Study Anthropology in Brazil this Summer

Brazil Summer 2019The San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) Study Abroad Program would like to welcome home Skyline College professor John Ulloa and the 11 SMCCCD students he led in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil this summer.

Students spent two weeks in Brazil this July and August studying Anthropology 110: Cultural Anthropology, with a special focus on the Brazilian Roots of Hip-Hop. This program enabled students to experience studying abroad while making normal progress toward their degree objectives, earning three transferable college credits. Woven into their regular coursework were hands-on, high-impact learning experiences, such as class discussions and intercultural exchanges with local musicians, artists, activists and community leaders.

Many students who participated in the Brazilian Roots of Hip-Hop program received scholarships toward their program fees, made possible by the generous support of the Associated Students of Skyline College (ASSC), as well as the SMCCCD Community Travel Program, which raises funds for study abroad scholarships.

We also want to congratulate Cañada College student, Mónica Gallardo Hernandez, who received the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to participate in the Brazilian Roots of Hip-Hop program.

This was Professor Ulloa’s third time leading an SMCCCD Study Abroad program, and he plans to lead another program to Peru in Summer 2021. For questions about his upcoming programs, please contact ulloaj@smccd.edu.

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 studying or interning abroad, faculty teach abroad opportunities, community travel for lifelong learners, visiting international faculty presenters and student scholarship opportunities, please contact Zaid Ghori at ghoriz@smccd.edu or Stephanie Wells at wellss@smccd.edu. You can also learn more by visiting the SMCCD Study Abroad Facebook page or Instagram page @smcccd_study_abroad.

Article by Stephanie Wells | Photo by John Ulloa

Skyline College Baseball Team Recognized Nationally for Academic Success


The 2019 Skyline College Baseball Team was nationally recognized for their academic success, receiving the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Academic Excellence Award.

Skyline College is one of 310 programs recognized nationally out of a total of around 1,700 college baseball programs. While winning 23 games on the field was a great accomplishment, the team also accumulated a 3.11 GPA in the classroom.

100% of sophomores matriculated to four-year universities, with 80% of them receiving athletic or academic scholarships to continue their athletic and academic careers.

Article by Tony Brunicardi | Photo by Skyline College Baseball Program

Fostering Student Interest in Chemistry Through Chemistry Jam

Chemistry Jam Summer 2019The Chemistry Department started the fall 2019 semester with a bang with students spending five intensive days engaging in inquiry-based and active learning aimed at stimulating and motivating each student. All 25 students who participated in Chemistry Jam carried out hands-on laboratory activities which facilitated better comprehension of key concepts such as dimensional analysis, reactions and stoichiometry.

Chemistry Jam is funded by the President’s Innovation Funds, which allowed each student to build a collaborative community and form strong support groups that will carry over into their fall chemistry courses. Student were able to work on enhancing studying techniques, note-taking skills, confidence to ask questions during lectures, laboratory skills and understanding concepts that will better prepare them for their first chemistry course.

Students who participated in program said the following:

Chemistry Jam gives you a better understanding of the fundamental parts of chemistry courses without being too overwhelming”.
I liked Chemistry Jam because of the support, good explanations provided and all the studying strategies recommended, since I have not taken for chemistry in almost 30 years.”
Chemistry Jam was extremely helpful in helping me have a better mindset in fall’s chemistry class.”

We encourage students who plan to enroll in chemistry for the spring 2020 semester to participate in the next Chemistry Jam which will begin immediately before the start of spring semester.

Article and Photo by Safiyyah Forbes

New Dispatcher Joins the District

Department of Public Safety has hired a new District-wide dispatcher based at College of San Mateo. Ms. Collen Bertram comes to us from Notre Dame De Namur University and has been the Administrative Coordinator for NDNU Public Safety for eight and a half years. She has been doing a similar job and is familiar with the culture of public safety at an institution of higher education.

Article by Jim Vangele