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Palo Alto College's Center for Academic Transitions Featured in National College Board Publication

The Center for Academic Transitions (CAT) at Palo Alto College was recently recognized by the College Board’s CollegeKeys Compact™ program for best practices in student graduation, alumni, transfer and career opportunities for students.

The Center at Palo Alto was featured in the national College Board publication, The CollegeKeys Compact™, 2011 Catalog of Effective Practices: Programs and practices that expand options for students from low-income backgrounds.

In addition, Dr. Robert Garza, Palo Alto Dean of Student Affairs, was also selected to serve on a CollegeKeys™ Review Committee to formulate new initiatives that will increase student success and develop a national resource center for best practices in higher education.

The CAT is located conveniently for students near the Student Center Cafeteria and provides services specifically designed to keep students progressing toward their educational goals. It houses offices for scholarships, transfer services, graduation information, job search and placement, career services, and alumni and friends.

“This national recognition by the College Board is a testament to the efforts of faculty and staff in ensuring that students have a clear plan to graduate and/or transfer.  Center staff members have worked tirelessly to guarantee that students have the resources they need to move onto the next stage of their lives,” stated Dr. Mike Flores, Palo Alto College Vice President of Student Affairs.

Rosie Castro, Director of the Center for Academic Transitions, added, “Our Mission at the CAT is to provide advising, student support and to insure opportunities for each PAC student to accomplish his or her academic and career goals. The center was conceived and built by our president, Dr. Ana “Cha” Guzman, as a comprehensive approach to guiding students toward a smooth and successful transition in to their chosen career field and their transfer to a four-year university. It is this unified approach that has students, faculty and staff moving toward increased graduation, job placement and transfer rates. We appreciate the College Board’s recognition of our efforts.”

The CollegeKeys Compact™ program is a national call to action to school districts, colleges and universities, state education agencies, and nonprofit organizations to identify, share and expand programs and practices that address the needs and challenges of low-income students and help them get ready for, get into and get through college. The 2011 Catalog of Effective Practices, showcases programs that were submitted for consideration in the College Board’s 2011 Innovation Awards program. This catalog serves as a useful resource for educators and policymakers alike by showcasing the excellent work that is being done around the nation to help more deserving students from low-income backgrounds.

The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education and developed the SAT college entrance exam. Today, the membership association is made up of more that 5,900 of the worlds leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education.

The award is available on page 25 of the publication at this website.

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Alamo Colleges Recognize Employee Idea For Saving $74,000 Annually
PAC's Lydia Hannawi submits winning idea

Lydia HannawiAt the July 26 regular board meeting, the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees recognized Lydia Hannawi of Palo AltoCollege for her submission to the "Alamo Ideas" program that will reduce expenses by $74,602.47 annually.

Hannawi's idea, to pool existing resources for interpreter services at each campus into one location, will net savings by reducing the Alamo Colleges' dependence on third party interpreters for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Under the Alamo Ideas guidelines, she received a check for $7,460.25, which she says she will place in her son's college fund.

Hannawi was the Coordinator of the Disability Support Services Office and now is the Coordinator of Assessment.

The Alamo Ideas program, implemented in August 2010 as a cost saving strategy, is designed to promote employee innovation and participation in the development of programs and processes that improve efficiency, service or safety throughout the Alamo Colleges. The program is a part of the Alamo College's recognition that its employees are a vast resource for ideas that can improve how the colleges serve its students and community.

Linda Boyer-Owens, Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources and Organizational Development, noted that, "Alamo Ideas is about every employee having the opportunity to take ownership in the direction that the Alamo Colleges is headed. It's about being part of a culture of continuous improvement."

Rewards can be lucrative for both innovators and implementers, in the amounts of 10% of the first year's savings up to $10,000 and 2% of the first year's savings up to $2,000 respectively. Hannawi's idea resulted in a gross incentive of $7,460.25 to be awarded to her and a gross incentive of $1,492.05 for Jo Hilton of San Antonio College, who is charged with implementation of the idea.

Hannawi's idea is one of two to be recently implemented through the Alamo Ideas program. John Onderdonk of San Antonio College, who could not be present at the July 26 meeting, was awarded for his suggestion to turn off the lights on vending machines throughout the colleges at night and during non-operating hours. His idea will result in a savings of $1,022 annually to the Alamo Colleges.


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PAC Students Compete in National SkillsUSA Championship

National SkillsUSA ChampionshipPalo Alto College Industrial Automation Technology students Abraham Saenz and William Welborn competed in the SkillsUSA National Championship held in Kansas City, Mo.. June 20-24. The students competed in the category of Robotics and Automation and received 4th place. To qualify for this national completion, these students received 1st place at the Statewide SkillsUSA competition.

“I was very proud of my students and I’m looking forward to seeing them move forward in this industry. This national competition was a great opportunity for them,” said Leonel Diaz, Industrial Automation Technology Advisor.

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations. It was formerly known as VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America).


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Faculty and Staff Recognized at Fall Convocation

Awards were celebrated at the 2011 Palo Alto College Fall Convocation on Aug. 15 in the Student Center. Faculty and staff were recognized for years of service, promotion, tenure, and retirement.

Those faculty recognized for promotion included:
Professor: Dr. John Hernandez, Philosophy; Dr. Denise Barkis Richter, Communications
Associate Professor: Dr. Kenneth Harris, Speech,; Karen Mahaffy, Fine Arts; Ramon Hernandez, Kinesiology
Assistant Professor: Alexis Lowe, Kinesiology; Angela Menke, Mathematics; Dr. Stamatis Muratidis, Chemistry; and Dr. Fonzie Quance-Fitch, Vet Tech.

Those faculty earing tenure were Dr. Amie DeLeon, Teacher Education, and Brian Sanders, CIS.

Retiring faculty and staff included: Therese Palacios, Administrative Computer Technology; Teresa Galvan, Counseling; Dr. Cecilia Gonzales, Sciences; Tony Pierulla, Counseling; Irene Scharf, Library; Michael Seiferth, English; and James Stovall, Anthropology.

A staff award was presented to Ms. Lanette Garza for completing the requirements for the Data and Decisions Academy Presidential Scholarship from the Association for Institutional Research.

Service awards included the following:
30 Years - Rosemarie H. Laguna, Student Financial Services;
25 Years - Frank J. Crayton, Reading & Education; Rose Marie Davis, Testing Center; George Ed Hagen, Biological Sciences; David M. Hope, Developmental Math; Armando Limon, Housekeeping; Eliazar Reyna, General Housekeeping; and P. Daniel Rodriguez, Counseling Center;
20 Years - Ginger Hall Carnes, Public Relations; Edward S. Galvan, Housekeeping; Alejandro G. Lopez, Housekeeping; Rachel Calles Marez, Welcome Center; Greta G. Rodriguez, CAT; Lucila C. Rodriguez, Student Financial Services; Oralia M. Rodriguez, Telecourse Administration; and Lydia L. Trevino, Special Populations;
15 Years - Norman Armstrong, History; Javier R. Aguirre, History; Brad S. Chandler, Biology; Gilbert M. Cruz Jr., Housekeeping; Irene Dennis, Community Outreach; Ruth Ann Gambino, English; John G. Hernandez, Philosophy; Robert R. Hines, History; Dora Lara, Department of Public Safety; Gilbert J. Polanco, Testing Center; Arturo Sanchez, Grounds Maintenance; Larry D. Smith, Building Maintenance; Kirk W. Williams, Landscape & Turfgrass Management;
10 Years - Anna Bustamante, Kinesiology; Yvonne Forey, Student Financial Services; Ana M. “Cha” Guzmán, President; Kenneth Harris, Speech; William Krant, Mathematics; Steven Mardock, Criminal Justice; Paul Ortiz, Housekeeping; Dana Reed, Math; Cynthia A. Sanchez, Library; and Jane Velasquez, Community Outreach;
5 Years - Erlinda Allison, Corporate and Community Education; Martha Cruz-Bock, Geography; Maria M. De Alejandro, Housekeeping; Elida Theresa De Leon, Ray Ellison Family Center; Roland De Leon, Math; Miguel Angel Enriquez, Building Maintenance; Brenda Espinoza, Corporate and Community Education; Celia T. Espinoza, President’s Office; Daniel Forton, Building Maintenance; Edward A. Gildemeister, Biological Sciences; Myrella Gonzalez, Exit Center; Leroy Ibarra, Instructional Innovation Center; Jessica Marie Landrum, Admissions & Records; Jason Lathe, LAN Administrator/Engineer; Robert Leal, Biological Sciences; Sarah A. Misner, Bursar; Adrian Montoya, Aquatic Center; Gilbert Palomo, Gateway to College; Barry “Lynn” Parker, Criminal Justice; Gregory Pasztor, Communications; Crystal L. Prado, English As a Second Language; Robin Rakestraw, Veterans Affairs; Jennifer Rodriguez, Criminal Justice; Maria Rogers, Counseling Center; Veronica Rosas-Tatum, Business Management; Sara Wilkins, Biological Sciences; and Angelita S. Wolfe, Admissions & Records.

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Children's Musical Performed in PAC Performing Arts Center
"The 2 Stories of the 3 Little Pigs"

The 2 Stories of the 3 Little PigsThe St. Philip’s College Academy of Fine Arts held its Summer musical performances at the Palo Alto College Performing Arts Center Aug. 4-6. The students performed “The 2 Stories of the 3 Little Pigs,” a whimsical presentation of the wolf’s side of the story in this classic fairytale.

The cast of 14 students ranging in age from 11-17 performed to a crowd of 700 people over the course of three days. Audience members who came to see these performances in the PAC Performing Arts Center included groups from St. Peter’s and St. Joseph’s Home for Children, the PAC Leadership Academy, the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind, Country Home Learning Centers, Alamo Colleges International Programs, as well as the general public. The performances were free and open to the public.

“I am so thankful to Dr. Guzman for agreeing to have our troupe perform at the beautiful Palo Alto College Performing Arts Center. This program strives to bring all of the San Antonio community together in fulfillment of our calling to educate and serve our diverse communities. With the generosity of Palo Alto College, we have found success,” stated Nina McGrath, Director of the Academy of Fine Arts at St. Philip’s College.

The Academy of Fine Arts is a community education and outreach program, whose mission is to engage middle and high school students in high level fine arts training and to delve further into the full process of creating performance based outcomes. Currently, programming in the Academy includes the Summer Musical Theatre Workshop, the San Antonio Youth Wind Ensemble, the AFA Jazz Band and the St. Philip’s College Community Choir.


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TRIO Students Participate in National Poverty Tour

A group of about 40 TRIO students engaged in a conversation with Princeton University Professor and author Cornel West and veteran television broadcaster Tavis Smiley on Wednesday, Aug. 10. The discussion topic: Poverty.

West and Smiley are on a 15-city, cross-country road trip they are calling “The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience.” The tour is intended to highlight poverty in America in the hopes of bringing the plight of the poor and disadvantaged to the forefront of public policy discussions, according to West and Smiley.

“We’re especially pleased to be here talking with TRIO students,” said Smiley, best known for his PBS talk show. “Few people realize that between 2008 and 2009, more young people fell into poverty than at any time in American history.

“We’re on this tour to raise awareness about the issue of poverty,” Smiley said. “We want to raise the level of debate and conversation about the plight of the poor in this country.”

At the event, Ana Mejia Garcia, a McNair Scholar at the University of Maryland, told West and Smiley that juggling school and work to provide for her family means most days she operates on three hours or less of sleep.

“After my parents divorced, my dad, who had been the bread winner of our family, decided to discontinue this role, forcing me to step up and provide for my mom and little sisters,” said Garcia.  “Currently, I am working a full-time job in the evening. When I get off work, I study and do homework and then whatever time I have left before my morning full-time course load begins, I sleep.”

Poverty is a tragedy that has burdened most TRIO students. TRIO students come from families with incomes below 150 percent of federal poverty levels (e.g., $33,525 for a family of four) and in which neither parent has a baccalaureate degree. Poverty is a key factor affecting educational attainment for children and students in classrooms, according to research by the Pell Institute. In a recent study released by the Pell Institute, researchers found a direct correlation between high-poverty and low-poverty schools and degree attainment. Schools with low poverty rates graduated 91 percent of their seniors while high-poverty schools graduated only 68 percent.

Smiley and West describe the tour as an attempt to force the White House and Congress to pay more attention to the plight of the poor. A conversation with TRIO students seems tailor-made for this mission. There are roughly 840,000 TRIO students who have chosen to be proactive about pulling themselves out of poverty, as evidenced by their pursuit of a college degree. Unfortunately, as Congress and the White House continue to cut funding for TRIO, more and more students find themselves slipping downward on the slopes of opportunity.


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Johnson Inducted Into USA Fencing's Hall of Fame

Palo Alto College Vice President of Academic Affairs, Stacey R. Johnson, was inducted into USA Fencing’s Hall of Fame on July 3, in Reno, Nev. Johnson was recognized for both her athletic achievements as well as her contributions as an outstanding administrator for USA Fencing and the U.S. Olympic movement.

As an athlete, Johnson was a four-time All American and two-time NCAA individual champion for San Jose State University. She holds the collegiate all-time record for win/loss of 305-1. She was awarded one of the NCAA’s highest honors and named a Silver Anniversary recipient in 2004, recognizing 25 years of service and contributions on behalf of sport. Johnson was a three-time U.S. National Team Champion, five-time individual finalist, a member of three Jr. World Teams and two World University Games team member. She also was a member of the 1980 Olympic Team.

In administration, Johnson was the first woman president to hold a four-year term for USA Fencing from 2000-2004. She led an international initiative to bring equity to women in in her sport; and this significant goal was achieved at the Athens Olympic in 2004 where Women Saber Fencers won entrance into the Games and the U.S. won both gold and bronze medals, ending a 20-year drought for Olympic medals in the sport.

Johnson served the U.S. Olympic Committee as Vice President of the National Governing Bodies Council 2000-2004 and served on the U.S.O.C Executive Committee from 2003-2004. She is a U.S. Olympic Committee Project Gold Leadership Graduate and Rings of Gold recipient. She serves San Antonio Sports on the Executive Committee and founded the Dreams for Youth program in 1996. The U.S. Olympic Committee named San Antonio and the “Dreams for Youth Program” as one of only four cities to receive designation as a Community Olympic Development Program and was awarded a $1 million dollar grant. “Dreams for Youth” has served approximately 250,000 children to date and provides training for minority coaches. Johnson was named to Mayor Castro’s Health and Fitness Committee in 2010. Johnson has been inducted into the San Jose State University Hall of Fame, San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame and the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame.

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Around Campus

Around Campus - QEPPAC graduate, Astrella “Shaggy” Tanguma shows off her sidewalk art in the courtyard. The artwork is the PAC QEP logo and serves as a reminder to faculty, staff, and students of PAC’s “Make it RREAL” Quality Enhancement Plan. Shaggy graduated from PAC with an Associate in Liberal Arts in 2008 and then received the Bridge Scholarship to the University of Northern Iowa where she received her B.A. in Theater Arts in May 2011. Look for more of Shaggy’s work around campus during Dia de los Muertos. Photo by Grace Newton


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