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May 20, 2004

Record Number of Students to Graduate College of the Canyons

A record 997 students have applied for graduation at College of the Canyons ­ an increase of 27 percent over last year.
Commencement will be celebrated at 6 p.m. Friday, May 21, in the outdoor central-campus Honor Grove, the traditional site for the graduation ceremony.

A record number of degrees also will be conferred ­ 1,013 degrees, as some students will earn more than one degree. The increase in graduates and degrees is a major achievement, as last year there was a 4 percent increase.

The 2004 graduating class is composed of 610 women and 387 men, with 34 percent being ethnic minorities.

This year’s class will receive associate of arts or associate of science degrees reflecting their accomplishments in 42 distinct courses of study.
The average age of the class is 26, exactly the same as last year’s. The youngest graduate is 17, and the eldest is 66.

Nineteen international students will receive degrees this year, representing six countries: Japan, People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Argentina, Sweden and Jamaica.

The popular Progressive Adult College Education (PACE) program will graduate 95 students, a tremendous 132 percent increase over last year.
Of the students who participated in the college’s Disabled Student Programs & Services, 35 will graduate, representing a 106 percent increase over last year.

Thirty-three students who participated in the Extended Opportunities Program & Services will graduate, a slight decrease in number.
The graduating class grade-point average (GPA) is 3.05, slightly higher than last year’s average GPA of 3.03.

Twelve students will graduate as valedictorians, having posted perfect 4.0 GPAs (straight As) during their studies at the college. This is a 171 percent increase, as last year there were five students.

Representing the valedictorians as featured speakers are Tiffany Tatevossian, Danila Coppola and Erin Tisovic. The number of honors graduates ­ those graduating with a GPA of 3.5 or better ­ is 214, a 39 percent increase.

The academic major with the highest number of graduates is social science, with 111 graduates. The nursing program will have 92 RN/LVN graduates.

May 20, 2004

College-Hospital Partnership Helps Produce 64 Nursing Graduates

College of the Canyons will graduate a record 64 nursing students, some as a result of an innovative partnership with Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital to attract more nurses and help alleviate a critical nursing shortage.

It’s a dramatic increase in nursing graduates from the previous year, when 30 students completed the program. The growth in graduation numbers is attributable to the opening of the Clinical Education Center at the hospital in 2002.

“This would not have been possible without the collaboration and vision of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, which provided the instructor and the space,” said Sue Albert, dean of allied health at the college. “The hospital made it possible for us to increase the number of nursing students and have this many graduates.”

The Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital/College of the Canyons Clinical Education Center is a 1,400-square-foot stand-alone facility on the hospital campus dedicated to the education and training of future nurses. The program is unique in that students receive real-world training, education and employment at their community hospital.

“As a result of our partnership, we have more graduates who through their passion and desire have entered the nursing profession and will remain in our community to improve health care in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Diane Lynch, the hospital’s chief nursing officer. “It’s fulfilling a need that the whole community can be proud of.”

A key component of the program is the hospital’s employment of a select number of student nurses, who are hired at 80-percent pay for 67-percent time. This arrangement gives students steady paychecks, time to study and incentive to succeed.

The hospital donated the Clinical Education Center to be used as a comprehensive teaching lab and agreed to pick up the cost of a full-time nursing instructor, the students’ tuition and other costs.

“It shows that when service and academia work together, they can overcome immense barriers,” Lynch added.

The college-hospital partnership allows nursing students to concentrate on their chosen careers by learning and working in a real hospital environment in their own community, Albert said, adding that all of the students have jobs upon graduation.

The partnership addresses some of the key concerns outlined in a study on California community college associate degree nursing programs that determined that situational factors among nursing students often hamper their educational pursuits. Such factors also are a significant barrier to their success.

“Lack of money and material resources is frequently a problem for many community college students and they must often work part- or full-time to support themselves or help support their families,” according to the study by The Center for Student Success. The report cited such situational factors as changing work schedules and responsibilities as common reasons for students dropping out of nursing programs.

May 20, 2004

State Reviews Planned Educational Center in Canyon Country

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors has reviewed a proposal by the Santa Clarita Community College District to develop a permanent, full-service educational center in Canyon Country.

The Board of Governors reviewed the proposal May 3 and is expected to grant its final approval on July 12. The college hopes to open the center in 2006.

The Canyon Country Educational Center would create additional educational opportunities in the eastern Santa Clarita Valley, an area where 32 percent of College of the Canyons students already live.

Research conducted for the college’s most recent strategic plan shows more than 18 percent of students reside in Canyon Country and nearly 14 percent live in Saugus.

“We have been planning for a new center for a long time,” said Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, superintendent-president of the district and college. “I’m really pleased that we’ll be able to provide educational services to the eastern portion of our community. This should reduce cross-valley traffic and provide a level of convenience and access that has not been available before.”

The new educational center, to be temporarily housed in some 30,000 square feet of modular structures acquired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, would replace the district’s existing ACCESS center in the Canyon Country library.

In addition to the fact that a significant percentage of students live in the eastern valley, enrollment trends suggest that the main Valencia campus will near its capacity by the end of the decade.

College of the Canyons has experienced phenomenal growth, with current enrollment surpassing 14,000 students, more than double that of a decade ago. The new center is projected to enroll 4,648 students when it opens in 2006, exceeding the threshold requirements for new centers. It is expected to grow steadily thereafter.

More than 30 potential sites for the educational center were reviewed by the Canyon Country Educational Center Site Selection Committee, an ad-hoc group composed of Canyon Country residents and community leaders.

Of those potential sites, two emerged as favorites. Both sites will require extensive infrastructure improvements, including excavation, grading, water mains, power extensions and vehicular access. The cost for this work is estimated at about $20 million, not including the acquisition of at least 50 buildable acres.

The district is currently negotiating with the land owners to work out purchase details. One of the properties is located 1.3 miles north of the interchange of Sand Canyon Road and State Route 14; the other is located about two miles north of Sierra Highway near Vasquez Canyon Road.
Funding for land acquisition, site development and initial facilities would be financed with bond proceeds from Measure C, the $82.1 million bond measure approved by Santa Clarita Valley voters in 2001.

May 18, 2004

Board Supports Equalization Funding for Community Colleges

The Board of Trustees has voted to support legislation that would correct the state’s funding formula for community colleges by equalizing the funding level for California’s community colleges.

The board voted unanimously May 12 to support legislation by state Sen. Dede Alpert (D-San Diego) that would level the playing field by equalizing per-student funding for all of California’s community colleges over the next three years.

SB 1875 is supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who attended Santa Monica City College and has emerged as a strong supporter of California’s community colleges, which have long suffered under a formula characterized by a wide disparity in funding.

The highest-funded college district receives more than $8,000 per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student, while the lowest-funded district receives less than $3,600. College of the Canyons receives approximately $3,700 per FTE student.

The disparity means that large districts such as the Los Angeles Community College District receive a disproportionately large piece of the funding pie, while smaller districts must make do with what’s left, often resulting in reduced services.

The existing funding formula forces smaller districts to provide significantly less access to classes, tutors, full-time instructors, lab technicians, math and writing centers, basic skills classes, counselors, and other instructional programs and resources.

The disparity becomes even more acute in lean budget years, when higher-funded districts receive a smaller cut per student and lower-funded districts must absorb a larger cut per student. The difference between the 15 highest-funded districts and the 15 lowest-funded districts has consistently been more than $1,200 per student.

“The current funding formula really makes no sense,” said Dr. Barry Gribbons, the college’s executive dean of institutional development and technology. “All community colleges in California are required to comply with the same mandates. We all have to pay the same rates to retirement systems and worker’s compensation, for example, but the resources to meet these and other state requirements vary widely from one district to another. Instead of penalizing college districts and restricting student access, we should equalize the funding and treat all community colleges and their students fairly.”

Funding all community college programs and services on a per-student basis would reduce the disparity in funding, increase equal access to education and boost the potential for student success throughout California, the board noted in its resolution.

California’s community colleges represent the largest system of higher education in the world, with 109 colleges and 72 districts providing educational, vocational and transfer programs to more than 2.8 million students each year.

May 11, 2004

Original Works to be Shown During Student Animation Festival

New and original works that include short animated films and exercises produced by College of the Canyons students will be presented during “Animation Stew,” the college’s student animation festival, on Saturday, May 22. The public is welcome to attend this free event.

The popular festival, held at the end of each academic year as a showcase of students’ work, will include traditional drawn animation and both 2D and 3D computer animation.

The festival is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in Room M-318 of the Media & Fine Arts Building. A small reception is planned following the event.

May 10, 2004

College of the Canyons Holds Employee Recognition Event


Time: Noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 11

Place: College of the Canyons, outdoors, Independence Grove

Event: A recognition and awards luncheon will be held at College of the Canyons on the above date and time to recognize the efforts of the “Classified” staff of the college during the past year. This is the seventh year that COC has given these awards to employees. Classified staff are employees of the college in support positions not requiring academic qualifications. They are most often the “behind-the-scenes” people who are responsible for the day-to-day tasks that make the college “run.”

The catered luncheon is sponsored and served by college administrators and managers.

Five awards will be presented during the luncheon this year:
Employee of the Year: Plaque and $300 cash
Humanitarian Award: Plaque and $100 cash
New Vision Award: Plaque and $100 cash
Professional Achievement Award: Plaque and $100 cash
CSEA (California School Employees Association) Member of the Year Award

May 4, 2004

College to Host VIA Business Breakfast

College of the Canyons will open its doors to the local business community on June 11 when it hosts a business breakfast for members of the Valley Industrial Association. The event, complete with tours of the college for participating business leaders, is one of the VIA-In-Action Breakfast Series. The event will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and will begin with a networking breakfast in the college’s library. VIA members may attend for $5, while non-members will be asked to pay $15.

“Employers will hear about and tour a variety of college departments and programs that offer benefits to employers,” said Dena Maloney, dean of economic development for the college. “It will come as a surprise to some attendees that we are offering biotech programs and clean-room training; we are providing new programs in the state-of-the-art solid-modeling arena; and that we are creating programs for the hospitality and security industries in response to employer requests.”

Attendees will be able to choose from a wide variety of tours that include in-depth looks at the college’s Radio/Television/Film Department; manufacturing technology activities; biology and biotech departments; science facilities; and the on-campus Career Center. Tours of the college’s off-campus computer labs, solid-modeling and CNC equipment locations will also be available.

Pamela Welden, director of the Employee Training Institute at the college, is organizing the breakfast event. “I am particularly excited about showing off the many exciting programs and opportunities that College of the Canyons can offer the business community,” said Welden, “and I hope that Santa Clarita employers will realize the many benefits of working with the college. Last year a local firm benefited from the creation of a successful radio campaign that was developed as a course project through our Radio/Television/Film Department.”

May 4, 2004

Bask in Sights, Sounds, Tastes of Summer at Galpin Motors Junetoberfest

A cold micro-brew beer in one hand. A steaming bowl of chili in the other. You pass by the some of the hottest custom cars in Southern California on your way to prove you’re the home run king of Santa Clarita at the home-run derby. If this doesn’t sound like a perfect way to spend a summer day, then what does? College of the Canyons puts all the sights, sounds, smells and activities together in one heaping spoonful of summer during the Galpin Motors Junetoberfest at College of the Canyons on Saturday, June 26.

Held on campus in the football, baseball and softball fields, and in the Cougar Den, the Galpin Motors Junetoberfest brings together a number of fun, family events that allow visitors to just relax and watch, or roll up their sleeves and have some fun. Included in the day’s activities will be a 5K and Kiddie Fun Run, an International Chili-Society Regional Chili Cook-Off, a Micro-Brew Beer Garden, a Home-Run Derby, a Custom Car Show, and a kid's play area featuring a mini-Michelangelo’s Gallery, formerly at Bella Villa.

“This event will appeal to so many people in so many different ways,” said Cathy Ritz, Junetoberfest event coordinator. “There’s something for everyone.”

Activities include:

5K and Kiddie Fun Run 
Sponsored by Dr. Greg and Michele Jenkins, and Math Support Services
Enjoy an early morning jog through the beautiful College of the Canyons campus as the Galpin Motors Junetoberfest kicks off with a 5K and Kiddie Fun Run. Check-in at the stadium begins at 7 a.m., with the Kiddie Run starting at 8 and the 5K starting at 8:30 a.m. Divisions range from 14 & Under to 70 and Up. Entry fee for the 5K is $15 if paid by June 15, or $20 if paid after. Entry fee for the Kiddie Run is $7.50 if paid prior to June 15, or $10 if paid after. All participants receive a t-shirt, and the top male and female and top three in each division receive medals. Download entry forms online.

International Chili Society Regional Chili Cook-off 
Sponsored by Lisa Burke, Owner, Santa Clarita Vending and Catering
Compete against the best of the best in this regional chili cook-off that features more than $2,500 in cash prizes! Winners will also be eligible to advance to the International Chili Society District Cook-off, and from there the world competition! Categories include Red Chili, Chili Verde, Best Salsa, and Best Booth. Set-up begins at 7 a.m., with cooking beginning at 10 a.m. Entry fees are: Red Chili — $35, Chili Verde — $25, Salsa — $25. A $42 ICS membership fee must be paid to participate if not already a member. Download entry forms online.

Custom Car Show
Sponsored by Valencia AutoSpa
Internationally-recognized custom car show owner and designer Dean Bryant brings some of the hottest custom cars in the world to Junetoberfest, including the “Rocket Car,” the back-to-back winner of the “World’s Best Custom” award, and the 1950 flame-throwing Merc featured in films such as “Gone in 60 Seconds.” Local car-owners can also take part and show their custom cars alongside these custom classics, but will be selected on an invitation-only basis. Check online for more details.

Home Run Derby
Are you the home-run king of Santa Clarita? Prove it during the home derby! The derby will be softball format on the College of the Canyons baseball field. Total as many points as you can and advance in the tournament for a chance to eventually be crowned king! Entry fee is $20 with the derby beginning at 11 a.m. Register online.

Micro-Brew Beer Garden
Relax in the cool, garden-like atmosphere of the Cougar Den and enjoy some of Santa Clarita's finest micro-brews from local breweries: Oggi's, BJ’s and Wolf Creek Brewing. Open at 11 a.m.

Kids Play Area
A variety of activities for the younger kids, including a mini-Michelangelo’s Gallery (formerly at Bella Villa), inflatable bouncers, climbing courses and lots more. Located on the softball field. Open at 10 a.m.

Food, drink and merchandise vendors will be located throughout the area for the enjoyment of visitors who simply want to stroll, eat and shop. Open at 10 a.m.

Live Entertainment
A bevy of hot local bands are lined up to play on the main stage for visitors listening enjoyment. Beginning at 10 a.m.

Proceeds from this event benefit the College of the Canyons Foundation and educational program at College of the Canyons. Proceeds from the Home-Run Derby directly benefit the College of the Canyons baseball program.