What did you do before you came to CCA?
I was the deputy to the vice chancellor for Student Affairs at City University of New York. In that role, I worked in the central office of the university. The role impacted half a million students. I was there for a total of eight years; for part of that time, I served as the senior student affairs officer on a community college campus in Brooklyn called Kingsborough Community College.
Before that, I was at Holyoke Community College in Holyoke, MA. I was the director of academic support so I worked with TRIO programs and the academic support center and English as a Second Language program and students with disabilities. I was at Holyoke Community College for a total of 15 years and I began there as a counselor of a brand new Upward Bound TRIO program and why that’s noteworthy is we just received an Upward Bound program here.
Out of my 30 years of work in higher ed, I think almost 20 years have been spent on a community college campus. I’ve done a lot of work on a community college campus, in a system that serves community colleges, and I’ve also held national positions that advance the work of community colleges.
What brought you to CCA?
One thing that really got my attention was the Inclusive Excellence work that was happening here at the college. I went onto the website and I saw the language and the framework and the comprehensive approach to developing more inclusive excellence at CCA so that is a high priority for me.
I come through my career with a strong emphasis on social justice work and inclusive excellence so that aligned with my priorities. I also am very impressed with the President; I think she is an outstanding leader and has a very strong and clear vision for the college which aligns with my priorities and values.
Also, my wife and I had purchased a home here several years ago with the intention to come back to Colorado for a variety of reasons; one, we met here in Colorado, and we both agreed that we wanted to return. My parents still live here and they are getting older and have had some health concerns over the past couple of years. So those are the primary reasons but we’ve always loved Colorado so we knew that we wanted to come back and settle here.
How would you describe your role as vice president of Student Affairs?
I think primarily my role is to partner with the vice president of Academic Affairs – but with everyone on the campus – to advance the learning enterprise. Sometimes when I’m talking to folks outside of higher ed and student affairs, I say that our work in student affairs is about helping students learn and be successful outside of the classroom in addition to inside of the classroom.
Student Affairs touches virtually every component of a student’s life from the moment they begin to inquire about school, even back in high school when they are taking concurrent enrollment, all the way through graduation. We want to create as many touchpoints as possible and create a personal experience for our students so that we can meet them where they are at and help them get to their next goal. That can be in veterans affairs, it can be in financial aid, it can be in admissions, it can be in student life, student conduct – all of these areas are places where we might connect with our students.
We still do work inside the classroom so I never want to say that we are only doing the work outside of the classroom because we provide support through accommodations with our students with disabilities; we also provide ongoing strategies for students to be successful in the classroom. Sometimes we provide some peer tutoring – there are lots of different ways we help students be successful in the classroom as well.
What challenges do you see for CCA but also higher education in general within the state of Colorado?
CCA is going through a significant cultural change with respect to adopting the Guided Pathways approach. That means everybody needs to be involved in that change because we are shifting the way we talk to students about their career paths and their end goal; working with students with the end in mind.
Nationally people are moving more in this direction. There are now over 200 out of the 1100 total community colleges in the country that have adopted this Guided Pathways approach, with even more to come.
Shifting the success rate of students who complete some kind of a credential in a community college is really critical; we need to improve those numbers. We also need to close the achievement gap that exists across race, and we need to create environments that are more culturally competent and receptive to all of our students and their ways of learning. That’s not just at CCA; everyone is talking about this across the country at the national level.
We have movements that are happening across the country around focusing on community college completion rates because we know as a nation our economy will stagnate if we do not help individuals acquire some college education because the job market indicates that I think, by 2025 over 60 percent of the jobs – or maybe even 80 percent – will require some level of college education.
The biggest challenge that I see for Colorado is the way that we fund education: it’s not progressive. It’s not forward-thinking. It’s not going to work for us as a state down the road in terms of some of the legislative limitations that impact what monies go to education, and it will critically inhibit our ability to advance as a successful economy down the road.
What do you see as CCA's opportunities for growth, and what are CCA's strengths?
I am really excited about being here, and one of the primary factors that drew me to CCA was the diversity across race, culture, and ethnicity that exists here on the campus within the student body.
I am excited that CCA has become a Hispanic Serving Institution and I think there are some exciting opportunities for growth in terms of how we serve the Latinx community.
Where can CCA grow? Where are the opportunities for CCA?
One of the other things that really drew me to working here at CCA was the spirit of innovation and collaboration that exists here. I am thrilled to engage in the conversations that I’ve engaged with across the board with every member of the college community. In terms of thinking about what can we do better to advance student success here, that is a genuine, authentic intentional conversation that people are having on a regular basis with one another, which is extremely exciting. With that culture in mind, I think the potential for growth here at CCA is unlimited.
I think CCA can be one of the national leaders in terms of student success and innovation, in terms of how we serve students, how we meet their needs and advance their completion rates.
In those areas, CCA has the potential to really lead – not only the state but the nation in those terms.
Students have a new space to hang out at on the Lowry Campus – the Spot.
The Spot is now open in the North Quad Building and offers math tutoring, limited library services, D2L services, and a student lounge.
Located in Room 118 on the first floor, the Spot occupies the former home of the Donna Moravec Gallery.
It was developed after Mary Graham, director of Academic Affairs Support; Dan Lawrence, Library director; and Patti Molai, director of the Academic Learning Center, discussed the need for more services for the Lowry campus.
Math tutoring began at the Spot on August 28 and the other services will be added soon. There will be four computers available at the Spot, primarily used for Math tutoring. The Spot and its lobby will receive new furniture, so students will have two areas in which to sit and study.
The Spot will have an open house on September 6 and 7 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. the same hours the Spot will normally be open.
Caption: CCA student India Bonner studies at the Spot.
Our students are back and we’re underway! I hope your semester is off to a good start. I always appreciate the opportunity to share some thoughts with you in this newsletter as writing is generally easier for me than speaking.
I don’t have to talk much during the summer; but as the new academic year ramps up we have many wonderful occasions when I can share some of what is on my mind with you and with our students. And I appreciate those opportunities. In fact, I'm going to repeat some of what I shared at the Academic Affairs meeting, as I think it's pertinent for all of us.
As I was considering what I might say to our faculty, I got thinking about the question “Why?” There is a TED Talk by Simon Sinek titled “Start with the Why” - you can watch it on YouTube. Sinek suggests that while we usually know our WHAT and we often know our HOW, we don’t always consider our WHY. And I think that's a great place to start this new semester.
We talked a bit about the question “Why?” at a recent leadership meeting, and it felt like a helpful exercise - one that could ground us as we face both the expected and unexpected challenges of a new semester. Why are we all doing the work we do, and doing it in this particular place, with these particular students? Educators have a range of options for teaching, service, and administration. Why did we choose higher education? Why did we choose a community college? Why did we choose CCA?
Sometimes the places we land don't always feel like we’ve made a conscious choice. Sometimes it feels like there are other forces at work – we got lucky, we followed a significant other and needed a job, there was an unexpected opportunity, and so on. But ultimately, even if where we landed was not the plan, our choice to stick it out is, in fact, a choice. So whether we got here accidentally or intentionally, why do the very passionate professionals of the community college world choose to stay?
There were a variety of wonderful answers in our consideration of this question the other day. But let me just share with you briefly what I shared with our academic colleagues.
A COMMUNITY COLLEGE WHY: Community colleges are democracy’s colleges. We are the local, affordable, student-centered, teaching-intensive institutions that welcome everyone so that everyone, no matter who they are, can access a college education and the benefits that accrue to the educated.
A CCA WHY: We serve the underserved. We are the college that educates the very diverse students in our service area, because too many people of color, immigrants and refugees, and low-income families have not been able to reap the benefits of higher education. We serve an underserved population, because education will improve the quality of their lives, the lives of their families, and ultimately Colorado and the nation. We serve them because they deserve it. And because we believe in them and in our ability to make a difference.
And finally, a PERSONAL WHY: I work here because I feel that I can make a difference, because I believe in our students and their potential, and because I value the opportunity to work alongside talented and passionate individuals IN WORK THAT IS MEANINGFUL. I did my doctoral work at a Jesuit university that believed that education is a matter for both the head and the heart – and if we have the privilege of being educated, we also have the responsibility to use that education for the greater good. That resonates for me.
WHAT IS YOUR WHY?
People don’t stay at a community college without a powerful why. I hope your “why” gets you through the tough times and reminds you that what you do really does change lives. That is likely the reason that our students get up every day and go to class – and it is also a very good reason to get up every day and go to work.
Thanks for all you do. Have a wonderful semester.
The Library has a new (old) name.
During the summer, the Library simply became the Library, rather than being named the Learning Resource Center, in an effort to make things simpler for students.
The challenge was that students did not know what the Learning Resource Center was and would confuse it with the Academic Learning Center, according to Dan Lawrence, Library director. To eliminate the confusion, the decision was made to just call the space the Library.
The Library has also added a lounge for students; the Library now has bean bag chairs, new chairs, and other furniture to make for a more comfortable place to study. The lounge also features artwork from CCA instructors Sandra Clarke and Kristine Beckman.
Caption: Pippi, the dog of Social Media Specialist Kristine Dorame, samples one of the bean bag chairs in the Library on Take Your Dog to Work Day on September 1.
CCA’s Communications and Marketing Department photographed more than 50 instructors while they attended the all-instruction meeting on August 17. During this time, instructors completed their bios for inclusion on the CCA website.
If you missed the meeting and would like to have your bio included on the CCA website, please complete the Adjunct Bio Submission Form.
The Communications and Marketing Department will set up a date for instructor photos later in the semester and will notify instructors about that date.
CCA staff and faculty attended the All-College Fall Kickoff meeting on Wednesday, August 16 in the Forum in the Fine Arts Building. All staff and faculty got into the eclipse spirit by wearing their eclipse-viewing glasses!
Great Solar Eclipse 2017
Jorge Velasquez, assistant director of Student Life, CCA President Betsy Oudenhoven, and Noel Chavez-Guizar, college recruiter for the Center for Recruitment and Orientation, view the eclipse on August 21 during the first day of classes.
On August 24, students, staff, and faculty met for Convocation during Welcome Week to recognize the start of the fall semester. Students who participated in Welcome Week events were entered into a drawing during Convocation to receive three-credit-hour scholarships; two were awarded at the event.
Keeping the Campus Looking Good
Bobby McKie, grounds supervisor in the Facilities Department, works on some of the garden areas on the CentreTech campus on August 30.
CCA’s Conflict Assistance through Resources and Empowerment (CARE) team has made it easier for students to refer concerns or report incidents.
Working with the Information Technology Department, the CARE team has installed CARE icons on CCA computers throughout CentreTech and Lowry campuses.
Clicking on the CARE icon takes a student to the Refer a Concern or Incident page where a student can report incidents or crimes or anything that might warrant the CARE team’s attention.
The team will act promptly to follow up with the individual who initiates the report, determine if there have been any additional warning signs or reasons for concern (such as student code-of-conduct violations or classroom incidents), and meet with the student to develop a plan.
Kim Harrell, instructor in the Art Department,and her husband, David Drew, celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary by traveling to Iceland, England (where he is from and where they met), and Scotland.
(Left): Kim Harrell pets the famous Greyfriars Bobby statue in Edinburgh, Scotland.
(Right): Kim Harrell and her husband, David Drew, stand near the Abbey in Tynemouth, England.
Erik Clark, TRIO SSS-ESL project director, and his wife, Renee, welcomed their daughter, Kiah Clark, on July 20 at 9:11 a.m. Kiah’s name means "God’s strength, from a good place and start of the season." She weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and measured 19 inches long.
“Watching Kiah grow every day has been an immeasurable pleasure and blessing,” Erik said.
He added, “My closest cousin passed away on July 18 and I’m heartbroken. Preston was only 35 years old and was the father of two young children.”
CCA’s Curriculum Committee approved two Music and Entertainment Entrepreneurship (MEE) Program Career and Technical Education certificates and two AAS degrees on August 25. The degrees/certificates are: MEE Music Producer Certificate; MEE Music Producer Degree; MEE Music Performance Certificate; and MEE Music Performance Degree.
Additionally, the Education Services Committee also approved seven new music courses, which were approved by the state last week. The new courses may be offered as soon as spring 2018.
Music Director Michael Pickering will continue to work toward federal program approval and course approval from institutions such as the Higher Learning Commission and the Colorado Department of Education.
Tanya Cook, faculty in the Behavioral Sciences Department, hosted a panel at the Denver Comic Con on June 30. Her panel, “Always Keep (Nerd) Fighting: Fandoms as Social Movements,” discussed charity and social-movement work as they relate to fandom and research done in the field. About 50 to 60 people attended the panel, a portion of which can be seen on YouTube.
Tanya also presented during a panel about the television show “Supernatural” on July 1 and mentioned both her study but also the Community College of Aurora! Attendance at that even was more than 600 people. You can find out more about Tanya’s work and non-profits and fandoms at a blog she recently wrote.
“Beginning in September, Kazia Washington will provide career services full-time. In addition to working as a Career Advisor with Career Services, Kazia will work with the students in the Center for Workforce Development's Accelerated Pathways to Success program providing career exploration, job readiness, and placement services.” – Submitted by LeeDel Cohenour, director, Career Services
“Congratulations to all the volunteers and staff who made the Key Connections Conference held on CentreTech campus on August 11 and 18 a success. Key Connections provides students participating in Student Success Center programs the opportunity to connect with one another as well as learn strategies to make the school year successful. I would like to give a special thanks to the program organizer, Nnena West. Nnena is a fearless leader and amazing friend. Other staff that came early and stayed late to ensure that we not only served the conference but general student concerns include Alfredo Beltran-Aguirre, Fumnanya Camara, Sherita Caraway, Erick Chavez, Tekleab Hailu, Atri Kenney, Janell Lindsey, Dawn Post, and Andrea Rascon. It is an absolute pleasure to serve the students of CCA with this incredible team of dedicated, caring professionals.” – Submitted by Erik Clark, TRIO SSS-ESL project director
Jenn Dale, chair of Behavioral Sciences, received her Ph.D. in psychology from Capella University on August 26. Her dissertation was titled “Positive Sexual Dialogue and Related Factors Distinguishing Risky Sexual Behavior in Adults.”
Jenn is pictured here with her dissertation committee member, Dr. Angela Bruch. “I was so excited she was able to attend and be a part of that awesome day! She was an instructor of mine during my coursework and then an invaluable committee member for my research,” Jenn said.
“Brandon Feres has been selected as the English Department chair, replacing Scott Reichel who moved on to the position of Academic Dean at Aims Community College in Greeley, CO. Chris Tombari did an excellent job serving as the interim department chair during the selection process.” – Submitted by Ted Snow, dean, School of Liberal Arts.
From September 9-13, Chryztii Harrod, student office assistant in the Student Success Center, and Dr. Ashley Simpson, department chair, Early Childhood Teacher Education Program, will attend the National Association for Community College Teacher Education Programs (NACCTEP) national conference in Washington, D.C. Ashley currently serves as the board president for NACCTEP and Chryztii serves as the student representative.
Sister Cities Visit
CCA welcomed a delegation from Seongnam City, South Korea, one of Aurora's sister cities on August 21. The delegation met with CCA staff during their visit to Aurora.
Reflection Garden on Tap Fundraiser
On August 26, a team of CCA students from the Department of Art, led by Art faculty member Kate O’ Donnell, added a sidewalk drawing at the Reflection Garden on Tap, a fundraiser at the Aurora Municipal Water-Wise Garden.
Organized by the 7/20 Memorial Foundation, the event's purpose was to raise funds for the Reflection Garden, a memorial that will honor all of the Aurora theater victims who lost their lives on July 20, 2012.
Caption: CCA President Betsy Oudenhoven stopped to add some color to the chalk drawing.
The Community College of Aurora Foundation (CCAF) is celebrating the second year of the CCA Gives Hope employee-giving campaign. This campaign allows staff to elect a one-time or payroll-deducted donation toward student scholarships.
Research demonstrates that 40 percent more CCA students graduate when they receive a multi-year scholarship. This campaign is all about helping students realize their potential. When removing financial barriers, students have a better opportunity to focus on educational success.
John Wolfkill, executive director of CCAF, said giving is easy and the benefits to our students are tremendous. “By giving to the CCA Gives Hope Campaign you are helping to close the achievement gap,” he said. “Supporting students with an unexpected emergency, helping them buy books or a bus pass – these are things that can help them stay in school and graduate.”
The goal for the campaign is to raise $18,890 in one-time gifts and pledges with 80 percent participation among staff, faculty, and instructors. The campaign has already raised $10,995.
CCAF Scholarships Make a Difference for CCA Students
Unlike other students, Jose Puente Puente knows what he wants to do in the future. Puente is an Aurora Central High School graduate and in his second year at CCA. While participating in the Aurora LIGHTS program, he discovered his passion for helping others live healthier lives.
Puente is a first-generation college student and, with his older sister also attending CCA, he was unsure if he could afford college. The Aurora Gives Scholarship removed the financial barrier and allowed him to fully commit to his future career goals. The Aurora Gives Scholarship covers all tuition, fees, and book expenses for two years.
This scholarship helped Puente stay involved in his community. Most recently, he accepted a role in the Student Success Center. As a student success leader, he is not only reaching for his goals, but is also helping other students reach theirs.
The CCA Gives Hope Campaign Starts September 1
During the campaign, which runs from September 1 through October 31, full- and part-time staff, regular faculty, and adjunct instructors can make a minimum monthly payroll contribution of $1 per pay period and choose one of six giving areas to support with their gift: CCA Staff & Faculty Scholarship; 15 to Finish Scholarship; Model UN Fund; Student Emergency Needs Fund; Dr. Linda S. Bowman President Emeritus Scholarship; and other existing CCA Foundation scholarships.
Staff and faculty can choose from several giving levels:
• Red Fox Friend (RFF): For a donation of $60 or more, (that is just $5 per monthly pay period), the team member will receive special recognition in an artistic installation designed by the Art Department.
• Trailblazer Level: For a donation of $300 or more ($25 per monthly pay period), the team member will receive special recognition and a limited-edition CCA Foundation gift.
• President’s Society: For a donation of $500 or more ($42 per monthly pay period), the team member will receive special recognition, a CCA Foundation gift, and a special invitation to have dinner with CCA’s president, Dr. Betsy Oudenhoven.
The Foundation will match the first $10,000 of staff/faculty gifts and payroll contribution pledges. Additionally, COSI (Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative) will also match, dollar for dollar, every donation that comes in that's designated for a scholarship. That means a $60 gift becomes $180, or a $500 pledge becomes $1,500.
If you would like more information about the CCA Gives Hope campaign, contact Lynn Adams at 303-361-7416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to the CCA Gives Hope campaign committee: Nicole Banks, Erik Clark, Deborah Hoefler, Martha Jackson-Carter, Phebe Lassiter, and Valerie Sangiuliano.
Erik Clark, project director, TRIO SSS-ESL
Eric Cline, faculty, Math Department
Paulette Dalpes, vice president, Student Affairs
Molly Dougherty, student support specialist, Admissions, Registration, and Records
William Flowers, coordinator and interpreter coordinator, Office of Disability and Equity
Valerie Gantzler, coordinator, Accelerated Pathways to Success
Tekleab Hailu, academic advisor, TRIO SSS-ESL
Jason Ray, faculty, Math Department
Emily Silvola, assistant to the vice president, Academic Affairs
Jonah Skurky-Thomas, faculty, Art Department
Lynette Jachowicz, chair for the Arts and Communication Department, speaks about Scott Wakefield’s contributions at his going-away party on July 24. Wakefield, former faculty member within the Art Department, left CCA after nearly seven years of teaching to become the chair of Illustration at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design.
President Betsy Oudenhoven congratulated Greg Moore, academic advisor, for his 13 years of service with CCA during his going-away party on June 29.
After nearly 13 years of teaching at CCA, Scott Reichel, English Department chair, left CCA to become the academic dean of Arts and Sciences at Aims Community College in Greeley.
Caption: During his going-away party on June 22, he posed with Jennifer Bird, (left) academic program support specialist for the Behavioral Sciences and English departments, and Kacey Turner, administrative assistant with the School of Liberal Arts.
After eight years at CCA, Catherine Trouth, director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, left the college on July 31.
Caption: Angie Tiedeman (left), coordinator, Office of Student Intervention and Conduct, and Catherine Trouth (right) posed for a good-bye photo during Catherine’s going-away party.
Mary Westendorf, administrative assistant in the Facilities Department, retired on June 30. On her last day, CCA celebrated Mary’s more than 13 years at the college.
Caption: Mary Westendorf (left) stops for a moment to take a picture with Kathy Jackson, administrative assistant, during the going-away party.
Stephanie Lawton, director of CCA’s Community ESL program for eight years, left CCA in July. She has accepted a position with the United States Foreign Service, a long-term goal of hers. During her good-bye party on July 20, Stephanie read from a card that coworkers signed for her.
“Stephanie brought many positive changes to the Community ESL program during her tenure. She was able to move the Community ESL program from being grant-funded to becoming a self-supporting program, implemented a new curriculum, assisted in writing a successful grant to USCIS that has allowed the program to offer citizenship classes to students at a reduced rate, and added specialized programming for more advanced students.” – Anne Petti, director, Center for Workforce Development
Tell us about a fond memory from the time you spent in college.
Erik Clark, TRIO SSS-ESL project director: “A fond memory from college is spending time with my professors. I was not prepared for college when I attended and having the support of the professors at Luther College was life changing. My Black professors understood that I needed the mentorship, and they made a safe space for me to grow under their care.”
Kim Harrell, instructor, Arts & Communication Department: “I attended Colorado College in the 1980s and worked at the radio station, KRCC. It became an NPR station while I was there, and had the pleasure of downloading from the satellite feed, “Prairie Home Companion” and “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.” To this day, I listen to PHC. This was also when CDs were new, and we were transitioning out from LPs. I loved being around all that music from all over the world. I even met Gil Scott-Heron who was interviewed live at the station.”
Dan Lawrence, Library director: “In my freshman year at UC Berkeley, I was in the marching band. During Big Game week – when we played our rival, Stanford – someone painted the huge concrete letter known as “Big C” on the nearby foothills red, Stanford red. In the middle of the night, first-year band members were led up the hill in blindfolds to discover that we had to paint the “Big C” yellow again. Coincidentally, we noticed red flecks of paint on the shoes of some of the seniors the next morning at practice.”
Kate Noon-Ulvila, ESL faculty: “Acting in student films at the University of Colorado Boulder!”
Chris Tombari, associate dean, School of Liberal Arts: “I graduated from Texas A&M University. One of my fondest memories was Elephant Walk, a senior-year tradition based on the myth that elephants wander off from the herd when they’re preparing to die. Realizing that their usefulness to the student body is coming to a close but still wanting to remember the good times - seniors wander aimlessly about campus to various landmarks in an unorganized herd, while the juniors pelt them with water balloons.”