On June 29, 2020 the college received the official notice from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges that the Commission acted to Reaffirm Accreditation for seven years.
This is the best result the college could have received. We have a midterm report due in 2024 and our next comprehensive review is in 2027. Many thanks to everyone, especially the Accreditation Steering Committee and all that served on the Standards Subcommittees. Also, many thanks to everyone for your work during the visit to provide the peer review team with all the information and support they needed.
It is the work of everyone at the College that made this process a success; the peer review team saw the products of our collective efforts to make Mendocino College what it is. Having our accreditation reaffirmed without any follow-up reports or visits required is something we can be proud of.
Enrollment (Summer 2020 and Fall 2020)
As of July 6, 2020 student enrollment for Summer 2020 increased by 3% over Summer 2019. This is an exceptional result due to the pandemic. It illustrates the cooperative planning between administration and faculty to respond to the critical educational needs of our students.
Enrollment for Fall 2020 is current down around 8% from Fall 2019. This is due to the COVID pandemic. Most districts statewide are experience similar declines. The student groups with the largest decline are returning students and life-long learning students. Positive news is the student groups of new students, transfer students, and continuing students have the least decline. Due to the pandemic our overall number of course sections decreased 30% from Fall 2019.
Due to COVID-19, the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Board approved a plan to move all Fall 2020 sports to Spring 2021. The seasons for all sports have been modified/shortened.
The Summer Session has ended successfully as a first online only summer schedule. The library and centers kept minimal hours to support students in their online classes and support services were offered online. In spite of being all online, enrollments overall were slightly greater than last summer.
Planning for instruction in the Fall semester has been challenging; however, faculty, deans and staff have been working hard to make Fall 2020 as successful as possible. We all recognize that this is a semester like no other we have begun. Much planning has gone into the design of fall semester offerings to keep returning students on track toward completion and to give new students an excellent start on their studies. We are offering classes in every discipline and General Education area. Some face-to-face class meeting are planned for courses in which learning outcomes cannot be accomplished fully online. These class meetings are especially important for classes which have external requirements such as Nursing, Physical Therapy Assistant, and Emergency Medical Services.
Professional development has continued to support faculty to instruct online. Approximately 40 full-time faculty attended a special summer faculty meeting on July 13 to discuss the support they and students need for a successful fall semester. The administration is working with faculty leaders to deliver many of those supports.
In addition to the more than 180 faculty (full- and part-time) who completed the 40-hour training in how to be an online instructor, other professional development opportunities have been available to support faculty. During the week of August 4th two “Canvas discussions” are occurring with 36-40 participants each. These discussions will feature faculty experts in online instruction delivering their practices for engaging students in the online environment. On August 6th, the College will host its part-time faculty orientation which will also largely focus on supporting faculty and students in a successful fall semester.
Our Guided Pathways work also pivoted this summer to recognize the particular needs of students in this current pandemic. Workgroups were formed to design outreach, in-reach, and learning support services that will support students in their success.
Another Guided Pathways workgroup has been working on faculty resources. This group will launch its Faculty-Helping-Faculty canvas shell with resources and a discussion page. They will also provide faculty with student-resource information to share in their pages. From the beginning of the pandemic and the move to online education, this group of faculty experts have been a resource to their peers. Currently, they are providing individual support to thirty-six faculty and video support to twenty-six of their peers.
In the Career Technical Education areas, The Strong Workforce Program and the North Far North Consortium of 15 Community Colleges continues to support our Career Education programs locally and regionally during these economically uncertain times.
Although most Fall courses have transitioned online, at the centers, staff are still available to support students and faculty remotely and with limited on ground hours. On ground hours are set to increase, with safety precautions in place, in anticipation of Fall registration. A few courses continue to have planned limited on ground meetings at our centers and educational sites, including EMT courses at the Lake Center and Covelo, and ESL and basic computer skills at all locations. Although we have had a tumultuous past few months, it is amazing what staff and faculty have been able to accomplish. At the Lake Center we had to cancel our course at the Lake County Jail in Spring. However, one student in that course was released and just visited to register for Fall semester. The Shakespeare on the Lake team was also able to successfully offer the fifth iteration of their performance, this time, completely online over Zoom. Through the North County Center our educational site in Covelo has provided an outlet for students to access internet and the majority of our courses. At the Coast Center we are coordinating with the Fine Woodworking program to envision how this program can proceed successfully during a pandemic.
Most exciting, at all center locations, across 12 different high schools, we have maintained open communication with our dual enrollment partners and will continue, and at many locations grow, our dual enrollment opportunities. We have added College Career Access Pathway (CCAP) agreements at Round Valley High School in Covelo and Fort Bragg High School. This is in addition to agreements at Clear Lake, Kelseyville, Upper Lake, and Mendocino High Schools. These pathways are exhilarating as they provide structured and supported pathways of high school and college courses that encourage traditional and non-traditional college students to not only see themselves as college students, but to enter a pathway toward a community college certificate and/or degree.
Our Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program was reviewed by the national Commission for Accreditation of Physical Therapy Assistants Education (CAPTE). Effective July 14,2020 the Commission's decision to continue “candidate for accreditation status” is based on the program's demonstration of satisfactory progress, to date, toward achieving compliance with all of the standards and required elements. All of our PTA students course units/ credits taken this past semester, now that we are in candidate for accreditation status, are now nationally recognized by CAPTE.
Chemistry Professor Gregory Allen has successfully partnered Mendocino College with the University of California, Davis in a project to increase student success in General Chemistry classes. These classes are often seen as gateway classes to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degrees and careers. This California Education Learning Lab grant seeks to directly improve outcomes for underrepresented and disadvantaged student groups in California by using technology-enabled learning to improve access to quality education. More specifically, it aims to explore the use and efficacy of culturally sensitive adaptive learning (CS-AL) technologies and methodologies.
Personal Protective Equipment
The college received 10 pallets of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). With the support of the Governor’s Office and Cal OES, the Chancellor’s Office secured an initial supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for all California Community College districts from CalOES. Our shipment included surgical masks, N95 masks, face shields, non-contact thermometers, and hand sanitizer.
While the college will remain primarily online for instruction and services for the fall semester, there are certain functions that would greatly benefit students to be offered in person, particularly at the start of the semester, such as Financial Aid, Admissions and Records, the Centers, and the Library. The college's Facilities and Safety Committee approved measures on how to safely offer very limited in person instruction and services when it is necessary. These measures were developed using guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Governor’s Office, Mendocino County Public Health, Lake County Public Health, and other agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as our local health care professionals. Each function that intends to offer in person interaction will have to submit a plan for how the safety measures will be met.
The budget for the State of California began the fiscal year out of balance by $54 billion. The Governor’s proposed budget included drastic cuts to community college funding, including an 8% cut to general apportionment and cuts to many categorical programs. The 2020/21 Tentative Budget approved by the board in June included these assumptions. The 8% cut to Mendocino College totaled $1.9 million in lost revenue. The budget enacted by the State, which is a compromise between the Governor and the Legislature, included no cuts to apportionment and categorical programs. The enacted budget addressed the $54 billion shortfall by unprecedently large deferrals of revenue and relies heavily on federal COVID-19 bailout funds.
The economy at the state and national levels remain severely impacted by COVID-19. Gross domestic product (GDP) decreased an unprecedented 32.9% in the second quarter of 2020. Unemployment in California was reported at 14.9% in June. In a bit of good economic news, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) recently reported that state revenues from current tax collections from April to July 2020 outpaced budget projections by $1.3 billion. But this is a long way from addressing the $54 billion dollar budget deficit.
Through discussions at the Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC), the college has taken measures to reduce spending. We have put a hold on recruiting many positions that had been approved for hiring, saving approximately $400,000. We have cut the supplies and services budgets by 25% ($265,000) and put a hold on replacing computers that are due for replacement based on our regular refresh cycle ($60,000). We are hiring very few temporary employees ($300,000) and will see lower instructional costs due to scheduling fewer class sections in the fall than normal.
The college will continue to monitor the budget at the state level as we develop an Adopted Budget to present to the trustees. Typically, the board is presented with a proposed Adopted Budget in September, but that timeline has been pushed by the Chancellor’s Office to October this year in order to allow more time in the event that the state revises the budget when personal income tax revenue is better known.
On Thursday, August 6th, managers and classified leaders from our campus met with staff from the Institute for Evidence-Based Change (IEBC) as we engage with them in the Caring Campus initiative. IEBC supports college equity efforts by creating campuses where all students—including non-majority students—feel connected and cared for. IEBC uses a facilitated coaching model to transmit knowledge about the fundamentals of what can be done to increase student connectedness to the college, which leads to increases in student success. Classified Leadership at Mendocino College brought this important work to our attention and we went through the application process to be selected as a participating campus. IEBC will provide support for our staff throughout the year as we continue to make student-centered improvements throughout the College in order to promote a more welcoming environment for all.
New Student Welcome
On Thursday, August 6th and Friday, August 7th, multiple Student Services departments collaborated to host a virtual New Student Welcome. Now in its third year under the current format, this year’s event will be done entirely online. So far, over 170 students have registered from programs such as FYI, EOPS, and CAMP, along with general students to learn more about the programs and support services available at Mendocino College. As part of the New Student Welcome, which serves as an orientation to Mendocino College, students will be able to enjoy a series of sessions hosted by Student Services and Instruction. All sessions will be recorded so students who cannot make the live sessions can view them at a later date.
In-Person Student Services Support
Starting on August 10th, Admissions & Records, Financial Aid, EOPS and IT Support will be available to students on campus. Open Mondays and Tuesdays for three hours during a three-week period, staff will be available to students who are having difficulties completing their application, financial aid documents, enrolling in courses, or getting IT support. While students will still be encouraged to complete all items remotely, staff will be available in person for students on a limited basis. Strict safety/health measures will be followed to ensure the safety of faculty, staff and students.
The Financial Aid Office is finishing up paying students for the summer 2020 semester. This summer Mendocino College disbursed $501,654 in Pell Grant funds compared to $358,648 in Summer 2019. This is an increase of $143,006 mainly due to the Year-Round Pell Grant regulation, which allows students to receive up to 150% of a Pell Grant award in the academic year.
The Financial Aid Office continues to process CARES Act funds to students who have expressed a need as a result of COVID-19. During the summer we have disbursed an additional $182,900 to 311 students. In total we have disbursed $585,650 in 887 payments (students may have received a spring and summer payment) to 718 unduplicated students.
First Year Institute
One of the goals of the First Year Institute is to increase student retention to their second year of studies. 70% of students from the 19/20 FYI Cohort who were enrolled in Spring 2020 have enrolled for Fall 2020. This is consistent with our most recent cohort’s first year to second year retention rate at this point in the enrollment period. Staff are continuing to follow up with students who have not enrolled for Fall in order to give them increased opportunities for support.
The 2020-2021 cohort is currently comprised of 122 students. While our goal is to serve 100 students each year, we expect to recruit more students but do expect some attrition prior to the start of the semester which will leave us at our goal or slightly above. FYI will be distributing lending library books, Chromebooks & calculators to incoming FYI students on Wednesday, August 12 to help students start their semester with the materials they need.
The Pomo Pathway workgroup has been meeting regularly over the summer in preparation for the next cohort, which will be enrolled in online courses. Outreach Specialist Malissa Donegan and Counselor Apryl Guisasola have been coordinating student onboarding to help students with the matriculation process. They have also reached out to tribal partners in the area to provide students with additional support throughout the District. As we have done in previous years, students will be provided with school supplies, access to Chromebooks and textbooks to promote their success during the year. Additionally, Instructor John Rall organized a Summer Bridge program to provide students with valuable information prior to the start of the school year. With a goal of serving 25 students per cohort, enrollment for this year’s group is almost full.
College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP)
Currently, the program has 39 new CAMP scholars and 14 continuing from the 2019-2020 cohort. The CAMP online Summer Bridge program is underway, offering the following courses: CCS 124 and LIB 200. 30 out of the 39 new CAMP scholars are taking part in Summer Bridge.
Guided Pathways Leadership Team – Outreach Workgroup
The Outreach Workgroup created a summer plan to focus on the following three areas:
In-Reach: An In-Reach Workgroup was created to develop a plan and timeline to contact over 800 students that utilized the EW record in the Spring semester and had not yet enrolled for the Fall 2020 semester. To accomplish this task, first an email and text went out to students encouraging to enroll and offering assistance. Then phone calls were placed to students to provide the same support. This task required multi-departmental collaboration.
Outreach: Due to our remote learning environment, the in-person Reg2Go process, which links our outreach and counseling staff with our K-12 partners, transitioned to providing support remotely. The first district to partner with the college was Ukiah Unified School District. Our Outreach staff, with support from IT, coordinated with UUSD IT and created a Google Classroom with regular meeting times to assist prospective students. Google Classroom is the tool currently used within UUSD and their high schoolers, so this transition facilitated the connection with prospective students. We are exploring the same type of service and support with the other districts. Since our K-12 partners in Willits will be using Canvas in the Fall, we will explore opportunities to utilize this platform for this purpose.
Onboarding: As identified in the climate survey a few years back, there was a need to reduce the barriers students faced as they looked to transition to Mendocino College and improve the overall experience. During the summer, the online Student Orientation was greatly updated and is now utilizing a newer, student-friendly platform. Additionally, more forms are being converted to allow students the ability to submit them digitally. This work will continue through the Fall semester.
Lastly, the workgroup recommended having a more robust and interactive Outreach presence on our College’s website. Additionally, a workgroup to be led by PIO Janelle Meyers Bird will be developing a Virtual Campus Tour. It was also agreed that now more than ever, it will be important to maintain and expand our K-12, agency, and community relationships through remote services. Equally, more intentional and regular internal communication amongst Departments will improve our external messaging. Although originally scheduled as a summer workgroup, the Outreach Workgroup will continue to meet throughout the school year.