West Hills Magazine - Winter 2018 (Issue 11)

Page 1

9900 Cody Ave. Coalinga, CA 93210

Winter 2018


Two Leaders, One Goal: Dr. Stuart Van Horn and Dr. Frank Gornick Reflect Big Dreams Take Time: WHCL’s GED Program Lends Support For information on how you can help support education, see our website: www.whcgift.org, or contact:


West Hills magazine

Alexis Perez • West Hills Community College Foundation Executive Director alexperez4@whccd.edu 9900 Cody Ave. Coalinga, Ca 93210 (559) 934-2134 WestHillsCollege.com

Back to Where It All Began: West Hills Alums Give Back to their Alma Mater Meeting Challenges Yields Amazing Results for Dr. Kaitlen Lawton-Betchel



Copyright 2018 by West Hills Community College District. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission prohibited. WEST HILLS MAGAZINE Number 11 Published Winter and Fall Marketing, Communications and Public Information Office Contact us by mail at the address below, or, by phone or email at: West Hills CCD Marketing Office 9900 Cody St. Coalinga, CA 93210 (559) 934-2132 ambermyrick@whccd.edu ADVISORY BOARD Stuart Van Horn, Chancellor, WHCCD Brenda Thames, President, WHCC Kristin Clark, President, WHCL BOARD OF TRUSTEES Mark McKean, President, Area 5 Nina Oxborrow, Area 1 Salvador Raygoza, Area 2 Jeff Levinson, Area 7 Steve Cantu, Area 6 Martin Maldonado, Area 3 Bobby Lee, Area 4 EDITOR Amber Myrick Director, WHCCD Marketing, Communications, Public Information EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Jamie Applegate WEBMASTER Carlos Posadas PHOTOGRAPHY Dennis Gallegos, Kelly Peterson GRAPHIC DESIGN Robert Jesus



table of

Leaders, One Goal: 3 Two Dr. Stuart Van Horn and Dr.

Two Leaders, One Goal: Dr. Stuart Van Horn and Dr. Frank Gornick Reflect

Hills Grows its Future 7 West Leaders through Future

West Hills Community College District Chancellor Dr. Stuart Van Horn and Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Frank Gornick share a love of sports, West Hills and education. Their relationship stretches back over twenty years. Here’s a look at how that relationship has affected, and continues to affect, West Hills.

Frank Gornick Reflect

Every year, it seems as if the holiday season sneaks up on me. One minute it’s June and the next it’s December. This has been a busy but productive year for West Hills. We’ve brought many new faces, including several new administrators, into our family and have also said goodbye to a few longtime employees as they head toward retirement. As we wish them all well, we are continually excited about the future. More than ever before, this year has been the year of diversification, growth and pathway building for West Hills. We’ve diversified to grow student demand, restructured ourselves in several ways, and dealt with a new state approach to funding. We’re focused on the 40 and intent on serving students and living up to our unofficial motto: we accept 100% of everyone. In this issue, you will read stories about some of the staff, students, faculty, alumni and administrators that make West Hills a great place to be. Our theme is “Paving the Path to Success,” something we at West Hills are intent on doing. This issue highlights the many different ways we as people find a path to success: from finding mentors to help guide us to getting help from West Hills programs ranging from GED preparation to TRiO. We could all use a little support and, at West Hills, that support can be found everywhere you turn for students and staff, faculty and administrators. As we come closer to 2019 and the year draws to a close, I wish you good health and happiness in the future. I look forward to another year of innovation and responsiveness by our college district to create educational, economic, cultural and social opportunities for the citizens of the region.

Leaders Professional Development Series

9 WHCL’s GED Program Lends Big Dreams Take Time: Support

11 Close to Home:

A Real College Experience, Dorm Life at West Hills College Coalinga

to Where It All Began: 14 Back West Hills Alums Give Back to

Big Dreams Take Time: WHCL’s GED Program Lends Support

Don’t be surprised if you see a sign reading, “Kasondra Jobe: Attorney at Law” in the future. The 37-year-old Hanford resident has big dreams — and she’s a lot closer to achieving them, thanks to a little help from West Hills College Lemoore. In May, Jobe earned her GED (General Equivalency Diploma) through a free program at West Hills. Now, she’s on track to receive an associate degree, with law school on the horizon.

their Alma Mater


17 University of Phoenix

West Hills College and

Back to Where It All Began: West Hills Alums Give Back to their Alma Mater

Partner to Give Students a Boost

19 Advisor Helps Track Student Focus on the 40: Inspire for Success

21 Amazing Results for Dr. Kaitlen Meeting Challenges Yields Lawton-Betchel


Growing All the Time: West Hills College Lemoore and West Hills College Coalinga Square off in Battle of the Birds

Season’s greetings,

25 Dr. Stuart Van Horn, Chancellor West Hills Community College District



President's Scholars Program Creates Pathway for Rosalynne Dedmon Hello / Goodbye


Maya Angelou wrote: “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” These words ring true for two West Hills College alumna, both of whom gained life lessons, support and encouragement from West Hills College and have come back to reinvest that in their alma maters.

Meeting Challenges Yields Amazing Results for Dr. Kaitlen Lawton-Betchel Life is difficult enough without the challenge of what is commonly called a “handicap” or a “disability.” Making your way through school and social settings is one of life’s learning experiences, in the best of situations. Add a disability like dyslexia and someone who might otherwise breeze through the educational system faces challenges most people can’t imagine. That’s certainly true for West Hills College Lemoore graduate and Lemoore veterinarian Dr. Kaitlen Lawton-Betchel.

Winter 2017 | 2 Winter 2018 | 2

Two Leaders,One Goal One thing you notice right away when chatting with Dr. Stuart Van Horn and Dr. Frank Gornick are the sports terms. They fly fast and loose through any conversation they have with each other. “Scrum”

“Playing on the Same Team” “Wearing the same Jersey” Their language is dripping in athleticism, the patois of those familiar with the exhilaration of stretching your body to the limit, of competition and winning and losing. Athletics are a central focal point for both of them, even in the way they communicate with one another.

Van Horn, a very tall man whose frame testifies to his history as a basketball player, and Gornick, who is still in older age not far off from looking like the football player he once was, both credit sports for building them into the men they are. A popular pastime for both is golf, especially for Van Horn

“He’s a better golfer than me, but he should be since he’s been playing longer,” says Gornick of Van Horn. 3


West Hills magazine

Dr. Stuart Van Horn & Dr. Frank Gornick

Reflect By Jamie Applegate

Van Horn at the time was the Associate Commissioner of the Community College League of California’s Commission on Athletics, a role he held for nine years. In that time, Gornick said, he noticed the potential in Van Horn. Gornick was chair of the policy board for the organization. “That’s when I noticed his talents and his skills in terms of being able to organize and promote,” Gornick said. “He could really get results when it came to fostering relationships and getting people and groups to sponsor things.” Van Horn reminisced on the fact that he used to write Gornick’s scripts for COA events and how Gornick would often try

to ad lib and go off script, a source of friendly consternation. “We always had fun with it,” Van Horn said. “That was one thing that Frank and I shared was that we weren’t going to get outworked, but we also never took things too seriously.”

In fact, sports even played a big role in them meeting in the first place. When we sat down to chat about their professional and personal relationship—on Van Horn’s 61st birthday no less—they estimated that they met sometime around 1994, when both were involved with the Community College League of California’s Commission on Athletics.

As members of COA, the two tackled issues ranging from contiguous districts to conference placement, gender equity and more. However, Gornick remembers Van Horn as never losing his cool. “From my perspective of Stu, in that kind of environment I saw him as a peer,” Gornick said. “He handled those conflicts and personalities. No one ever got mad at him. That was a good training ground for him.”

Van Horn, conversely, appreciated how good of a leadership model Gornick provided him. “It was easy for Frank and I because we were very passionate about the value of intercollegiate athletics,” Van Horn said. “We both took our own circuitous paths, not unlike a lot of the students in our colleges. That resulted in us crossing paths often and seeing a commonality in our approach to leadership. Frank always had this urge for progress. Even during our time here at West Hills, we had a reporting relationship but we also had a great personal relationship. We wore the same jerseys. Whatever it may be, we were proud of this region and we were going to fight for it.”

When a new position opened up at West Hills Community College District for a Vice Chancellor of Educational Services, Gornick thought of Van Horn and was happy to see he applied. Van Horn got the job and, as they say, the rest was history.

“Stu described working for West Hills as an on ramp,” said Gornick. “Most people from a traditional background would see us as an off ramp in terms of priority, a place to retire, be complacent, but not Stu. Working here is an on ramp. We’re a drive to, not a drive by destination.”

Winter 2018


Another trait that both admire in each other is a willingness to innovate and do things a different way. Both have decades long careers in community colleges and both have seen their fair share of lethargic districts, inner college squabbling and stagnation. To them, West Hills is different. Here, you can get things done.

What’s the impact been on their relationship now that Gornick has retired and Van Horn’s in charge? “He’s my boss,” said Gornick. “He’s my friend,” replied Van Horn.

“During my time as Vice Chancellor, a lot of our relationship was grounded in a firm belief in each other,” Van Horn said. “We never had issues with the supervisor/employee relationship. I grew and was mentored by Frank in a lot of ways. I was never unable to share what I was really feeling and something really was honed in me, the idea that you should stay true to your instincts and intuition.” He and Gornick worked in tandem, according to Van Horn, until Gornick’s retirement as Chancellor in 2017. However, the relationship didn't end there and wasn't confined to just working together in a professional setting: it's a lifelong one. That's what true friendships are about. Gornick is now Chancellor Emeritus and it’s more than an honorary title. Gornick helps fundraise for the district, foster relationships and is intent on helping with long term projects like the WHCCD broadband initiative. “What we’re doing right now is capitalizing on the regional equity Frank brings to the table,” Van Horn said. “It’s right up Frank’s alley. Cultivating relationships he’s had so long and being able to focus on that.”

Before the end of my interview with both, they shared one final sports story: The tale of how they single handedly may have broken the Curse of the Billy Goat, the legendary curse that kept the Chicago Cubs from winning the World Series for 108 years. The curse outlasted the Ottoman Empire. In 2016, during a lull at a conference in Chicago, the two visited Wrigley Field on opening day and even took a tour. Gornick, a Chicago native, feels this was significant. Van Horn, a diehard Los Angeles Dodgers fan, is dubious. But at the end of the day, sports continue to provide a valuable framework for both and perhaps even a Dodgers fan can take a lesson from the Cubs. “We’ve lost at things before,” Van Horn said. “You’re going to lose sometimes, but you’ve got to learn from it. I might get my butt kicked Monday but I’m back Tuesday at 100%. Recover quickly and focus on what’s next and what you’ve learned. Improve yourself.”



West Hills magazine

administrators to classified staff. The series as a whole will feature four days of training focusing on servant leadership, a look at community college administration, an overview of organizational finance, accountability and a guide to hiring practices. Development doesn’t stop with those training sessions, however. Post-training will include individual and group mindful choice coaching focused on constructing a personalized development plan, workshops on productivity, self-awareness and more and individual coaching calls.

Lea d e r e u t u F s t i s West Hills Grow rofessional Developmernst thr Leaders P ough Future

“Leadership is a verb, not a noun,” said Van Horn. “In today’s rapidly changing higher education marketplace, educational leaders must lead in an era of change management and participants will foster a broader understanding and game plan to successfully lead the organization into the future.” A total of 15 individuals are currently part of the first cohort and 15 more will join them for the spring cohort.

By Jamie Applegate

One of the central tenets of West Hills Community College District is a simple idea: grow from within. Part of holding true to this tenet is offering opportunities for professional development and mentorship. One way WHCCD is doing so is through a program specifically tackling this issue: the West Hills Future Leaders Professional Development Series. WHCCD, along with partner groups Future Leaders and Mindful Choice Coaching, LLC, developed the series as a way to provide participants the opportunity to focus on professional development, including insight into who they are as working professionals and current behavior. Each participant is also provided with professional coaching related to team transformation and cultures in order to be a more productive and efficient leader. “For the past two years, I have sought to elevate opportunities for all members of our organization to participate in their own professional development,” said Dr. Stuart Van Horn, Chancellor of the West Hills Community College District. “A number of significant accomplishments have served as milestones of this commitment, including altering procedures, changing practices, increasing subscriptions to national faculty and staff development organizations, and augmenting budgets. I am convinced we can do more to broaden participation.



West Hills magazine

This series – two, two-day workshops and several subsequent personalized coaching sessions – has been developed specifically for West Hills based on analysis of operational and governance systems and structures in place at our District and with that spirit in mind.” The first cohort of the development series recently kicked off with an event at Harris Ranch. The group training focused on leadership development and brought together participants from throughout the district, from

Dr. Frank Gornick, WHCCD's Chancellor Emertius, is helping to lead and develop the Future Leaders program

Winter 2018


Big Dreams Take Time:

Don’t be surprised if you see a sign reading, “Kasondra Jobe: Attorney at Law” in the future. The 37-year-old Hanford resident has big dreams — and she’s a lot closer to achieving them, thanks to a little help from West Hills College Lemoore. In May, Jobe earned her GED (General Equivalency Diploma) through a free program at West Hills. Now, she’s on track to receive an associate degree, with law school on the horizon.

WHCL’s GED Program Lends Support By Matt Weeks

It’s the kind of life that felt out of reach for her. She spent 18 years trying to earn a high school equivalency while working and raising a family. Although Jobe was smart and hardworking, her lack of education held her back. “All these doors have been opening for me since I walked into the GED Lab,” she says. “The instructors helped find the right kind of learning style for me, and it’s made a huge difference. My whole life, soul and body has done a complete 360. Now, I’m a ball of dynamite!”

Her story is the kind of success the program aims for. The GED Lab is open five days a week, and staffed with West Hills instructors who work with students individually to prepare them for all four sections of the GED exam. At any given time, there are about 40 students enrolled in the program, and new students can sign up any time. “Prior to this, I felt alone doing it. I was already embarrassed, trying to go get my GED again and again,” Jobe says. “But the difference was this was at a college — I saw other people going to classes and I thought, ‘That could be me!’ It was inspiring to see where I could be heading.” After about 18 months in the program, Jobe passed the final portion of the exam and participated in the college’s first GED Graduation Ceremony earlier this year. The six-student graduating class became close over the months by working alongside each other, often bringing in group snacks to the lab and relying on one another for support. “I would drive 20 minutes to be in the lab every day. I didn’t feel like I was in the school; it felt like a second home,” Jobe says. “The flexibility was great because my daughter is in preschool, and the environment was so warm and welcoming. If I wasn’t there for three days, someone would be calling me and asking if everything is OK. I never felt like I was going through it alone.”

“That attitude is West Hills College Lemoore. We are a community college that really has students’ best interests at heart. We get to know our students. We have faculty who are innovative and really here to help change lives,” she says. “The vast majority of our students are older, and we know that coming back after so many years to complete a high school diploma is a major accomplishment. Seeing the students after they pass the exam, their self-confidence is amazing. It’s why we do this.” And the support doesn’t stop after the exam. The program introduces students to opportunities to further education. “Because it’s here on a college campus, we have advisors and counselors come in and talk to the students about how to apply to college, different career tracks that are available and how to get financial aid,” she says. “We have library workers talk with them about how to use a college library. We take our GED students to the Career Technical Education (CTE) program workshops. They receive a lot of information and support to move forward.” For Jobe, a new life includes giving back to the community that helped her reach new heights. “Being that I’m older, I’ve become an example,” she said. “I still poke my head into the lab and talk to the girls who are there now and give them support. It’s in the past, but it’s also my present, and I see a big bright future ahead of me.”

The camaraderie and a personalized push toward success is the hallmark of the program, says Sue Warner, dean of educational services.

WHCL President Dr. Kristin Clark with Jobe



West Hills magazine

Winter 2018

| 10

Close to Home:

A Real College Experience, Dorm Life at West Hills College Coalinga

Bottom and left: Carissa Plascencia Above from left to right: Dorm staff, Veronica Rosales, Alex Villalobos, Patty Mendoza

By Jamie Applegate

When Carissa Plascencia first decided to attend West Hills College Coalinga, the Mendota native had a choice to make: live at home while in school, get an apartment in Coalinga or find another solution? Taking stock of her options, she went with an unexpected choice for a local student: living in the on campus dorms at WHCC. One of just a few community colleges in the state to offer students the option of on campus living, WHCC features two residential buildings for students.

“I’m an athlete and I just decided I didn’t want to make the drive back and forth to Mendota, especially after a long day,” Plascencia said. “It felt easier to live here and I’ve ended up having an amazing experience. It’s been a great time saver and reduces my stress.” However, while Carissa was confident in her decision to live in the dorms, her parents were somewhat doubtful. “I guess because it was her first time away from home, at first I said I would drive her to school every day,” said Emma Plascencia, Carissa’s mother. “I finally came around because it was time to let go. I was thankful that she never



West Hills magazine

gave me a hard time about it. She just said this is what I want to do and I want to stay over there. Now, I’ve shared with other parents that for me I feel the kids are a lot safer in the dorms. It’s like a family, a dorm family.” Part of what convinced Emma—a West Hills alumna herself— was the dorm staff, two of which live on site. “For a lot of parents, they are not sure what the living arrangements and experience will be like,” said Alex Villalobos, Director of Residential Living & Student Activities “But if they come tour they know we have staff members that are here 24/7 and ready to address concerns. We’re going to take care of their children. The way we view it is that they’re joining our family and are an extension of our family. We take care of them. We tell them to go to class. Get tutoring. Our priority is student success. We want to make sure they can move on and parents find that reassuring.”

Dorm living, according to Villalobos, offers many amenities for students including a computer lab that’s open 24 hours a day, the ability to print 200 pages free per semester and weekly social activities organized by the dorm’s resident assistants, of which Carissa Plascencia is now one. “Even for a student that lives nearby, living on campus is that stepping stone that gets you ready for what to expect when you go to a four year school,” said Villalobos. “It makes the transition less difficult and allows for a true college experience.” For Plascencia, a WHCC volleyball player, the dorm has allowed her to make friends, gain a measure of independence, focus on her studies and get a taste of college living. “I would recommend that even if you’re local, you think about living in the dorms,” she said. “Because I live on campus it’s been much easier to be in three different clubs. I couldn’t have been in anything if I had to drive back and forth from home. It’s also made it easier to focus on school without distractions and to play volleyball.”

Winter 2018

| 12

Back to Where It All Began:

West Hills Alums Give Back to their Alma Mater By Jamie Applegate

Maya Angelou wrote: “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” These words ring true for two West Hills College alumna, both of whom gained life lessons, support and encouragement from West Hills College and have come back to reinvest that in their alma maters.

Dorm life was also good to Antonio Aguilar. A West Hills College Coalinga alumnus now attending California State University, East Bay, he moved from Avenal into the dorms in 2015.

Antonio Aguilar

Financial aid is available to pay for the cost of living in the dorms and dorm living also comes with a meal plan for the on campus WHCC café.

“Even though Avenal is so close to Coalinga and I could have commuted, I wanted to have my own freedom and make my own decisions,” Aguilar said. “It ended up helping me to focus on school. How the living situation in the dorm is that you have a group of people you get close to and the reason why I like it there is everyone keeps you on track. Even if it’s just as simple as asking if you’ve done your homework, I got constant reminders throughout the day.” Aguilar became a resident’s assistant in 2016 and is now working in the dorms at CSU East Bay with the hope of becoming an RA there. He said living in the dorms made him more comfortable when it came time to transfer and helped him develop life and leadership skills. “The dorms help you to become an adult,” he said. “You have housing and are on campus but you can also find a job and start building your resume and life skills. It’s a great opportunity.” Reyna Gonzalez with a student



West Hills magazine

Winter 2018

| 14

Reyna Gonzalez’s story started when she was in high school. The teenager first became acquainted with West Hills College Coalinga when she joined the Upward Bound program, a federal program at WHCC that offers first generation, low income students the ability to take college classes while also getting guidance and tutoring, live in the WHCC dorms during the summer and overall a shot at starting on the pathway to a college education. She was set to attend UCLA when she hit a diversion in her education pathway: she became pregnant her senior year of high school. However, thanks to the connections she made at West Hills, she had a plan. “At the time, I thought I knew what I wanted to do but I got lost because I was pregnant and that’s a big factor for a lot of students in the Valley,” she said. “They try to go to a four year or have other plans but then get pregnant. Life happens. But what I learned from West Hills is that it’s ok to fall sometimes. We’re here to help you get back up.”

Another alumna who has given back to her school is Brittney Juarez. A 2004 graduate of West Hills College Lemoore, she first became involved with the 5C Experience Summer Camp while she was a student. She served as a mentor for the two week summer camp for incoming 6th to 8th graders, which aims to help them learn about college through classes, college mentors and engaging them in a dynamic college curriculum.

According to Gonzalez, the staff and faculty at West Hills College Coalinga made all the difference in keeping her on track as she faced being a student and a single parent. This included the TRiO program staff, something which stuck with her. She graduated with her associate’s degree from WHCC in 2006. The following year, she applied for and got a job as an assistant for WHCC’s TRiO program and she’s been here ever since. Even the idea of applying for the job came from a member of the TRiO staff Gonzalez knew as a student. And, she said, the idea of helping the program that helped her was appealing then and has only become more important as she’s seen her efforts pay off in the form of graduating students. “Our students often don’t have family members that attended college and it’s easy to get lost,” she said. “They don’t have that older brother who will help you go to a four year school. So we serve as that older brother or sister. We help them get on the right path. Because of my experiences as a single mom and as a first generation student, I’m able to connect with students. I share my story with them.”



West Hills magazine

“I became interested in the camp after taking an "Introduction to Teaching" class which James Preston (5C Coordinator and WHCL Vice President of Educational Services) taught,” said Juarez. “It sounded like a wonderful opportunity to start working with kids and be able to take part and make a difference in my community while I was still at West Hills with my schooling. I knew I wanted to be a teacher and I looked forward to any opportunity that would allow me to work with students.” Juarez started out in 5C as a mentor while at WHCL and then became a 5C teacher.

“... Life happens. But what I learned from West Hills is that it’s ok to fall sometimes. We’re here to help you get back up.”

However, even after graduating, she’s continued to be a big part of the program. She is now a teacher for the Hanford Elementary School District and in the summer gives back to the 5C program as a 5C MC, essentially one of the developers of the camp schedule. As a 5C MC she helps each summer with camp set up, class ideas and lesson planning as well as hiring mentors. She also helps lead the camp and organize the behind the scenes details.

Brittney Juarez at 5C

For Juarez, being part of 5C is all about giving back and returning the support she got while she was a student helping with the program. “I come back every year to 5C because of the relationships I am able to build, both with students and the 5C staff,” she said. “I run into past campers, some of whom are now adults and college students themselves, while out in our community and they love to share stories about 5C and the impact it had on their lives. It is those stories that keep me wanting to be a part of it each year. We are able to show these students that college is in their future. It is even more exciting when the campers return as mentors. That is the true testament to this program and how it has impacted the youth of our surrounding

Winter 2018

| 16

West Hills College Lemoore began its concurrent enrollment partnership with University of Phoenix to support the Institute of Medicine 2011 Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health focus on the need to support higher levels of education and training through education that promotes seamless academic progression. The goal is to have 80% Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or higher across all nursing roles by the year 2020. “The goal will be that every student who graduates from our nursing program will either be close to completion of their BSN upon graduating from our program or at the minimum enrolled to continue their BSN immediately after graduation,” said WHCL Director of Health Careers and Director of Nursing Kathryn DeFede, RN MSN. “Current statistics show ADN nursing graduates take an average of 10 years to complete their BSN post-ADN graduation. That needs to change as our health care environment is becoming more complex and roles are changing in nursing on a continual basis. These new roles require nurses to have BSN degrees.”

Chieze and Sanchez with part of the 2017 WHCL nursing class

West Hills College and University of Phoenix Partner to Give Students a Boost By Kimblerly DelMonico

Nursing: it’s a noble profession. And now, thanks to a partnership between West Hills College Lemoore and University of Phoenix, it takes those looking to help others less time to get started in a career in nursing. Through a partnership with University of Phoenix, West Hills College Lemoore nursing students have been earning units toward a Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) degree in a concurrent enrollment program. This concurrent enrollment program helps to meet the needs of industry partners who have expressed a need for BSN-educated nurses.



West Hills magazine

WHCL nursing students working on their Associate’s Degree in Nursing are eligible to take courses through University of Phoenix as part of the Transfer Pathway-Concurrent Enrollment Program. WHCL students who are enrolled in the concurrent enrollment program graduate already enrolled in a BSN program that can be completed in less than a year. This provides the WHCL nursing graduate additional marketability for employment and is part of a large movement within community college nursing programs to have strong concurrent enrollment programs.

The partnership with University of Phoenix began in 2016. Students admitted to the nursing program have the option to enroll with UOPx and take UOPx courses during their breaks from the WHCL program. Upon graduation with their ADN from WHCL, students take their NCLEX-RN licensing exam and continue their BSN education with UOPx for completion of that degree. The degree can be completed in less than one year of graduation from WHCL. The first BSN UOPx cohort graduates graduated from WHCL in May of 2016 and completed their BSN with UOPx in April of 2017. Currently, over 40% of WHCL’s first-year nursing students are participating in this partnership with University of Phoenix, and it continues to grow. Graduates of the WHCL concurrent enrollment program have given the program stellar reviews, including Erin Chieze, who graduated from West Hills in 2017 and University of Phoenix in 2018.

“West Hills College and University of Phoenix provided me the opportunity to finish my BSN faster than a traditional BSN program which was amazing for me because I am a wife and a mother,” she said. “It was an amazing opportunity and I am so grateful that this is in place.” The University of Phoenix is also pleased with the initial results of the program. “At University of Phoenix, we strive to improve the lives of students, their families and future generations through higher education,” said Kaeli Dutrow, Community College Strategy Manager for the College of Health Professions at University of Phoenix. “The partnership with West Hills College Lemoore and the addition of the concurrent enrollment program is another way the University aims to accomplish this mission.” Director of Health Careers and Director of Nursing Kathryn DeFede, RN MSN, explained that partnerships like this have become vitally important. The department is currently revisiting their nursing curriculum to support more concurrent enrollment options. “I expect we will have numerous partnerships with a variety of four year universities within the next few years,” she said. “They will each have their own pathway and students will have a variety of options to participate. Some pathways will be shorter than others, but the option to participate will be increasing over time. This is a very exciting time for nursing education at the Community College level and specifically the WHCL nursing program. We appreciate the partnership we have with UOPx and the success it has brought our students and program. We look forward to growing our program with concurrent enrollment as part of our ongoing success.”

“Before my graduation from West Hills, I had multiple job offers,” she said. “The employers knew the quality education I received from West Hills would give me the skills needed to be a competent nurse, but the concurrent program showed I had the drive to really push myself in furthering my education. University of Phoenix provided a challenging program with experienced instructors. I gained a well-rounded education that prepared me to become the nurse I am today.” Megan Sanchez, WHC 2017, UoP 2018, also praised the program and the flexibility it gave her.

DeFede with Sanchez and Chieze at their University of Phoenix graduation

Winter 2018

| 18

Inspire for advisor also allows faculty/staff to email students directly from Inspire to record communications and to schedule student nudges and encouragement. Nudges come in the form of emails or short texts sent through the system, directly to students.

Inspire for Advisor Helps Track Student Success By Amber Myrick

The California Community College system has adopted a new student centered funding formula which is now the basis for our general fund apportionment. General funds pay for operating expenses and staff, and they are the primary source for funding new faculty positions. The prior formula was based on enrollment while the new funding formula is based on Access, Equity And Success. West Hills will receive funding based on number of full time students served, whether those students are low income, and student success. Student success is based on achievements ranging from how many students transfer to completion of college-level math and English classes.

The prior formula was 70% based predominantly on enrollment while the new funding formula has a three-pronged focus: Base Allocation, based on the number of full-time students Access, Equity, and served (FTES) Success (70/20/10) (includes 2.71% COLA)





Supplemental Allocation, which includes the number of low income students served

2019-2020 2020-2021

Base Allocation




Supplemental Allocation




Student Success Allocation






Student Success Allocation, which is based on achievement of educational goals with funding determined by the number of outcomes for various measures of educational progress, transfer, college-level math/ English completion, educational goal completion, and wage earnings

To help with student retention, persistence, and success, both West Hills College Coalinga and West Hills College Lemoore have adopted a software tool, called Inspire for Advisor that helps faculty and staff record and share important conversations and interactions with students. In addition to sharing important conversations with students, Inspire for Advisors taps into student data and provides key information to help faculty/staff in retention coaching including:

• Student Program of study • Academic history 19


West Hills magazine

• Financial aid • Support services

• Assigned counselor • Data analytics

• Real-time academic progress

When students are presented with a nudge/encouragement sent from a trusted person like an advisor or counselor, students are more likely to make decisions associated with positive persistence and graduation outcomes. Nudges sent from Inspire for Advisor are short and designed to provide the support at the right time. They are action oriented as asking something specific makes it significantly more likely that a student will follow through.

Here’s an example of what commonly happens when students are interacting with multiple people on their college campus:





Maria meets with her financial aid specialist. The specialist tells her that she should not drop any classes this semester or she will lose financial aid eligibility.

Two weeks later, Maria meets with her instructor and she tells her that she doesn’t think she is going to pass her class so she recommends that she withdraw from her class and take it next semester. Maria takes her advice and drops the class.

At the end of the semester, Maria learns that she has lost her financial aid eligibility. She is confused why her instructor told her to drop if she knew that she would lose her eligibility. She thought the instructor would know this information and trusted her recommendation.

Maria’s instructor wasn’t aware that her financial aid specialist told her not to drop any classes and inadvertently misadvised her. If she had a centralized database that kept real time notes on advising sessions with each of her students, she would have been more informed about Maria’s financial aid status and could have advised her differently. That’s where Inspire for Advisor comes in!

Inspire for Adivsor shows instructors and counselors information like: How a student is doing in class including grades and persistence Inspiration and intervention factors including: • How many units a student is enrolled in • If a student passed classes last term or has withdrawn from classes • How a student is doing academically in relation to students in the • Total GPA same class • When a student registered for classes Winter 2018

| 20

Meeting Challenges

Lawton-Betchel graduated from WHCL and went on to veterinary school at Midwestern University in Arizona, where she earned her doctor of veterinary degree. Her interest in working with and caring for animals developed when she was a veterinary assistant in her teens, in both emergency small-animal medicine and in shelter medicine. After graduating in Arizona, she opened K + K Veterinary Services in Lemoore, focusing on small animals and exotic pets such as birds and snakes. She has added extensive training in both small animal medicine as well as exotic animal medicine including reptiles, small mammals, fish, and birds.

Yields Amazing Results for Dr. Kaitlen Lawton-Betchel

Dr. Lawton-Betchel has taken additional training courses in exotic medicine, ultrasound, dental procedures, communications, small animal nutrition, and small animal acupuncture. The clinic website states, “She is fear-free certified and practices low-stress handling along with pheromones, treats, and distraction tools to make your pets experience enjoyable.”

By James Hale

Life is difficult enough without the challenge of what is commonly called a “handicap” or a “disability.” Making your way through school and social settings is one of life’s learning experiences, in the best of situations. Add a disability like dyslexia and someone who might otherwise breeze through the educational system faces challenges most people can’t imagine.

The Disabled Student Program and Services (DSPS) department provides access and accommodations for eligible students ranging from test taking help to special equipment.

That’s certainly true for one West Hills College Lemoore graduate and Lemoore veterinarian. “I always struggled with reading and spelling,” said Doctor Kaitlen Lawton-Betchel “My parents told me I just had to study harder, so I didn’t get tested until high school when I was 16. At that time, I was disappointed in my SAT scores and asked my parents if I could be evaluated by a doctor.” It was only at the age of 16 that Lawton-Betchel and her family discovered she was struggling with dyslexia, a learning disability making it “hard to read, write, and spell,” according to information from leading medical research sources such as the Mayo Clinic and the International Dyslexia Association. This “specific learning disability, neurological in origin, is characterized by difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition” as well as “poor spelling and decoding abilities.” The consequences that naturally follow include “problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”



West Hills magazine

Lawton-Betchel and her mother give credit to the programs at West Hills for helping her focus on school and not her disability.

Dr. Kaitlen Lawton-Betchel

Having dyslexia doesn’t mean a person’s ability to learn is below average. Far from it. The fact is most people with dyslexia are very bright. Kaitlen soon proved this was true for her, as she spent most of her time in 4-H with animals and studying. However, after high school, the idea of attending college with a disability seemed a bit daunting. Lawton-Betchel and her mother, LaDawna Lawton, however, say that West Hills College Lemoore’s Disabled Student Program and Services helped her find her footing.

“They allowed me to take my exams in a room where I could listen to music and a lot more,” Lawton-Btechel said. “My 504 plan allowed me extended time on exams.” LaDawna Lawton added, “West Hills special services were so encouraging. They helped Kaitlen through the diagnosis and learning how to utilize the disability services they offer.” A 504 plan is the blueprint for how a school provides support for a student with a disability, and takes steps to remove barriers that would prevent the student from having equal access to the education curriculum. This plan is based on the individual need for separate instruction or specifically designed education programs.

“The biggest challenge in veterinary medicine is client communication,” she said. “It is critical that the owner follows my instructions in order for their pet to recover and that doesn’t always happen. The biggest reward is to help animals in need. Animals have always been stress relieving and my most loyal friends, so it is great to be able to help them.”

So many times in life, we encounter challenges that become obstacles to our plans and our dreams. Dr. Kaitlen Lawton-Betchel is proof that taking on those challenges, and working through them, can keep them from becoming obstacles, and as mentioned earlier, the effort may yield remarkable results.

Winter 2018

| 22

Growing All the Time West Hills College Lemoore & West Hills College Coalinga

Square off in By Jamie Applegate

It’s been a busy year for West Hills College Lemoore, including the introduction of two new athletic teams: a men’s basketball team and women’s volleyball team. And those additions have meant something else: for the first time ever, two West Hills College teams would face off. West Hills College Lemoore and West Hills College Coalinga women’s volleyball have since played each other twice in a “Battle of the Birds”, with Coalinga coming out victorious twice. WHCL and WHCC will also face off in men’s basketball in the coming weeks.

“It is an exciting time at West Hills College Lemoore,” said WHCL President Dr. Kristin Clark. “These changes reflect our continued growth as a college, and our new teams will provide opportunities for enrollment growth and an increased recognition in the Central Valley.” West Hills College Coalinga also sees the excitement that comes with being able to play your sister school. “It’s exciting to be part of a new competitive rivalry that brings out the best in school spirit and the student-athlete experience at each campus,” said Eric Mendoza, Associate Dean of Athletics. 23


West Hills magazine

Winter 2018

| 24

President's Scholars Program Creates Pathway for

Rosalynne Dedmon

West Hills runs in the family for Rosalynne Dedmon. The North District Center, Firebaugh student is attending NDC alongside her mother, Lori. Her mother and father have also both previously taught courses at NDC. Now, Rosalynne—thanks to the West Hills Community College Districts’ President’s Scholars program— is attending NDC tuition free. Since the President’s Scholars Program began in 1998, it has provided more than 800 students from Kings and Fresno counties the opportunity to attend college with free tuition and $250 a semester for books.



West Hills magazine

Rosalynne credits the program with giving her the time to find her footing and determine what she wants to do academically.

She added that coming to NDC has helped her to bloom creatively, taking art classes and expanding her drawing and painting skills.

“I really had no idea what I was going to do after high school,” she said. “I never knew what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. Growing up in a small town, there’s also a big transition and it’s overwhelming going to a UC or CSU right out of high school. The President’s Scholars program has been amazing. I haven’t had to pay for anything. I get to do great volunteer work and meet with counselors who keep me on track. I always have support. It’s really motivated me to be successful and get top grades.”

Rosalynne plans to transfer in Fall 2019 and has her sights set on attending a UC or CSU.

If you’d like to support students like Rosalynne with a donation to our program, visit www.westhillscollege.com/district/foundation/scholarships/ presidents-scholars.php

Winter 2018

| 26

West Hills Says, Hello and Goodbye Val Garcia • Vice President of Student Services- West Hills College Lemoore Garcia had previously served at Porterville College as their Vice President of Student Services and Dean of Academic Affairs. He has been working in higher education since 2001 in teaching and administration.

Jason Smith • Head Baseball Coach-West Hills College Coalinga

Omar Gutierrez • Director of Fiscal Services – District Office Gutierrez came to us from Fresno Unified School District, where he served as a financial analyst. He had also previously worked for the City of Tulare and College of the Sequoias. He came on board this May, bringing nearly 20 years of accounting and financial experience to the role.

Elmer Aguilar • Dean of Student Services- West Hills College Lemoore Elmer Aguilar comes to West Hills from Porterville College, where he served as the Student Success and Support Program/Student Equity Program Manager. There, he helped develop policies and processes. He has also previously served as an Educational Advisor at Porterville College and as an Outreach Counselor at California State University, Fresno in addition to other student services leadership roles at UCLA, USC, Cal State LA, and East Los Angeles College.

Smith is serving as Head Baseball Coach and is also teaching classes in physical education, athletics and sports psychology. Prior to joining WHCC, Smith was the associate head baseball coach at Fullerton College, where he also served as interim head coach.


West Hills magazine

Brooke Boeding • Associate Dean of

Brian Boomer has been with the District since 2008 and was previously the WHCCD’s Coordinator of Special Grants, a role in which he oversaw initiatives related to career advancement, curriculum and grant writing and implementation. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member and in other roles throughout his time at WHCCD. As Dean of Career and Technical Education, he guides and implements CTE initiatives.

Boeding previously worked for Gavilan College as the Associate Dean of their Accessible Education Center and Veterans Resource Center. She had also previously served as a counselor for their disability resource center and WorkAbility III program. She has working knowledge of many different programs including disabled student services, veterans services, Title V and EOPS/Care.

Javier Cazares • Dean of Student ServicesWest Hills College Coalinga

Cazares has been with West Hills Community College District since 2006 and has served as an education coordinator, adjunct instructor, and coordinator of special grants. Prior to coming to West Hills, he was a member of the US Navy and Navy Reserves, from 1998 to 2006. He has eleven years of administrative and management experience.

Amy Long • Director of Title IV - West Hills College Coalinga Long has been with West Hills College Coalinga since 2010 and has previously served as an adjunct instructor, counselor, and employment readiness specialist. She has also worked as a substitute teacher at local K-12 schools and as a learning disability evaluator.

- West Hills College Lemoore

Shaun Vetter • Director of ITS – District Office

Categorical Programs- West Hills College Lemoore

Technical Education – West Hills College Coalinga

Kelly Wigton • Volleyball Coach

Vetter came to the position with over 15 years of experience with the technology field. He previously worked as the Applications and Web Development Lead for Ohlone College and as their Interim Director of Information Systems.


Brian Boomer • Dean of Career &

Kelly Wigton, WHCL’s first ever Women’s Volleyball Coach, has a breadth of experience both as a volleyball player and in leadership roles. Wigton has previously worked as a Beachbody Coach and high school volleyball coach. She has been playing volleyball since the age of 11 and has played competitively for Humboldt State, Vanguard University, Santa Rosa Junior College, and on high school and club teams.

Nestor Lomeli • Director of Admissions and Records/Registrar- West Hills College Lemoore Lomeli previously served as the West Hills College Lemoore Upward Bound Director and Reedley College’s Upward Bound Assistant Director. Before that, he served as an after school program assistant coordinator in Fresno.

Winter 2018

| 28

Tammy Weatherman • Associate

Terry Brase • Farm of the Future Director- West Hills College Coalinga

Vice Chancellor of Business Services

Brase previously served as the interim Farm Director and as a precision agriculture instructor at the farm. Brase—a leader in the field of precision agriculture— has over 20 years of teaching experience and developing precision agriculture programs. Brase has taught and developed precision agriculture programs across the country. He developed the first two year program focused on precision ag in the nation in 1995 at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. He also developed an Ag Geospatial Technology two year degree at Kirkwood Community College. He has served as a mentor for colleges across the country, written a textbook on precision agriculture, has written an online course for ESRI, and assisted with the US Department of Education Career Clusters initiative. He is also an educational consultant through his company, Brase LLC.

Basketball Coach- West Hills College Coalinga After serving as assistant coach, Adedokun Olanrewaju is stepping into the role of Head Men’s Basketball coach at WHCC. Olanrewaju spent the 2017-18 season assisting his mentor and former head coach Mark Arce, who recently retired after 17 seasons at the helm of the WHCC program and 34 years overall. As a top assistant, Olanrewaju helped guide the Falcons to a 19-8 record and a second-round CCCAA postseason appearance. The team was ranked as high as No. 5 in the state. His responsibilities included recruiting, player development, game and practice planning, fundraising, and academic study hall. Olanrewaju works as an adjunct Physical Education instructor at WHCC, and will now oversee the Athletics basketball courses as well. He teaches English and History on a full-time basis at Coalinga Middle School. He has also previously worked as a head coach for Coalinga High School.


West Hills magazine

instructor- West Hills College Coalinga

Donnye Ross comes to WHCL after serving as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Assistant Athletic Director and Physical Education and Psychology instructor at Imperial Valley College. He has also served as a coach or athletic administrator at Solano Community College, Cosumnes River College, Richmond High School and Sacramento High School. His coaching experience stretches back to 2000.

Anita Bart retired this May after nearly 20 years of service as an Administration of Justice instructor at West Hills College Coalinga. She had served as an instructor since 2001 and had previously served as a deputy sheriff with the Coos County Oregon Sheriff’s Office, where she earned the Medal of Valor. She had also previously served as an adjunct instructor for Southwester Oregon Community College.

Maria Cavazos • Grants Development SpecialistWest Hills Community College District Maria Cavazos has retired after almost 20 years of service to the West Hills Community College District. Cavazos has been working in the grants department at WHCCD since 1999, when she came on board as a Program Development Assistant. She transitioned to a role as a Grants Development Specialist in 2013 and has overseen the securing and coordination of many important grants. Prior to coming to West Hills, she worked for State Center Community College District.

Cecilio Mora • Director of Special Grants- West Hills Community College District

Zachary Soto • Director of MESA- West Hills College Coalinga

Soto has been with West Hills College Coalinga since 2009 and has worked as an adjunct instructor, project coordinator, and Director of CCPT2/Student Equity Coordinator. He has years of experience in grants coordination and special programs. He also has experience with agriculture and instruction.


Anita Bart • Administration of Justice

Donnye Ross • Men’s Basketball Coach- West Hills College Lemoore

Adedokun Olanrewaju •

Tammy Weatherman retired in August from her role as WHCCD’s Associate Vice Chancellor of Business Services. Weatherman had been with the district since 1989, previously serving as Director of Accounting and Director of Fiscal Services. She had served as Associate Vice Chancellor since 2013 and oversaw business and accounting procedures at WHCCD.

Mora has worked for West Hills since 2000 as Coordinator of Special Grants for WHCC’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act efforts, Adult Education Block Grant and as an employment readiness specialist and case manager. He has also served as adjunct faculty and as an English as a Second Language instructor.

Mark Arce • Head Basketball Coach - West Hills College Coalinga Ken Stoppenbrink • Deputy Chancellor - West Hills

Community College District

Deputy Chancellor Ken Stoppenbrink will retire from the WHCCD in January 2019. Stoppenbrink has served the West Hills Community College District in a variety of positions since 1996. He served as the HR director until 2004 when he was promoted to the Vice Chancellor of Business Services. On July 1, 2013 Stoppenbrink was promoted to the Deputy Chancellor of the WHCCD. Prior to coming to West Hills, Stoppenbrink worked in healthcare human resources. During his career he has been responsible for a number of areas such as risk management; health care administration; contract negotiations; construction project oversight; bond campaigns and strategic planning for all fiscal affairs of the district.

After a 34-year career that included basketball coaching positions at the high school, community college and university levels, Mark Arce has retired as head basketball coach at WHCC. He will remain as a full-time faculty member at West Hills College Coalinga, teaching health and physical education courses. Arce, 59, ends his coaching career with 367 victories at the California community college level, ranking among the all-time leaders. He is one of two head coaches in state history to reach the Elite Eight with schools from each region. Arce was named head basketball coach at WHCC in 2001. He also served as counselor and interim athletic director at the college over the years.

Winter 2018

| 30