These outdated news releases and advisories are stored here for archival purposes.
February 25, 2008
College Captures Captioning Grant
In an ongoing effort to ensure that all students are provided access to the college’s vast educational resources, the College of the Canyons Distance Learning Department has secured more than $6,300 in live-caption grant funding from the California Community College
Chancellor’s Office Captioning of Live Distance Education Program (CLDEP).
The grant money will be used to fund the closed captioning of technology based educational materials for nine different faculty projects in courses across a variety of disciplines — and will help ensure that online versions of these classes are fully accessible to all COC students.
Examples of such projects include the use of audio and video files and voiceover material during course lectures and power point presentations and the posting of course podcasts, streaming video and other materials online.
“Our main goal is to expand the educational opportunities available to all students. Another one of our major roles is to support faculty members in realizing these ideas as instructionally sound and effective teaching and learning tools,” said James Glapa-Grossklag, COC dean of distance learning programs and training. “This grant allows us to bring together support of faculty innovation while ensuring its accessibility of all students.”
College of the Canyons courses in accounting, theater, geography, geology, chemistry and Spanish will be among the first to implement these new learning tools into the classroom, with recording of materials and subsequent captioning expected to be completed before the end of the fiscal year in June, and available to all students for the first time during the college’s summer session.
According to Glapa-Grossklag, some faculty members have also expressed interest in using the closed captioning capabilities to create classroom instructional videos which could be used repeatedly in multiple course sections and posted online, thus freeing up more time for student interaction.
“Oftentimes there are routine procedures in the lab or classroom which the instructor has to go over every semester,” Glapa-Grossklag said. “But if you had a recording which the students could view at home or anytime before coming to class, think about the time that would be freed up to engage students in dialogue and experience a little bit more of the magical interaction between teachers and students.”
The CLDEP was implemented by the California Community College Chancellor’s office to assist schools in improving their capacities to serve disabled populations by ensuring the accessibility of information and materials to all students through better direct access and universal designs.
Grant funds awarded by the CLDEP allow institutions in the California Community College system to contract services from outside live-captioning vendors for the captioning of real-time distance education courses, live video streaming and webcasts as well as DVDs, podcasts and other digital media utilized in distance education courses.
The piloting of courses in this new format also points in the future direction of technology enhanced classes at COC, as the college is currently exploring ways to produce digital versions of instructional course material — free of copyright constraints and publishing house ownership — which can be accessed as an Open Educational Resource at a reduced or no cost to the student.
“Obtaining this grant and providing access to new and innovative material is a reflection of what this college does so well, and that’s providing more and more opportunities and options for students on a menu of educational delivery,” Glapa-Grossklag said. “That’s why it’s important that we encourage more faculty to introduce these kinds of innovations to their instructional material.”
February 25, 2008
‘Circle of Friends Drum Circle’ Raises Funds for Childhood Education
The Foundation is hosting a Circle of Friends Drum Circle on March 8 to raise funds for the college’s Center for Early Childhood Education.
“This event is designed for the adventurous and fun at heart,” said Michele Edmonson, assistant director of development at the COC Foundation. “The event is a huge jam session, an entertaining, entry-level learning experience that is accessible for anyone who wants to participate.”
Held in the college’s new high tech building, Hasley Hall, the event will begin at 5 p.m. with a wine reception and an appetizer buffet by RSVP Catering, followed by a tour of the building. The drum circle will begin at 6 p.m.
Facilitated by Remo Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of drumheads, drum circles provide a “memorable and therapeutic” experience, said Edmonson.
Admission is $35 per person.
All proceeds benefit the Early Childhood Education Center and help to support the high quality and safety of the physical environment, such as learning materials and equipment for the classrooms and children’s yards.
For more information about the drum circle, contact the COC Foundation at (661) 362-3737 or at (661) 362-3434.
February 22, 2008
College Hosts Children’s Play Day
Every year, mothers and fathers have their own days to feel loved and appreciated, but the refreshing and invigorating presence children radiate rightly earns them an entire week of celebration. In honor of the Week of the Young Child, a fifth annual Play Day will be held at College of the Canyons on April 19. The day will offer free, developmentally appropriate activities for children in the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.
“The play day is a fun and educational event that honors young children and all those who make a difference in their lives,” said Wendy Ruiz, associate director of infant/toddler programs at the college’s center for Early Childhood Education and Santa Clarita co-chair of the Southern California Valley Association for the Education of Young Children, which is sponsoring the event along with local childcare programs.
“All young children need and deserve high-quality early learning experiences that will prepare them for life,” said Ruiz.
Play Day will be highlighted by storytelling, arts and crafts, music, an obstacle course, as well as math and science activities.
The play day will be held in the Honor Grove at the College of the Canyons Valencia Campus from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Parents are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and participate in many activities from painting, to obstacle courses and music, said Ruiz.
Free water bottles will be available throughout the day.
Established in 1971 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world’s largest early childhood education association, the Week of the Young Child focuses public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.
February 19, 2008
College Honored for Commitment to Service-Learning
College of the Canyons has been named to the 2007 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction In recognizing College of the Canyons’ for its wide-ranging community service-learning courses and programs made available to students.
As one of just 127 higher education institutions in the nation — and one of only 18 in the state — to receive the award, COC was the only California Community College to earn “Distinction” honors, placing College of the Canyons on the top tier of honored institutions.
“Martin Luther King said that the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically... intelligence plus character, that is the goal of education,” commented Jennifer Hauss, director of the colleges’ service-learning program. “By building on the effective use of experience as an integral part of education we are empowering our students and building stronger communities. Service-learning helps create wise and compassionate students,” said Hauss.
Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to teach civic responsibility, strengthen communities and enrich the learning experience. With the belief that students can make valuable contributions to the world as they gain educational experience, COC strives to both increase community involvement and strengthen student leadership skills through direct service and the building of meaningful community relationships.
Last semester service-learning projects at COC included the participation of roughly 40 faculty members from across the college’s various disciplines, 75 non-profit community-based organizations and more than 350 students. Projects included a collaboration with the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services Tutoring and Mentoring Project, in which COC students established a mentor relationship with children, ranging in age from seven to 17, in foster care. In addition, the Santa Clarita Valley free, drive-thru flu clinic, in which COC nursing and EMT students gained valuable experience working with patients and dispensing flu vaccinations, was another successful service-learning project. The flu clinic was jointly sponsored by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the city of Santa Clarita, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and College of the Canyons.
“Americans rely on our higher education system to prepare students for citizenship and the workforce,” U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said in a congratulatory statement to the honorees. “We look to institutions like these to provide leadership in partnering with local schools to shape the civic, democratic and economic future of our country.”
Launched in 2006, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll annually recognizes institutions of higher education that support innovative, effective and exemplary community service programs — and is jointly sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, through its Learn and Serve America Program, and the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USA Freedom Corps, Campus Compact and the President’s Council on Service and Civic participation.
Honor Roll selection criteria is based on a number of factors including the institution’s scope, innovativeness and effectiveness of completed and ongoing service projects, the citing of community service and service-learning goals in the institution’s strategic plan, the percentage of student enrollment engaged in community service activities and the institution's latest Federal Work-Study community service participation rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Education.
“There is no question that the universities and colleges that have made an effort to participate and win the Honor Roll Award are themselves being rewarded today,” said David Ward, President of the American Council on Education. “Earning this distinction is not easy. But now each of these schools will be able to wear this award like a badge of honor.”
February 8, 2008
Audits: College’s Handling of Finances in Compliance
The financial state of the Santa Clarita Community College District, the College of the Canyons Foundation and the college’s two local bond measures are all in full compliance with state, local and federal law, a series of independent audits has confirmed.
Last month COC Superintendent-President Dianne Van Hook, the COC board of trustees, the Measure C Citizens Oversight Committee and Measure M Citizens Oversight Committee were presented with audit findings for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007. Audits were performed by Vavrinek, Trine, Day and Co. of Rancho Cucamonga.
Once again confirming the college district’s long history of fiscal stability, the results of the series of six audits — one each for the district and COC foundation, and two for each bond measure — noted no exceptions, meaning no adjustments were found and that funds had been handled and spent properly.
In addition, College of the Canyons was issued an unqualified report, the best rating possible, for the district’s financial statements and federal and state awarded funds — while also receiving high praise from the firm, which complimented the college's staff for operating with such great financial responsibility.
“I have reviewed the district’s audit, and once again it confirms and reaffirms the highest level of fiscal stability in the Santa Clarita Community College District and attests to our compliance with appropriate accounting procedures and controls,” Van Hook said.
Findings of the audit showed the value of the district’s net assets increasing almost 48 percent to roughly $55.7 million in the last fiscal year — growth attributed to recently completed and ongoing capital projects including the COC Canyon Country Campus, and new Hasley Hall, Aliso Lab, Aliso Hall and Physical Education buildings on the Valencia campus.
The district also ended the fiscal year with a fund balance of more than $7.8 million, roughly 12 percent of the general fund’s unrestricted expenses. The California Community College Chancellor’s office sets a minimum prudent fund balance of five percent of general fund unrestricted expenses.
The independent audit of the COC Foundation also showed no findings of concern, but did highlight some of the organization’s financial growth over the last year. In total, the COC Foundation provided the district and its students with more than $882,000 in total contributions — including instructional support to academic programs, student programs and clubs and the awarding of student scholarships — while also holding reserve fund balances of more than $3.9 million for future use by the district, and roughly $971,000 in restricted endowment and scholarship accounts which benefits the district and its students through the use of interest earnings.
The college’s two voter-approved general-obligation bonds — Measure C and Measure M — each underwent separate performance and financial audits to ensure that the college's expenditures are appropriate and disbursements are made in accordance with all laws and regulations. In each case, no exceptions were noted, meaning no adjustments were found and bond funds were spent appropriately.
For Measure C — the $82.1 million bond measure approved by Santa Clarita Valley voters in 2001 — auditors tested 52 percent of all bond transactions and found no exceptions, with all documents supporting transactions in order.
For Measure M — the $160 million bond measure approved in 2006, auditors examined 100 percent of the bond transactions, at the request of the college, and again found no exceptions, with all supporting documentation in proper order. Typically auditors only examine a randomly selected portion of the bond transactions.
Funds generated by both bonds have been used to build a variety of new facilities, make much-needed campus upgrades and improvements, and help open the new Canyon Country Campus. Present and future projects that will benefit from bond proceeds include the permanent University Center, currently under construction on the southern edge of the Valencia campus, and an expanded library and student services building.
February 7, 2008
New Spanish Training Available for Businesses
The Employee Training Institute at College of the Canyons is now certificated as an Official Registered Provider of Command Spanish(r), Inc. language and cross-cultural training programs. Command Spanish(r), Inc. is the nation's leading provider of occupational Spanish language and cross-cultural training and materials.
As an Official Registered Provider, the Employee Training Institute can offer on-site, job-specific Spanish language and cross-cultural training in more than 30 occupational areas, including nursing, law enforcement, dentistry, public safety, construction, hospitality, banking, office management, warehousing, manufacturing and retail sales. Classes on the college’s Valencia campus will be offered based on local business interest beginning in February.
All Command Spanish(r), Inc. programs are non-grammar based, and are focused on enabling the trainee to be understood rapidly, using phrases key to an individual occupation. No previous Spanish language experience is necessary to enroll in Command Spanish(r) classes, which are low-stress, occupation-specific, and run for a total of 8 to 24 hours.
The Employee Training Institute is the contract education unit of the Economic Development Division of the College of the Canyons. ETI’s mission is to be the training partner of choice for employers of the Santa Clarita Valley, by providing convenient, high quality, customized, affordable training of all types to employees in the Santa Clarita Valley.
February 7, 2008
College Professors Teach ESL at Elementary Schools
Partnerships between College of the Canyons and the Newhall and Sulphur Springs Elementary School districts have been forged to widen the reach of English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in Santa Clarita. College of the Canyons professors will teach noncredit ESL classes to the parents of elementary school students on their respective campuses.
“I’m very excited about these new partnerships,” said Jennifer Brezina, Interim Dean for Noncredit Division and Community Education at COC. “By working together,” stressed Brezina, “we’re able to meet students’ needs in a way that none of us could if we were working alone.”
This opportunity is made possible through the Even Start Family Literacy program at Newhall District and the Community-Based English Tutoring (CBET) Program at Sulphur Springs District. The Even Start Family Literacy program helps to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy by providing parents, with children up to the age of seven, opportunities to help their children academically and to meet their own language goals. Along with the ESL classes, participants must attend parenting and Mommy and Me classes.
The CBET program provides free or subsidized English language instruction for parents and community members who pledge to tutor others. Both programs seek to encourage increased English proficiency in the community.
“The Sulphur Springs School District is very excited about our CBET partnership with College of the Canyons,” said Marianne Hamor, Categorical Programs Administrator for the Sulphur Springs District. “We have already had a tremendous response,” said Hamor, “and are looking forward to continuing our partnership next fall.”
To encourage parents to take the classes, the two districts will provide free childcare and the necessary books. Free from parenting obligations and extra costs, this ESL program should attract any eager learner.
ESL classes provide non-native English speakers the training to successfully function as students in an English-speaking college. These classes also offer students the opportunity to communicate on a broader scale enhancing their own lives.
The schools included in the two districts are: Newhall and McGrath Elementary for the Newhall District; Leona Cox, Valley View, Mint Canyon and Sulphur Springs Elementary in the Sulphur Springs District.
For information about classes at the Newhall schools contact Kelly Ferko at (661) 291-4010. For classes at the Sulphur Springs schools contact Marianne Hamor at (661) 252-5131.
February 5, 2008
College Gives the Gift of Sight
Imagine what it would be like to go to work or to school without the aid of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Street names would recede into a blur, reading the newspaper would feel more like an eye exam and the faces of loved ones would be unrecognizable from a distance.
Approximately 153 million people live with uncorrected eyesight (near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism), according to the World Health Organization.
Along with other colleges and universities, College of the Canyons conducted a drive to collect used eyeglasses for the Lions Recycle for Sight Project last December.
“We have reached out to help nearly 1600 people who will benefit from improved vision from donated gently used and recycled eyeglasses,” said Beth Asmus, dean of special programs at the college and president of the California Community Colleges Student Financial Aid Administrators Association (CCCSFAAA).
Asmus challenged the financial aid directors of the 109 California community colleges to start their own eyeglass drive and bring their collections to the conference.
In total, the association collected more than 1,600 pairs of used sunglasses, prescription and non-prescription eyeglasses and donated them to the Lions Recycle for Sight Project at the association's annual conference held last December at the San Francisco Marriott — of which 392 pairs came directly from COC.
First challenged by Helen Keller in 1925 to “become knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness,” Lions Clubs International has helped millions in undeveloped nations who do not have access to basic eye care services to see clearly for the first time with their Lions Recycle for Sight Program.
February 5, 2008
Spring Community Education Classes Set to Start
The Community Education Department is offering several non-credit classes for older adults, many starting the week of Feb. 4.
The classes include Gardening as Self Expression, Life-Long Learning Through Basic Spanish, Computer Resources: Computer and You II.
“Community Education classes are fun and are held in a relaxed environment,” said Jennifer Brezina, interim dean, noncredit and community education. “These factors make the classes all the more enjoyable.”
Gardening as Self Expression teaches students how to select, plan, nurture and group flowers and plants for either indoor or outdoor gardens. The class is held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at Valley Oak Village in Newhall and on Thursdays at Fountain Glen Valley in Valencia.
Adults can learn the skills necessary to communicate with Spanish speaking individuals in the community by taking Life-Long Learning Through Basic Spanish. The class is designed for individuals who have little or no background in Spanish. Two sections are available from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturdays at Canyon Country Senior Apartments, and from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center.
Computer Resources: Computers and You II helps older adults learn the hands-on skills to become informed and prudent users of computer technology. Students will learn how to safely use the Internet, email and web-based services such as online information services in the areas of medicine, law and finance. One section of the class is held 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at the college’s Canyon Country campus.
February 4, 2008
College, SCV Food Pantry Join Forces
A college student needs many things, but the single most practical and overlooked necessity is food. It will come as a shock to many in the Santa Clarita Valley that many COC students have to make choices on a daily basis between buying food and meeting other expenses. All too frequently, students are forced to pay other bills and go to class hungry.
To meet the needs of students like these, College of the Canyons has teamed up with the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry. In exchange for the Food Pantry’s expertise in collecting and distributing food to needy students, the college will conduct food drives periodically to help stock the Pantry’s shelves.
The first food drive on the college’s Valencia and Canyon Country campuses is underway now and will continue through mid-February. COC Students and staff, a number which now well exceeds 20,000, will be asked to participate in the food drive by donating canned goods and other non-perishable items.
“We are thrilled to partner with COC to distribute supplemental food to low-income students,” said Belinda Crawford, executive director of the SCV Food Pantry. “Studies have shown the link between nutrition and learning and we all know how difficult it is to concentrate when you’ve skipped even one meal. The SCV Food Pantry wants to do our part to see that COC students have the opportunity to excel,” said Crawford.
Hunger leads to slow thinking and a lack of energy, both of which will hinder a college student’s performance. To survive a long day of classes, work and everyday activities, the human body requires proper sustenance and college students, in particular, need to have suitable nutrition during such a high-pressure time of life.
“I am one of many employees at COC who embraces our students as family and I don’t know of anyone who would let a family member go hungry,” said Fashia Skjelstad, scholarship specialist at the college. “This partnership,” stressed Skjelstad, “will help students who are struggling with transportation by bringing the Food Pantry to them,”
Once collected, food will be available on campus for Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGW) students. The BOGW waives enrollment fees for qualified California residents. COC has 3,897 students that are BOGW students. To qualify for BOGW the student or student’s family must be 150% below the poverty line. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty line is measured by the minimum essentials required for an acceptable standard of living. Poverty lines differ in relation to the size of a family unit.
The SCV Food Pantry, established in 1986, provides qualified local residents with supplemental food. As local residents of Santa Clarita, the students of COC will now be able to benefit from this volunteer-operated program.
February 2, 2008
Plan Ahead: 20th Annual Wine Classic to be Held May 31
Tickets will go on sale beginning Wednesday, Feb. 6 for the 20th Annual SCV Wine Classic, the popular wine-tasting event benefiting the SCV Youth Orchestra. Only a limited number of tickets will be available, so wine connoiseurs are encouraged to reserve their spots as early as possible.
The event, to be held in the Main Gallery at California Institute of the Arts from 7 to 10 p.m., will feature a wide variety of vintage and current wines for tasting and purchase, as well as gourmet cuisine from some of the Santa Clarita Valley’s finest restaurants and caterers.
The comfortable, intimate venue will be filled with a veritable sensory feast as guests listen to live orchestral music while sampling the finest vintage library wines and delicious cuisine. An impeccable array of rare and current wines, restaurant certificates and other desirable gift items will be auctioned.
Discounts will be given to those who purchase tickets early. The pricing structure is as follows: