2009 NEWS ARCHIVE​​​​​​​

Outdated releases stored for archival purposes only
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May 29, 2009

College Introduces Weekly Campus Tour Program

Potential students and curious community members interested in experiencing the College of the Campus Valencia campus for themselves will now have a weekly opportunity to do so through the college’s new Friday morning tour program.
“I envision these tours not only serving as a great way for potential students to get familiar with the campus but as an open door to any community member interested in learning more about College of the Canyons and its services,” said Beth Asmus, dean of special programs at the college.
Presented through partnership by the Office of Student Retention & School Relations, the Cougar Mentor peer advisor program and the College Ambassador program, the program was launched in May 2009.
Each Friday morning a one hour tour of the campus will be led by students from the Cougar Mentor and/or College Ambassador program. Tours begin promptly at 9 a.m. at the campus flagpole, located between the Student Center and Administration building (A-building).
Tours are designed to inform visitors about the various educational and career training programs at the college while providing an opportunity to become familiar with the campus’ various buildings and key administrative offices, educational and athletic facilities and available student services.
For visitors already familiar with the college and its operations the tours will provide a chance to visit some of the campus’ most recent additions -- including Aliso Hall and Aliso Lab, the high technology building Hasley Hall and the college’s new gymnasium and Physical Education facilities.
For more information about the College of the Canyons Friday morning tour program please contact the Outreach Office at (661) 362-5891 or Student Development Office at (661) 362-3238.
Tours of the college’s Canyon Country campus are also available upon request and can be made by contacting Jamie Milteer at (661) 476-3802.

May 28, 2009

College Recognizes Outstanding Employees

Employees at College of the Canyons were recognized for their contributions to the college at an awards luncheon held Thursday, May 28, 2009.  The luncheon was held with the “twist” that board members, administrators and managers served college “classified” employees a catered meal with an American Idol 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 thirteenth 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 Sarah Ehrsam who is the college’s Athletic Trainer.  Sarah was recognized for going beyond the scope of her job to assist athletes and for truly caring about the success and well-being of students and student-athletes.  She consistently helps those around her succeed and meet their goals. The award consists of a decorative plaque and $300 cash.
The Humanitarian Award went to Nancy Faulconer. This award acknowledges an indispensable contribution to the college and cites community involvement and dedication. Nancy, as administrative assistant in the Allied Health Office, was recognized as a person who really cares about our faculty and our students.  Nancy also has a fabulous reputation as a “go-to” person for fundraising and simply getting things done.  She gets results through compassion, hard work and caring a lot about what she does.  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 2009 New Visions Award winner is John Makevich. John is a member of the Distance Learning staff and has taken online education to a whole new level.  He teaches all of the Blackboard workshops (a computer software program used to deliver online classes) and is called by some of his colleagues on campus, “Mr. Online. He was cited for his enthusiastic, positive and helpful attitude, his skills in teaching about technology and for his conscientious approach to everything he does. He is also a key member of the colleges Classified Senate. His award consists of a plaque and a $100 cash award.
A decorative plaque and a $100 cash award went to Rachael Rodriquez, this year’s winner of the Professional Achievement Award. Rachael works in the Admissions and Records office.  As a part-time employee she completed her psychology degree at California State University, Northridge and when a full-time position opened up in the office, she applied and got the job!  She is persistent and when she sets her sights on a target or a goal, she goes after it!
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, her outstanding customer service 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 Wendy Trujillo, administrative assistant to the college’s Communications, Marketing and External Relations offices.  Wendy was cited for her enthusiasm, good humor, care in handling incoming emails to the college and performing above and beyond her job description every day.  One of her colleagues wrote, “Wendy doesn’t have ‘bad’ days, just ‘good’ days and ‘great!’ days. She is cheery, positive, helpful, witty and kind to every member of the public and the college with whom she comes into contact.”
Each year the California School Employee Association (CSEA) presents its Member of the Year Award at this luncheon. This year’s winner is Vance Pelland who works in the college’s facilities department and has been the union local’s Chief Job Steward for the past four years. He was recognized for his dedication to the union and his “great communication skills.”  He 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.

May 28, 2009

College Employee Recognition Event

Time: Noon to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, May 28, 2009
Place: College of the Canyons, East Physical Education Building
Event: A recognition and awards luncheon will be held at College of the Canyons on the above date and time to recognize the efforts of the “classified” staff of the college during the past year.  This is the thirteenth year that COC has given these awards to employees.  Classified staff members are employees of the college in support positions not requiring academic qualifications.  They are most often the “behind-the-scenes” people who are responsible for the day-to-day tasks that make the college “run.”
The luncheon is sponsored and served by college administrators and managers.
Five awards will be presented during the luncheon this year:
  • Employee of the Year: Plaque and $300 cash
  • Humanitarian Award: Plaque and $100 cash
  • New Vision Award: Plaque and $100 cash
  • Professional Achievement Award: Plaque and $100 cash
  • Gloria Jackson Service Award: Plaque and $100 cash
  • CSEA (California School Employees Association) Member of the Year Award
Funding for the cash awards is provided by the College of the Canyons Foundation.

May 14, 2009

Comedians of the Canyons Bring on the Laughs

A local news broadcast about cricket fights; what really goes on at the other end of the customer support lines at Play-Doh; and layoffs at a Canadian syrup factory were just some of the scenarios performed for the audience when the College of the Canyons premiere improv troupe, the Comedians of the Canyons, last performed.
The unscripted fun continues later this month when the troupe -- comprised of students enrolled in the college’s advanced improvisational performance theatre class -- presents its next improv show at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 30 in Pico Canyon Hall, Room 202 on the Valencia campus.
“Each scene is made up on the spot from audience suggestions,” said Allan Trautman, a professional actor with dozens of television and movie credits who is the course’s and the show’s host and director. “I’ve been throwing them a lot of advanced scene work, and they have really risen to the occasion,” he added. “Our last show was packed with a very enthusiastic crowd, and we expect this last performance of the semester to be standing-room-only. The people who come to this show are in for a unique treat."
The last COC performance on May 2 was very successful, filling the house with eager improv enthusiasts, so Trautman suggests arriving early for the best seating.
The show is free and open to the public.

May 13, 2009

Assemblywoman Strickland Tours College, University Center

Assemblywoman Audra Strickland (R-Moorpark) 37th District, was joined by College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook and a delegation of college administrators last Friday for a tour of the college’s Valencia campus facilities.
“With the acute challenges facing our legislators in Sacramento, we appreciate Assemblywoman Strickland taking time out of her busy schedule to visit the campus and get a taste of what we’re doing to help serve the community and boost our local economy,” Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook said.
Highlighting the visit was a behind-the-scenes look at the still-under-construction Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center facility.
“I’m always impressed by College of the Canyons and their willingness to push forward and bring new ideas to reality,” Assemblywoman Strickland said.
Scheduled to open this fall, the 110,000-square-foot building overlooks the Valencia campus, and sits perched above Interstate 5, positioned to command a spectacular view of the valley’s majestic mountains and blue-sky horizon.
With construction workers still completing various projects throughout the three-story building, Strickland and Van Hook were accompanied by Scott Wilk, College of the Canyons board member; Dena Maloney, Founding Dean, Canyon Country Campus; Jim Schrage, Vice President, Physical Plant and Facilities Planning; Eric Harnish, Director of External Relations; and Greg Millspaugh, construction manager, for a tour of the various classrooms, office spaces and additional educational facilities.
Cited as the solution to the lack of upper-division, graduate school and continuing education programs in the area, the University Center was created to increase student access to advanced degrees by forging partnerships with four-year colleges and universities, which make their academic programs available to students on the College of the Canyons campus.
“The University Center will be a tremendous resource in boosting a local economy as it helps people achieve their educational goals and advance in their careers,” Van Hook said. “Degrees and credentials our community’s residents need will now be accessible locally.”
Also slated to move into the new facility are Academy of the Canyons, the Early College High School, the COC Foundation, the college’s Professional Development department, the Institute of Teaching and Learning, the office of Community and Continuing Education, and the Economic Development Division -- which encompasses the Small Business Development Center, the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies, the Employee Training Institute and the i3 Advanced Technology Incubator.
“With so many different but complementary functions housed in the University Center, it’s clear that new synergies will be created to the benefit of the community,” Strickland said.

“We’re proud to partner with the William S. Hart Union High School District and offer high school students the chance to get a jump-start on college through the innovative programs available through the Early College High School and Academy of the Canyons,” Van Hook said.
Before touring the University Center, Strickland had the opportunity to visit the nursing laboratories and Math, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) office located in the state-of-the art Aliso Laboratory, which opened in fall 2007.
She viewed a classroom demonstration featuring the use of the nursing department’s electronic mannequin ‘patient simulators.’ The equipment demonstrates how the use of technology allows students to practice their skills in a realistic setting while receiving critical patient feedback and response -- including audible responses and simulated physiological responses like change of pulse, heart rate and other vital signs.
Strickland was also shown the college’s environmentally friendly Central Plant facility located near Mentry Hall.
A Central Plant contains chillers, boilers and cooling towers that serve as a single source of supply for hot water (heating both air and potable water) and chilled water (for cooling air) that supplies multiple buildings from a central location — all controlled by a sophisticated computer system that continually and automatically adjusts its controls to provide the most energy efficient levels possible.
In fact, the campus features there of these plants. Combined, they serve all of the college’s current buildings and facilities, with enough reserve capacity for the entire build-out of the campus. Additionally, the Central Plants are equipped with co-generation capabilities, where the college produces its own electrical power via natural gas fired generators. The co-generation units use the waste heat from the exhaust to produce both hot and cold water for normal central plant functions.
Providing a dramatic reduction in the college’s power costs, the Central Plant and co-generation projects have been so efficient that the college routinely receives annual gas and electric utility rebates of roughly $1 million, via an energy saving program initiated by the California Community College System.

May 11, 2009

College Honored For Use of Proven Teaching Strategies

Officials from the Hewlett Leaders in Student Success program recognized College of the Canyons last Friday as one of three California community colleges honored in 2009 for the use of innovative and proven teaching strategies in the college’s ‘basic skills’ foundational math and English programs.
A division of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Hewlett Leaders in Student Success program annually recognizes colleges that demonstrate promising and innovative approaches to student success in basic skills education.
In particular, the program looks for colleges that use outcome data to validate levels of success that can then be shared and replicated at other institutions.
As a Hewlett Leaders honoree, the college will receive a $15,000 instruction grant in order to conduct ‘train the trainer’ information sessions at surrounding community colleges, allowing College of the Canyons faculty and administrators to share the techniques and strategies used to help basic skills math and English students succeed.
“It’s a tremendous honor for us to receive this recognition. We were pleased to be one of the 11 California community colleges nominated for this award,” said Audrey Green, associate vice president of academic affairs at the college. “We plan to begin making presentations and disseminating our effective teaching program practices at statewide conferences beginning in the fall.”
According to information provided by Hewlett Leaders, each year roughly half a million new students enroll in community colleges, but at least 70 percent are not prepared for college level coursework.
Basic skills courses help under-prepared students master the math and English language skills required for success in transfer-level courses in which students can begin working toward an associate or bachelor’s degree.
In selecting the grant recipients, Hewlett Leaders program officials reviewed data from more than 100 community colleges that tracked the success of three recent cohorts of students in basic skills math and English courses. The standard of success was based on the percentage of students who progressed through pre-collegiate classes and moved on to transfer-level coursework.
The 27 schools with the strongest data were then asked to give examples of specific strategies they use to increase success among basic skills students. From those schools, 11 were selected for a site visit from a two person visiting team in order to observe classrooms and interview key campus personnel before final decisions were made about the three grant recipients.
College of the Canyons programs reviewed included the ‘15 College Success Tips’ program and the Personalized Accelerated Learning program (PAL).
The ‘15 College Success Tips’ program is designed to promote one or more ‘success tip’ each week in each participating course. By working to increase awareness levels among students and faculty about specific success skills, encouraging the discussion and implementation of success skills in all classes and creating student learning networks, college officials have seen an increase in both the retention levels and success rates of students.
The college’s PAL program offers students a series of back-to-back, short-term classes in math and English designed to accelerate the student’s progression from a basic skills coursework level to a degree-applicable course of study.
College officials have also seen an increase of student success rates within the PAL program.
For instance, in last fall’s first semester English PAL program, 79 percent of the participants progressed through two levels of coursework in a single semester to a transfer-level English class -- compared to just 38 percent of students from fall 2006 who successfully progressed to a transfer level course over a two-year period.
Similarly, 62 percent of students enrolled in the fall 2008 pre-algebra PAL program progressed from pre-algebra to a degree-applicable math course during the semester, compared to just 17 percent of students from fall 2006 who progressed to a transfer level math course over a two-year period.
“Students who place into basic skills courses are often deterred from enrolling because, to them, it seems as if they’ll never be able to reach the transfer level courses,” Green said. “At College of the Canyons, we want to provide opportunities that will not only enhance student success but promote a spirit of persistence, while keeping students out of the type of classroom environments in which they’ve previously been unsuccessful.”
College of the Canyons will be officially recognized by the Hewlett Leaders in Student Success at the 2009 Strengthening Student Success Conference in San Francisco in October.

Award winners were announced Friday, May 8, in Sacramento.

May 6, 2009

Performing Arts Center Presents Tom Rush, Lovell Sisters

The afternoon of May 16 will be filled with music by folk music icon, Tom Rush, and the emerging trio The Lovell Sisters as they combine their talents at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons, as classic converges with new.
"This is going to be one of our best concerts of the season," said Adam Philipson, PAC managing director. "The chance to see the legendary Tom Rush paired up with one of the hottest up and coming bands in the Bluegrass scene will make for an afternoon you will not want to miss."
Tom Rush -- who paved the way for the folk-pop sound of the '60s and is credited with ushering in the era of the singer/songwriter -- has made a profound and lasting impact on the American music scene. In addition to his own compositions, he performed songs by Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Murray McLauchlan, and helped them to gain recognition early in their careers.
With the recent release of Rush’s album “What I Know,” the troubadour is back stronger than ever. “He hasn't recorded a studio album in more than 30 years,” said the Los Angeles Times in a review of the album, “but you'd never guess that he'd been away so long, from the lithe spirit in his voice on these 15 tracks.”
The Lovell Sisters -- Jessica, 23, Megan, 19, and Rebecca, 18 -- are emerging songwriters from Georgia who are performing at this year’s Bonnaroo, MerleFest and Telluride Festival.
Praised for their virtuosic playing and vibrant vocal harmonizing, the Lovell Sisters were once signed to a major label but decided to become independent when they realized their original material was not a priority.
“Original material is crucial,” said Rebecca, who plays the guitar and mandolin. “If you want to have your own sound and your own voice, then you have to write your own songs.”

The title track of their album “Time to Grow,” to be released on July 7, was a finalist in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition and the song “Distance” was the Grand Prize Winner in the 2008 John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

Tom Rush and The Lovell Sisters will take the stage at 2 p.m.

May 5, 2009

Athletics Department Offers Five Youth Summer Camps

College of the Canyons Athletics is encouraging youth of all ages to stay active this summer with five fun-filled sports camps in June, July and August aimed at athletes of all skill levels.
Staffed and run by COC coaches and athletes, the youth camps provide an affordable way for the novice to the experienced player to learn a new sport or to take their game to a higher level.
Men's basketball coach Howard Fisher's basketball camp will stress fundamental skills such as defense, dribbling, passing, shooting and rebounding. There will also be skills competitions, guest speakers and full-court games. Individual instruction and written evaluations are given to each player. The basketball camp has two sessions: session one runs from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. on June 22-25 and session two runs from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. on June 29-July 2. The cost to register for either session is $200. The camp is open to boys and girls ages 6-14.
Join the 2008 and 2009 Western State Conference baseball team in its second annual summer youth camp. Head coach Chris Cota and his squad will cover defense, hitting, pitching and much more in this four-day camp for boys and girls ages 7-14. The camp will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 6-9. The cost to register is $195.
The camp will be staffed by members of the College of the Canyons men's and women's soccer teams, who will offer advice and personal attention. The Canyons School of Excellence Summer Soccer Academy is suitable for beginner or the advanced player and for boys and girls ages 5-15. The first session will run from July 6-10 from 5-8 p.m. The second session will run from July 13-17 from 5-8 p.m. The cost to register is $125, or $100 if registered before June 15. Discounts are available for families, teams and repeat participants.
Join Cougar head coach Garett Tujague and other coaches and players from the seven-time conference champion Cougar football program in a thrilling day-long non-contact football skills summer camp. This camp will help players increase their skills in every area of football, including: offense and defense, passing, rushing, catching, blocking, kicking and much more. The first camp for athletes in grades 1-5 runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 16. A second camp for athletes in grades 6-8 takes place on Wednesday, July 22 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The cost for either camp is $85.
Learn the basics or advanced skills of volleyball in fantastic four-day camps designed for boys and girls of all skill levels ages 9-16. These camps will cover everything from basic serving, blocking and setting to advanced concepts like the jump serve, the quick attack and offensive and defensive concepts, all in an individualized setting. The camp has two sessions: July 28-31 and Aug. 3-6. Both camps run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day. The cost for the camp is $125 if paid by July 1, or $150 after July 1.
For more information, call 661-362-5494.