On August 12, five CCA students — Bruce Bell, Joseph Harrell, Ruby Martinez-Gomez, Henry Reyes, and Ryan Wade — launched their science experiment into suborbit on a NASA rocket as part of the RockSat-X program. The experiment was a collaboration between CCA, Arapahoe Community College, and Red Rocks Community College students. The rocket was launched from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and reached an altitude of 91 miles. The rocket’s payload, containing student experiments from various two- and four-year colleges and universities across the U.S., including the Colorado students’ project, descended by parachute and landed in the Atlantic Ocean.
The aim of the project was to develop a cost-effective way to alter the trajectory of space debris in suborbital flight. The project was designed to create an electrostatic field and attract small pieces of aluminum debris to a tube containing highly charged rabbit fur. The 13 students from the three colleges spent more than 5,000 hours of time over the course of a year to make the flight a reality. The team from Colorado was one of just seven teams across the country selected for the launch. Martinez-Gomez and Reyes were interviewed by ABC Denver7 about their experience. Martinez-Gomez was also interviewed by AuroraTV.
Caption: (from left to right) CCA Students Ryan Wade, Bruce Bell, Ruby Martinez-Gomez, and Henry Reyes at the NASA facility in Wallops
The CCA Communications and Marketing Department is launching a redesign of the www.ccaurora.edu website and is enlisting various departments across CCA for their assistance and input. The redesign is intended to create a more streamlined website with an emphasis on recruitment and enrollment; the current iteration of the website was launched in June 2015.
Starting this month, Communications and Marketing staff will meet with a North Carolina-based company, VisionPoint Marketing, and numerous CCA staff and faculty to gather input and advice on how to build a better website. Through these meetings, Communications and Marketing staff hope to talk with stakeholders throughout the college to determine priorities, strategies, and best practices for building a better website.
Communications and Marketing will hold future meetings with stakeholders on an ongoing basis as the website redesign continues.
Welcome to the 2019-2020 academic year. It is great to have everyone back and we have a lot to look forward to in the coming year. As I mentioned during our fall all-college kick-off, we are about to implement a new strategic plan, our enrollment is stronger than it has been in years, we are improving our facilities and planning for a new building, and we are exploring new certificate and degree programs. The results of our graduate follow-up survey and our student climate survey are both very positive, and there is a palpable spirit of energy and optimism at the college.
I want to thank the offices of Admissions, Registration & Records; Recruitment & Orientation; and Advising and Career Services. All summer they patiently worked from the nooks and crannies (and hallways) of the CentreTech campus while they awaited their new space (and which I certainly hope we are occupying by the time you receive this newsletter). While our own facilities and IT staffs have been wonderful, unfortunately, like our recent roofing project, we do not control the contractors and they apparently do not always share our sense of urgency. Nonetheless, your colleagues did a remarkable job in less than ideal circumstances (as you often all do) and as I write this our enrollment is up over 6% in headcount and over 8% in FTE! In addition, I was lucky to be able to participate in the last two new student orientation programs of the summer, the last of which attracted well over 200 students. And again, our staff were organized, friendly, and calm, even as we quickly surpassed the capacity of the Forum and the students kept coming.
And, speaking of enrollment, thanks to all of you for the foundation you have laid for student retention and success. I have not seen our data disaggregated yet, but I suspect that part of our success this semester is due to retaining our current students. The vast majority of our students are having a very positive experience at CCA, both inside and outside our classrooms, and we are starting to see the impact in our retention and graduation metrics. As I mentioned at the kick-off, it is your impact both individually and collectively that makes this possible, and I hope you are proud of the difference you make.
Finally, please stop by and visit the new Lore Isa Wiggins Advising & Career Center, which was made possible by an extremely generous donation from CCAF Emeritus Board Member, Bill Wiggins, in honor of his late wife. It puts academic and career advising front and center, supports our Guided Pathways work, and reinforces the importance of these services for our students. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to do a renovation of this magnitude and I am confident not only that our students and our staff will love it, but that it is only the beginning of what is possible. Have a great semester.
How did you first get involved with CCA?
I started attending CCA in 2012. One of my teachers at the Colorado Center for the Blind told me CCA was a great school and with a good ESL program so I decided to come here. When I first started at CCA, I had lots of support. When I came to the Office of Disability and talked to them, they made me feel that this would be a great start for me. We talked about accommodations - I had no idea that accommodations existed. They told me about providing books in alternative format and I was like "Oh really? Is that possible?" I grew up in Iraq and we didn't have access to listen to books. I had to rely on my mom when I was a child and she would record all the books for me so when they told me that, I was really impressed.
In Iraq, they don't allow blind students to take math classes so I had to start from the beginning. I think I took something like five or six math classes at CCA to start before I took algebra.
What did you do after attending CCA?
I graduated in 2015 and I went to CU Denver and I received my bachelor's degree in Psychology. I want to get my master's in either Disability Studies or Psychology.
When did you start working at CCA and what made you decide to work here?
I started on December 17, 2018. I really love CCA. I received all of the services I needed and so I felt it was time for me to give back and help other students succeed.
What do you do at CCA?
I provide accommodations and meet with students. When students come in, I talk with them about what accommodations have worked in the past and what accommodations they currently need. I also talk to them about other resources they may need.
What are you doing online for the blind in Iraq?
I started creating an online library of audiobooks. I started this project six months ago. We have audiobooks accessible [in America] so I want to provide this service to high school and university students who don't have accessible materials. I started making connections with different organizations and talking with people and trying to find some volunteers to help me.
Is anyone using the site?
We have had 700 visitors to the site. The books are uploaded to YouTube and the books are broken into parts by chapter.
So far we have 10 books online and we are still recording other books. They are history, geography, and other subjects. We are trying to find others to record and someone to listen and edit the books. We are working on doing more books in both English and Arabic.
Why did you want to do this?
I want to provide these books for students in Iraq who don't have these resources. When my mom would take me to the library when I was a child, we had to walk for 45 minutes to get to the library and she would then read to me. I really wanted to read books myself and I couldn't do that and I told her my dream was to have access to read books and now my dream has become real. I can go to the Internet and read all different kind of books so that's why I am really passionate about providing access to other students.
The Office of Institutional Research is holding a training series titled “Toward a Data-Informed Culture” to inform the CCA community about the data systems, resources, and research strategies used to serve the college. The first session, “Toward a Data-Informed Culture,” will cover the concept of a “data-informed culture,” available data sources, and goals for the series. The second session, “Cognos,” Institutional Research will show users the data available in the system and the processes used to fulfill requests. In the third session, “Research Methodologies,” Institutional Research will show users best practices for developing research questions to fully utilize data stored within Cognos. The sessions will take place in the Institutional Research office and are tentatively scheduled for September 26, October 24, and December 5 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. If you are interested in attending these sessions or have questions, please contact Dr. Adam Blanford in the CCA IR office at email@example.com or at (303) 361-7365.
Hines Co-Author of Chapter
Career Counselor Erica Hines co-authored a chapter of a book with Dr. Jackie Peila-Shuster of Colorado State University. The chapter, “Career Construction Counseling with Women Through a Feminist Lens,” appears in “Handbook of Innovative Career Counselling.”
Caption: Erica Hines poses with the chapter she co-authored.
Inclusive Excellence Award Winners
Four CCA staff members were recognized at the fall kickoff on August 21 for their commitment to Inclusive Excellence. The staff members recognized were Elda Bunyan, Custodian I, who was presented the Inclusive Excellence Classified Staff Award; Racheal Aragon, English Faculty, who was given the Inclusive Excellence Faculty Award; Andrea Rascón, Academic Coach, TRIO SSS-Traditional, who was presented the Inclusive Excellence APT Staff Award; and Mandy Geddes, English Faculty, who was recognized with the Inclusive Excellence Adjunct Instructor Award before becoming a faculty member this fall.
Captions: (left photo) From left to right, Quill Phillips, College Equity Officer; Andrea Rascón, Academic Coach, TRIO SSS-Traditional; and Michael Roderique, Training Coordinator for Inclusive Excellence. Rascón received the Inclusive Excellence APT Staff Award.
(right photo) From left to right, Mandy Geddes, English Faculty, and Tasia VanderVegt, Sociology Instructor. Geddes received the Inclusive Excellence Adjunct Instructor Award for her work as an English instructor before becoming a faculty member this fall.
From left to right, Michael Roderique, Training Coordinator for Inclusive Excellence; Racheal Aragon, English Faculty; and Dr. Tanya Cook, Sociology Faculty. Aragon received the Inclusive Excellence Faculty Award.
Harrell Recognized in Gallery
Art Instructor Kim Harrell was one of 15 artists featured in the Summer Group Show at the Mai Wyn Fine Art gallery. Her work was featured in the gallery from July 19 through August 24.
CCA Faculty Arthur Vaughn Receives Doctorate in Higher Education
Dr. Arthur Vaughn, Business Lead Faculty, successfully defended his dissertation on July 23 to receive his doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Denver. Vaughn spent a year as an instructor at CCA before becoming a full-time faculty member in January 2014. Vaughn also holds bachelor’s (Business Administration Management) and master’s (Finance) degrees from Regis University.
New Chairs for Hispanic Serving Institution Committee
Sheena Martinez, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, Metro Denver STEM Alliance Project Director, and Daniel Sandoval, Behavioral Sciences Instructor, will serve as the co-chairs for the Hispanic Serving Institution Committee.
First Cohort of CCA Faculty and Instructors Complete Course in Effective Teaching Practices
This summer, a cohort of 23 CCA faculty and instructors wrapped up a yearlong commitment to earn a Certificate in Effective Instruction developed by the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) and endorsed by the American Council on Education. ACUE’s course in Effective Teaching Practices ensures that faculty and instructors learn about — and implement — approaches that improve engagement and persistence and promote deeper learning. Throughout the course, the faculty and instructors learned 63 new teaching practices and implemented 33 new practices with plans to implement 58 additional ones.
Caption: Some of the CCA instructors and faculty who received their Certificate in Effective Instruction from the Association of College and University Educators.
The Colorado Film School is hosting open auditions on September 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Colorado Film School, 9075 E Lowry Blvd.
Anyone interested can sign up at the registration page. If registration slots are filled, the Colorado Film School accept walk-ins. Actors should send an electronic headshot and resume (resume optional) to: firstname.lastname@example.org prior to their audition.
From left to right, Erma Sampson, Administrative Assistant in the Office of Student Life; Jorge Velasquez, Interim Director in the Office of Student Life; Allyson Gunn, Coordinator for Leadership Development and Student Organizations; and Breeanna Martinez Solis, Student Engagement Ambassador, check in students, staff, and faculty for the Welcome Back BBQ on August 26.
Behavioral Science Department Chair, Dr. Jennifer Dale, and her wife, Addie, welcomed the birth of their daughter, Harper Moxie Annette Dale, on August 27 at 10:12 a.m. Harper weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.
Jorge Rivera, who works on the grounds crew for the Facilities Department, became an American citizen on July 19 at a swearing-in ceremony at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Centennial. Rivera immigrated to the United States in 1984.
From left to right, Facilities Director John Bottelberghe, Vice President of Administration Skip Noe, Rivera, and President Betsy Oudenhoven celebrated Rivera’s citizenship on July 22.
Social Media Specialist Kristine Doramé created a short video to play at the fall kickoff on August 21 asking staff about what they are looking forward to in the coming year. In case you missed the kickoff, you can watch the video below:
Congressman Jason Crow Job Fair
Hundreds of people swarmed the CentreTech campus on August 21 for a job fair sponsored by Congressman Jason Crow (6th congressional district). The event drew 59 employers and more than 400 job-seekers. The first 30 minutes of the job fair were reserved for veterans and their families. Four workshops were also presented at the event: “Navigating Colorado’s Regulatory Landscape: Professional Licensure,” “Resume Building,” “LinkedIn and Digital Networking,” and “Opportunities for Veterans in Colorado.”
Renée Bedard, Student Success Librarian
Kuneeshah Braxton, Accounting Technician
Sintayehu Galata, Campus Security Technician
Mandy Geddes, English Faculty
Cynthia Koenck, Grant Development Director
Michael Levell, English Faculty
Narayan Neupane, Math Faculty
Keenan Sweigart, Community ESL Coordinator
Christopher Ubing, Science Faculty
Edgar Vargas Blanco, Spanish Faculty