These outdated news releases and advisories are stored here for archival purposes. 


May 29, 2008

Dr. Van Hook Takes New Title

Dr. Dianne Van Hook has a new title — Chancellor, Santa Clarita Community College District and President, College of the Canyons.  At a regular meeting of the Santa Clarita Community College District’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday night, a joint meeting with the College of the Canyons Foundation Board, the new title was unveiled to a very appreciative and admiring crowd.

This year marks Van Hook’s 20th year as Superintendent-President of College of the Canyons, a period that has seen incredible growth at the college and in the Santa Clarita Valley as a whole.  

“Developing new programs, new partnerships, new facilities and new ideas doesn’t just happen,” said Board of Trustees member, Joan MacGregor. “It must be done intelligently, with vision, with cost-effective and innovative plans, and with a fair amount of tenacity.  In Dr. Dianne Van Hook,” stressed MacGregor, “we have all of those attributes, and more. I know I speak for the rest of the Board when I say we are very happy to confer these new titles on this most deserving leader.”

Board member Michele Jenkins, who was on Van Hook’s original hiring committee in 1988, recalls the decision that brought the then 37 year old to College of the Canyons. “The moment we met Dianne on a site visit to Feather River College, we knew we were looking at a high-impact executive with boundless energy, strength and a sense of vision who would set a new course for College of the Canyons. I am proud and so glad,” stressed Jenkins, “that our board had the courage to hire Dianne and am thrilled about the leadership she has provided over the years.  Her many strengths in fundraising, creating and maintaining partnerships, her clear vision of the future as well as her uncanny ability to hire outstanding people, have helped make COC what it is today.”

The term “chancellor” dates back to Roman times and evolved through the middle ages. In the 13th century, few people besides priests, clerks and monks were literate, and the chancellor was an ecclesiastic. As keeper of the great seal used to authenticate royal documents, the chancellor became, in most medieval kingdoms, the most powerful official. The term has evolved further and today is widely used for the person who is the functional chief executive officer of a college or university.

The Board praised Van Hook particularly for her many accomplishments over the last year, which included overseeing the major tasks of developing and opening a new campus on Sierra Highway in Canyon Country and overseeing the construction and opening of several new buildings on the Valencia campus.

Currently there is a significant amount of construction activity on the Valencia campus. These current projects signify the highest level of construction and preparation for the future since the original campus was built in the early 1970s. Most of the college’s square footage has been added during the tenure of Van Hook, who has served as superintendent-president since 1988. “She has radically changed this campus not only to keep up with the community’s demands,” said Sue Bozman, Vice President of District Communication, Marketing and External Relations, “but to anticipate the educational and training programs that will be in demand in the future.”

When Van Hook arrived in 1988, she spearheaded a major update of the college’s master plan. The result was a seemingly non-stop series of construction projects that continues today – and that has dramatically changed the college’s face and character. The college was housed in eight major buildings in 1988, including Cougar Stadium; by 2008, another ten major structures had been built or were nearing completion, among them the 926-seat Performing Arts Center, the Library, Mentry Hall, the Family Studies & Early Childhood Education Center, Aliso Hall, Aliso Lab, Pico Canyon Hall, Hasley Hall, and an entirely new campus in Canyon Country. 

During this period, academic and occupational offerings also have been vastly expanded. The college offers associate in arts and science degrees in 61 academic programs, as well as credentials in 69 certificate programs. Academic programs range from Animation to Television, Film and Video Production, from Audio/Radio Production to Video Game Animation, from Biotechnology to Theatre Arts, from Child Development to Paralegal Studies, and from Dance to Industrial Manufacturing.  And the list goes on.

Construction of the addition to the Physical Education building and the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center on the Valencia campus are well under way as are plans to expand Mentry Hall, the Library, and the Student Services and Administration building.  

The unique University Center allows students to earn bachelor, master or doctoral degrees from a collection of public and private universities that offer their programs here. 

The idea is to improve access to education by eliminating the need for residents to commute long distances to obtain advanced degrees. 

The College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus opened in August of 2007 with nearly 3400 students in new, modular facilities.  When the permanent buildings, funded by a combination of Measure M and state funds are completed, this campus will accommodate as many as 10,000 students. 

Van Hook has taken the lead on several innovative partnerships that have redefined the traditional role of community colleges. Academy of the Canyons, operated by the William S. Hart Union High School District, opened at College of the Canyons in 2002 and allows promising high school students to attend high school and college concurrently. In addition, an Early College High School funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and operated by the William S. Hart Union High School District, opened on the Canyon Country campus in August, 2007.

Also operating at the college are the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies and Employee Training Institute, both of which have helped local businesses become more efficient and train employees in the latest emerging fields. In partnership with Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, the college operates the Clinical Education Center at the hospital. And, the College of the Canyons Biotechnology Center provides a
2000 square-foot clean room in partnership with the Mann Biomedical Park. 

To Van Hook, the hard work of obtaining funds, designing buildings with capabilities to accommodate current and future technologies, and following each detail of construction through to completion is important but not her ultimate goal.  She pointed out that her sights are always set on making sure the college has the physical and financial resources to meet the training and educational needs of the community, from businesses that require state-of-the-art training to individual students who rely on the college to achieve their educational goals.  

Van Hook is noted for her philosophy, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”  She says she wants the college to always be ready to help every student fulfill their dreams.

May 29, 2008

College to Recognize Emeritus College and ESL Students

The Community and Continuing Education department will host a Recognition Reception honoring students from the college’s Emeritus College and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs on Monday evening, June 2.

The evening’s events will include a photo power-point presentation chronicling the 2007-08 school year and a special awards ceremony to recognize the Student of the Year honorees from both the Emeritus College and ESL programs. Student of the Month, Honorable Mention Student and Perfect Attendance Student honorees from throughout the school year will also be recognized.

“I am proud to be part of these extraordinary programs, and pleased to have this opportunity to honor the hard work and love for learning that these students show on a daily basis,” said Jennifer Brezina, COC Interim Dean, Noncredit and Community Education.

The COC Community and Continuing Education Recognition Reception will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Student Center room 126. 

Seating will come on a first come, first served basis, with event organizers asking that guests RSVP with the COC Community and Continuing Education Office.

The College of the Canyons Community and Continuing Education department serves the needs of the local community by offering high-quality learning opportunities for all students — including children, working adults and seniors — in a variety of formats, both online and in person, short-term and semester-long.

In addition, COC Continuing Education classes are financially supported by the state of California and are offered to students tuition-free. Current course offerings include a series of ESL classes, Citizenship for Naturalization and a wide array of Emeritus College courses designed for older adults and offered at locations throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

May 29, 2008

Last Call for Tickets to 20th Annual SCV Wine Classic

Time is running out to purchase tickets to the Santa Clarita Valley’s premier wine-tasting event, the 20th Annual SCV Wine Classic, which will get under way at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 31.

Featuring a large collection of current and vintage wines for tasting and purchase, as well as a wide assortment of gourmet cuisine from some of the area’s finest restaurants and caterers, the SCV Wine Classic is the wine-tasting event of the year that should not be missed.

“The Wine Classic attracts people who have a passion for experiencing fine wine and great food in an intimate social setting because they get all of that and more,” said Sue Bozman, the event’s executive co-director. 

“Best of all, the event serves as the major fundraiser of the year for the SCV Youth Orchestra, which allows young people who share a passion for music to participate in a dynamic, vibrant orchestra,” Bozman said. “It’s truly an amazing program.”

The SCV Youth Orchestra, a three-tiered instrumental education program that was founded at California Institute of the Arts in 1969 and moved to College of the Canyons in 1989, provides a positive and creative outlet for promising young musicians throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

The Wine Classic will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Main Gallery at CalArts, located at 24700 McBean Parkway in Valencia. 

Guests will be able to sample, mingle, socialize and enjoy live orchestral music while an impeccable array of rare and current wines, restaurant certificates and other gift items are auctioned off. In addition, all guests will receive souvenir drinking glasses and trays.
But the deadline to purchase discount tickets is approaching quickly. Friday, May 30 is the last day to purchase tickets discounted to $70 each and $130 a pair. 
Tickets for designated drivers are $35 each, regardless of when they are purchased.
Tickets will be available for credit-card purchase via telephone or the Internet until 4 p.m. Friday, May 30. Call (661) 362-3415 to order tickets. A limited number of remaining tickets will be available for purchase at the door during the event. At-the-door prices are $80 each and $150 a pair.

May 28, 2008

College Receives $300,000 Grant to Provide Metal Fabrication Training

The California Community College’s Economic and Workforce Development (EWD) program recently awarded the College of the Canyons welding technology department approximately $300,000 in Industry Driven Regional Collaborative (IDRC) grant funds to help develop a series of metal fabrication courses at the college.

The grant — which includes funding for new equipment and supplies, curriculum development, faculty training and industry outreach efforts — will allow COC to expand its current welding technology program to include both an associate in science degree and certificate of achievement program in metal fabrication in the future.

“We’ve been training great welders at COC for several years now, but often times our graduating students are lacking the metal fabrication skills that give them that one-two punch needed for working in several different welding industries,” said Tim Baber, chair of the COC welding technology department. “This grant expands the opportunities for students to learn the whole package, welding and metal fabrication, and really puts them in a position to earn more money as an entry level technician.”

Metal fabrication is a term used to describe the process that involves the construction of machines and structures from various raw materials, usually based on engineering drawings and involving various metal-working processes — including drilling, stretching, machining, bending, rolling, cutting and welding. Used extensively in the commercial and defense manufacturing industries, metal fabrication technologies are also increasingly being utilized by the motor sports, construction, entertainment and petrochemical industries, to name a few.

“To work as a welder, you’re basically an operator with a torch in your hand welding. But if you’re in a metal fabrication position and somebody gives you a blueprint and says ‘build this thing’ you’re going to be cutting the metal, shaping it, rolling it and doing just about anything else you can imagine to create or build the finished product,” Baber said.

Set to debut this fall, the course, Welding 092: Intro to Metal Fabrication, is the first of three new metal fabrication courses recently approved by the California Community Colleges’ Chancellor’s Office and offered to COC students. 

Designed to include basic metal fabrication skills training, the course will involve measuring, layout, drilling, bending, shaping, cutting and machining alloys of all different types into various shapes and sizes — with additional focus on the cutting and fitting of metal pipe.

In subsequent semesters, Welding 093: Intermediate Metal Fabrication, and Welding 094: Advanced Metal Fabrication, will further development the student’s fabrication skills, with exposure to the industry’s sophisticated metal cutting/machining equipment, before challenging students with a complex semester-long collaborative project involving design, layout, machining, fabrication and other specific welding technology skills and operations.

“The overarching idea is to provide training to build skill sets so students can work in several different metal fabrication industries,” Baber said.

The COC Welding Technology metal fabrication option was developed in direct response to the projected growth in the metal fabrication and welding segment of Southern California’s economy and the growing need for technicians with advanced metal fabrication skills, as expressed by regional industry.

In a 2001 survey of more than 220 key manufacturers and metal fabricators, the number one concern cited was the lack of trained metal fabrication technicians and welding operators. Since then, the shortage of welding and metal fabrication technicians has become more severe — prompting the American Welding Society to predict a possible shortage of more than 200,000 skilled welders and metal fabricators by 2010.

According to California Labor Market industry projections, every major industry that uses or relies on advanced metal fabrication techniques will grow, most by double digits, between 2004 and 2014. As a result of California’s impressive industry growth, occupations as fabrication technicians and jobs that require metal fabrication skills are also projected to grow at double-digit rates, outpacing the rates of growth of those occupations nationally.

“This grant was really necessary to help put our metal fabrication program on the map,” said Baber. “We have a great reputation within the industry, but we can always raise the bar higher and that’s what this grant does. So it’s a very exciting and rewarding project to be a part of.”

May 27, 2008

Spotted: Hot Rods at the College Art Gallery

The Art Gallery is revving up for the cars and art exhibition, “Hot Rod!” running from June 21 to July 12, which will showcase car-inspired artwork from several artists.

“The attraction to hot rods is a natural thing for artists and indeed most artists I know are car enthusiasts,” said Larry Hurst, the college’s art gallery director. “The universal appeal of cars often inspires deep emotion; you love them, hate them, and even give them names.” 

Although the American Heritage College Dictionary defines “hot rod” as “an automobile that has been rebuilt or modified to increase its speed and acceleration,” the exhibition will also include motorcycles. 

The artwork on display—made by Robert Williams, Coop, Thom Taylor, Kent Bash, Tom Fritz, John Gallagher, Nick Garcia, Michael Maglich, Bob Sage and Christopher Ulrich—will include technical illustrations, paintings, sculptures, drawings and artifacts. 

A reception for the exhibition will be held on June 21 from noon to 5 p.m. that will include a car show featuring hot rods and racecars outside the gallery, as well as a live performance of The Sound Waves in the college amphitheater.

The Sound Waves are an instrumental surf and oldies band that plays classic oldies with a country sound. The six-member band won first place at the “Taste of the Bands” competition at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro in 2005. 

Refreshments will be available for purchase. Admission to the gallery and reception is free. 

The COC Art gallery is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors unable to attend during these hours can schedule a viewing appointment by calling (661) 362-3612.

May 23, 2008

English Premier League Soccer Club to Present Coaching Seminar at College

Coaches can learn to better understand their players’ psychological traits and maximize their athletic potential in a seminar presented by members of the Blackburn Rovers English Premier League Soccer Club on Tuesday, June 10, 2008 on the campus of College of the Canyons. Coaches of all levels and all sports are invited to participate in the presentation given by Tony Faulkner and Steve Nickson. 

The day-long seminar will be centered around the use of a mental development profiling model — used to establish and nurture the psychological traits of athletes — which has been implemented at the Blackburn Rovers Soccer Club Sports Academy.

Described as a “structured, learned and flexible method of assessment and development,” the model was created in response to the long history of soccer prodigies who failed to fulfill their potential —a trend that is not exclusive to soccer.

Convinced that physical stats and subjective viewpoints on what is perceived as talent don’t provide the whole picture of a player’s potential, the Blackburn Rovers selection model aids coaches in their ability to identify players who will be able to effectively negotiate the mental highs and lows that lead to athletic success.

Benefits to the athlete include accelerated mental, technical, tactical and physical development, accelerated skill in performance, learning and development, and increased quality of day-to-day practice and competitive performance.

Coaching benefits include the ability to coach teams and individuals more effectively by influencing areas that will have the greatest impact on a player’s success and the increased ability to understand an athlete’s motivational and work traits.

The day-long coaching seminar will take place Tuesday, June 10, 2008 beginning at 10 a.m. at the College of the Canyons Valencia Campus, Aliso Hall room 104.

May 22, 2008

Center for Applied Technologies Wins Innovation Award

The Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) was recently named winner of the 2007-08 Exemplary Innovation Award by the California Community Colleges’ Economic and Workforce Development (EWD) program.

The EWD Exemplary Innovation Award recognizes excellent project development relating to entrepreneurship and innovation within the California Community College (CCC) system. Winners must demonstrate the development of a highly innovative and unique project, which is responsive to a specific and critical need within the business community and can be replicated at other sites across the state.

“There was an impressive list of nominees for this award, so we’re really very pleased that our program was chosen,” said Pete Bellas, director of the College of the Canyons CACT. “This kind of recognition will help bring about more industry partnerships and give us more opportunities to serve our students and the community.”

This year’s winning project, the FastTrack Manufacturing Boot Camp — a collaboration between the College of the Canyons CACT, the Cerritos College CACT, El Proyecto del Barrio, Aerospace Dynamics International, Inc. and other industry partners — works to prepare at-risk youth, ages 18-21, for high paying, upwardly laddered careers in manufacturing.

“It's an honor for COC to receive this award,” said Dr. Bruce Getzan, COC dean of Economic Development. “Pete has done a tremendous job working with a variety of partners, with a program that helps area employers, turns around the lives of at-risk students and enhances economic development in the region.”

Developed in response to the needs of the north Los Angeles County manufacturing industry that were finding it increasingly difficult to fill entry level positions, including Computer Numerical Control (CNC) operations and setup technicians, the FastTrack Manufacturing Boot Camp program was originally started as a pilot program in 2004.

“Manufacturers were telling us that they couldn’t wait for students to complete a traditional two-year manufacturing technology program.  They needed people right away,” said Bellas. “They basically said, ‘If you can just bring them in with the basic skills, we can train them further on the job.’ So that’s when we started this program.”

Since its inception, the partnership has operated 10 FastTrack Boot Camps, graduating roughly 90 students from the program — with a 92 percent career field employment rate among graduates. In addition, 35 percent of graduates go on to enroll in college level credit bearing manufacturing technology programs at COC, with 20 percent of graduates subsequently participating in employer contracted education classes.

“It’s been a tremendously popular program because the students obtain jobs,” said Bellas. “We’ve even had a company hire an entire graduating class.” 

Operating as part of a network of such centers throughout the state, the College of the Canyons CACT provides workforce training programs, demonstration of new manufacturing equipment and technologies and access to state and local resources in order to help local industry achieve greater operational efficiencies, enhanced productivity and increased organizational performance.

“One of the biggest issues facing manufacturing is attracting new people to the industry,” Bellas said. “We’ve been very good at working with people who are already in the industry and upgrading their skills levels and helping them move into higher positions, but we’ve struggled to attract new talent. So this program is really giving the industry that extra push to be able to go out and recruit.”

The intensive FastTrack Manufacturing program provides students with the skills necessary to be hired in entry-level manufacturing technician roles. Initial training includes a 40-hour employability skills class focusing on basic math and English skills facilitated by Cerritos College. 

After it’s determined that students have the basic skills to continue in the program, they enter a 140-hour technical skills “boot camp” covering general manufacturing and CNC skills taught by COC faculty at the college’s Manufacturing Education Center, in space provided by Aerospace Dynamics International, Inc. (ADI).

The manufacturing portion of the program is intense, with students attending class seven hours a day, three days a week for roughly seven weeks. Coursework includes blueprint reading, shop math and trigonometry and precision measurement along with CNC setup, operations and programming and hours of hands on practice using industrial sized equipment to work with aircraft aluminum and titanium donated by ADI. In addition, all classroom work is augmented by a series of online training exercises provided by Tooling University — a leading provider of online manufacturing training.

“The training includes a little bit of everything so that students can become familiar with the myriad of activities that go on in a manufacturing environment,” said Stanley Jacobson, COC Manufacturing Technology faculty member. “They wont have production experience, but by the time they complete the program they will have done about 100 hours of hands-on training working in teams with this industrial equipment.”

Another aspect of the program is the growing number of partners who have helped enhance the program’s reach into the community. The COC Career Center and the county workforce investment board through Goodwill Industries have both partnered with the FastTrack program to help students create resumes and develop interview skills to use after graduation. The Career Center also coordinates presentations to students from local industry about opportunities in specific manufacturing fields, and organizes an end-of-program interview day where potential employers come to the campus to interview graduating students.

“There are so many job openings in the Santa Clarita Valley in aerospace and other related manufacturing fields that these students can have great careers eventually making 50 thousand dollars a year or more, in a job that has a really valuable skill set,” said Bellas. “That’s where we want to get them to.”

Another rewarding aspect of the FastTrack Boot Camp is in its mission to provide assistance to the at-risk youth the program specifically targets. Typically facing barriers to employment, including the lack of a high school diploma or previous trouble with the law, after completing the program students often return with inspirational stories of success.

“The students are tremendous to work with, because for the vast majority of them this is the first time anyone has given then an opportunity,” said Bellas, pointing to the testimonial of one recent graduate who credits the program for helping turn his life around.

“This training changed my life. It made me change my ways and it made me believe anything is possible. I’ll never go back to the way things were for me in the streets,” said Bryant Arevello, a 2007 graduate of the FastTrack program. “I never dreamed I would be working in a great place for an aerospace company, but suddenly it became a reality.”

“It doesn’t take many of those stories to make all your efforts worthwhile,” Bellas said.

The future of the FastTrack Manufacturing program also looks bright with the COC CACT already discussing the possibility of using the same FastTrack techniques to train entry level candidates in other manufacturing fields — including precision medical assembly and electromechanical diagnostics and repair.

“It’s been a really exciting program,” Bellas said. “What I’m most proud of is the way all the partners work together. It’s not always easy to get everybody to work toward the same goal, but once it does work and everybody sees it, then it really allows you to build upon the program.”

May 21, 2008

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Offers Free Concert

With a belief that classical music is a joy to be shared by everyone, the highly acclaimed Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) will bring its Neighborhood Concert Series to the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) at College of the Canyons for a free performance in June.

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2008-09, LACO is regarded for its virtuosic music-making and signature personal style. Since its founding in 1968, the 40-member orchestra has acquired a reputation as one of the foremost ensembles of its kind in the world — prompting respected music critic Jim Svejda of radio station KUSC to hail LACO as “America’s finest chamber orchestra.”

As part of its Neighborhood Concert Series, virtuoso members of LACO will perform on the PAC main stage at 7:30 pm, Friday, June 6, 2008. Admission to the performance is free, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.

"This is a very exciting opportunity for members of the community to hear the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in their own back yard,” said Adam Philipson, PAC Managing Director. “This free event is our way of thanking the community for its support of the 2007-08 College of the Canyons season."

Presented in cooperation with a variety of different local community organizations, the Neighborhood Concert Series brings the extraordinary artistry of LACO into neighborhoods across the region with performances in churches, schools and other community venues.

“Furthering our mission to present live orchestral music concerts across the southland, we are delighted to be able to expand our Neighborhood Concert series into Santa Clarita,” said Andrea Laguni, LACO Executive Director.

The Neighborhood Concert Series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment of the Arts.

May 12, 2008

Summer Session Production Classes Offer Students Plenty of Stage Opportunity

This summer the College of the Canyons theatre department is offering students the opportunity to learn the many aspects of theatre production while sharpening their acting skills with a series of theatre production summer master classes.

Providing a study and exploration of all areas of theatre production — involving actor, technician and manager — the production classes are designed to highlight the many cast and crew contributions that go into the total aesthetic effect of a dramatic production before a public audience.

The first production class is Theatre 190: Theatre Production, “Summer Cabaret Series.” It runs from June 9 to August 9, and meets Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and is available for up to four units.

Throughout the class students will interact with professional artists, actors, directors and theatre industry professionals in master classes and workshops — providing the chance to focus on specific scenes, monologues and song and dance performances while receiving professional feedback and direction.  

In addition, students enrolled in this class will have the opportunity to perform in the workshop production of the new musical “Sing Me a Happy Song,” as part of The Festival of New American Musicals. Students will be invited to audition and work closely with composers Georgia Stitt and David Kirshenbaum as the piece is developed.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to bring great artists together with the community and our students,” said COC theatre department adjunct faculty member Andrea Slominski, who will co-teach the class with adjunct faculty member Mark Salyer. “To have students exposed to teachers and industry professionals of this level while studying theatre production at College of the Canyons is very exciting.” 

The funding of the Master Class guest artists and industry professionals is being underwritten by The SCV Theatre Project, a professional theatre company founded by Salyer and Slominski in 2005.

Auditions for this summer’s Theatre 190: Theatre Production, “Summer Cabaret Series” will be held Friday May 30, from 7 to 10 p.m. and Saturday May 31, from noon to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. in the PAC Black Box Theater.

To audition, students and community members at least 16 years of age are asked to prepare a one-minute monologue and/or 32 bars of a song, with accompanying sheet music in the appropriate key, if they would like to be considered for the musical theatre portion of the series.

The second Theatre 190 production class, “Scenes of Love, Love and Lovers of Shakespeare,” will run from July 14 to August 16, Monday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., and is available for up to two units.

Revolving around one of Shakespeare’s favorite themes, love and lovers, students will perform scenes and monologues designed to explore the Bard’s often comical and always poignantly rich text — discovering love, advice about love and love’s problems and solutions along the way.

“Because there is so much Shakespearean material, there really is no limitation to casting,” said COC theatre department adjunct faculty member David Stears, who will be teaching the class. “I think everyone can gain from working with this wonderful material.”

Auditions for the Theatre 190: Theatre Production, “Scenes of Love, Love and Lovers of Shakespeare,” will take place Saturday July 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center Black Box Theater.

“Both the Theatre 190: Theatre Production, ‘Summer Cabaret Series’ and ‘Scenes of Love, Love and Lovers of Shakespeare,’ offer a wonderful chance for theatre majors, non-majors, or anyone interested in developing his or her performance skills to experience a rich, diverse, relaxed and fun learning opportunity,” said Dr. Floyd Moos, COC Dean of Fine and Performing Arts. “Increasing the ability or talent to think or act in new or original ways has benefits for all students, not just performing arts students.”

May 12, 2008

Class of 2008 Largest in College History

Dressed identically in black gowns and mortarboards, the College of the Canyons students who will make their way through the Honor Grove for their diploma on May 30, will be part of the largest graduating class in the college’s history. 

With 1255 students, the number of graduates of 2008 grew 9.4 percent since 2007. 

“It’s amazing to see how much we have grown these past few years,” said Sue Bozman, vice-president of marketing and external relations. 

Some other interesting facts about the Class of 2008 are:

 60.9 percent of the graduates are women. 39.1 percent of them are men. 
 42 majors are represented. The leading major is transfer studies, followed by nursing.
 457 ethnic minorities are part of the graduating class.
 The average age of a graduate is 25 years old.
 The youngest graduate is 16 years old. The oldest is 61 years old.
 16 students will be graduating with 4.0 GPA’s.
 211 students will graduate with honors.
 34 graduates are International Students from a wide variety of countries including: Cameroon, Canada, China, Columbia, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Japan, Macedonia, Mexico Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Russia, South Korea and the United Kingdom. 
 The average class GPA is 2.98.
The College of the Canyons graduation ceremony will be at 10:30 a.m.
Valedictorians Maureen Jordan, Melody Akhtari and Manuela Marino were selected to speak at the ceremony. 

May 7, 2008

College Recognizes Outstanding Employees 

Employees at College of the Canyons were recognized for their contributions to the college at an awards luncheon held today, Wednesday, May 8, 2008. The luncheon was held with the “twist” that board members, administrators and managers served college “classified” employees a catered meal with an Academy Awards theme.

Classified employees hold support positions at the college. They are most often the behind-the-scenes people who are responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the college.

This is the twelfth year that awards were presented to individuals in several categories. Six awards were presented.

The Employee of the Year award recognizes an individual who has made contributions to the college through service to the campus. The College of the Canyons Employee of the Year was awarded to Mike Burke who is the maintenance coordinator on the Valencia campus. In Burke’s case, he was recognized for his cooperative attitude and professional demeanor throughout the campus during an intense year of construction, office moves and equipping new buildings. He was cited for his great sense of humor and a tremendous work ethic — at one time, doing three jobs: electrician, maintenance coordinator and assuming duties of Director of Facilities. The award consists of a decorative plaque and $300 cash.

The Humanitarian Award went to Christopher Neal. This award acknowledges an indispensable contribution to the college and cites community involvement and dedication. Neal is a member of the college’s computer support team. He was recognized for his volunteer work on the L.A. County Sheriff’s search and rescue team, assisting in door-to-door evacuations during the wildfires of last year as well as participating in searches for skiers lost in an avalanche and a missing hiker. The award consists of a decorative plaque and a $100 cash award.

The New Visions Award recognizes an employee who brings new insight to the job, which improves the college. A positive attitude and providing an inspiration to other employees are key elements in selecting the award winner. The 2008 New Visions Award winner is Amy Foote. She works in the college’s biology department. Foote was cited for her great sense of humor and her hard work in all things environmental. She is a strong and active supporter of Earth Day events and has participated in many on- and off-campus environmental groups. She is a key member of the college’s Sustainability Committee and was cited for raising nearly $4000 for student scholarships at the college. Her award consists of a plaque and a $100 cash award.

A decorative plaque and a $100 cash award also went to Beny Babasi, this year’s winner of the Professional Achievement Award. Babasi works in the college’s student business office. The award recognizes outstanding performance through educational achievement and a record of excellent job performance. Babasi came to the United States from Iran, learned English, graduated from COC with a degree in accounting and just graduated from CSUN with a bachelor’s degree. All this in just 12 years! 

The Gloria Jackson Service Award was named after a beloved member of the College of the Canyons communication’s department staff who died in November of 2006. Jackson had worked for 25 years at the college’s switchboard and mailroom and was noted for her depth and breadth of information, her encyclopedic memory for numbers and her endearing laugh. The award consists of a decorative plaque and a $100 cash award.  This year’s winner of the Gloria Jackson Service Award is Cara Odell, senior human resources technician at the college. Odell was cited for treating each and every person with impeccable care. She is described as an excellent listener who “leaves each person feeling better because of her interaction with them.”

Each year the California School Employee Association (CSEA) presents its Member of the Year Award at this luncheon. This year’s winner was Mary Brunty who works with students in the college’s tutorial center. She received a plaque and a $100 cash award.

The awards were presented by members of the college district’s executive administration and members of the college’s Board of Trustees.