It’s fair to say that a lot has transpired since my last email communication. I do hope that you all had a chance to review the monthly report that was sent last week. Moving forward all reports, updates, presentations and news articles will be catalogued on the FCC website, under President’s Communication for your convenience.
While I tend not to discuss politics, however, given the divisive nature of this election season and in light of recent protests regarding the national election, plus the fact that the tension among many of our students is palpable, I would be remiss if I did not address some concerns.
First, there are many unknowns…which can lead to more anxiety. This, coupled with the fact that studies have indicated that as many as eight in ten college students report they experience frequent stress, is cause for all of us to be sensitive to the needs of our students and our colleagues. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind or to listen.
Last week, many of us listened to Julie Dana’s City Singers as they performed a “flash mob” by the main fountain…singing “Let There Be Peace On Earth” and “I Dream a World”
I was touched by their performance. I have been equally moved hearing from many of you about the effects of tension you are seeing and the impact on our campus. Your comments and actions demonstrate the caring conviction that exemplifies our profession. It reflects the values of this historic and grand college. At Fresno City College, it is our unwavering commitment to respect people of all ethnicities, religions, nationalities, genders, and identities, and our equally important commitment to foster academic excellence and a vigorous exchange of ideas.
As we go forward in this anxious time, it is essential that we work together to safeguard and advance a culture of open discussion where all voices are heard and respected, and where we can pursue the teaching and service to others that is so disparately needed to make our community a better place.
Programs and departments around the college are organizing opportunities for both students and staff to have intellectual and personal conversations about the election and its aftermath. We will keep you informed about these events as well as other resources available to our community.
Through Fresno City College’s Health Services we do offer education in stress management techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises. We also provide aroma therapy. Please know that this is a place where anyone can go and talk with a nurse about their feelings and they will be seen and heard.
To assist our Dreamers, our webpage now has a link to valuable resources. Our Dream Center counselors and others have been provided with Post-Election Talking points by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, also available on our website.
I believe Interim Chancellor Erik E. Skinner stated it best, “…we will always embrace the values of inclusion and diversity and support all students who want to build better lives for themselves and their communities.” This is certainly true at Fresno City College. We are doing all that we can for our students and staff.
Regardless of how you may feel about the outcome of the national election, I believe you would agree that Californians made the right choice in supporting education as evident with the passage of Propositions 51 and 55. Proposition 55 extends the former Prop 30 funding for instruction and programming which was lost from the economic downturn. Fresno City College stands to benefit from the passage of proposition 51 which will provide community colleges with $2 billion for much needed construction projects, like our Child Development Center.
Gathering of Higher Ed Leaders: I recently had the pleasure of participating in the
Central Valley Higher Education Consortium in a meeting held near Yosemite National Park. For the past 16 years, this group of intersegmental education leaders has worked together to advance the goal of increasing college-going rates in the Central Valley. All the Central Valley community colleges, Fresno State and UC Merced were represented. The meeting included presentations on innovative educational strategies, such as accelerated remediation and co-requisite models, as well as in-depth conversations about what makes regional partnerships successful. In addition to state and national educational experts, state legislators and foundation representatives also participated in the event. It was inspiring to spend time with this group of dedicated, innovative educators.
Improving Diversity at FCC: As Fresno City College continues a wave of hiring, we have a wonderful opportunity to shape the future of our college by bringing on board the next generation of faculty, administration and staff with the aptitude, enthusiasm, and diversity needed to advance our mission.
Let me share some information about recent efforts to improve faculty and staff diversity:
This is not just an issue that our college is concerned about, rather this is a state-wide issue. In October, the Assembly Committee on Higher Education and the Assembly
Subcommittee on Education Finance held a joint oversight hearing on “Improving Faculty Diversity in California’s Public Colleges.”
Last week, I had the honor of representing Fresno City College (along with a bus load of staff and students) at a pep rally held at the Save Mart Center to roll out the new Central Valley Promise. This initiative is a collaboration among area K-12 schools, Fresno City College, West Hills College, Reedley College, and Fresno State. The program features a no-cost first semester of college, as well as expanded counseling, mentoring, and other supports. Martha Kanter, former Under Secretary of Education, spoke at the event, but the best special guests of the event were the 500 middle school and high school students who attended and cheered on the announcement. If you want to watch the kick off…check out this Central Valley Kickoff video.
Finally, yes…I am still listening. Stay tuned for the next installment which will focus on what I have learned.
Dr. Carole Goldsmith, President