Welcoming back faculty and staff for a 57th academic year, Imperial Valley College hosted its convocation on Aug. 10 at the DePaoli Sports Complex in preparation for the 2018-19 academic year.
Classes began at IVC on August 13.
The convocation targeted faculty and included a three-member student panel. New Superintendent/President Martha Garcia, who succeeded Victor Jamie who retired in June, noted the 2017-18 class was the college’s largest with 1,080 graduates and 1,707 awarded degrees, a 10-percent increase over the prior year.
IVC Superintendent/President Dr. Martha Garcia extols the year past
as well as the coming academic year at the 2018 convocation in Imperial, August 10.
"I'm truly excited about our opportunities as an institution," said Garcia. "We've shown we can work hard at IVC and have fun and create the best working environment ever. IVC is one of 14 community colleges experiencing enrollment
growth at eight percent."
She added she feels blessed to serve as the school’s ninth president, particularly being an alumna, and that IVC was her bridge to a bachelor's degree.
"We have the opportunity to make an impact on the professionals of this community," she stressed. "And we have the responsibility to help contribute to the social and economic development of Imperial Valley."
One of the student panelists was Ricardo Rodriguez, 42, who was born and raised in El Centro but who strayed into a 20-year lapse of substance abuse resulting in periodic incarceration. He recalled it required five years and seven different schools but he persevered and graduated from Desert Oasis High School.
Ricardo Rodriguez, recent IVC graduate explains his motivation to
stay in school on August 10 in Imperial.
Rodriguez admitted he once did not trust teachers since he believed they did not have his best interests at heart. Once at IVC, he was clueless and picked out classes randomly not realizing he needed Spanish 101 before registering for the 201 level.
"When incarcerated you're told how to do everything," he said. "I picked classes just to get classes. But after one semester I surprised myself, I got four A's and a B."
Fortunately, Rodriguez received guidance from counselor Jose Plascencia, who helped him focus, and he now enjoys coming to school.
"Today I have an AA degree and am transferring to Northern Arizona University in Yuma to major in social work, something unimaginable in the past. But I'm having the greatest time in my life," he said.
Rodriguez suggests anyone in his former situation to give college a chance because people will never know what can be accomplished until they make an effort.
"What kept me going to school was the desire not to relapse," he said. "IVC was my only outlet to having a life chance."
Lennor Johnson, interim vice president of student services, vowed continuous improvement by removing barriers to success and maximizing opportunity.
Dr. Lennor Johnson, interim vice president of student services at the
2018 IVC convocation in Imperial; August 10.
"This year we'll focus on closing the achievement gap, roll out online counseling, as well as improve direct-contact counseling and strengthen partnerships with K-12 (kindergarten to 12th grade) public schools. It takes teamwork with a common vision to achieve uncommon results," Johnson said.
Christina Tafoya, IVC vice president of academic services, alerted faculty there will have a visit from March 11-14 by the Western Accreditation of Schools and Colleges.
Dr. Christina Tafoya: vice president of academic services at IVC
discussed pathways to achievement in Imperial, August 10.
"We must put our best foot forward by reviewing, vetting, refining and documenting evidence," she said. "We need a continuous quality improvement plan. How's it achieved?"
She added guided pathways can be a mechanism to achievement. The aim is finding what is holding some students back. For example, is a student taking on too many units in a semester or taking too long to graduate? Faculty, Tafoya said, must devise answers.
Deedee Garcia, IVC vice president of administrative services overseeing many fiscal functions, noted the main apportionment of state dollars allocated is $5,000 for each full-time enrolled student. But in 2018-19 a new funding formula of 70/20/10 will determine support.
Seventy percent of resources will be based on a three-year average enrollment. The 20 percent is tied to equity--how many low-income (Pell grants) students are enrolled.
The 10 percent is based on student success, such as the number of degrees conferred, as well as the number of graduates who attain a regional living wage after one year.
The keynote speaker was Kim Bateman, executive dean of Tahoe-Truckee Campus, Sierra College. She remarked there are parallels between romantic and working relationships yet to be successful people need to nurture them.
Dr. Kim Bateman, keynote speaker at the 2018 IVC convocation
in Imperial, August 10.
"Most of us, if we feel appreciated, will do more than we're asked for," she said. "But ask yourselves, who are the groups most marginalized on campus? Could it be African-American men, who have the lowest completion rate? Or maybe disabled students? Part-time faculty, often feel left out of communications and decision making?"
In an exercise, Bateman challenged individual tables of faculty to find a consensus of what is most important to have at IVC. Suggestions ranged from fostering a sense of identity and pride, improving campus life so IVC becomes a first choice instead of a last choice, and choosing to be positive. Perhaps most repeated was a need for communication and transparency.
Bateman explained it is up to individual faculty to assume responsibility to instill a Renaissance on the campus.
Some IVC faculty acknowledge applause at the 2018 convocation
in Imperial, August 10.
"I believe the community college is the most democratic of institutions," she said. "You take the most disadvantaged people in the community and elevate them to self-sufficiency. You know what it says on the back of your (IVC) business cards—'You are brilliant. Your students need you and your community needs you.’"