West Hills Magazine - Fall 2016 (Issue 7)

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Fall 2016


Old and New Two School Projects Change Learning Landscape

In the Digital Age, Textbooks May Soon Be a Thing of the Past Building a Future Around Education


Copyright 2016 by West Hills Community College District. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission prohibited. WEST HILLS MAGAZINE Number 7 Fall 2016 Published Spring 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 Frank Gornick, Chancellor, WHCCD Stuart Van Horn, Interim President, WHCC Kristin Clark, President, WHCL

board of trustees Mark McKean, President, Area 5 Nina Oxborrow, Area 1 Jack Minnite, Area 2 Jeff Levinson, Area 7 Steve Cantu, Area 6 Martin Maldonado, Area 3 Bobby Lee, Area 4

MANAGING EDITOR Amber Myrick Director, WHCCD Marketing, Communications, Public Information

EDITOR Tom Wixon


WEBMASTER Carlos Posadas

PHOTOGRAPHY Dennis Gallegos, Tom Wixon

GRAPHIC DESIGN Merili Loucks, Kristi Carlson


Continuing to Build For the Future at West Hills College This edition of West Hills Magazine provides a reflective view of our organization that focuses on our past and our continuing future. Our facilities continue to grow, thanks to the help of local citizens who voted to support us. Our dedicated people are the foundation of our success. Our ongoing partnerships with the corporate world, our neighboring school districts, and our great team of local boosters have given us the opportunity to become one of the outstanding college districts in the state and helped us earn a national reputation. With the passage of Proposition 51 In November, our district can now realize our exciting plans to replace the current NDC facility in Firebaugh, which has operated in varying stages of temporary facilities since 1971. The new facility will provide educational opportunities for the northern part of our district and allow us to develop strong partnerships with other educational partners and corporate groups. Our new Student Center in Lemoore is nearly completed and will open in January and become a focal point on an already beautiful campus in a strategic location. In Coalinga, we will soon begin the construction of a replacement district office in December and in early 2017 begin to build replacement residence halls. In Mendota, San Joaquin, Huron, Avenal and Riverdale, we have expanded our course offerings and assisted in new remodeled and replacement facilities — projects that continue our long commitment to community outreach and are the touchstone of greater student success in terms of career pathways. Our administrators and faculty continue to set the standard for educational outcomes and student success. Be sure to read Transitions on page 23, which features two examples of the many men and women who have contributed at a high level for a long period of time with great enthusiasm for our profession and who have devoted their working lives to student success. Our partnerships with corporate entities in the Valley are numerous and they continue to pay huge dividends for our colleges and students. On the local level, each of our communities has stepped forward to support our extra curricular programs with volunteer and financial support that separates us from other colleges. On behalf of all of our employees and our Board of Trustees, we thank you for extending our mission to more and more students in our communities.

Frank Gornick, Chancellor West Hills Community College District

table of


12 The End of Textbooks?

West Hills College has an ambitious goal, and a new grant, to replace most textbooks with digital materials for portable devices by the year 2020. It will have a major impact on the cost of textbooks and save students hundreds of thousands of dollars.

14 Long Word for a Long Process

It’s called “Accreditation,” a self-study and inspection of all things education that is required every six years to improve the quality of education and uphold standards. It’s one reason our colleges have a reputation for getting things done.

17 Next Phase of Reg365 Begins

The advance registration program has been evaluated and some tweaks are being made to help more students streamline transfer times. Here’s a look at what a study revealed and the changes in store for Reg365.

Students 20 Reaching Where They Live

No matter where they call home, today’s students live on the web. A refresh of the college website will be in place by Spring and make it even easier to access information about college courses and programs.

Heritage Events Help 22 Hispanic Build Community

The Central Valley is home to immigrants from all over Mexico and South America. Some of their traditional holidays and customs are celebrated on campus, including Cinco de Mayo and Dia de Los Muertos. Events are designed to bring students together and promote cultural understanding.

24 It’s a Family Affair

Meet two Valley families whose members have attended West Hills College for generations, creating a family tradition around education, learning, and personal and professional growth. Like other Valley families, they have learned that community college is a good place to start and serves as a springboard to jobs and careers. Cover Photo by Dennis Gallegos Built in 1856, El Adobe de Los Robles Rancho is the second oldest adobe in the Valley. It was built by Daniel Rhodes, who came to California in 1846 and his brother John, who was among the organizers of the first expedition to rescue the Donner Party. The California historical marker and still-occupied adobe are located just north of Lemoore.

Old and New

Our cover this issue is a shot of the second oldest adobe building in the Valley, located at the north end of Lemoore, according to a California Historical Marker. It’s an appropriate cover for this edition, which features two new construction projects that, while not yet historic, will certainly change the learning landscape… and lives as well.


Student Union Nears Completion, Will Open for Spring Semester


The Golden Eagle Student Union at WHCL is the first new construction on the Lemoore campus since the Golden Eagle Arena in 2011. Student government offices, a bookstore and a cafeteria will serve more than 4,000 students.

High School, College Col-LAB-orate On Upgraded Science Facilities

Working with K-12 school districts in Riverdale and Avenal is one way WHCCD serves the rural Central Valley communities in the 3,400 square mile district. New science labs opened recently at Riverdale High School. At Avenal, a similar project and other site improvements will be ready for the spring semester.


Summer Camps Bring Kids to College For a Look at Their Potential Future


Free camps serve more than 200 students from local schools and do more than keep the students busy during the summer months. They promote life-long learning and a college-going culture that will pay dividends for years to come. Sponsors include The Wonderful Company, Chevron, and the federal Upward Bound program. Students learn about career choices and some live in a college dorm; the experience changes their outlook from “if” they go to college to “when.”

Seven Alumni Honored for the Service They Provided, and the Lives They Lived The West Hills College slogan is, “Once you go here, you can go anywhere,” and this year the college honored seven former students and faculty who lived that premise. Read a little bit about the lives of these remarkable men and women, some of whom travelled far in terms of mileage, some who came home to give back to their local communities for decades. Their stories all vary: from being on the coaching staff of several NFL teams, to winning a Fulbright Scholarship and working in a refugee camp in India with Mother Theresa (now Saint Theresa), to equally rewarding lives of teaching and mentoring and making a real difference in their communities. Fall 2016



New Student Union’s About To Get Real


tudents coming back for Fall classes at West Hills College Lemoore were greeted by a construction project that had changed dramatically over the summer months. A new Golden Eagle Student Union building wouldn’t be ready for occupancy for another four months, but the exterior was virtually complete and workers were busy putting finishing touches on the interior and the outdoor landscaping. What was destined to become a center for student activities on one of California’s newest college campuses was taking shape. “The new Golden Eagle Student Union includes the Associated Student Body (ASB) Office, a one-stop service desk (Eagle Help Desk), the bookstore, and a full-service cafeteria,” according to WHCL President Kristin Clark. “Students will be able to grab a bite to eat, order a transcript, meet new friends, and relax and study in this beautiful new facility. The building will be equipped



West Hills magazine

with Wi-Fi access and power throughout. There are various seating options so that students can dine, lounge, and collaborate with other students and staff. It is an exciting new opportunity for students to become more engaged and actively participate in our student life.” The building was scheduled to be completed in December 2016 and ready for occupancy in time for the upcoming Spring semester, with a formal dedication ceremony set for January 17, 2017. AP Architects of Bakersfield designed the building as “a single story structure with steel frame construction,” according to Celina Garcia, AIA. “The building’s facade matches the campus architecture to create harmony and balance. The gathering hall and dining area is the focal point, a 70-foot wide open space with a high volume ceiling. The use of translucent panels at the clerestory provides natural lighting to reduce the need for

At a Glance artificial lighting during the day. Use of high performance glazing, roofing with R-30 insulation, exterior walls with R-19 insulation as well as LED lighting and enhanced HVAC controls are among the systems used to maximize energy savings.” The $14 million in construction costs were funded by local tax dollars made available after voters approved Measure E, passed in 2008 and reauthorized (extended) in 2012. Funding also came from the passage of Measure L, also in 2008. A groundbreaking occurred in May 2014 but construction was delayed for a few months by changes to the original plan. WHCL opened its doors in 2002 and has grown dramatically. The Golden Eagle Arena was the most recent new facility on campus; it opened in 2011. Future plans may include another large classroom building and more athletic fields.

Several phases of construction over the past two years are shown in these pictures (above), along with an artist’s rendering of the completed project.

Square Footage 20,283 building footprint 23,400 with overhangs

Site Square Footage: 180,450

Parking: 202 added stalls

Maximum occupancy (dining): 490

Completion date: December 2016

Construction Cost: $14,000,000

Building cost per sq. ft.: $470

Site cost per sq. ft.: $17 Source: AP Architects, Bakersfield, CA

Fall 2016



College, High School Collaboration Provides

State of Art Science Labs Text


est Hills College has a long history of educational, economic, civic and cultural commitments to the communities located throughout our district. From degree and certificate programs to municipal improvements and social and civic group enrichment, West Hills Community College District makes its presence felt in more than a dozen towns and cities in the San Joaquin Valley. These collaborations bring higher education to the Central Valley’s smallest rural towns and positively affect the lives of residents in our 3,400 square mile district. The most recent of these improvements is the new 7,985 sq. ft. science complex at Riverdale High School. It includes three science labs, two classrooms, a preparation space, and an exterior science yard. An amphitheater defines the entry courtyard while allowing for outdoor learning. Large overhangs above each classroom and lab will provide protection from the elements. The West face of the building is clad with perforated metal deck screens to provide sun protection. A reception was held at the new facility to celebrate the official opening and the joint partnership between WHCCD and Riverdale Joint Unified School District at the Community Education Center in Riverdale. “West Hills College is committed to the citizens of our community and the students we serve and this is just one more demonstration of that commitment,” said Dr. Kristin Clark, President of West Hills College Lemoore. “These newly renovated classrooms are state-of-the-art and will better prepare students for transfer to college and careers within our community. Through this partnership, West Hills College Lemoore will also offer college-level courses in the evenings and weekends in an effort to reach more students within our community.” WHCCD’s $800,000 contribution to this project and a similar $2 million project now underway in Avenal was made possible by voter approval of Measure E in 2008.

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“This is an excellent example of how two public agencies are able to cooperate to provide a much needed service for the community, K-12 students and our adult learners,” said Jeff Percell, Superintendent of RJUSD. “There’s certainly a benefit to our students during the course of their daily instruction to have access to state of the art facilities.” Riverdale is 25 miles southwest of Fresno in the heart of prime agricultural land. Farming and farm related enterprises are the principal businesses for the area. Riverdale Joint Unified School District is a K-12 school district with four schools and provides services to approximately 1,600 students, a student body which is ethnically and culturally diverse. A similar project is nearing completion in Avenal. WHCCD contributed $2 million from the bond issue toward labs at Avenal High School. Two existing labs are being remodeled and updated with all new equipment. One lab is designed with a college level pod design to allow for maximum collaboration between students and instructor. A second lab has a traditional science/classroom layout that allows for flexibility by providing movable science furniture. Both labs have access to storage and prep rooms for a complete science teaching environment. Lecture space is also added. The project also modernizes adjacent restrooms to meet current ADA standards. In addition, the main entrance is being brought up to current accessibility codes by upgrading the front parking and path of travel to the

main entry. Occupancy is scheduled for the start of the Spring 2017 semester. The project is a joint project between WHCCD and Reef-Sunset USD. Science labs will be used by Avenal High School during the daytime, making the space available for college classes to be offered in the evenings. The Avenal project was nearing completion as West Hills Magazine went to press. Officials say it will be ready for occupancy in January 2017.

(Above): Dr. Wojciech Lucka, who is from Poland, teaches Earth Science at Riverdale High School and is an instructor at Fresno State. He addresses visitors who viewed the new lab facility at a dedication ceremony. (Opposite page, top): Jeff Percell, Superintendent, RJUSD, spoke at the event and welcomed guests.

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Summer Camps and Programs Offer a Look at College Life At the end of the spring semester, as students begin thinking about what they’ll do during the summer or about summer classes, the West Hills College Coalinga campus goes through a noticeable change: the college students one might typically see in the halls get replaced by a crowd that’s a bit younger. Each summer, West Hills College Coalinga hosts free summer camps and programs that serve nearly 200 local students and ensures that their summer is spent learning about math, science, technology, agriculture careers and taking college level classes. WHCC offers The Wonderful Agriculture Career Camp, which is sponsored by The Wonderful Company, for students entering 8th grade, the Chevron Fun Physical Science Camp for 2nd through 6th graders, and the Upward Bound Program for high school students. However, the camps do more than just keeping the minds of local students



West Hills magazine

moving during the long summer months: they also create an atmosphere of life-long learning and a college-going culture for students as young as seven and all the way through high school. “We never use the term ‘if you go to college’,” said Lupe Espinoza, Director of Special Grant Programs at WHCC and a coordinator of the Wonderful Ag Career Camp. “It’s ‘when you go to college.’ What these camps do is to make it tangible and make the idea of a future in college real. They give them that exposure to college culture at an early age and set that mindset.” The Wonderful Agriculture Career Camp is hosted at the WHCC Farm of the Future and allows

90 students each summer from Avenal, Kettleman City and Mendota to learn more about agriculture career pathways. The students learn about plant science and ag mechanics through hands on projects ranging from building a wooden box to launching weather balloons and learning how to drive a tractor. They learn about the job opportunities available in the two fields and create a 10-year plan outlining everything they’d need to do to enter into that career, including college. They also get a taste of college life, living in the dorms on the WHCC campus, getting a campus tour and eating in the cafeteria. They are mentored by college students who serve as residential advisors and get a chance to learn a lesson: anyone can go to college. “They meet college students who look like them and who came from similar communities and those students tell them that they can do this,” said Clint Cowden, Director of the Farm of the Future. Once they leave the camp, they continue receiving support, learning about science and agriculture as part of STEM preparation programs at the middle schools and in high school they take classes at West Hills College with the goal of earning their Associate’s Degree. They also have job shadowing and internship opportunities. The Upward Bound Program at WHCC also aims to create a direct pathway from high school to college for the 60 students per summer it serves. High school students who are part of the federal program live on the WHCC campus in the dorms for six weeks during the summer while also taking

classes toward an Associate’s Degree or transfer. They take part in the program for the full four years of high school. Every Upward Bound student is low income and most are first generation college students. To be eligible for the program, neither of their parents can have a Bachelor’s Degree. According to Raquel Rodriguez, WHCC Title IV Director, the program aims to prepare the students for college both academically and socially. “The summer residential program in particular helps them to prepare for adult life,” she said. “They start learning how to be independent and it helps them to understand their career pathway. Studies have proven that the students who participated in the summer residential portion have a higher retention rate when they go to college.” In addition to taking classes, students also go on tours of four-year college campuses and take workshops on everything from financial aid to personal growth. They also get tutoring throughout the school year. Their parents are also given assistance. Parents attend workshops explaining the college application process and de-mystifying financial aid. For Upward Bound participant Miguel Canales, who will be graduating this May from WHCC before graduating from Coalinga High School, this assistance has been invaluable in making the prospect of college much less scary. “I’m the first generation to be attending college so I’m setting a precedent for my brothers and it feels good but it still scares me,” he said. “But Upward Bound has helped me be less nervous about that. It’s showed me ways to get by and given me a road to follow.” Another camp hosted at WHCC is the Chevron Fun Physical Science Camp, which teaches 2nd through 6th graders about science, technology, engineering and math through fun projects. Students spend a week creating chemical reactions from household objects, building volcanoes, and making ice cream all while learning about scientific processes and the scientific method. They also get to explore the campus. “This camp normalizes the idea of college for the students and the students’ parents,” said Mayra Vargas, one of the camp teachers. “Just being on campus makes this real for the students. College is not so scary once they experience this camp.”

Summer camps and programs including Upward Bound (below, left), the Chevron Fun Physical Science Camp (below right), and The Wonderful Ag Career Camp (opposite page) provide a valuable opportunity for students of all ages to get an early taste of college.

Fall 2016




‘Go Here, Go Anywhere’ The official West Hills College slogan is, as everyone knows: “Once you go here, you can go anywhere.” Seven alumni gathered in Coalinga to be inducted into WHCC’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and shared their stories. All of them parleyed their years at the college into a lifelong journey, along many different paths. They all went somewhere, some abroad or some to other states and some stayed closer to home. But they all found their “anywhere” in the form of rich, satisfying lives. And it all started here, at West Hills College. The seven, pictured, left to right, above: Gordon Dolinar, George Dyer, Bruce Hauger, Robert Clement, Bruce Hunt, David Lainhart, and Deanna Willard-Oliveira. Gordon Dolinar played shortstop on the Coalinga College baseball team that won the state championship in 1958. He attended UC Berkeley where he was co-captain on the Bears baseball team and then moved over to Cal State Chico. His travels would eventually lead him to India as a Fulbright Scholar where he worked at a refugee camp with Mother Theresa and played a role in the Civil Rights Movement during Freedom Summer in 1964, registering adult voters in Mississippi. He once attended a private audience with Pope John Paul XXIII. As a teacher in Hawaii one of his former students was Barack Obama, 44th U.S. President.



West Hills magazine

George Dyer was CC’s head football coach in 1967, where he led the team to a tie for the league title. That team was named to the WHCC Hall of Fame several years ago, so he’s one of a few persons to be inducted twice. He went on to coach at several major universities including Portland State, Idaho, San Jose State, Michigan State and Arizona State. He coached for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League for two years before joining the NFL as a coach for five teams — Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, L.A. Rams, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions — over the course of his career. Bruce Hauger played baseball and football at CC in 1958-59 on a team that was also later inducted in the Hall of Fame. He earned first and second team all-conference honors and was voted MVP of the state championship team in 1958. He went on to play both sports at Occidental College, Cal State L.A., and USC, then spent 35 years as an educator. He is a longtime member of the Rotary Club and active in the San Jose mayor’s gang force prevention team. He volunteers significant time to the American Red Cross. Hauger is a retired army reserve officer and veteran. Robert Clement has a long history with West Hills College. He played baseball from 1966-68, earning all conference honors both years. He transferred to Fresno State to play

— They Lived It baseball and receive a BA, and later earned an MA from the University of LaVerne. Clement came home after college to take a teaching position at Lemoore High School in 1971. He never got very far away from home after that, but he traveled far in an educational and coaching career that spans six decades. Those decades saw him fill coaching and athletic director positions at WHCC; he was WHCC’s first athletic director and later the first full-time AD at West Hills College Lemoore. Now retired, he continues to support West Hills scholarship programs and has posted an enviable record of community service that continues to this day. Bruce Hunt came to West Hills to coach rodeo in 1983, stayed 31 years and turned the program into one of the best in the country. He retired in 2014. A native of Canada, he competed in rodeo as a youth. Hunt left Canada to attend Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo; while earning a master’s degree in agriculture, he coached rodeo two days a week as part of his internship. After joining WHCC as coach and instructor, teams under his direction were ranked in the top five nationally a number of times, and once reached Number 2. Many of the riders he coached went on to win national titles and become legends in both college and professional rodeo. David Lainhart played basketball at WHCC 2001-02 and 2004-05 and was named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year

in ’05 and Academic All American in ’06. He set multiple records in basketball at West Hills, thanks to his ability to sink a three-point shot. In between his two enrollments at WHCC, he served a two year religious mission. From here he went to Brigham Young University where he won the school’s most prestigious business award. He now works and lives in Utah. Deanna Willard-Oliveira competed in barrel racing and goat tying as a member of the women’s rodeo team at WHCC in 1986-88. She was named West Coast Intercollegiate Rodeo All Around Cowgirl in 1987, the same year she won the state goat tying championship. She placed third in her event at the College National Finals Rodeo in goat tying in 1987. She is now a family service worker with Kings Community Action Organization. So, there they are: Seven former members of the West Hills College family, men and women who made the most of their two-year college experience and transferred to get higher degrees, which led each of them to a successful, rewarding career and a life of public service. Some went far; some didn’t get very far at all, geographically speaking, coming back home and spending a lifetime teaching, coaching, mentoring and organizing people and events from all walks of life and in every field of endeavor.

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The End of Textboo Text


othing excites academics more these days than any discussion that involves the end of textbooks as we know them in a bold new digital world in which students face book costs of approximately zero and where everything is available online to be downloaded on portable devices. No area Central Valley college is doing more to bring that future about than West Hills College Lemoore, which has just been given a six-figure grant to help make the dream a reality. Ron Oxford, the college librarian, is the program coordinator. “In addition to our team of educators in Lemoore, 38 other colleges in 13 states are working on the same goal: to bring widespread use of Open Educational Resources (OER) to their campuses by the year 2020,” he said. Only two of those colleges are in California: WHCL and Santa Ana College in Orange County. Funding comes from Achieving the Dream, a national organization comprised of colleges who join ATD in order to get access to analytics and data designed to improve—some say overhaul—higher education by studying what works elsewhere and acting on the information to implement change on local campuses.



West Hills magazine

College Takes a Big Step Towards the Future

In addition to a $100,00 grant from ATD, to be supplemented by more funds on the basis of demonstrated progress over the next few years, the State of California has gotten involved in bringing OER to more campuses by passing AB798 which created the Open Educational Resources Adoption Incentive Program to provide incentives and reward campus, staff, and faculty efforts to accelerate adoption of the new technology. WHCL has also received an initial grant from the state, which can be up to $50,000 plus future incentives based on successful implementation.

‘If you multiply the average cost of a new or used book times the number of students in the classes that will adopt OER, the savings will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.’ – Ron Oxford, WHCL Librarian, who coordinates the project

ks? Oxford said the college is also collaborating with the University of Minnesota, which has an open text network in place. “With the support of all three of the connections, we plan to develop our own network here. What that does is, we are now a college with a strategic plan that says we will have 126 course sections by 2020, which ties in with our district’s Strategic Plan for the same time period.” The college isn’t starting from scratch. OER has been a campus- and district-wide goal for the past few years and there are already some courses that offer students a textbookfree experience in such subjects as sociology, psychology, and history. What the college has learned is that students like the concept, and not just because it saves them money. Students are increasingly tied to mobile devices such as phones and tablets or laptops, becoming more dependent on the web for information and sources. The money, however, is no small issue. “If you multiply the average cost of a new book or a used book times the number of students in the classes that will have adopted OER, the savings are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Oxford. “The students would save that sum collectively—that’s just for the z-degree program (z stands for zero cost degree); we haven’t calculated the state initiative yet. But it isn’t hard to imagine the savings, when in biology, for example, the textbook is over $200. We’re talking just a fraction of textbook costs.” It’s not just about saving students money, but also will lead to reinventing teaching and learning so faculty can organize and choose their resources in a more diverse manner other than choosing traditional textbooks. For instance, Oxford said, “More students today are basing their course selections on how much the book costs. Research shows that has been a huge problem. In a class where not all the students have the textbook, there is not going to be a level playing field. OER takes away the affordability issue.” There are some challenges, he said. “The quality of online resources has to be ensured and that responsibility is on us. To ensure that, our team is meeting biweekly and are developing the entire infrastructure to make this sustainable after these grants are gone. We’re building policies, procedures, support systems, an entire infrastructure.” If everything goes according to plan, by 2020 most students would not have to buy textbooks. It’s a win for our faculty. “Students love OER,” Oxford said. “And the instructors seem to like it, too. They are able to teach in a more efficient manner. It’s a win-win.”

by Tom Wixon The author is a higher education marketing consultant and free-lance writer who coordinates content and edits West Hills Magazine.

“OER is a win-win-win. It’s a win for our students who can save up to $750 a semester by having no-cost or low-cost textbooks. It’s a win for our faculty who are re-shaping their classes and constantly seeking relevant material. It’s a win for our college; we are one of the leaders in our state in OER. We like to think of OER as both an evolution of resources and a revolution for learning.” —James Preston, Dean of Educational Services

No more backpacks? In a future where digital media eliminates the need to carry books, will backpacks and knack saps disappear from the campus scene? West Hills is moving towards heavy reliance on digital textbooks by the year 2020.

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Long It’s L

est Hills College is nearing the end of the months-long self-evaluation process that must be performed in order to maintain each college’s accreditation. The data gathering has been completed and the district will soon host a team of higher education experts from across the state, an event known as a site visit. It’s the culmination of the review cycle. The process is the rough equivalent of a “final exam” for colleges. It’s all very formal and delineated. There is an Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) headquartered in Novato, which is part of the larger Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). It’s not the only accrediting group in the U.S., but one of six regional entities located across the country. Its scope includes colleges in California, Hawaii and several American territories in the Pacific Ocean (Guam, for example). Accreditation is not optional. “It is part of the college district’s ongoing commitment to institutional effectiveness and educational quality,” according to Kyle Crider, who researches and compiles the data for the district. The commission accredits private and public two-year colleges that confer the associate degree and accreditation is crucial to a college’s reputation providing students, the public, and the educational community with assurances of the college’s effectiveness. A peer review is performed which assures students



West Hills magazine

: s s e c o r P g n g Word, Lo am for Colleges Ex l a n i F a e k Li

they are getting a quality education and also speaks to the professionalism and integrity of the college faculty, staff, administration, and trustees. The self-study keeps college staff busy for months, reviewing its own performance, goals and objectives, and related outcomes, and then posting action plans for improvement. The goal is to demonstrate the extent to which the college is functioning effectively as an institution. A self-study report is then issued. It looks a lot like the one WHCCD just did, comprised of hundreds of pages in which the colleges outline their adherence to accepted standards and practices. The site team’s visit is designed to validate the self-study report and suggest recommendations for improvements; at the same time, the team may commend the college for programs they feel exceed standards. The visit is followed by an official Commission report which either affirms the accreditation or sanctions the college, requiring colleges to report back and show that any deficiencies have been corrected. West Hills College remains committed to a cycle of review that strives toward continuous improvement. The accreditation process helps focus college and district efforts to meet our commitments to the community we serve and our students. It reflects our commitment to the relentless pursuit of student success.

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West Hills magazine


Creating a Pathway for Student Success Reg365 Program

Faculty, administrators and students gather to plan and improve the enrollment process at WHCCD (photos at top), part of an ongoing focus on student success which has made the district a leader in higher education across the State. “The recommendations played a big role in helping us better structure our curriculum around student access and convenience, and the process has already begun,” said Stuart Van Horn, Interim President, WHCC (top right). Rita Grogan, Associate Vice Chancellor and Registrar, (above) said, “Reg365 provides students an advantage over traditional community college registration schedules. Allowing students to register for Summer, Fall, and Spring terms when we open up the schedule for registration in mid-April gives students a clear vision of their pathway to completion.”

It’s been just over a year since West Hills College received word from Sacramento that it was one Has Improved of only a handful of winners of a Students’ Degree unique Innovation Awards program designed to shorten the transferto-degree completion process Completion and that links California’s community colleges to the CSU and UC systems. Transfer Times West Hills was one of only 14 colleges and universities to receive a share of the $50 million the Governor put in the budget to award innovation in higher education in California. “Only one of those were located in the Central Valley, so it was quite an honor,” said WHCCD Chancellor Dr. Frank Gornick. Since receiving the award in April 2015, West Hills has put its $2.5 million in award money to work to fund and expand student success initiatives throughout the district. With the monetary award come a number of obligations, including the requirement that West Hills work to promote and expand Reg365, and that the program is regularly assessed and evaluated. “Students responded to the program immediately by signing up for classes for both fall and spring, and even summer,” according to Rita Grogan, who directs Institutional Effectiveness at WHCCD and is the district’s registrar. “By the time Spring 2015 semester registration

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opened, an estimated 73 percent of students had already locked in their class schedule months in advance.” Later in 2015, West Hills hosted a free workshop for colleges statewide, and nearly 100 educators showed up in Lemoore for the one-day “how-to” seminar. West Hills staff shared their experiences in starting Reg365 and provided a manual designed to show other colleges how to create and launch similar programs. More recently, the college hired an outside consultant to perform a complete analysis of Reg365 with a goal of itemizing what parts were working and those needing improvement. To guide the examination, they chose CSU, Sacramento Professor Emeritus Nancy Shulock. The report is out and, as expected, there’s good news about the program, as well as a list of recommendations that should make the program work better for more students. “The data and findings go well beyond the evaluation data that will be required regularly by the California Department of Finance,” Shulock writes in her 40page report. It’s purpose is to provide the district and college leadership with detailed information to guide the implementation and optimize the impact of the innovative registration system. The study focused on how the program is being used by students, whether they are achieving their completion and transfer goals, and whether there are any significant obstacles to the program’s success. “The data are mixed,” she reported. “The positive news is that an increasing share of students are using Reg365 to enroll in both terms, and more students are enrolling in both terms, which is an essential factor in timely completion. Furthermore, the increase in students enrolling in both terms, and using Reg365 to do so, occurred for both first-time and continuing students. The less positive news is that the success of Reg365 appears constrained by waitlists, which continue to be substantial. When students are unable to get into the classes they need, the ability of Reg365 to promote completion-oriented enrollment planning is severely constrained, regardless of the conceptual value of the innovation.” The study found that as many as 15 percent of students are on a waitlist after the start of registration. “Waitlists are problematic at both colleges for English and mathematics courses and for younger students,” Shulock reported. Despite the negative waitlisting impacts, Shulock noted “the extent of positive results after only two years of experience signal the strong potential for success. While the share of students enrolling and completing full-time loads is still very small, the share is growing.” The report contains several recommendations, including exploring a way so that waitlists could be reduced. Some of the suggestions: Use Focus groups to hear directly from students and employ Student Success Teams to address enrollment variations and completion patterns. Chancellor Gornick has turned over the study to the district’s two college presidents to implement the recommendations at their campuses. “The study shows we are on the right



West Hills magazine

track,” Gornick said. “More students who are enrolled full time are achieving their degree on schedule. The evaluation is valuable in pointing out areas we can improve upon in order to increase time-to-degree completion.” “Early indications are that Reg365 is already having an impact on students,” Schulock’s summary goes on. “We have identified a number of positive trends since Reg365 was implemented for the 2014-15 year, including more students enrolling for both terms and enrolling in and completing 30 units in the first year and 60 units in the first two years. We have seen increases in these measures across many, but not all, subgroups of students that we monitored. In addition, the increase in full-time enrollment is modest and one would hope to see the pace of increase accelerate in the coming years.” Shulock’s report also pointed out that WHCCD “is involved in many other student-success-centered initiatives which collectively may be accounting for the encouraging patterns that we have documented. In addition, we did present some evidence of a link between Reg365 and positive student outcomes by documenting that students who use Reg365 to register for their courses did perform better on several measures.” All in all, the consultant concluded that “the results are encouraging for a very short window of experience with the new registration system.” Students on the WHCC Campus: An evaluation of the Advance Registration program, Reg365, shows its popularity is growing and more students are using it to shorten their degree-completion window. The study also revealed some wait-list issues that the Presidents at both colleges are addressing.

Percent of Students Transfer-Ready Within Two Years

6.0% 3.9%







Due to the multi-pronged purpose of community colleges, historically only small percentages of entering students become completely transfer-ready within two year of initial enrollment. Reg365 is a unique advance registration program designed to streamline the transfer process and speed completion rates. Initial data show there was a significant jump in this percentage in the first year Reg365 was offered (2014-15).

Completion rates are better for those who use Reg365


R365 Used Reg365


Did not use Reg365


45% 31%

R365 Used Reg365

Did not use Reg365


In the two years since our Reg365 was introduced, students who used Reg365 to register for their classes had considerably higher completion rates for their first 30 units when compared to those who did not register for fall and spring at the same time.

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Digital Design and

UPDATE of Colleg by Amber Myrick

Text Today, more than 300 million people in the United States use the internet on a regular basis. And half of these internet users consume data on a mobile device, typically a smart phone or tablet. The world is more digital than ever before and most people today expect to find what they are looking for on their phones through Google or Siri inquiries. Meeting this challenge at West Hills College means making our webpages more mobile-responsive by remaking those sites to ensure that when a visitor clicks into the site using a mobile device, the site’s dimensions actually conform to the device’s screen size. Without that option, a system’s non compatibility with increasingly popular phones and tablets can lead to long load times and a difficult navigating experience. Research shows that students are discouraged when searching for important information is stymied by lack of new technology. Determined to resolve these issues, the West Hills Community College District will be working closely with Noble Studios—an award-winning digital design firm—in redesigning the district website to ensure compatibility on any device. The plan is to unveil the new website in April next year, when users will discover that the vast store of college information now residing on our system will be readily accessible on the go from virtually anywhere. “We have always been in the business of student success and redesigning our website will give our students additional ways to



West Hills magazine

access information they need on the devices they use the most,” said Dr. Frank Gornick, Chancellor of the West Hills Community College District. A website redesign committee filtered through many proposals and selected the five best candidates based on price, experience, breadth of work, and understanding of the district’s digital marketing needs. “We are pleased with our selection and feel Noble Studios has a thorough understanding of our digital needs,” said Gornick. “Their experience is impressive and we feel the work they complete for us will help us reach potential and current students in a way that is convenient, relevant, and helpful.” Michael Thomas, a partner with Noble Studios, is equally enthusiastic about the project. For Thomas, the project goes beyond simply producing an appealing looking site. “It’s a way to engage potential and current students and tap into the way that mobile devices have become embedded in their lives,” Thomas said. He sees it as a continuation of the innovative spirit that guides the district. “We are impressed by all the significant achievements that we have seen the district take on in the area of communications,” he said. “This redesign will give its website properties the ability to catch up and expand. Students are on their mobile devices often and they are doing things on these mobile devices that just a few years ago were not even possible, such as planning their future class load or looking at the requirements for a potential associate’s degree. With this in mind, we are looking forward to bringing some new thinking into the process.” The company was chosen for its wealth of experience building digital marketing tools including websites, social media interactions and campaigns and full digital marketing campaigns. They have a range of clients from higher education institutions, government organizations, and companies within private sector industries; top clients include the University of Nevada, Reno; Ford Motor Co.; and the Yosemite Mariposa

ge Website

Designed to Reach Students Where They Live

County Tourism Bureau. The firm recently updated the University of California’s website to expand mobile computability. The West Hills College redesign project is being overseen by the district marketing department. In a two-day site visit, Noble met with key staff members and students to better understand the needs of the district. Additionally, they performed a comparative analysis taking stock of the best online practices in the industry and during a three week period, surveyed all users who visited the current site asking questions specific to the online journey within the WHCCD site. The college has approved the final sitemap, a list of all pages in the final website. The functional elements and structure of the site are being designed now. Amber Myrick is Director of Marketing, Communications, and Public Information at West Hills Community College District.

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WHCC Celebrates



est Hills College students come from dozens of countries and cultures and students, staff and faculty celebrate the many holidays that dot the annual calendar, from January to December. Hispanic Heritage activities such as Cinco de Mayo and Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) are two of those celebrations. The latter is celebrated in Mexico and other Latin American countries where families gather to pray for and remember friends and relatives who have died and help support them in their spiritual journey. The various events feature traditional dance and music, art and decorations and artifacts that salute departed souls. 22


West Hills magazine

Similar traditions exist throughout the world, and have roots in other religious and symbolic holidays such as All Saints Day and All Souls Day observed during the period of Oct. 31Nov. 2, which includes Halloween, a popular holiday in the U.S. Schools traditionally observe the celebrations to bring together students of all cultures and make for a richer and more inclusive community. At WHCC, WHCL and NDC, students and staff and their families turn out to commemorate the holidays each year.

T ransitionS Dave Bolt Plans to Spend Time Outdoors He’s been a fixture on campus since 1986, many years before construction of the new campus at West Hills College Lemoore, but now Dave Bolt, Vice President, Educational Services is making some changes of his own. Bolt is retiring on Dec. 31, 2016, after four decades in higher education, and plans to move to Carson City, NV. On the phone from Lake Tahoe where he was on vacation, Bolt said his retirement plans mainly include “doing as many outdoor activities as possible.” He earned a degree in biology from UC Santa Cruz and an MS in the same field from the University of North Dakota. Before going into teaching, and prior to moving to the Central Valley, he taught full time at Lake Region Community College in Devils Lake, ND for five years. “I have always enjoyed coming to work everyday; I always tried to have fun and make people smile,” he said. In addition to biology, he taught health education and chemistry at both Lake Region and West Hills. Before he retires, the campus plans a day to honor Bolt for all of his years of service and dedication to the college and the district. “He taught me leadership, how to be a thoughtful decision maker, a person of integrity, and a leader who is there to support others,” said James Preston, Dean of Educational Services, who worked closely with Bolt. “We’ve been blessed to have him as a teacher and administrator.”

Bob Gibson Retires After 42 Years Not many people can claim to have worked in education for 42 years, 38 of them in one place; however, Bob Gibson is the exception. The longtime math instructor will retire from West Hills Community College District on Dec. 31, 2016. He plans to “relax and work on some unfinished projects on my eight-acre property, finish the restoration of a 1968 Chevy pickup with my son, and complete my shop facilities at home,” Gibson said. “The last 20 years have been particularly rewarding with all of the new facilities and the great administration, staff and students that I have had the opportunity to work with,” he said. He is popular with both students and other faculty members. Fellow instructor Frieda Ganter said, “Working alongside Bob has always been very easy. He is agreeable and he cares about the students.” Another fellow math instructor, Jameson Birrell, enjoyed watching the way Bob worked with students. “He’s had a big influence on many of our students, has acted often in the interest of students, and has a teaching philosophy based on his understanding of their needs.” He spent much of his career teaching vocational classes “close to my expertise in areas of agriculture engineering, welding, and construction.” Along the way, he restored a large John Deere Tractor that was destroyed by fire and built from scratch a low -bed trailer for the Truck Driving Program. In recent years, Bob taught math as well as Online Retention and Success at WHCL. The campus made plans to honor him prior to the end of the fall semester. He received a BS in Agricultural Engineering from Cal Poly, SLO; and a MS in Agricultural Engineering Technology from CSU Fresno.

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Family T ra d i t i o n Getting an Education is Often a Family Affair at West Hills College

By Jamie Applegate

For Melinda Raulino, getting recognized on the West Hills College Lemoore campus by people she’s never met is a common occurrence. “Hey, you’re a Raulino right?” someone will say. For Rob Skaggs, a long-time English instructor at West Hills College Coalinga and a WHCC alumnus himself, walking onto the WHCC campus and into a classroom is practically a family tradition at this point. In fact, for both of these families—the Raulinos and Skaggs—West Hills College actually can be said to be a family tradition. Rob Skaggs’ familial connection with WHCC stretches all the way back to the 1950s, when his Great Uncle Don Aldridge attended what was then called Coalinga College and was just a set of classrooms at what is now Coalinga High School. “I think Uncle Don kind of set the standard,” Skaggs said. His uncle was just the first. His aunt, Exmae Skaggs Hao, attended from 1956 to 1958 and got a little more than just a degree. She met her husband, Nelson “Nellie” Hao—a football and baseball player who has been inducted in the WHCC Athletic Hall of Fame— in the halls of Coalinga College. Exmae Hao’s brother Dewain attended in the 1960s and her daughter Connie Green went on to attend in the 1990s. Connie’s son P.J. attended in the early 2000s. Rob Skaggs’ mother, Jan Brandt Skaggs, is also a Falcon as well as his two sisters, wife Rashael and more cousins than he can count. His daughter Stephanie graduated earlier this year and his son Brent, a current student is just the latest in this long line.



West Hills magazine

Skaggs himself attended and transferred from WHCC in the 1980s and has been teaching there since 1989, joining a profession many of his other family members and fellow Falcons have also pursued. “I feel like my career here is almost like a big thank you for what the school has given me by way of my family,” Skaggs said. “Things turned around for me when I came here, mostly due to the fantastic instructors. And the fact that I get to teach here is really something.” WHCC isn’t alone though in this “All in the Family” appeal, thanks to the Raulinos at West Hills College Lemoore. At WHCL, Melinda Raulino—who is working toward becoming a teacher— isn’t the only Raulino to have attended and isn’t even the only one currently enrolled as a student. Two of her daughters, Kimberlie and Kelsie, have already graduated while another, Kristina, is a freshman working on her psychology degree. A fourth, Kaitlin, is already planning on attending next year. All three of the oldest daughters have been President’s Scholars, earning two years of tuition and a book stipend. “The Raulinos are some of the best students and the finest people that have come in out and out of our campus,” said Jody Ruble, WHCL Dean of Students. “I think that the fact that it’s part of their family culture to start their education at WHCL says a lot about us as institution. It lets me know we’re doing well.” (Continued on next page)

The Skaggs have a long history at WHCC, from the earliest days of the school to the present day. Counterclockwise from upper left: Homecoming Queen Candidate Exmae Skaggs in 1957; Don Aldridge posing in 1956 on the steps of the early Coalinga College building, now part of Coalinga High School; Rob Skaggs with his daughter Stephanie at her graduation from WHCC in 2016; and the latest link in the family chain, Brent Skaggs.

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Melinda Raulino initially attended what was then the Kings County Center in the late 1980s and graduated with an Associate’s degree. She came back to WHCL in 2005 to take child development courses and—deciding to fully pursue becoming a teacher—enrolled once more in 2014 and is studying to get her Associate’s in Liberal Arts for transfer at the age of 47. “Back in the 80s, the school was still in trailers and I remember thinking about if it would grow,” she said. “When they were growing up, I always encouraged my daughters to do their best and study hard so it was helpful for them to be able to stay local, go to West Hills College and not have all the expense. They’ve had great teachers.” Her daughters, Kelsie and Kimberlie graduated in 2014 and 2015 respectively and transferred to four-year colleges. Kristina Raulino is slated to graduate in 2018. Both they and their mother have been greatly involved as students. All three daughters have been involved in the Associated Student Body and Melinda and Kimberlie have been involved in the T.E.A.M. Teach program, which provides guidance and activities for future teachers. While at WHCL, Kimberlie Raulino started the Eagle Pantry Club, which helps feed hungry and struggling students by collecting donated food and distributing it on campus. Over 70 students are helped at each distribution event the club holds.



West Hills magazine

The Raulino family has had a presence on the WHCL campus since the 1980s. Clockwise from upper left: Kaitlin, Kristina, Kimberlie, Melinda, Chris and Kelsie Raulino and Kelsie’s husband Thomas Quinn at a scholarship awards ceremony. All of the Raulino sisters have been President’s Scholars; Kimberlie Raulino graduated in 2015 and was student speaker; Kristina Raulino is the latest Raulino sister to attend WHCL; Kelsie Raulino was the first sister to attend WHCL and graduated in 2014 and was also the student speaker at graduation; and Melinda Raulino, the girls’ mother, who attended WHCL in the 1980s and came back in 2014 to work on another degree.

Kimberlie and Kelsie were also a part of the GEAR program, which prepares students to be tutors, tour guides, mentors and volunteers at campus events. Melinda Raulino is beyond proud of the impact her daughters have made on the WHCL campus community. “My daughters all look a lot like me and I love it when people recognize me because I get to see how happy they are and their reaction to knowing my daughters,” said Melinda Raulino. “It’s a reflection of what my daughters have accomplished here and it makes me proud. Furthermore, by keeping God in the center of our lives, we have continued to keep our focus on the purpose of our future.” For these two families, being a Falcon or a Golden Eagle is just a way of life. Jamie Applegate is a marketing assistant at West Hills CCD and a former journalist.

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9900 Cody St. Coalinga, CA 93210

WHCC Rodeo Boosters: Small In Number, Large In Heart The boosters go back to the beginning of the program at the college when community leaders like Roy Loftis, J.D. Johnson, Dorothy Allen and Jim Nunez supported a team for 30 years under Coach Bruce Hunt. Some of those names are memorialized on plaques in the rodeo arena, one of the finest college rodeo facilities in the nation. Their work continues today during the third year of Coach Justin Hampton’s leadership. For years the Boosters relied on an annual dinner each year to raise rodeo scholarship funds (about $31,750 during the 2015-2016 school year). Today they’ve expanded to several events at the arena each year at which they run concession stands from dawn to dusk, sometimes for two or three days in a row… and they still do that annual dinner! Community colleges largely rely on donors to fund athletic scholarships, including groups like the WHCC Rodeo Boosters. Their volunteer efforts help attract student-athletes from throughout the U.S. and Canada. Competing against both two and four year colleges including Cal Poly, Fresno State and UNLV, the West Hills Falcons have sent riders to the rodeo finals for over 30 years. Former students have won national and world titles and some were part of the formation of the Professional Bull Riders Association. The rodeo program is rich in history because of the work of this group of dedicated volunteers. Our hats are off to them. Some of the Rodeo Boosters in front of a memorial plaque are: Terri Yanez, Ray Richardson, Mark Yanez, Terri Richardson, Roger Campbell, Karen Campbell and Carol Morrow.

For information on how you can help support education, see our website: www.whcgift.org, or contact: FrancesSquire@whccd.edu 9900 Cody St., Coalinga, CA 93210 (559) 934-2134 WestHillsCollege.com