West Hills Magazine - Winter 2017 (Issue 9)

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Finances With grants, scholarships and special financing, money will never be a limiting factor to achieving a college diploma.


West Hills College is a driving force at addressing and eliminating the biases and barriers that limit a student’s hope for learning, growing, and contributing to society.


Breaking Barriers

Winter 2017


Cultural Tradition and family run long and run deep. Family is everything... PERIOD. At West Hills College, we appreciate both the family and you as an individual. Family fosters hard work and success and we can help.

Location West Hills College is a rural college, but that doesn't limit our students. With online classes and a dedication to innovation, our students get a big education at a smaller school.

Cover photos courtesy of West Hills Fly Crew Student Team Pictured: West Hills students Beatriz Sanabria and Chase P. Scott

Meet our Chancellor, Dr. Stuart Van Horn #WeAreWestHills: At West Hills, Everyone has a Home With grants, scholarships and special financing, money will never be a limiting factor to achieving a college diploma

Season’s Greetings!


Copyright 2017 by West Hills Community College District. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission prohibited. WEST HILLS MAGAZINE Number 9 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 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


I don’t know about you, but the holiday season snuck up on me this year. It seems like July was just a moment ago. The fall semester has been an outstanding one for West Hills. We’ve brought into our family numerous new faces and they have already made significant contributions to our relentless pursuit of student success. We’ve said goodbye to others, many of whom were instrumental in building new programs, practices, and procedures at our colleges. As we wish them well, we are excited about the future. We – all 847 individuals employed in this district – have high expectations and we will continue the trajectory of greatness on the shoulders of those who came before us. Like many of the stories in this issue, we thrive on being aspirational. It differentiates us from other institutions and this is worth celebrating as I can’t think of other colleges that are more critical to their citizenry than West Hills. In this issue, my first as Chancellor, we celebrate diversity. Fostering a climate of inclusion is among our most important roles as educators. Diversity in the workplace is important because it manifests itself in building a great reputation for our colleges, leading to increased opportunities for our students to become productive members in their local communities. Diversity brings perspective and depth to our classrooms and enriches our academic settings. Diversity of thought at West Hills is celebrated as a value; diversity of culture and strategy, employee learning, technology-driven teaching materials, and delivery methods of our classes are all featured in this holiday edition. As this year comes 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 our region. Season’s greetings,

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

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contents Paying it Forward: Breaking Barriers and Fostering Success at West Hills College Coalinga

Life Lessons From Little League and the Shaping of A Chancellor: Introducing Dr. Stuart Van Horn

Many individuals have attended, worked and graduated from West Hills College Coalinga, but few know the far-reaching impact the school has had when breaking through the many barriers that students face when it comes to college.

As a fourth grader, when Chancellor Dr. Stuart Van Horn stepped onto the dirt diamonds of the local park for little league baseball games, he learned four valuable lessons. Those lessons, and others learned throughout his life, are guiding his approach to his new role as Chancellor.

West Hills Leads 9 Education: the Way on Prior Learning The Best Kept Secret in Assessment

Thanks to West Hills Community College District’s innovative new prior learning assessment program, QuickPath, students throughout the WHCCD will soon be able to get academic credit for the skills and knowledge they already have.

to Study Hard and Serve 11 Learn Their Community #CultureOverScheme: Falcons

For West Hills College Coalinga’s Falcons Football Coaching Staff, their job is about more than just winning games. It’s about developing players into young men.

17 District Center, Firebaugh A Bright Future for North


West Hills College Lemoore Leads the OER Revolution

Over $133,200: that’s how much students at West Hills College Lemoore have saved in textbook costs this semester alone thanks to Open Educational Resources. Now a thought leader in OER, WHCL has even bigger plans to help students save.

The future is bright at North District Center, Firebaugh now that funding for a new, river-front center has been funded through the 2017-2018 budget.


19 Everyone Has A Home

#WeAreWestHills: At West Hills,

The Future is Here, at West Hills College Coalinga’s Farm of the Future

At West Hills, everyone has a home and is made to feel welcome through special cultural events and events aimed at helping underrepresented students find their way in college.

Development at 23 Employee West Hills

It’s Getting Better All the Time: West Hills employees are sharpening skills, broadening ambitions and boosting their paychecks due to a sweeping focus on employee and professional development that is a part of the fabric of what West Hills is.

Give Students 25 Academies Hands-on Experience,

Career Technical Education Advantage in the Workforce

For students who wish to learn with a hands-on approach, West Hills College Lemoore has the intensive academies needed to get a leg up in the job world.

Master Plan Guide 28 Facilities the WHCCD

Educational Master Plan and West Hills’ comprehensive Educational Master Plan and Facilities Master Plan are guiding the West Hills Community College District’s future. Here’s a look at them.

Students at the West Hills College Coalinga Farm of the Future learn using the latest and most advanced technology, all while the Farm itself serves as a testing ground for new and exciting agriculture initiatives.


West Hills Community College District Grants Department Brings in the Funding

The West Hills Community College District Grants Department has earned over $158 million since it was established in 1999. And they’re not stopping there. Winter 2017



By Jamie Applegate

Life Lessons From Little League and the Shaping of A Chancellor:

Introducing Dr. Stuart Van Horn

“My father, Ezra, was a faculty member and sports coach during my youth,” Van Horn said. “I grew up in community college gyms, but they were so much more than brick and mortar. They were part instruction, part services, and part cathedral. The faculty, coaches and staff were my heroes, bigger than life. I firmly believe I stand here today on the shoulders of community college practitioners who came before us. Some of my greatest life lessons would not have happened without them.”

As a fourth grader, when Dr. Stuart Van Horn stepped onto the dirt diamonds of the local park for little league baseball games, he learned four valuable lessons: Show up on time. Punctuality is important and a matter of respect.

Always wear your uniform. Teams are comprised of individuals working toward a common goal and wearing your uniform, taking pride in being a part of a group and sacrificing one’s personal agenda for the benefit of something larger than oneself, is important.

Don’t lie down in the outfield. As a leader, you have to be ready when the ball arrives at your feet. Leadership happens when it needs to happen. You have to be ready.

Finally, don’t throw rocks at each other. Great organizations are destroyed from within, just as great civilizations are. Teams, organizations and civilizations all work best when everyone works together.

These are the values he learned early on and the values he is applying now as the new Chancellor of the West Hills Community College District. But, to really understand Dr. Stuart Van Horn, there are a few other things you have to know about him.



West Hills magazine

For Dr. Stuart Van Horn, community colleges run deep. He’s been involved with them in one way or another most of his life and has been working in the system since 1984. They’re a part of the very fiber of who he is.

It was on the basketball court, playing for Orange Coast College, that he learned another valuable lesson. It was there that community colleges continue their tutelage of him and he learned that within him was a great, roiling urge for progress and self-improvement. Dr. Van Horn, then simply Stu, was playing against Fullerton College. His father, who had told him he wasn’t good enough to play basketball for Fullerton, was the team’s coach. Dr. Van Horn rose to the challenge, earning a career high in points and going on to win the state championship with his team. Lesson? You take what you are dealt and you move forward. His mother Rita, a high school choral instructor, initiated his love for music. It was an instance of a lack of musical ability, however, that taught him another important lesson about overcoming obstacles. From 4th grade on, he played trumpet. In 7th grade, the band director suggested he switch to tuba. He replied “No, I play the trumpet.” The band director replied “Honey, not very well.” The lesson? Overcome and take what somebody gives you and make the most of it.

Winter 2017


And from his wife, Sandy, he’s learned that when there is a conflict, you work to build a bridge and get over it.

There’s one more thing you need to know about Dr. Stuart Van Horn to really, truly understand him. Earlier this year, he attended a ceremony at Orange Coast College and— a few decades after he failed to submit the proper paperwork as a student before he transferred to Montana—accepted his community college Associate’s Degree just weeks before he became WHCCD Chancellor.

“To me, leadership and stewardship go hand in hand,” he said. “Leadership is getting things done. Stewardship is getting things done the right way. The right way is to create environments where people connect. At the heart of my leadership is a desire to serve others, to empower them and to foster their success. A good friend once told me if serving is below you, leadership is beyond you and that has stuck with me.”

Volunteerism has also taught him much. Van Horn is a former foster care provider and Special Olympics coach. Education has generated valuable lessons as well. Van Horn earned his B.S. in Social Studies from University of Great Falls, Montana, a Master of Education from Azusa Pacific University and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from University of Phoenix’s School of Advanced Studies. He came to WHCCD in 2013 as the Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Workforce Development. He also served as President of West Hills College Coalinga before becoming Chancellor.

And now, he’s the Chancellor of the West Hills Community College District! “Dr. Van Horn, as a leader, is confident and fiercely proud of WHCCD,” said Benjamin Duran, Executive Director of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium. “He’s a confident and competent leader and has a sense of commitment to the students and families of West Hills. His experience in Sacramento with policy and advocacy make him a valuable asset for our region.” Van Horn’s goals align with the WHCCD Strategic Plan and, in many ways, fit well with the lessons he’s learned as a community college educator and student. These goals include fostering programs to help students succeed including priority registration, educational plans and year-long registration; strengthening WHCCD’s financial position; maximizing access to programs and services throughout the region; using technology to increase access to these services; and developing and maintaining programs that connect employers with students and students with employers.



West Hills magazine

It’s evidence, yet again, of the importance of community college in his life. It’s a degree he’s incredibly proud of.

Van Horn is focused on increasing web-based and online student engagement, accelerating completion, and reducing the cost of learning materials for students through different avenues including Open Educational Resources Other goals include increasing the use of analytics and research data by the colleges and district, elevating committee and organizational effectiveness, deploying a wide-reaching faculty and staff professional development program, and—of course—growing enrollment and completion and better serving students. A main goal is growing enrollment through Career Technical Education programs and giving students more opportunities to earn credit for prior work and life experience through programs like the innovative Quick Path Prior Learning Assessment program Above all though, his goal is to position the West Hills Community College District to be competitive and— most importantly—continue the relentless pursuit of student success. “The two-year college business model, as is the nature of all educational sectors, is being changed tremendously by developing technologies, economic forces, and other factors,” he said. “As we evolve in the global marketplace, our focus must continue to anchor all governance and operations to our commitments of educational quality, persistence, and college completion. We have to find ways to increase capacity at our colleges and neighboring universities and the design of the system has to change to accommodate today’s adults.”

“It was powerful and a tangible reminder that my time at Orange Coast anchored any occupational success I’ve had since then and was my springboard of opportunity well beyond the educational, cultural and social values it instilled in me,” he said.

Efren Galvan, Director of Enrollment Services at OCC, presents Dr. Van Horn with his community college degree.



A1: Provide policy recommendations to Board, engage in strategic visioning, provide educational leadership, and support District policies with state and local constituencies.

C1: Prepare architectural design and construction management requirements for North District Center, residence halls, instructional facilities and new District office building (SP 2, 3, 4, 5)

A2: Facilitate a strong leader-follower collegial relationship with Presidents and district leadership A3: Develop efficient professional relationship with Executive Assistant

C2: Recruit and hire new Foundation Director and develop strategic framework to Foundation Board (SP1-5) C3: Work with college Presidents and district leadership to mitigate potential fiscal uncertainty (SP goals 1-5)



B1: Evolve technology capabilities towards cloud services architecture and software as a service (SaaS) (SP goals 2, 3, 4)

D1: Increase visibility in district communities and engage in advocacy and philanthropic ventures with community members, civic leaders, and public and private sector entities in the region (SP goals 3, 4, 5)

B2: Produce proactive, mission-centric annual research agenda and marketing/communications agenda to spark increased commitment to student retention and persistence (SP goals 1, 2, 4) B3: Broaden faculty, management, and staff professional development program that improve management acumen and the enterprise of teaching and learning (SP goals 1-5) B4: Plan for addition of district facilities director position to manage expansion of physical facilities (SP 4, 5) B5: Elevate commitment of Presidents to increase institutional/program level productivity practices (SP1-5)

D2: Participate in CCCCO Board of Governors and select number of CEO-focused symposium/conference opportunities D3: Enroll in Yoga classes D4: Pursue an appropriate balance between professional obligations and quality time with Sandy D5: Use vacation allocation annually SP – Strategic Plan goal(s) supported by activity

Winter 2017


Paying it Forward: Breaking Barriers and Fostering Success at West Hills College Coalinga

Rodrigo Lopez WHCC Alumnus

By Shane Reinhard

Reyna Gonzalez WHCC Academic Advising Specialist

After attending TRiO orientations and meeting TRiO staff including then counselor Jesse Cota and current WHCC Academic Advising Specialist Reyna Gonzalez, Lopez enrolled at WHCC. During his time there, he blossomed.

from WHCC. She graduated in 2006 with an AA in Liberal Arts after having been a part of the Upward Bound program and returned to work at WHCC as part of the TRiO Program in 2007.

Lopez was one of the founders of the TRiO club, a student club for students involved in TRiO that is still one of the most active clubs at West Hills College Coalinga. The club helps fundraise to aid students with costs, offers cap and gown scholarships for students unable to afford graduation regalia and holds cultural events. The club hosts the Dia de los Muertos and Cinco de Mayo events on campus each year, with the goal of fostering a campus culture.

Again, none of that was without effort. Gonzalez had a child while in college and received support and encouragement that helped keep her on track.

Lopez also served as a resident assistant for the Upward Bound program, which provides support and a summer residential opportunity for local high school students from low income and first generation families.

Continue she did. Today, she tells the students she advises to focus on the now, and take classes that will impact them for a lifetime. She works with students today because of the ways she was helped in college herself. Lopez credits her specifically with some of his success and Gonzalez says making an impact is what TRiO is all about.

None of this was without struggle, but Lopez says he found inspiration and hope in TRiO. “As a first generation student, I struggled in the educational system,” he said. “Just learning how to study effectively was even hard. TRiO and West Hills molded me and taught me a different way of life. Without them, I wouldn’t have had the success I did.”

Many individuals have attended, worked and graduated from West Hills College Coalinga, but few know the far-reaching impact the school has had when breaking through the many barriers that students face as they try to enter college. With a demographic that is predominantly Hispanic, West Hills helps students maneuver through financial and social obstacles, while allowing many students to be the first in their family to go to college. West Hills College Coalinga graduate and Huron native Rodrigo Lopez knows this first hand. Lopez received an Associate of Arts degree from WHCC before transferring to Sacramento State University on completion of his degree, but, going to college was never a dream of his or even something that seemed like it could be a possibility. His parents were Mexican immigrants who came to America and became field workers, a job Lopez assumed he’d end up pursuing as well. Lopez also struggled with another obstacle: his father was an alcoholic and, in his job working in a liquor store, Lopez feared he’d follow down that path.

“ My parents were farm workers and I saw myself becoming a farm worker as well,” said Lopez. “I had a lifestyle where education wasn’t my first choice. But I got tired of working really hard for minimal pay, so one day I began checking out local colleges. In school, my counselor had laughed at me when I said I wanted to go to Fresno State so I didn’t think there was much hope.” That’s when Lopez met the West Hills College Coalinga TRiO staff. According to Lopez, it’s not an exaggeration to say that TRiO—a federally funded program serving first generation, low-income and disabled students—changed the course of his life.

Rodridgo Lopez as a student at WHCC with the TRiO Club



West Hills magazine

“I had teachers and counselors pull me aside and ask me what I was going to do,” she said. “They really cared about me during that time. I promised them I was going to keep going and continue my education.”

“A lot of these students don’t have an older brother or sister or parents who can help them with college so we become that older brother or sister,” Gonzalez said. “Their parents want to help, but don’t know the steps to take. We help them get on the right education plan and path to graduate.”

Lopez went on to graduate in 2010 with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts and transfer to California State University, Sacramento where he earned his degree in Social Work with a minor in Counseling. Now, he’s paying it forward, mentoring “at risk” or “higher at risk,” students at Woodland Community College as a Student Success and Engagement Specialist. “I was so inspired by West Hills and the community college system,” he said. “I knew I wanted to give back and expose students to these opportunities they have, that I wasn’t aware of when I was younger.” Mentorship like this is one reason West Hills has been so successful over the years, boasting some of the highest transfer rates to schools like the University of California and California State University particularly with Hispanic students. Reyna Gonzalez, who helped Lopez when he attended WHCC, is herself another West Hills success story. Now an Academic Advising Specialist, she attended and graduated

Winter 2017


The Best Kept Secret in Education:

West Hills Leads the Way on Prior Learning Assessment By Jamie Applegate

International Baccalaureate Exam; through challenge exams; and credit based on military training equivalency recommendations as made by the American Council on Education. However, as part of the launch of QuickPath, West Hills is also embracing a new and potentially very impactful avenue: portfolio assessment. “Basically, a student will submit a portfolio showcasing all the ways in which what they’ve learned through life or work experience is equivalent to a course we offer,” said Justin Garcia, WHCCD’s Prior Learning Assessment Coordinator. “For example, we can look at a submitted portfolio and say ‘hey you’ve demonstrated to us that you can do everything you would do if you took Accounting I, so you don’t have to take it because you’ve already shown us that you know it. So, we’ll give you credit for that and move you into Accounting II.’” Students will be able to submit their portfolios online, for as many classes as they want to be evaluated for. The portfolios will then be carefully evaluated and compared to the student learning outcomes for comparable courses. For instance, if a student submits a portfolio for credit in a public speaking class, their portfolio will be compared to what the students in a similar course offered at West Hills would learn. If what the student who submitted the portfolio has learned is comparable, they would receive credit for the course. However, Prior Learning Assessment is about more than just giving students another way to earn credit: it’s also a way to help students overcome barriers that might otherwise prevent them from getting an education.

Justin Garcia, WHCCD PLA Coordinator

What if you could get academic credit for the skills and knowledge you’ve gained through life and work experience? Thanks to West Hills Community College District’s innovative new prior learning assessment program, QuickPath, students throughout the WHCCD will soon be able to do just that. QuickPath is set to debut in Fall 2018 and is funded by a $2 million California Innovation Award for Higher Education earned by WHCCD earlier this year. The program will both introduce a new way for students to earn credit—a portfolio assessment—and educate students about the many opportunities already available to them to earn credit in somewhat untraditional ways.



West Hills magazine

“Prior learning assessment is a way to open the doors of a community college to bring the students who may have skills or the training from a non-traditional source,” said Dr. Linda Thomas, Vice Chancellor of Educational Services & Workforce Development for WHCCD. “It will benefit students who have work experience, but need a certificate or degree to advance in their career.” There are currently already several ways for WHCCD students to earn academic credit outside of taking a class. These include through Advanced Placement testing in high school; through standardized exams including the College Level Examination Program, DSST Examination Program and

“There are a lot of boundaries to going to school, especially for older and non-traditional students,” Garcia said. “There’s the cost and time commitment. School is a big time commitment so providing students with an option to stay at home and work on a portfolio that could help them get credit for what they already know is ideal.”

Thomas added that, by making these options available, WHCCD is also removing some of the intimidation from seeking an education. This is especially important for first generation students and older students looking to earn a degree after being out of school for a while. “That’s what working people want and need,” said Thomas. “The idea of taking a two-year program to get their associate’s degree, if their classes are available, is daunting. But if someone comes to this situation and doesn’t have to take certain classes, then that knocks a semester off of their work and they’re more likely to think about doing it.” WHCCD has partnered with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and Academy One to create the online platform for portfolio assessment. The QuickPath program will be implemented throughout the district, at West Hills College Coalinga and West Hills College Lemoore. And, while students currently already have several ways to earn credit for their prior learning, Garcia said part of the QuickPath launch will be letting students know they have these options. According to Garcia, Prior Learning Assessment as a concept in education isn’t new. Streamlining it, promoting it to students and making PLA a priority, however, is new. “PLA has been around since the 1970s, but it hasn’t really taken off,” he said. “There are many colleges trying to do this, but it’s still not really common or utilized much. The innovation comes in when we start focusing on educating students about these opportunities and treating them as a valuable way to measure a student’s competency. Right now, prior learning assessment is the best kept secret in education.”

Trade Knowledge for Credits

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#CultureOverScheme Falcons Learn to Study Hard and Serve Their Community By Tyler A. Takeda

When former West Hills College Coalinga football player Justin Berna interviewed for the head football coaching position at his alma mater, one of the things he wanted to stress is the importance of not just fostering athletic success, but also academic success.

Berna got the head coaching job and, while he’s led this team this season to victory after victory, he and his coaching staff have also done something that could be argued to be even more important: reinforced the idea over and over of what he calls #CultureOverScheme. The idea is one that he and his entire staff share: that the team doesn’t win games because of offensive or defensive schemes, but because of what’s done off the field, in the classroom, in the community and on the practice field. “The term that is thrown around a bunch but isn’t always utilized in sports is “student-athletes,’” said Ben Barkema, Falcons Defensive Coordinator. “These kids are student-athletes. That means they’re students first.” As part of this culture, the coaches and staff have organized study halls, do regular grade and class checks and have also encouraged and facilitated volunteer work for the team. “The biggest thing I wanted to do when I got here was to do more community outreach things,” Berna said. “It’s as simple as helping out little kids at the West Hills Child Development Center or gathering clothes for hurricane victims. Whatever we can do to tell these kids it’s okay to help other people. Whatever we can do to make them a broad person, athlete and student. You can't just be a good football player. You’ve got to be a good person as well.”

“We have to know what we’re trying to accomplish here,” Coach Berna said. “Winning games is great, but we’re also here because we’re bridging the gap between high school and the university level. Academic success and athletic success all go together. I want our players to excel and do their best in all areas, not just on the field.” 11


West Hills magazine

So far, the team has done quite a bit of community outreach including volunteering at the West Hills College Coalinga Child Development Center’s Curiosity Day, playing and working with the children at the center. They’ve also held a clothing drive for Hurricane Harvey victims, helped set up CoalingaFest, and volunteered at the thrift store. They’ve helped load trucks full of clothing to be sent to Africa and are planning a free youth football camp at WHCC this summer. Even more outreach events are already on the team’s calendar for after the football season ends.

Because of the outreach, fans are starting to notice the Falcons on and off the field and the Falcons themselves are beginning to notice the community in a way they might not have previously. “It feels good to help in the community and it’s great to have their support,” said sophomore player Marquis Caldwell. “It’s fun to return the favor for their support and help the community out. And it’s great to feel how much the coaching staff cares about and is interested in us.” For Berna, building a culture is also about building trust and fostering pride in the team and the community. “I think the wins and losses take care of themselves,” Berna said. “Here, we’ve always been able to be very competitive. We want them to take pride in being on this team and we want them to realize that the skills they learn on the field, like work ethic and time management, will prepare you for life.” However, in the end, for Berna and his staff, it’s ultimately about making sure that his players leave his program and can excel. It’s emphasizing West Hills College Coalinga’s core ideal: once you go here, you can go anywhere. According to Eric Mendoza, WHCC Associate Dean of Athletics, that idea is the core of WHCC’s athletic programs. “There is great value with the culture of ‘family’ established within the WHCC athletic programs,” said Mendoza. “The coaches are invested in each student-athlete and the college is supportive by providing a quality student-athlete experience. Through daily practice and sports competition, we are teaching students the values of teamwork, leadership, respecting differences, conflict-resolution, overcoming adversity, and how to win and lose with integrity. I believe we have the best environment for a student-athlete to be successful, build strong relationships, and create good habits.” There’s also a sense of pride for Berna in seeing his players get out of West Hills College Coalinga what he got out of being a player when he was a Falcon. “I push the pride of the campus, community and football program to our kids,” Berna said. “I was in the dorms. I was here. It’s huge to be able to come back. I tell the kids that my experience here was fantastic and I want to make sure their experience is too.”

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West Hills College Lemoore Leads the OER Revolution Over $133,200

That’s how much students at West Hills College Lemoore have saved in textbook costs this semester alone thanks to Open Educational Resources.

By Bineet Kaur

Free textbooks and educational materials, Open Educational Resources (OER) as a concept is gathering steam and sweeping the state and West Hills College Lemoore is at the front of this revolution. The high quality resources and textbooks are peer reviewed, ensuring they are adequate to replace traditional textbooks, and available for free or at low-cost online for students in several classes at West Hills College Lemoore. WHCL has been working to implement and utilize OER in one way or another for the past four years. The college has earned several grants and funding to support that endeavor, including $100,000 from Achieving the Dream and $40,000 from state Assembly Bill AB-798—which makes implementing OER a priority for the state’s community colleges. The West Hills Community College District has also adopted a board policy steering the district toward adopting OER for every program. In Fall 2017, 1,332 students took advantage of the more than 30 sections of classes using OER being offered at WHCL. According to WHCL Sociology instructor and OER Committee Co-Chair Vera Kennedy, both students and instructors have benefitted from the move toward OER.

Vera Kennedy, WHCL sociology instructor and OER Committee Co-Chair



West Hills magazine

Kennedy said that although much of why OER was implemented was to benefit students, it has benefitted instructors as well. This includes allowing instructors more freedom to contextualize learning material and modify it to be more relevant to students.

university. WHCC, meanwhile, is looking to develop ZTC degrees in Kinesiology and Precision Agriculture (a certificate.) The colleges have both received $150,000 in awards from the California Community Colleges to implement ZTC programs.

“[With OER,] you have the ability as a faculty member to remix and reuse the resources in the way that you feel is most appropriate for your students,” Kennedy said. “Maybe a particular health issue

West Hills College Lemoore is also looking toward developing an online OER library for students to access. And, in addition to revolutionizing their own campus, the faculty and staff at WHCL who have lead the OER charge have also received additional recognition: this year, WHCL was named a Zero Cost Textbook Degree Technical Assistance Provider.

is important in this area that we serve, but our textbook might have covered it from an East Coast centric point of view. Now, you can cover that topic from a West Coast point of view, but also, a Central Valley viewpoint.”

Students have also seen the benefit in using OER. “It’s a really important thing to have, especially since you can have it on your device,” said WHCL student Alyssa Arnold, who used an OER text in her Sociology 1 class. “It’s good to have a book but it’s a lot better to have it online because you can take it anywhere.”

The future for OER at WHCL looks like it will be even more impactful on students. Both WHCL and West Hills College Coalinga are looking at creating Zero Textbook Cost Degrees: associate degrees or career technical education certificates earned entirely by completing courses that use OER. This means a student earning a ZTC Degree would be able to earn a degree or certificate without ever paying for a textbook. WHCL is looking to launch two ZTC degrees in Fall 2018: psychology and elementary teacher preparation. Both are degrees geared toward students intending to transfer to a four-year

WHCL faculty are heading out across California this spring and will be hosting workshops to help other community colleges learn best practices for using OER. This summer, they will also host an event focused on best practices at WHCL and host colleges from all over the state. For James Preston, WHCL Vice President of Educational Services, OER is ultimately about the impact it has on students. “One of the reasons why everyone in education goes into this field is to make a difference and I feel like OER is making a difference in the lives of our students and a difference in the way we’re delivering teaching and learning,” he said. “We’re excited!”

“It’s hard to come to class prepared when you don’t have the reading assignments or the homework assignments,” Kennedy said. “With OER, that’s never an issue. One of the primary things that we’re addressing is accessibility. By adopting and using OER, we’re giving everybody an equal playing field as far as access to education and the ability to learn in class.”

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configurations, such as its use as autonomous sprayer. Finally, an AgEagle fixed wing UAS provides students a chance to learn construction and troubleshooting of a fixed wing UAS. These devices will provide students with multiple examples and experiences that will be valuable to growers and to the students themselves.

The Future is Here, at West Hills College Coalinga’s Farm of the Future By Terry Brase When I first heard of the Farm of the Future, I was jealous. At the time I was teaching agriculture technology in a large community college in Iowa, which had a farm laboratory with the latest in equipment: yield monitors, variable rate equipment, and GPS equipment. But, to have a school farm labeled as the “Farm of the Future” was exciting and it became even more exciting when I had the opportunity to teach at West Hills College Coalinga and work on the Farm of the Future. Now, as the Interim Director of the Farm of the Future I’m getting to know it even better. The Farm of the Future itself is fairly typical of a college farm. Tractors of different colors and condition sit ready for students to use. The 230 acres are divided into small field blocks which aid their use for specific classes or projects. A classroom building and office sit adjacent to the field, atypical of a real working farm’s shop and outbuilding. But, what makes this farm significantly different is what happens in the fields! The Farm of the Future holds true to the purpose and use of a school farm laboratory: providing students practical hands-on experience and serving as a community resource that provides service and education. However, it’s use as a model of emerging technology and sustainable practices being applied to agriculture is what makes it a farm of the future. We are working on and continuing some exciting projects and continuing the implementation of the latest and most advanced agriculture technology in our classes.



West Hills magazine


Emerging Technologies Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have now been used in agriculture for over 15 years, but it has only been in the last four years that it has become a somewhat viable option for growers. It is still on the cutting edge, or possibly bleeding edge, for use by growers. Exploring UAS use is beyond the scope of many commercial operations because of the time, learning curve, and expense of the technology. However, that’s not the case for the Farm of the Future. The Farm of the Future can serve as a model of how UAS could be used on row crops or permanent crop operation. Donations and grants have provided the Farm of the Future a number of UAS for use by students. Four DJI Phantom 2 provide a simple “out-of-the-box” rotor UAS that students can use to learn about parts, maintenance, setup, calibration, mission planning, and actual flight procedures. A PrecisionHawk Lancaster 5 provides an advanced professional level fixed wing UAS that students use to learn advanced mission planning and autonomous flight procedures with a multispec sensor. A DJI S900 is an advanced professional level rotor UAS that helps students learn about the construction and setup for unique

Flights have been made to capture a variety of images of the Farm’s pistachio orchard, garlic fields, and sugar beets. Natural color and infrared images give the students experience in processing and interpretation of imagery. Most importantly, these images have been used in technology classes and will be extended to use in production and management classes. This means that the learning curve for new technologies is completed at the education institution instead of at the farm. A wireless telemetry system and the Internet of Things (IoT) is another one of those cutting edge technologies that can turn into the bleeding edge. While growers have been using soil moisture sensors for many years, the concept of transferring the data to the internet “cloud” for processing and controlling irrigation or other devices is relatively new. Though still incomplete, a wireless telemetry system is being created within the Farm of the Future’s pistachio orchard. Dr. Tim Ellsworth, Ag Science Instructor and soil scientist, is setting up a series of soils moisture sensors that will determine the level of soil moisture at different depths within the orchard. Different types of sensors including TDR (time-domain reflectometry) and tensiometers provide students a comparison of operation and effectiveness in measuring moisture. Approximately 80 of these sensors will be distributed throughout the orchard.

All of these sensors are connected by wire to a datalogger and radio transmitter. Right now, the radio transmits the data to the ag offices, but when complete the data will feed into a software that allows students to see soil moisture levels on the internet. The other half of a wireless telemetry system is the irrigation. West Hills is currently working with WiseConn to install flow and pressure sensors in the irrigation lines and solenoid controlled pressure regulating valves at the orchard. All of these sensors are wired to radio transmitters which feeds the data to a cellular gateway. When completed, students will be able to view the status of the irrigation system and most importantly actually control the flow rate of water at different rates to four Servers blocks of the orchard. Valve control A third part of the system will be the software to control everything automatically.

Weather station (CIMIS) Well monitoring and control

The software, with soil moisture data and flow Soil mosture Tank and monitoring and pressure data, will Pump reservoir Gateway control monitoring use an irrigation schedule entered by an irrigation manager to automatically control the amount of water going to each block of trees. Having a system like this at the Farm of the Future is valuable for our students, but it also serves as a model for the grower who can see the system work and know that there are graduates that know how to operate it. Plans are in place for agriculture science to cooperate with industrial science to build a variable rate sprayer. Chris Chaney, West Hills College Coalinga Industrial Science instructor, will work with his welding students to build a sprayer tank cart and toolbar that will be used to install tubing and wiring for a system that will apply water, chemicals, or fertilizer at a rate based on a location of weeds, soil conditions or plant condition. Creation of a prescription map that controls the rate flow will also be the responsibility of the students. And this is why the Farm of the Future can’t be considered your average farm. At the Farm of the Future, students not only get to experience the atmosphere of a real farm—where crops are actually grown each season—and get actual field experience, but also learn what it takes to be a real farmer of the future.

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Funding for a new building in Firebaugh to replace the current center there was included in the 2017-2018 California budget, a total of $16.9 million in funds. With the certainty that a new center— to be located close to the very river the students and instructors in the Environmental Science Club canoed down—will be built has come even more excitement about this growing program. “Opportunities such as a canoe ride down the river for our students at NDC is a life-changing and life-long lasting experience marking the beginning of a whole new world of possibilities they may never have even imagined,” said Dr. Bertha Felix-Mata, Director of the North District Center. “It may seem like a simple thing, but it opens up the world to these students.” Mata added that NDC is more committed than ever to expanding science, technology, engineering and mathematics pathways to students.

By Jamie Applegate

A Bright Future for North District Center, Firebaugh

This nine-mile trip from the Mendota Dam to Andrew Firebaugh Park is just one of many activities and programs students can take advantage of at the continually growing North District Center, Firebaugh. It was offered as part of the Environmental Science Program, a new program implemented at NDC within the past two years and set to grow even more in the next few years.



West Hills magazine

“The new center will be instrumental in helping the program move forward,” said Brian Boomer, one of the program organizers and the Coordinator of Special Grants for the West Hills Community College District. “Aside from having ample space, which the students of Firebaugh need, it will help cast a light on program activities and bring awareness to what the students are doing at the state-level.”

Andrew Firebaugh Park

Students at North District Center, Firebaugh have also managed to be recognized at a national level for their commitment to environmental science. NDC recently participated in the 4th Annual Outdoor Nation campus challenge, a national challenge hosted by the Outdoor Foundation. Students, staff, faculty and community members completed outdoor activities, ranging from hiking to jogging, and uploaded photos of themselves to the Outdoor Challenge app. NDC finished 7th in their division nationally, ranking above several larger schools.


San Joaqu in er Riv

The day the North District Center, Firebaugh Environmental Science Club chose to make their canoe trip down the San Joaquin River was a nice one. Bright and sunny and filled with chirping birds. As they canoed down the river, the instructors and trip guides pointed some of them out, birds and wildlife of every single shape and color.

One way to do that is through programs like the Environmental Science Program, which is planned to take advantage of the new center in many ways.

One plan for the new center is the creation of an outdoor classroom, which would be used for science classes and allow students to work by the river and have hands-on experiences. Boomer added that there are also discussions around offering research opportunities at the new center for students.


Mendota Dam



Route Map Winter 2017

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#WeAreWestHills At West Hills, Everyone Has A Home By Jenna Spinelle

Broadening Horizons Monica Reynoso, coordinator of special grants at West Hills College Lemoore, said the college’s equity committee hosts a monthly event series that focuses on different issues affecting the student community. Previous events include a viewing of Chimamanda Adichie’s “The danger of a single story” TED talk and a “Dare to Be” series for Women’s History Month.

The West Hills Community College District has, in some respects, the opposite problem that many colleges in the U.S. face when it comes to diversity — more than two-thirds of its students are from traditionally underrepresented groups.

“The events touch on a different impact of disproportionately impacted populations. We drew inspiration from our equity plan,” Reynoso said. “Students were really wanting to participate on campus, and we are now able to bring awareness to our community.”

While many colleges seek to boost enrollment from underrepresented students, West Hills focuses on retaining those students and creating an environment where everyone feels welcome. West Hills Coalinga, North District Center Firebaugh, and West Hills College Lemoore hold events throughout the year to showcase the variety of cultures and backgrounds that exist at the colleges.

WHCL has held many different cultural events, including several events celebrating Filipino-American History Month and a celebration for Dia de los Muertos which featured traditional altars, a diversity conversation about the meaning of the holiday and traditional food. They’ve also gotten students directly involved in equity by holding equity open houses, giving students a peek at the campus equity plan and encouraging them to get involved in the Equity Advisory Committee.

Staff at each college work with each other and with student organizations on campus to host events and ensure that students, faculty, staff and community members have the opportunity to attend. The result, they say, is a more cohesive community and increased student success in the long run.

West Hills College Coalinga, which offers on-campus residence halls, faces the challenge of ensuring that out-of-state and international students feel just as welcome as their peers from the Coalinga area. Alex Villalobos, director of residential living and student activities, said of the students in residence halls, about 70 percent are student-athletes from outside California and another 20-25 percent are international students. Villalobos and his team of student resident assistants try to hold events that will allow students living in the residence halls to get to know each other and the rest of campus. “At the beginning of the year, we put on events to try to get them out of the rooms,” Villalobos said. “Once they’re comfortable with all the other students living here, we try to promote our cultural events on campus.”



West Hills magazine

One of those events was Mexican Independence Day, celebrated on campus in August. The event exposed international and out of state students to the local culture and gave everyone a chance to celebrate the start of a new school year. “Most of our residents [in the residence halls] are east coast and southern students, as well as international students from Japan, Hong Kong and China,” Villalobos said. “We wanted to bring in a lot of the culture that’s around our area and show them what the central valley is all about.”

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Beyond Students Diversity and inclusion also extends to faculty and staff, who need to be equipped to work with students from a variety of backgrounds. While employees are always welcome to attend student programming, Reynoso said it’s important to hold additional events that are more conducive to their schedules, such as brown bag lunches or events offered on flex days. “We are working with faculty and staff on having an equity mindset and what that entails,” Reynoso said. “How can we support each other and provide the best customer service to our students.” Although challenges exist in planning and executing successful cultural events—including planning events

around students’ busy schedules and the time commitment needed to plan events—everyone involved with making them happen said the end product is well worth the effort needed to make it happen. Sylvia Dorsey-Robinson, Vice President of Student Services at West Hills College Lemoore, said the more opportunities students, faculty and staff have to participate in cultural events, the more well-rounded everyone’s experience at West Hills will be. “One of the most important benefits is the ability to engage in diverse perspectives,” she said. “Any time an event enriches one person, it is a success.”

Operation Awareness Disability Awareness Event at West Hills College Lemoore

WHCC also regularly holds Dia de los Muertos, Cinco de Mayo and Black History Month events as well as hosting an International Education Week, featuring food from different cultures, international movies and even language lessons.

West Hills College Coalinga also makes an effort to encourage first generation students, including holding events featuring first generation graduates and their success stories.

Other events at Coalinga and Lemoore focus on groups that might not necessarily be top of mind when it comes to diversity, such as adult learners, veterans and students with disabilities.

“There’s a need all students have to feel like they belong and like they are part of the campus,” Reynoso said.

West Hills College Lemoore holds an annual Operation Awareness event for Disability Awareness Month, featuring resources for those with disabilities and activities to raise awareness of challenges faced by that community. WHCC hosts a speaker each year for Disability Awareness Month.

Students across the district have been responding to the extra effort and the outreach. Through a social media campaign using the hashtag #WeAreWestHills students have been sharing their experiences and why they love West Hills and expressing the many ways in which they feel at home here.




West Hills magazine

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Not only do these programs help employees function better and more creatively, they also demonstrate the district’s deep commitment to its core ideals, according to West Hills Community College District Chancellor Dr. Stuart Van Horn.

“Our most treasured asset is our faculty and staff,” said Van Horn, who has made professional development a focus of his administration. “In some respects, the upskilling of the American workforce is our seminal moment in time. West Hills has long prided itself on its agility and innovation. This emphasis on professional development is parallel to our current efforts with students; taking educational attainment to a completely different level – that’s social mobility. No one does that better than West Hills.”

By Matt Weeks

West Hills changes lives and careers with a slate of programs to help train and educate employees

And that’s just one of the ways that West Hills is changing lives.

“It’s getting better all the time.” The words that John Lennon sang so many years ago still ring true for employees at West Hills Community College District, thanks to a growing number of professional development activities that are sharpening skills, broadening ambitions and boosting paychecks. “It’s unbelievable. I never, ever thought I could achieve this,” said Oscar Villarreal, a former truck driver who now serves as director of Upward Bound and the After School Program at West Hills College Lemoore. “I had 14 siblings. Nobody in



West Hills magazine

Through the program, Villarreal earned a bachelor’s degree from Fresno Pacific University and a master’s degree from California Polytechnic Institute — both at a fraction of the normal cost.

my family had gone to college. This wasn’t the path I was supposed to be on. Thanks to West Hills, I’ve achieved so much. I truly believe in the West Hills motto: ‘Once you go here, you can go anywhere.” Like more than 100 of his colleagues, Villarreal has benefitted from the Employee Scholars Program, which covers school costs up to $4,000 per year. It’s available to nearly all employees (administration, faculty and classified staff) who have completed one year of service.

“I encourage everyone I meet to attend as many professional development activities as they can,” said Andrea Pulido, senior secretary for educational services at West Hills College Coalinga. “Just this year, I have taken advantage of attending the Enrollment Management Academy, the California Community Colleges Change Leadership Summit and the Curriculum Institute. The knowledge I’ve gained has helped me to become a more well-rounded employee and expanded my skill set.”

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Career Technical Education Academies

the time spent in the CTE environment was worthwhile for all she learned about the industry. “My experience in the program was a lot of fun,” Gonzalez said. “I learned about different cultural foods in world cuisines and even had to make them and present them to the class. I've just met a lot of amazing people from different walks of life who have a passion for the hospitality industry.”

Give Students Hands-on Experience, Advantage in the Workforce

By Nugesse Ghebrendrias

For students who wish to learn with a hands-on approach, West Hills College Lemoore has the intensive academies needed to get a leg up in the job world “Our Career Technical Educational academies have been created with our Industry partners so that we can be sure that these skills are what employers in the workforce really want,” said Kris Costa, Dean of Career and Technical Education at West Hills College Lemoore.

WHCL offers a wide variety of academies in subjects including networking, programming, bookkeeping, business information, maintenance mechanic and hospitality management. West Hills College Coalinga offers the programming academy, which has an added bonus of giving select students at both WHCC and WHCL the opportunity to work with Bitwise Industries in Fresno. Each of these academies allows students of all ages to work towards the goal of making a good living for themselves in the future. The academies are structured as a series of intensive, technical courses that are sequenced in a student-friendly format and specifically designed to prepare students to immediately get a job in the workforce. All of the classes in the academies are scheduled with the idea of working students in mind: they can be taken during hours when students with jobs are not likely to be working. Many of the academies also have a built in work experience/internship component. While the academies are fairly new, students who have graduated from them have already seen success in the workforce. Melinda Gonzalez, 24, was enrolled in the hospitality management academy and graduated in May 2016. Gonzalez graduated from WHCL with six completed certificates including chef apprentice, mixology, bartender and beverage management, dining room service and management, pastry and baking along with culinary and baking arts. Gonzalez took advantage of the diversity of the hospitality management academy to stuff her resume with a variety of skills. Experiencing and creating new things was a particular highlight for Gonzalez. Along with meeting new people,



West Hills magazine

Gonzalez admitted she was unsure if she could handle the workload but with guidance from the instructors, she was able to thrive. “I thought it was going to be much harder and I would fail,” Gonzalez said. “Christian Raia, Amy Babb, and Dan Beeler are amazing instructors and they gave me the words of encouragement I needed and pushed me to keep going.” Now, Gonzalez is employed in the hospitality industry as a cook and pulls from what she learned in the academy every day. With the help of James Preston, Vice President of Educational Services, 12 culinary students were each given a questionnaire. The students were asked whether or not they would recommend the CTE academies to future students and the response was a resounding “yes”. All 12 students would let their peers know and student Krystina Thompson said she’s already been talking to others about her experience. “I have actually told many people about this program and I’m very proud to be in this,” she said. “What you learn here can and will help you in the future.” According to Preston, with the job market changing and evolving, it's important to work with industry partners to discuss which programs are needed to fill the void. West Hills College Lemoore strives to add 2-3 new CTE programs each year and is currently working on adding more options. “We are adding a Hospitality Management certificate and a Correctional Rehabilitation certificate to our selection this year,” Preston said. “In addition to this, we are using funds from the Strong Workforce Initiative to explore and possibly develop a new series of certificates in areas such as Project Management, Cyber Security, Industrial Maintenance, Engineering Technology, and Athletic Training.”

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With a combination of professional input and proper tutelage, students that enroll in the CTE academies at West Hills College Lemoore are making a long-term investment for a better future.

Networking This academy focuses on preparing students for the industry recognized CompTIA Network+ certification exam. The exam is an international, vendor-neutral certification that recognizes a technician’s ability to describe the features and functions of networking components and to install, configure and troubleshoot basic networking hardware, protocols, and services.

Programming Programming will provide you with coding and programming skills to design websites and understand software applications. Students who complete the academy will be prepared to enter and compete for jobs in the technology occupational ladder of data science.

Bookkeeping The CTE Academy prepares students for a number of jobs involving financial transactions, reporting procedures, and reconciliation. You can take classes on a two-day or three-day a week schedule with work experience built in during the final semester to provide an opportunity to put your newly acquired bookkeeping skills into action.



West Hills magazine

Hospitality Management This academy is best referred to as an “umbrella”. Under hospitality management, students are able to experience five different avenues and earn certificates related to each: travel, lodging, assembly and event management, restaurant and management services and recreation. Although each avenue is broad, students learn hands on in their desired field such as chef apprentice, restaurant management and others.

Business Information This program prepares students for a number of job titles including customer service representatives, file clerks, receptionists and information clerks, secretaries and administrative assistants, and office and administrative support workers.

Maintenance Mechanic The CTE Academy Maintenance Mechanic course set prepares students for entry-level work that is specific to the Central Valley. It’s designed to give students a foot in the door and an understanding of the skills they need to excel in the field including knowledge of electrical processes, fluid power mechanics, welding and more.

The West Hills Community College District Board of Trustees will soon review and have the opportunity to approve Educational Master Plans (EMP) for West Hills College Coalinga and West Hills College Lemoore. The EMPs are designed to guide educational curriculum and instructional delivery from 2017-2022.

Educational Master Plan Objectives: Establish Future Curriculum Pathways Aligned With Regional Demands

Enlist Results Driven Approach To Student Succes

Rejuvenate Communication, Data and Technology Platforms to Better Access and Manage Information

Reinvest In College Facilities

Strengthen and Diversify Community Partnerships

Provide Comprehensive Integrated Planning and Professional Development

The WHCCD Board of Trustees will also review a district Facility Master Plan (FMP). The purpose of the FMP is to chart a 5-year plan outlining new construction and modernization projects intended for WHCCD. It includes planning for West Hills College Coalinga, West Hills College Lemoore, North District Center, Firebaugh, and the Farm of the Future facilities at WHCC. The process used to develop the FMP was coordinated in tandem with the development of the WHCCD Educational Master Plan. Planning principles, adjacencies and growth projections were evaluated and prioritized to generate comprehensive planning for each campus that extends well into the future.

Facility Master Plan Guiding Principles: Increase Educational Space to Accommodate New & Expanding Programs

Enhance Access to Resources to Increase Student Success

Generate Campus Identity and Opportunities for Community Interface

Strengthen & Relocate Campus Programs To Increase Adjacencies and Efficiencies

Strengthen Instructional Delivery Model Including Flexible Adaptive Learning Environments And Technology

Activate Campus to Encourage ‘Community’ and Transparent Access to Instructional and Achievement Support

Project Phasing West Hills College Coalinga

West Hills College Lemoore

Phase 1 • New Construction: Residence Halls (220P) + Shared & Outdoor Quad Space • (Interim) Campus One-Stop Shop • Modernization: Athletic Improvements

Occupancy 2022/2023

Phase 1 • New Construction: Instructional Center Phase 1 (17,285 SF Lab+ Lecture)+ • Quad Modernization: Dedicated WIN Center • Modernization: Fitness Center, Athletic Field Improvements

Occupancy 2022/2023

Phase 2 • New Construction: Instructional Building Phase 1 (33,000 SF - Clsrm/Office) • Modernization: Convert Existing Building 'X' to Alternate Use



Phase 3 • Modernization: Speech, Art and Music (SAM) Building ($12.2M - 22,765 SF) • (Permanent) Campus One-Stop Shop • Modernization: Existing Building 'J' to Alternate Use • Modernization: Shared Learning/ Collaboration Campus Zones


Phase 2 • Modernization: 700 & 800 Buildings HVAC Improvements. Restroom Additions Relocate Active Campus Programs (Adjacencies/Efficiencies) • Modernization: 100 Building - Stuent Services (Added Program) • New Construction: Middle College High School

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West Hills Community College District Grants Department

Brings in the Funding By Bineet Kaur

The staff of the West Hills Community College District’s Grants Department could best be characterized as diligent and friendly. Come into the grants office and you’re sure to leave with candy and a better attitude. It’s that attitude and their years of experience that has made the grants team both extremely productive and effective at what they do: securing funding for programs throughout the district, including many that otherwise would not get funded at all or would be drastically underfunded. “External funding benefits the district and colleges exponentially,” said Anita Wright, West Hills Community College District Director of Grants. “The funds help to offer programs that would not be possible to afford through State apportionments. We’re also able to provide additional services, additional programs, hire additional staff, [and purchase] equipment. It adds a tremendous value to the colleges and district.” The grants department was established in 1999. Since then, it has amassed more than $158 million dollars in grant funding for WHCCD. For the fiscal year of 2016-2017, the district yielded over $14 million dollars in grant funding. This fiscal year to date, that number has already reached $9.2 million.

That money funds everything from staff positions to entire programs. For instance, grant funding currently funds positions ranging from specialists who reach out to form connections with employers that lead to student employment and internships to accountants. “Implementing new programs requires hiring additional staff and faculty, thus providing employment opportunities,” Wright said. However, it’s when looking at the impact grant funded programs have on individuals that the real value of grants is noted. “Some of these are the lower income students who probably never thought or imagined or dreamed that they would be able to go to college,” said Maria Cavazos, WHCCD Grants Development Specialist. Grant funding has allowed programs to thrive that would not have received as much funding otherwise, if any at all. One recent example of this is the pending creation of a resource center for veterans at West Hills College Lemoore, a plan which was only made possible by the securing of a $1.3 million Upward Bound grant. The $1,319,690 grant, $263,938 per year for five years, will be used to fund resources for veterans interested in enrolling in college and earning a post-secondary degree. This will include providing a dedicated Veterans’ Center at WHCL. “West Hills Community College District is excited to offer the wide array of educational and supportive services available through the Veteran’s Upward Bound grant to the many veterans in Fresno and Kings Counties,” said Wright, Director of Grants for the West Hills Community College District. “Working in collaboration with the Lemoore Naval Air Base Transition Assistance Program

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and numerous area Veterans’ organizations, the WHCL Veterans’ Upward Bound Center will assist area veterans with the transition from military life to college student and will provide extensive resources for their educational success.” The WHCL Veterans Upward Bound program will provide services including basic skills instruction, intensive short-term refresher courses, instruction in core curriculum subjects, assistance with preparing for college entrance exams and completing college admission applications, advising services and academic tutoring. The program will also help veterans secure supportive services. It will serve up to 125 veterans. According to Wright, funding for projects such as this one are scarce through the state budget. Grants, however, make projects like this possible. The Career Advancement Academy is another example of a grant impacting students. The grant funding funds Career Technical Education opportunities and targets students returning to school and adult students. It seeks to encourage students who didn’t complete school to return and earn a certificate or degree. The Career Advancement Academy includes offering classes during nights and weekends for students who also work. At West Hills College Lemoore, it funds maintenance mechanic and work experience opportunities while at West Hills College Coalinga it funds heavy equipment operation courses and soil science and pest control advisor courses. “It really engages a large population that normally wouldn’t be going back to school,” said Brian Boomer, Coordinator of Special Grants for the West Hills Community College District. The High School Equivalency Program (HEP) is another program benefitted by grants. It was created to help individuals with a migrant agricultural background who did not finish high school to earn certification that is an equivalent to a high school degree. It is federally funded through a grant from the Office of Migrant Education. “Without this specific grant, we couldn’t target the most underserved and the most overlooked,” said Javier Cazares, WHCCD Director of Special Grants. “It’s to try to get our students to see that yes, you might have started working in the fields - but you don’t have to end up there your whole life.” With the continued dedication of the Grants department, the future opportunities for West Hills Community College District will only continue to grow.



West Hills magazine

Top Grants Awarded in the Department’s History

3. U.S. Department of Labor TAACCCT 2012 (2012-2015)

1. California Awards for Innovation in Higher

Over $158m

The biggest grant ever awarded to West Hills was the US Department of Labor TAACCCT grant for $19.9 million. The three-year grant was an 11 college collaborative effort with West Hills College Coalinga as the lead agency and the fiscal agent. The C6 consortium (Central California Community Colleges Committed to Change) allowed each college within the consortium to design and implement high quality training programs for individuals and industry partners in their area in the Health Care, Ag/Manufacturing and Alternative Fuel sectors.

Education (2016-2017) 2016

$2.5 million. West Hills was recognized with the award for its unique advance-registration innovation, Reg365, which was launched in 2014 and allows students to register for a full year of classes at once. The funding was put toward further innovation including advances in distance education, professional development, student schedule planning and student success.

9. Earned to date in the history of the department:

4. U.S. Department of Education Title V

$19.9 m

Serving Hispanic Serving Institutions 2013 (2013-2018)

$14 m

West Hills Coalinga US Department of Education Title V grant for $3,249,758.; the five year grant expanded options for instruction and support by training faculty in effective distance course development and delivery.and Alternative Fuel sectors.


$3 million total. West Hills was honored for the second year in a row with a California Award for Innovation in Higher Education. However, this year West Hills earned two awards: one for $2 million for its prior learning assessment program, Quick Path, and one for $1 million to further a partnership with Bitwise Industries and California Forward to offer job training for software developers.

$9.2 m


$5.5 m

$3.2 m

$2.6 m 1

2. U.S. Department of Education Title V

Serving Hispanic Serving Institutions 2014 (2014-2019)

West Hills College Lemoore US Department of Education Title V grant for $2,622,750; the five year grant will provide extensive training for faculty in effective instructional development and delivery techniques and create a comprehensive set of support services.


$2.3 m





5 CA Department of Education CCPT 2014


In partnership with the Paramount Agriculture Career Academy, West Hills was awarded the California Department of Education CCPT grant (California Career Pathways Trust) for $8,743,859. The 3-year CCPT grant built on the successful implementation of an original CCPT grant in which WHCCD partnered with The Wonderful Company to build agriculture career pathways starting in the 9th grade through community college.




6. U.S. Department of Education High School Equivalency Program (HEP) 2015 (2015-2020)

The US Department of Education High School Equivalency grant for $2,375,000; the five year grant provides training and testing for migrant and seasonal farmworkers to achieve their High School Equivalency.

7. Total Earned for fiscal year

2016-2017: $14,004,173

8. To Date 17-18: $9,241,083 Winter 2017

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West Hills Says, Hello and Goodbye

West Hills welcomed many new faces over the past few months, including filling several entirely new positions.

Justin Garcia • Prior Learning Assessment Coordinator

Dr. Linda Thomas • West

Hills Community College District Vice Chancellor of Educational Services & Workforce Development

West Hills magazine

Justin Berna was welcomed to West Hills College Coalinga as the Director of Sport Operations and Head Football Coach. He recently finished his first season as head coach of the Falcons football team. He came to WHCC after serving as Avila University’s Head Football Coach.

Alexis Perez joined the West Hills Community College District as the new Executive Director of the West Hills Community College Foundation. Alex came to the WHCCD after serving as the Foundation Manager for Fresno’s Community Medical Centers.

Francisco Banuelos came to WHCC to serve in a newly created role, as WHCC’s new Executive Vice President. Francisco previously served as the Acting Dean of Counseling and Student Learning at Modesto Junior College.


Sport Operations

Community College Foundation Executive Director

West Hills College Coalinga Executive Vice President

Ricardo Marmolejo joined the West Hills College Lemoore family as the new Director of Special Grants for Title V. He will facilitate faculty development, course revision and help improve student success by providing high quality services and activities.

Justin Berna • Director of

Alexis Perez • West Hills

Francisco Banuelos •

Ricardo Marmolejo • Director of Special Grants- Lemoore

Kris Costa is serving West Hills College Lemoore as the Dean of Career and Technical Education. She previously worked for the California Career Pathways Trust Technical Assistance Project as a Subject Matter Expert on Dual Enrollment and Articulation.

Justin Garcia joined WHCCD to oversee West Hills’ Prior Learning Assessment initiatives as the district’s Prior Learning Assessment Coordinator. Justin came to WHCCD from DeVry University, where he served in several administrative and leadership roles.

The West Hills Community College District welcomed Dr. Linda Thomas as the new WHCCD Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Workforce Development. Dr. Thomas has been in higher education for 18 years and previously served as the Dean of Instruction, Career Technical Education and Athletics, at Clovis Community College.


Kris Costa • Dean of Career & Technical Education

Sue Warner • Dean of Educational Services

ue Warner joined West Hills College Lemoore as the Dean of Educational Services. Sue previously worked for Central Arizona College in Coolidge, Arizona as their Chair of Social and Behavioral Sciences and as a Professor of Social Sciences.

Sylvia Dorsey-Robinson West Hills College Lemoore’s Vice President of Student Services, Sylvia DorseyRobinson, is retiring after years of service to WHCL. Sylvia came to WHCL in July 2006 as the Associate Dean of Categorical Programs, becoming the Vice President of Student Services in 2009. In addition to serving WHCL as an administrator, she has also contributed to the college’s culture. She has made inclusivity and equity a focus at WHCL and has also driven a focus on student recruitment and engagement, including offering the Eagle Dayz new student welcome event.

Winter 2017

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9900 Cody St. Coalinga, CA 93210

A message from West Hills Community College Foundation Executive Director Alex Perez: West Hills has always kept an eye on the future. We watch what is happening in the Valley and the world to craft curriculum that will help our students have the skills they will need to succeed. Technology is changing the way many industries do business. One example of how we’ve harnessed this is the creation of West Hills College Coalinga’s Farm of the Future. We founded it to help address the growing impact of technology on agriculture. That was made possible by a donation: the 213 acres that make up that farm were donated by the Allen family in 2001. Today, it helps us offer our students unique learning opportunities and the chance to position themselves for a career in agriculture. We want to grow more programs like this across our district and we need your help to do that. Please make a gift to support the West Hills Community College District. Every dollar we receive helps us offer new and exciting courses to the residents in our communities. Your gift is an investment in the future of this region and the people who live here. Give now! https://tinyurl.com/whcdonate Or by mail to:

Foundation Office 9900 Cody Street Coalinga, CA 93210

Please make your checks payable to West Hills Community College District Foundation.

For information on how you can help support education, see our website: www.whcgift.org, or contact: alexperez4@whccd.edu 9900 Cody St., Coalinga, CA 93210 (559) 934-2134 WestHillsCollege.com