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August 2016 Message

Welcome to the start of the 2015-16 academic year!

The first day of class is an exciting time at the college as our students find their way and begin to settle into fall classes. As I mentioned on Friday, nearly 3,500 students will be stepping on our campus for the very first time this week, so I encourage you to reach out and connect with them. As you know, the earliest experiences of our students are powerful. Each of us has the ability, through a welcoming smile, a helping hand, or a compassionate comment, to lessen their anxiety and connect them to our community in a way that sets them on a path to learning and success.

Speaking of Friday's convocation, my thanks to all those who worked so hard to make the day such a success. It was heartening to see the entire college community come together and welcome our new staff and faculty, celebrate service milestones, and hear more about what is taking place at the college and district, both at present and in the future.

Being this is the first week of school I know everyone is busy so will keep my update brief. First, I have some great news as a follow-up to my July message highlighting grants and partnerships. You may recall we were awarded - at that time - two federal "TRIO" grants to serve more underrepresented students who receive the intensive, wraparound academic and student support services that are essential to the timely completion of their educational goals. After my message went out, we found out we had been awarded a third $1.1M TRIO grant, this one focused specifically on our Veteran students. So we have been awarded a trio of TRIOs - to our students' benefit.

In the next few weeks you will begin to see banners around campus announcing the launch of our new smoke/tobacco-free standard, slated to start Jan. 1, 2016. As I mentioned during convocation, a college-wide task force has been created including representatives from all constituent groups that will work throughout the fall and spring to assist with the implementation process. Please look for more information on this important "Clearing the Air" initiative throughout the fall. We will be adding resources and information to this page throughout the fall.

Lastly, as you know we will be joined by a visiting accreditation team this October. This will be a major emphasis for us this fall. Many thanks to all of you who worked so hard to prepare the accreditation self-study document. It is completed and is now available online.

I appreciate your hard work and dedication. All my best for an engaging fall term.