These outdated news releases and advisories are stored here for archival purposes. 


July 29, 2008

Harold and Jacqulyn Petersen Named Silver Spur Honorees for 2009

Since relocating to the Santa Clarita Valley in 2001 Harold and Jacqulyn Petersen have developed a reputation around town as a couple known for the enthusiasm, dedication and generosity they display toward many of the community’s most benevolent non-profit organizations and causes. As a result, the College of the Canyons Foundation Board of Directors has named the Petersens recipients of the college’s “Silver Spur” Community Service Award for 2009.

The Petersens’ distinguished record of community service spans over the couple’s nearly 60 years of marriage and time spent in Brentwood, Omaha, Nebraska, Pottawattamie County Iowa, and finally here at home in Santa Clarita.

Harold, the president of his own insurance company, Petersen International Underwriters, has maintained an active role in his community throughout the years. Locally he is a supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita, the Santa Clarita Child and Family Center, the UCLA Alumni Association and the Mary and Joseph League of Los Angeles.

In addition to her involvement with Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Child and Family Center alongside Harold, Jacquie has given her time and generosity for causes associated with the American Red Cross, the John Tracey Clinic, which provides free medical services for children with hearing loss, the Junior League, the American Heart Fund and the American Cancer Society. She has also served as president of the Mary and Joseph League, and as a volunteer with the Catholic Church. 

Most recently the couple was honored for their work in the community at the Valentine’s Day Have a Heart Sweethearts event benefiting the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Health Foundation’s ongoing work in funding the Roberta G. Veloz Cardiac Catheter Lab. 

However since 2001 the couple’s generous and wide-ranging support for College of the Canyons has revolved around several key projects at the college, including the Dianne G. Van Hook University Center capital campaign and the annual Silver Spur celebration. 

In addition, Harold and Jacquie are both members of the President’s Circle, a group of prominent community leaders, alumni members and corporations that are dedicated to the success of the college, and major contributors to the COC Annual Fund — which provides the college with the financial resources needed to support and strive for the highest levels of excellence in teaching, vocational training, student scholarships and overall campus innovation.

“We consider ourselves lucky at College of the Canyons to count the Petersens among our closest friends and strongest supporters,” said COC Chancellor-President Dr. Dianne Van Hook. “We owe them an immeasurable debt of gratitude for all they have done for the college and its students over the years.” 

Honoring them with the Silver Spur award is our way of thanking them publicly for their generosity, their kindness, and their commitment to community service,” continued Van Hook. “Thanks to Harold and Jacquie, all of us in Santa Clarita enjoy a community that wouldn’t be the same without them.”

The annual College of the Canyons Silver Spur Celebration is traditionally held at a historic museum, club or well-known Los Angeles landmark each spring — and is considered to be one of the community’s most popular and elegant evening events.

The very first COC Silver Spur Celebration gala was held at the Gene Autry Museum in 1989, with Cliffie Stone as the recipient. The Foundation Board of Directors at the time wanted to create a signature event for the COC Foundation and also to reflect the western heritage of the Santa Clarita Valley.

The Silver Spur Award committee is co-chaired by Gary and Myrna Condie and Jeff and Kiki Hacker. Previous recipients of the award include Aggie Agajanian, Scott and Ruth Newhall, Tom Dierkman, John Hoskinson, Robert Ormsby, Dick Luechtefeld, Roberta Veloz, Michael Berger, Lou Garasi, Tom Lee, Jay and Joyce Rodgers, Gary Cusumano, Charlotte and Frank Kleeman, Tom Veloz, Rita Garasi, and Wayne Crawford.

July 29, 2008

College to Offer New Animation Classes this Fall

Furthering its mission to prepare students for entry level jobs in the animation industry, this fall the College of the Canyons animation department will introduce two new fun and exciting courses in the areas of animation history and videogame animation.

The course Animation 100: History of Animation will examine animated films and other media and from various time periods and cultures in order to better understand the animations of today — while providing students with a unique insight into some of the more interesting “inside” stories and background about many of history’s most successful animated movies.

Offered for all students interested in learning more about the animated films, television and videogames they watch and play, this course is perfect for both animation students and animation lovers alike. Classes will meet Mondays beginning Aug. 25 from 4:25 p.m. to 7:25 p.m. on the COC Valencia campus.

The course Animation 260: Real-Time Videogame Animation is a production class that will emphasize the creation of 3D art assets in today’s modern videogame. Using Maya animation software students will learn how to create 3D models, textures, animations and scenes for use in various videogame engines. Areas of instruction will also include the efficient design and creation of 3D assets, lighting in a game system environment and proper methods of animation.  Prior experience with the Maya software and/or 3DMax is required. 

Classes will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Aug. 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. on the COC Valencia campus.

July 24, 2008

Community and Continuing Education Offer Free Computer Classes

This fall the College of the Canyons Community and Continuing Education department is offering a series of free one-day computer classes covering computer hardware, operating systems, networks and maintenance and security tactics — each designed for the typical adult home computer user.

Offered through the Continuing Education division’s new Family and Consumer Sciences subject area, these new noncredit courses will teach students a variety of highly useful computer skills related to the course topic, each with no previous knowledge of the subject required.

Classes will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, September 6 through November 15 on the COC Valencia Campus, Towsley Hall room 105. All classes are free, with no pre-requisites, however all students are required to officially register with the college’s Community and Continuing Education department.

The class, Home Computer Hardware, will provide the typical home computer user an opportunity to open the case, identify vital components, add expansion cards and become familiar with the operation of the computer — before showing how to assemble a home computer from parts. Sections of this class will meet Sept. 6 and Oct. 10.

The class, Home Computer Networks, will provide students with an opportunity to become familiar with various computer-networking procedures, with focus on how to set up a secure network in your home. Sections of this class will meet Sept. 20 and Oct. 25.

The class, Home Computer Operating Systems, will familiarize students with the structure, functionality and operation of the computer’s operating system, with focus on how to configure an operating system to meet the user’s specific needs. Sections of this class will meet Sept. 13 and Oct. 18.

The class, Home Computer Security, will provide students with the knowledge needed to implement security software as well as avoid viruses and other threats on your home computer. Sections of this class will meet Sept. 27 and Nov. 1.

The class, Home Computer Maintenance, will provide students the opportunity to become familiar with the highly-recommended maintenance procedures needed to maintain a computer’s optimal functioning. Sections of this class will meet Oct. 4 and Nov. 15.

July 16, 2008

New Program Lets Students ‘GO!’ for It

College of the Canyons is set to unveil a new series of 5-week, online classes this fall that will allow students to earn college units at an accelerated rate. The program will help to meet the needs of community members who prefer learning in a more compressed manner than the traditional 16-week college format.

Classes will be offered in back-to-back, 5-week windows in which students can accomplish their goals in shorter, more intensive classes.  This allows them to move on to the next level faster. In addition, students will have the flexibility to start a class at the beginning of any 5-week window throughout the year.

“With the downturn in the economy, a generally faster pace of life for everyone, fuel prices at all-time highs and a new generation of students who prefer to learn at their convenience,” observed Diane Fiero, Vice President for the college and responsible for the program’s implementation, “we think this program, which allows students to take classes online in the comfort of their own homes or wherever they have access to a computer, will be extremely popular.”

Administrators are excited about the potential of the program, called the “GO! Program,” playing an important role in making college classes accessible to a number of community members, who for a variety of reasons, are not able to enroll in the college’s traditional classes.

“The basic premise of the ‘GO’ program,” said Fiero, “is to make it easier for students to ‘get in,’ ‘get out,’ and ‘get going’ with their lives.”

Classes being made available in this accelerated format will include a host of general education classes such as Art, Anthropology, English, History, Political Science, Psychology, and many more. 

Research has shown that many students prefer the short-term class options since they generally provide more schedule flexibility for students and provide alternatives to courses that are traditionally based on the standard academic calendar. Since many courses are offered every five weeks, students have additional opportunities to pick up classes they might have missed at an earlier time and, with classes being repeated every two to three sessions, students will have to wait only weeks, not months, to try the course again if something prevents them from completing a class.

The college will be looking closely at the results of this fall’s program rollout and determining what changes need to be made based on those observations.

“We think this format will be attractive to both students currently enrolled at the college as well as those who haven’t taken college classes before,” said Fiero, “and at $20 per unit, students should know that they are receiving an outstanding value. We are constantly looking at what barriers people need to overcome in order to enroll and be successful in college,” stressed Fiero, “and we firmly believe this program will remove a significant barrier for many potential students.”

July 15, 2008

New 5-Week Program Teaches College Skills – Fast!

A new program has been created by College of the Canyons to improve the speed at which students, whose assessment test results reveal below college-level skills, can complete courses to improve those skills and more rapidly and put them on the path to succeeding in college and transfer-level courses.

The Personalized Accelerated Learning (PAL) program’s format is based on a 5-week model in which students participate in intensive classes in either an English or math track as well as a class that focuses on goal setting, learning styles, time management, and accessing resources that will help them be successful. The program will be offered for the first time this fall on both the Valencia and Canyon Country campuses. Morning, midday and evening classes will be available. The fall semester begins August 25.

“We have offered classes like these to help students succeed for several years in our winter and summer sessions,” said Diane Fiero, the Vice President of the college responsible for the program, “Research shows that many students who attend our spring and fall semesters like to be able to complete classes at a faster pace than the traditional 16 weeks. This way they can progress through three, five week math or English classes in one semester instead of three separate semesters. Five weeks,” stressed Fiero, “is the minimum length of time our faculty members think is reasonable to complete courses of this nature and allow for complete understanding and retention of the material.”

The format of the PAL program includes a couple of very attractive pedagogical advantages. First, as a student successfully completes one 5-week class, he or she can move immediately on to the next level in the next 5 weeks. Secondly, the college has arranged for the same instructor to teach the same group of students as they make their way through the progression of classes. That way, instructors are more familiar with individual student needs and students can benefit from the consistency of instruction that a single instructor provides. Finally, students will progress together — in a group known as a cohort — through the classes. This way they get to know their classmates and they can help and support each other when needed.

In addition, students who enroll in the PAL classes will receive a specialized group orientation, dedicated counseling and tutoring opportunities.
Information sessions are being planned for prospective PAL students who would like to know more about this program. Meetings will be held on the Valencia campus at 3:30 pm Tuesday, July 22 in Hasley Hall, Room #234 and at 6 pm, Thursday, July 24 in Hasley Hall, Room # 235.  Orientation will be held at the Canyon Country campus at 4 and 6 pm, Wednesday, July 23 in Room 304 .

To become a PAL student and learn more about the program and orientation sessions, contact the PAL program office at 661 362-3600.

July 14, 2008

College Named Economic Workforce Development Statewide Coordinator

As a result of its longstanding reputation of excellence in the field of employee training and economic development, College of the Canyons has received a $400,000 grant from the Chancellor’s Office to become the statewide coordinator for the California Community College System’s annual economic and workforce development conferences and meetings.

“Our economic development program is one of the best in the state and the awarding of this grant is recognition of that,” said Dr. Bruce Getzan, COC dean of economic development. 

Named the Economic and Workforce Development Program Coordination Services Grant, the additional funding — which is renewable annually for five years — will allow for the creation of three new positions in the college’s economic development division, including a project director and conference services coordinator.

As stated in the grant, COC will now be responsible for assisting in the planning of the annual Economic Workforce Development (EWD) conference, which brings together economic development professionals from throughout the community college, government and private sector ranks. Next year’s conference — currently scheduled for April 2009 in Monterrey, CA — will be held in cooperation with the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED).

“We’re always looking for partnerships with business and industry groups, professional organizations and associations and community groups in our region and across the state, to see how we can improve the economic climate, how we can enhance employability and how we can promote retention and growth of business,” said Getzan. “These types of issues are discussed each year at the conference, and then delivered through the various community colleges in a variety of different ways.”

In addition, COC will now be responsible for the coordination of three future sessions of the Economic and Workforce Development Program Advisory Committee (EDPAC) — the policy making wing of the Chancellor’s Office EWD program.

“This was an important opportunity for us to pursue because it so closely relates to our mission statement at the college — to provide relevant academic education at the lower division level and workforce opportunities for all who seek those kinds of opportunities,” said Getzan. “That’s why, with Chancellor Dr. Van Hook’s leadership, we moved forward with this application. It’s an extension of the great work that she has been doing, and encouraging us to do.”

In 1996, economic development became one of the primary missions of the California Community College System. The purpose of the EWD program is to advance the state’s economic growth and global competitiveness through education, training, and services that contribute to continuous workforce improvement.

The role of the community colleges in this effort is to fulfill the vocational education and instructional needs of California business and industry through leadership, communication, and liaisons with the private sector as well as with public sector education and training providers.

Colleges work with employers, advisory committees, and agency partners to identify, on a region-by-region basis, workforce education and training needs, including the needs of small business. As a result colleges throughout the system have created a network of Regional Centers that meet identified needs in a most cost-effective and timely manner.

Collectively the more than 100 Regional Centers throughout the state provide the long-term delivery structure of the EWD program by providing a foundation for long-term, sustained relationships with businesses, labor and colleges in the region.  

They also support, develop and deliver direct services to businesses, colleges, labor organizations, employees and employers in an economic region of the state — providing direct services such as curriculum development, faculty training, assessment, one-on-one counseling, seminars, workshops, conferences, training, technology transfer and educational services.

Regional Center initiatives have been developed in a variety of strategic industry areas including: Advanced Transportation and Energy; Biotechnologies; Applied Competitive Technologies; International Trade Development; Business and Workforce Performance Improvement; Health Occupations; Multimedia and Entertainment; Environmental Safety; Health and Homeland Security; Workplace Learning Resources; and Small Business Development.

This spring the College of the Canyons Center for Applied and Competitive Technologies was named winner of the 2007-08 Exemplary Innovation Award for its implementation of the FastTrack Manufacturing Boot Camp — which works to prepare at-risk youth, ages 18 to 21, for high-paying, upwardly laddered careers in manufacturing.

July 14, 2008

College Named Statewide Community College Captioning Clearinghouse

College of the Canyons has been awarded a five-year, roughly $3.9 million, Distance Education Captioning and Transcription for California Community Colleges grant — designating COC as the statewide clearinghouse for the funding of all captioning activities within the 110-member California Community College (CCC) system.

The grant funds — which will come in five annual $780,000 disbursements — will be used to contract outside captioning venders to assist community colleges across the state that are in need of captioning and transcription services for their distance education programs. Funds may also be used to reimburse community colleges that have contracted such services directly themselves.

“This grant will allow College of the Canyons to be of great service to the entire California Community College System,” said James Glapa-Grossklag, COC dean of distance learning programs and training. “The other 109 community colleges, as well as our own faculty and staff, will be looking to COC to support their efforts, and that’s very exciting.

“It’s an opportunity to work on a statewide scale to promote the values we believe so strongly in here at College of the Canyons.”

The main objective of the grant is to expand and ensure student access to distance education courses and programs throughout the CCC system.  Though such programs are developed for the use of all students, the ability to provide captioning capabilities to educational materials — including instructional DVDs, Webcasts, power-point presentations, podcasts and other audio-visual materials — is especially beneficial to a college’s disabled and ESL (English as Second language) student populations.

“Oftentimes, material is covered in the classroom in a quick and furious manner. Sometimes material it’s presented only in a visual way. Sometimes material is presented only in an oral way,” Glapa-Grossklag said. “But one of the most important ways to ensure that material is available to, and understood by, all types of students is to provide captioning.”

Glapa-Grossklag went on to highlight some of the ways captioning could be utilized by students, likening the service to the captioning option featured on most TV sets and included on home DVDs. “Essentially those captions are then accessible to somebody who is hearing impaired, or a student with a learning disability who can now review those written words as many times as they need before moving on,” he said. 

“The same would apply to an ESL student,” said Glapa-Grossklag, adding that with the use of “screen reader” computer software, which reads written text aloud to users, even blind students could reap the benefits of such captioning services. “So it gives a large number of students more access to educational content.”

According to Glapa-Grossklag, distance education comprises the fastest growing educational delivery mode within the CCC system. But in order to provide access to all students and to comply with federal and state law, some components of distance education classes are required to provide captioning or transcription services. As a result that high cost obligation is sometimes perceived to be a challenge in the development and delivery of high-quality, media-rich distance learning courses.

“Most colleges don’t have the financial ability to pay for captioning services, it’s a somewhat costly proposition,” Glapa-Grossklag said. “As a result, many faculty members and instructors aren’t able to engage their creativity the way they like to — they’re not able to offer their students as rich an educational pallet as they would like to.”

Therefore a second goal of the grant will be to promote and encourage faculty innovation that would allow instructors the ability to introduce more and more captioned multimedia educational materials into the classroom.

“Hopefully this grant will help support that spark of creativity, that spark of innovation,” said Glapa-Grossklag, “which would allow faculty members who want to integrate more of these types of materials into their classroom the ability to do so.”

July 8, 2008

Paralegal Studies Program Prepares Students for Law Careers

When 22-year-old Matthew Morris attains his dream of representing athletes and actors as an entertainment and sports lawyer, instead of crediting a prestigious Ivy League institution with his big start — it will be the paralegal program at College of the Canyons. 

Morris was among the first students who joined the paralegal studies program — which began in the fall of 2005 — that allows students to earn an associate in arts degree in paralegal studies in two years. 

Encouraged by COC paralegal professor Deborah Orlik, Morris decided to become a paralegal because the legal profession has always been a childhood dream of his. 

“I was always interested in law,” said Morris. “I was working at a law firm at the time but I wanted to get more information.”

As the need for legal services has continued to grow, so has the need for trained paralegals nationwide. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, paralegal jobs will grow by an average of 27 percent between now and 2012—which is higher than the expected growth rate for attorneys.

Morris described his paralegal training at COC as very “hands-on” and that it immediately applied to his job at the time. 

Paralegals work side-by-side with attorneys and other legal professionals and work under the direct supervision of an attorney. They draft various documents, assist the attorney with trial preparation and work directly with clients. Some experienced paralegals can also work as independent contractors and work for different attorneys on specific projects on a contract basis.

The more than 60 students currently working towards a paralegal studies degree at COC must take 10 required courses and three electives. 
The college’s paralegal program is currently awaiting approval from the American Bar Association (ABA), which approves both law schools and paralegal programs that are dedicated to offering the best instruction to students.  Considered a lengthy process, the approval includes a comprehensive application with exhibits and a visit by ABA representatives to the college. 

“We anticipate that should everything go as planned, the college’s Paralegal Studies Program will be formally approved by the ABA in Spring 2009,” said Nicole Lucy, the paralegal studies department chair at the college. 

Lucy described the average paralegal studies student as a female between the ages of 30 and 40 years old, working full-time, with some college education and with children.

Morris felt compelled to apply what he had learned in the classroom to the real world, so he confidently walked into courtrooms and asked about available positions or internships. His persistence paid off when he landed an internship with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, where he helped summarize child support cases for jury instruction. 

“We helped the jury understand the trial,” explained Morris, who plans to apply to a local law school such as UCLA, UC Irvine or Pepperdine. 

After graduating from COC in June 2007, Morris was well prepared to study sociology law and society at UC Riverside.

“It put me ahead in many of my classes,” said Morris of his COC paralegal education. “It was a smooth transition.” 

July 3, 2008

New Young Entrepreneur Program Set at Small Business Development Center 

Young people who aspire to one day start their own business, or see an existing enterprise grow, are encouraged to take part in the Young Entrepreneurs Program being offered this summer at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted by College of the Canyons.
The Young Entrepreneur Program (YEP) is a free, four-week-long course designed for young people ages 14 to 27. Classes meet from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the COC Valencia Campus, room X-8, on Saturday mornings from July 12 to August 2. 
“There are many young people in our community with dreams of pursuing their passions through business endeavors,” said Paul De La Cerda, Director of the COC Small Business Development Center. “But all too often these budding entrepreneurs have no guidance or knowledge about how to get started. So we launched a special program specifically for them.”

Through a variety of creative partnerships with local business owners the YEP will offer students free business counseling, while implementing business training programs in the areas of management, finance, marketing, sales and eCommerce by using a variety of outreach and delivery methods — including websites, blogs, social networking sites, virtual reality games, youth-oriented trainers and business simulation products.

In addition YEP participants will be partnered with a local business to brainstorm and create a new commercial product and accompanying business model — which will then be entered into a region wide business plan competition.

“This new program will aid participants in the development and operation of part time businesses — which could eventually lead to full time operational status — all while they complete their junior high, high school or college education,” said Bruce Getzan, COC Dean of Economic Development.
The Young Entrepreneurs Program is free of charge, however space is limited. The deadline for students to register is Friday July 11, 2008.​​​