CCA is making big - and necessary - changes to the Concurrent Enrollment Department in an effort to keep up with local growth, state requirements, and job readiness demands nationwide.
Tricia Johnson, CCA’s vice president of Academic Affairs, announced January 23 that the college’s Concurrent Enrollment Department would become a single department housed within Academic Affairs. Johnson also announced that Bobby Pace, who had chaired the Social Sciences Department since 2015, would assume a new role as the dean of Academic Affairs for Concurrent Enrollment. Both changes went into effect February 1.
Johnson and Paulette Dalpes, vice president of Student Affairs, made the decision to combine concurrent enrollment into one department; the department had been split between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs. That decision was the culmination of demand trends, decisions made at the state level, and market developments.
The new structure highlights CCA’s commitment to its concurrent enrollment students, who make up 33.1 percent of the college’s total student enrollment. CCA has partnerships with 22 high schools — eight from Aurora Public Schools, eight from Denver Public Schools’ far northeast region, and six from the Cherry Creek School District.
“Concurrent enrollment students make up a huge portion of our headcount,” Johnson said. “The new structure we’re putting in place here is all about better serving them and helping them earn the college degrees and certificates they need to get good jobs.”
There are three main reasons why CCA is making this structural change.
First, the demand for concurrent enrollment courses has grown steadily in recent years. In the 2016-2017 academic year, 3,645 high school students took college-level courses through CCA, up from 3,002 four years ago. The vast majority of concurrent enrollment courses within the concurrent enrollment curriculum are guaranteed to transfer to any four-year public institution in Colorado as part of the Colorado Department of Education's Guaranteed Transfer Pathways. GT Pathways courses, in which the student earns a C- or higher, will always transfer and apply to GT Pathways requirements in AA, AS, and most bachelor's degrees at every public Colorado college and university. Also, concurrent enrollment students don’t have to pay for these courses; the cost is paid for by the individual high school districts.
“So the students are really maximizing the value of their taxpayer dollars by taking these courses and laying a college foundation while they’re in high school,” said Pace, who began his career at CCA in 2008 as an adjunct instructor.
Second, in 2015, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) released new education guidelines stipulating that the graduating class of 2021 — this year’s high school freshmen — would have to demonstrate “college and career readiness”; completing a standard high school curriculum will no longer be enough. One way students can meet the readiness requirement is by completing concurrent enrollment math and English courses. There are other ways, too — CDE gave districts an 11-option “menu” — but Johnson believes most students will go the concurrent enrollment route.
“It makes the most sense,” she said. “Concurrent enrollment delivers the most benefit to the largest number of students.”
And third, Georgetown University recently published a study showing that by the year 2020, there will be 55 million job openings across the country, and 65 percent of all jobs will require some level of postsecondary education and training.
“Very soon a high school diploma just isn’t going to cut it,” Johnson said. “And so you see state legislatures putting forward large initiatives aimed at addressing the question, ‘How do we get students involved in postsecondary courses as soon as possible and matriculate them into some kind of credentialed program so they can increase their chances of getting a job?’ It’s something every state is looking at.”
These trends, legislative decisions, and market developments aside, Johnson said the new concurrent enrollment structure at CCA is all about better serving students and giving them the tools and knowledge they need to be more successful.
“We want this to be mutually beneficial for our high schools and our college,” she said. “Focusing on what’s best for our students is the most important thing.”
As for the big items on Pace’s to-do list, he would like to work more closely with CCA’s Center for Recruitment and Orientation as well as the Admissions and Registration departments, and to establish better relationships with principals and counselors at local high schools.
“I think it’s going to be a really exciting transition for me,” he said. “This is different than running an academic department in that it’s more about guiding an academic pathway for students. I’m really looking forward to that.”
I am writing this on the third Saturday in January. The federal government has just shut down, there was a Women’s March this morning in Denver (and others all over the world), and the fate of Dreamers is still uncertain. I am reminded daily of the importance of our work – and the accompanying challenges.
CCA recently had the opportunity to host several important visitors, including Kim Hunter Reed, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Colorado was selected to receive a Talent, Innovation, Equity (TIE) grant from the Lumina Foundation and Dr. Reed and her colleagues have been exploring the possibility of including CCA as a higher-education partner. As part of that process, we hosted a three-hour visit that allowed college faculty, staff and administrators to tell Dr. Reed and her team more about the work we are doing here to practice inclusive excellence and achieve more equitable outcomes.
I was struck by a few things as we hosted this meeting. First, we had a lot to say. I was really proud to hear about all the amazing work that is going on both inside and outside the classroom to foster our students’ success. CCA’s focus on diversity, equity and inclusion has required us to think differently about our students and about the way we do our jobs – and it has not made our work easier. It has required us to look at the evidence (who is succeeding and who is not), be thoughtful about that information, and be courageous in trying new approaches.
Second, college presenters were honest about the journey – the ups and downs and the successes and failures. And they were also optimistic, hopeful and committed to making a difference. I think it was clear to our visitors that we do not blame our students for their life circumstances and we believe that if we can create the educational conditions that will enable more of our students to be successful, we will start to close our achievement gap.
And that, finally, is the important takeaway. We are still waiting to see the needle move significantly on retention, graduation, and transfer. We have embraced a philosophy, laid a foundation, and embedded equity work throughout the college. We need to continue to commit to concrete actions that will help us improve our outcomes. We all know how fast semesters come and go. It will be May before we know it. And what will each of us have done to further this work by the end of the semester? Our individual and departmental actions will add up in time – but only if we all participate.
We have frameworks for the work we are doing that we believe can positively impact all of our students, including Inclusive Excellence and Guided Pathways. We also have a lot of terrific work occurring within those frameworks. CCA is a wonderful college, and we want our students to be successful. How we translate our good intentions into action – how soon we can do it and how comprehensively we can do it – will ultimately tell the tale of whether we will realize our potential along with our students realizing theirs.
Students and staff can find more familiar faces on CCA's web pages since the Communications and Marketing Department has added adjunct instructors to nearly all CCA department web pages.
Since August, the department has collected information for adjunct instructors at CCA and taken their photos, posting their bios and images to help adjunct instructors feel more connected to CCA, as well as to help students and staff become more familiar with their instructors.
This project is nearly complete – most departments now feature a page called Instructors, which lists many department instructors with their photo, name, department section, education background, courses taught, and email address. Some departments that feature instructor bios include Social Sciences, English, and World Languages. More than 100 full-time faculty and adjunct instructors are featured on the CCA website, but there is room for more.
The department will continue to collect information and update the pages throughout the year.
Adjunct instructors can submit their bios using the Adjunct Bio Submission Form and arrange a photo for their bio by contacting Joe Florkowski, web content specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org
If there are any mistakes or errors, adjunct instructors can also contact Joe to correct the information.
The Community College of Aurora recognized its 2017 Employees of the Year at the spring semester kickoff event on January 10.
During the event, CCA recognized the following: Adjunct Instructor of the Year:Kent Bowers (not pictured), Arts and Communication Department; Faculty of the Year:Jenn Dale, chair of the Behavioral Sciences Department; Exempt/Administrative Employee of the Year Janel Highfill, director of Strategic Partnerships and Resource Development; and Classified Employee of the Year, Felicia Sena, admissions specialist in the Admissions, Registration, Records Department.
Congratulations to our winners and everyone who was nominated!
Hot Cocoa with Student Life
Juan Carlos Hernandez Barraza, a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Life, makes hot cocoa for students and staff at the start of the spring semester on January 16 in the Rotunda.
CCA President Betsy Oudenhoven writes her “Thank You Notes” during the spring semester kickoff held on January 10 in the Forum; her skit was inspired by the Jimmy Fallon segment on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."
Music and Entertainment Entrepreneurship Program Director Michael Pickering provided musical accompaniment.
Coffee and Tea in the Library
Banibrata Roy, director of Institutional Research, and student Benjamin Abing poured themselves coffee on January 31 in the Library, which hosted free coffee and tea to all students, staff, and faculty.
Guided Pathways at SPSS
Chris Juarez, associate dean for the School of Professional Studies and Sciences, created color-coded and logo-adorned Guided Pathways door signs for staff members within the SPSS office suite. Each color aligns with the logo and color for a particular Guided Pathway.
Staff members who have a background or degree in that particular Guided Pathway will be able to help students and answer questions about that Guided Pathway.
CCA is now offering Paragon meal cards that can be used to pay for meals at the Grill on both CentreTech and Lowry campuses.
The new plan is available for all CCA students, faculty, instructors, and staff. By adding money to the meal cards, users can save 10%. For example, adding $45 gives the user $50 of value on the card.
For more information, visit the CCA Paragon Meal Plan page.
The Student Success Center is hosting a virtual food drive in partnership with the Food Bank of the Rockies to celebrate National TRIO Day.
Funds raised through the drive help the Food Bank provide more than 134,000 meals each day to families throughout Colorado.
CCA staff, students, and faculty can donate to Food Bank of the Rockies through February 23.
National TRIO Day is celebrated at the end of February to express appreciation to the community for its support of TRIO programs. For more than 50 years, TRIO programs have provided valuable support services to students from low-income and first-generation households, helping them successfully enter college and graduate.
For questions on the food drive, please contact Nnena West at Nnena.West@ccaurora.edu or 303-340-7573
CCA’s Wellness Committee has arranged with a local yoga studio to provide free yoga classes for CCA staff and students in February and March.
The classes, which started this week, will be held Mondays and Wednesdays through March 21. Students and staff should bring their own mats.
See the full schedule and locations of the classes.
Academic Program Support Specialists Tamara Conley and Adrienne Kruger, and Administrative Assistant Kacey Turner are amazing! Together these three have been a tremendous support system for the Arts and Communication Department. Lately, they have been particularly helpful with writing and then shepherding across campus a number of temporary appointment project specialist and part-time temporary hourly appointment contracts in preparation for a visit from the Aurora Chamber of Commerce Business for the Arts Committee, and by submitting/receiving multiple supply orders. They do all of this (and SO much more!) while remaining friendly and professional. A lot of what they do is “behind the scenes” and not always noticed or recognized, but it is appreciated—they are appreciated!
— Submitted by Lynette Jachowicz, Arts and Communication Department chair.
On December 18, Chris Juarez was named associate dean for the School of Professional Studies and Sciences (SPSS). Previously serving as the chair of the Mathematics Department, Juarez has been with CCA since the fall of 2014.
Shari Holder assumed an interim role as the Mathematics Department chair on January 8 and Joshua Pacheco has started as the coordinator of STEM initiatives for SPSS.
Sarah Jiter is the new director for the Center for Recruitment and Outreach. Jiter has served as the assistant director of the Center for the past year-and-a-half and has worked in higher education for nearly 10 years.
Adriana Cordova is moving into a new role in the Center for Recruitment and Outreach.
After serving as a college coach for the department, she will now serve as a college recruiter. Cordova, who has been a work-study student for CCA, graduated with an associate of general studies degree from CCA and will graduate with a bachelor of arts in Spanish with a minor in Cultural Relations from Metropolitan State University in May.
Kitty Quintana is the new Welcome Center coordinator at the Lowry campus. Quintana worked for Sprint for nine years, then worked for the Colorado Department of Revenue for two years before coming to CCA.
The National College Testing Association has recognized the Community College of Aurora’s Testing Center as the 200th test site to become test-center certified. Test-center certification indicates that a test center operates under the highest accepted standards and procedures for all types of testing.
Quill Phillips, special assistant to the president for Inclusive Excellence, has been invited to participate in the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education — Chief Diversity Officer Fellows Program. Phillips is one of only four people chosen each year to participate in this professional leadership program for new and early-career chief diversity officers.
The purpose of the fellows program is to provide each fellow with mentoring from a senior- level chief diversity officer who offers guided professional development opportunities and experiences.
The Fellows Program is highly selective and collaborates with the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education member colleges and universities.
CCA will fund nine projects submitted by faculty and staff as part of the Innovation Fund program. Each CCCS campus receives $100,000 in funds for the program. CCA asked for submissions with a focus on enrollment, guided pathways, and professional development. These were the projects funded, followed by the people who proposed them:
CCA has formed a college-wide Professional Development Committee that will serve the campus community and create opportunities for professional development for staff and faculty.
The committee hosted its first event, "Mental Health and Awareness Professional Development Day," on February 9 at both campuses. Events like this are intended to help CCA employees, faculty, and instructors gain skills and develop competency for accomplishing personal and CCA goals. Tamara White and Chris Tombari serve as the co-chairs of the committee.
The members of the committee are: Robert Callaway; Kelly Gaer; Xochil Herrera; Cindy Hesse; Justin Lotspeich; David Murphy; Quill Phillips; and Robley Welliver.
Season of Engagements
Chryztii Harrod, administrative support specialist for TRIO SSS-ESL; Yulisa Mayorga, admissions assistant; and Felicia Sena, admissions specialist, all became engaged over the holiday break and compared rings after the break! Congratulations everyone!
Aurora Chamber of Commerce’s Business for the Arts
CCA student Camille Kay Hollister presents her design for an on-campus mural during a visit by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce’s Business for the Arts Committee on February 6 in the Larry D. Carter Theater. Hollister’s mural idea will be created this semester and installed in the Administration Building on the wall that faces the Human Resources conference room.
MLK Day of Service: Art for a Cause
The Office of Student Life partnered with Project Angel Heart to decorate meal bags that were used to deliver meals to those in need on January 23. Project Angel Heart provides nutritious meals to improve the quality of life, at no cost, for those coping with life-threatening illnesses.
Juan Carlos Hernandez Barraza, graduate assistant in the Office of Student Life, and Andrea Rascon, academic coach for TRIO, show off their bags in the Rotunda.
MLK Dedication Luncheon
Kim Hunter Reed, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, gave the keynote speech during the MLK Dedication Luncheon on January 24 in the Rotunda.
Civil War Presentation
Geoff Hunt, CCA History faculty member, gave a presentation in costume to a history class at Rangeview High School in November.
Kyla Antony, director for the Center for Recruitment and Outreach, left CCA in January to become the dean of students at Front Range Community College. Faculty and staff wished Antony well at her going-away party on January 5. She will work out of the Larimer campus at Front Range.
(left photo) Kyla Antony, standing, addressed her colleagues.
(right photo) Sheena Martinez, project director for Upward Bound, writes a farewell note to Kyla.
Steven Zeeh, director of the Office of Disability and Equity, left CCA after five years to become the director of Campus Life at Red Rocks Community College. He will work out of the Lakewood campus at Red Rocks.
From left to right, Nnena West, project director for TRIO Student Support Services; William Flowers, disability and equity coordinator; and Steven Zeeh laugh during Zeeh's goodbye party on January 8. (Photo by Sheryl Broadnax).
Julia Bilderback, curriculum and records manager
Emmanuel Garza, Pathways advisor
Nelson Rodriguez, director of Student Life
Bel Subba, custodian