GB News: From the Southwestern Community College District Governing Board

President's Message

Governing Board President Tim NaderEven though the State mandated that all community colleges reduce the number of courses they offer due to State budget cuts, our enrollments are up to more than 20,000 students. With fewer courses offered, this means more students are enrolling in fewer units. The demand exceeds what we can provide. Additional 8-week and 10-week courses will be offered at all of the SWC sites, affording students the opportunity to add classes later in the semester.

Superintendent/President Search

The Governing Board continues to maintain an ambitious schedule for hiring a permanent Superintendent/President. Following a nationwide search that generated 34 applications, an 18-member committee of college students, faculty, administrators and community members narrowed the pool to five, which the Board then narrowed to three:

  • Melinda Nish, Ed.D., Vice President of Instruction at Orange Coast College
  • Betty Inclan, Ph.D., President of Berkeley City College
  • Denise Whittaker, Interim Superintendent/President of Southwestern College

Bios are posted at

The College held forums on September 12 and 13 at which employees, students and the community could ask questions of the candidates. The Board interviewed the candidates September 14 and conducted site visits to the campuses of finalists during the week of September 25. The Board plans to name the new Superintendent/President at its October 12 meeting.

College District Budget

Dollar signBoard members approved a $90.2 million operating budget which, if fully implemented, will require drawing $5 million from College District reserves. Administrators intend to spend at least $2 million less than that total during the fiscal year and will provide monthly updates to the Board.

California is expected to continue to limit spending on community colleges and other educational institutions for several years. A committee of trustees, staff and faculty representatives has been outlining a plan to maintain educational quality while balancing the College District's budget over the next three years.

The Board's rigorous inquiry into College District spending is "a reflection of the harsh fiscal reality that we face right now," Board President Tim Nader said.

Employee of the Quarter: Recognizing an "Angel"

Elizabeth Kozel Longtime Tutorial Center Coordinator Elizabeth Kozel was recognized at Wednesday's meeting as Employee of the Quarter for October-December.

Many of her colleagues singled Elizabeth out for the dedication and long hours she has devoted to ensuring students get the learning support they need, Human Resources Director Jackie Osborne said.

"Tonight we have an opportunity to recognize someone who is revered truly as an angel in the district," Osborne said.

In other employee-related action, the Board:

  • Approved the employment of James Davis as Director of Police Academy; Jae Chung as Instructional Lab Technician-Science (Biology); Alejandro Martinez as Financial Aid Technician; and Sean O'Bryant as Instructional Lab Coordinator--Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
  • Approved the temporary assignment of Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Angelica Suarez to also serve as Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • Approved changes in service including Patti Larkin's transition from Bookstore Director to Director of Financial Aid, Evaluations & Veterans Services.


Next regular board meeting: Sept. 14, 2011Among other actions, the Board:

  • Approved conducting a study of the College District's election system to ensure trustee elections are in compliance with the California and federal Voting Rights Acts and determine whether any changes are needed ahead of the November 2012 elections.
  • Accepted notification from the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges reaffirming the college's accreditation.
  • Accepted notification from the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the Dental Hygiene Program's "approval without reporting requirements."

Honored for Giving

The San Diego Blood Bank's Leslie Eagan thanked Student Health Services and the whole Southwestern College community for continuing to exceed expectations. Since March 2003, the bank has registered more than 3,000 donors at the college and collected 2,280 pints of blood, saving 4,560 lives — and started many students on a lifelong routine of giving.

Proposition R Update

Over the last few meetings the Board has been given a number of updates on Proposition R, the bond measure approved by College District voters in 2008:

  • Drawings for the Corner Lot project are on the desks of the Division of the State Architect. Their response is expected by the end of the year.
  • Planning for the new athletic Field House is under way.
  • Early planning for the renovation of Mayan Hall Theatre and the Central Plant has begun.
  • And two projects funded by Proposition AA, the measure approved by voters in November 2000, are wrapping up: The modernization of the Building 570 Photo Lab and the Snack Bar, due to open in mid-October.

Director of Facilities, Operations and Planning John Brown will continue to provide the Governing Board with project updates.

Study Abroad: Cape Town, South Africa

Student in South Africa for Spring 2011Carla Kirkwood, Ph.D., provided a presentation at the Board meeting at which participants thanked the Board for its continuing support of the Study Abroad program that sends two dozen students from Southwestern College and other regional community colleges to Cape Town, South Africa each spring.

Participants learn intercultural skills while contributing to the community through the Service Learning Program. Students this year painted the Red Hill School library they had helped fill with a book drive last year.

"These guys really came with a spirit of giving and volunteering and making as much of a difference as they could," said Virginia Watson, a professor in SWC's Child Development program.

The next trip is scheduled for March 22-April 7, 2012; details are available at

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