Convocation 2009

Celebrate DVC - Convocation 2009

Celebrate D V C - Convocation 2009I am excited and delighted to be welcoming in all our college faculty and staff to our “2009-10” fall convocation “Celebrate DVC.” This convocation officially “kicks off” our 60th birthday-year celebration.

When DVC was first established by the newly formed Contra Costa Board in 1949, classes were offered at various community locations including: the American Legion Hall, a bank, Camp Stoneman, high schools, a church, a club house, Martinez City Hall, the Court House, and a labor hall. We were designated to be a college for our community and were called East Contra Costa Junior College with an emphasis on a “‘strong liberal arts course of study’ for purposes of transfer to other institutions of higher education.” This focus has served us well, as is evidenced by our high transfer rates.

On October 5, 1950, the College Board of Trustees purchased our current DVC site for $172,500. Construction began in September, 1951. And we began classes here in 1952, in ten steel buildings acquired from the government for $45 each.

The San Ramon Campus began as the Center for Higher Education (CHE) in 1985. CHE formally changed its name in 1999 to the San Ramon Valley Center when it was granted center status by the State System’s Office and the California Post Secondary Education Commission. On November 2, 2006, SRC moved to its permanent location at 1690 Watermill Road, San Ramon.

The cornerstone for the first Pleasant Hill permanent building was laid in 1953, and the name Diablo Valley College was adopted in 1958. We've come a long way since those humble beginnings. Over one million students have been served by our college.

Judy E. Walters“Enlightened Transformation”

Last year I talked about “Celebrating Place and Community,” and before that it was “Circles of Enlightenment and Inclusion.” Throughout my past convocations, I’ve shared with you my personal organizational philosophy regarding institutional culture and climate and equally important, I’ve not only shared, but also practiced my personal values and beliefs of collaborative leadership. This year I want to continue sharing with you my vision of DVC: working together from a strengths-based center.

Selecting a title for a speech sets a context of expectations and since language is so important, I carefully looked up the definitions and synonyms for these two words: Enlightened – progressive, free-thinking, liberal, open-minded, tolerant ; Transformation - alteration, change, conversion, revolution, renovation, makeover. My conclusion from this was that, progressive change is enlightened transformation.

I want to add a footnote here. I am not going to address the budget in any meaningful sense. The Chancellor will be joining us and is addressing the budget from a District perspective. Once the College receives its allocation, we will approach the College budget with thoughtfulness, care, and dialogue about the changes that we’ll need to make as a result of the decisions made at the State legislative level.

What I do want to talk about is DVC’s engagement in progressive change. In many ways, the work we’ve taken on over the past two years becomes a metaphor. We are making outward changes -- maintenance and operation and the changes to our physical plant, and internal changes -- being proposed as a result of the accreditation recommendations. The outward manifestation --- change to the core of our physical plant and physical structure – is occurring at the same time we are working on our inward social- organism. The result is an enlightened transformation.

Progressive Change from the outward manifestation

We have been redoing the entire island landscaping and repaving the parking lots, which surround our college. The drought resistant native landscaping has a new drip system using recycled water.

We have also improved our way-finding signage around campus. We formed a task force and created the design for a solid permanent monumental sign. I personally think this is a great way to kick off the next 60 years at DVC. We will create four signs… our major one on Golf Club Road, a slightly smaller one on Viking Road and two small DVC signs, one at each end of Stubbs Road. With these signs we will mark our territory: This is DVC and we are proud of who we are and what we do. We have been here 60 years and will be here another 60 years, because we are able to change.

Transit Center
We’ve recently received word that the Contra Costa Transit system will be redoing the route the buses travel through our campus, placing four bus shelters and creating a regional transit center. That work will commence October 1st.

Commons Project
Throughout the past year, 75 DVC people participated in user-group meetings (representing student services, food services, culinary arts, and all support functions) working with Steinberg Architects. Ray Pyle, District Chief Facilities Planner; Chris Leivas, Vice President Finance and Administration; and David Lanahan, Architect and Project Manager, led a steering committee and the user groups in completing the programming and schematic design for the new DVC Commons Project.

The project is currently at the 50% Design /Development level. The design solution was carefully chosen to eliminate the need for costly swing space and to avoid significant program disruption.

It consists of a single facility with a south wing centralizing all of student services and a north wing housing Food Services, and the Culinary Arts Program. Bisecting the two wings is an accessible pedestrian path linking the commons level and the upper level of the campus at the Liberal Arts Building, fulfilling one of the objectives of the 2007 Facilities Masterplan. A 40 foot sky bridge connects the upper level of both wings.

Our new redesigned main entry staircase leads to an expanded student commons area with an audience berm and a permanent performance stage. This commons area is surrounded by primary student functions including: the student union, book store, centralized student services, outdoor food services Café, the Culinary Arts Program with the Norseman Restaurant and the new Trophy Room on the third floor. The existing cornerstones that anchor the public entrance of DVC are the Art Building and the Performing Arts Center, which also have a front door address on the new commons.

This common area will be the new physical center, and will transform the heart of our campus. This project presents an opportunity for us to refocus our college from one of buildings where programs have been separate into one with a common area --- a place connected in ways that allow many possibilities to occur. Given the numerous sustainability features embodied in the architectural and landscaping design, the project is currently at a LEED Gold certification level.

We anticipate having a ground breaking ceremony just about a year from now. To inform and update our community, there is a project web site, which will be going live in the immediate future.

Other facility work includes a new state of the art dance floor in the PE building that was ready for classes this fall. The new replacement Police Services Building, which was firebombed last year, has been completed and opened for business in July. The formal ribbon cutting is scheduled for October 1.

We are now a Smoke Free Campus – thanks in large part to the work done by the ASDVC.

There are three projects that are carryovers from the previous administration. They are: the plans for Dental Hygiene ceiling – scheduled for the holiday break, phase two remedial work on the Planetarium HVAC system will be predominately completed early this fall, and finally, a holistic approach to resolving all BFL waterproofing and building closure issues is under development and will be implemented during 2009/10.

Thanks to Chris Leivas, David Lanahan, Guy Grace and all his buildings and grounds crew and Tony Melendrez and all the custodial staff for providing a clean, safe, and friendly environment for our students to achieve their goals.

Update on two other major facilities projects
The Engineering Technology Building renovation and remodel was approved by the System’s Office using both local and state bond money to complete. Given the state economic picture and the decision to not seek a state bond, the schedule for funding this project has been delayed. The most recent information from the System’s Office is that we will be required to go through the entire process again to become approved.

The Art Building is designed as a completely new building. We submitted a FPP (Final Project Proposal) to the System’s office on July 1st 2008. The most recent information from the System’s Office is that we will be required to go through the entire process again to become approved.

The past two years of work on the physical plant includes: completing the stadium and football / track fields, completing the solar panel projects, maintenance and operations renovation on roofs and railings throughout campus: the Music Building; the Administrative and Instructional Buildings, railings for the Art Building and, the Liberal Arts Building.

In connection with changes in our physical look, we also created a new graphical look --- with a stylized DVC logo that was designed by Sherrie Bettencourt and Judy Klein Flynn. I see it being used in wonderful ways around the campus -- flyers, brochures, catalog and schedule; it is another outside sign of a viable change to a unified look and feel to a unified organization.

Progressive change from the inward point of view
Just over a year ago --- August of 2008, 62 faculty, staff, administrators/managers, and students attended a four day “leadership-training” seminar on a strengths-based participative approach used in organizational settings. In October 2008 thirty people gathered to share how this information had been used by them. In January 2009, 164 people participated in a day long activity “Wisdom of the Past, Visions of the Future.” 131 people made personal commitments to implement their creative possibilities such as: Allan Lacayo who promised “to be more proactive at furthering the completion of our full cycle of student learning outcomes for the business administration department;” Paul Bernhardt who promised to “work on the new facility design for the Culinary Arts Program;” and Jennifer Tejada who committed to “participate in a classroom research network that is multi-disciplinary to be able to talk about teaching – what works, what doesn’t.”

Then on February 3rd we were notified by the Accreditation Commission that we had been placed on “Show Cause.” This was determined because four of the five deficiencies identified by the 2002 comprehensive evaluation team were not resolved by the institution and were again identified as deficiencies. Our deficiencies paraphrased are: governance, integrated planning and budget, program review, curriculum, communication, student learning and achievement (SLOs), and the absence of an updated Technology Plan. We have a report due October 15, 2009 with resolutions to the five recommendations and responses to two eligibility requirements.

Based upon the collaborative work done between August and January, getting to know each other, interviewing each other about our past strengths, and discovering the thoughts and ideas that people had, just having the conversations and working together in a non-threatening atmosphere, we created a foundation-model for dialogue to occur, and although difficult at times, the work groups began to form a more collaborative core and were better at involving a wide range of people with a common value. We were creating the resolutions that would allow us to be removed from Show Cause.

At an integration meeting on April 10, 55 people who met and were asked: If there’s one thing you would like to come out of the [accreditation] process, what would it be? The following is a list of those responses:

  • A progressive institution;
  • A flow-chart on how we do business at DVC;
  • Better feelings about working together;
  • Clearer vision of DVC’s goals for the future and a sense that we’re working together to achieve the goals;
  • Better lines of communication between ourselves and our students;
  • Open and honest dialogue;
  • Appreciation of the different roles and responsibilities and how we integrate together;
  • Mutually value all our responsibilities;
  • Core identities, working for DVC without constituent groups;
  • Communications across all constituent groups;
  • Design a truly premier institution;
  • Focus our energy on students;
  • Peaceful, respectful dialogue to complete our mission to educate;
  • Focus on students and work together effectively;
  • Open and honest dialogue;
  • Fun place to work again;
  • Put down old luggage and see ourselves new;
  • Higher quality education and focus on independent thought;
  • One team to help our students;
  • Integration to make whole, unified, and a realization that we all play an integral role;
  • Information shared in a more structured and comprehensive way;
  • Improvement to support open and sincere dialogue among all;
  • What we’re doing today: to continue open and honest dialogue;
  • Clear decision making process that values everyone;
  • Trust;
  • Equity and trust;
  • Timely decision making;
  • Care about each other as much as we care about ourselves;
  • Develop something that is sustainable;
  • True inputting processes;
  • Respectful college with everyone working together;
  • Transparency and collegiality;
  • Clear understanding of how to best share ideas;
  • Increase participation at all levels;
  • Changes understood and articulated by all members;
  • Simple but effective;
  • Effective and working shared governance structure where all work together;
  • Where we all work together efficiently and share in harmony;
  • Not lose sight of what we are going to work on today.
  • That it is a means not an end.

So, over the past six months, we have had the active involvement of representatives from all members of the DVC community working on the goal of creating resolutions addressing the specific recommendations of the Commission. An accreditation Oversight Task Force (AOTF) was created in early February with six work groups reporting to them totaling almost 70 people. The chancellor assigned the Vice Chancellor, Districtwide Planning and Educational Services, Deborah Blue, as a resource person for us. Richard Livingston, Sr. Dean of Instruction and Accreditation Liaison Officer for LMC was assigned as our one-voice editor for the October report, and recently Don Averill (a former Chancellor) was assigned as the outside third party reader and reviewer of our work.

The DVC website has a site, “Accreditation” that lists all the members of the committees, their charges, agendas, minutes, etc. and the results of their work. Information has been shared with the constituent groups, president’s updates and periodic message have been distributed to the college community, monthly reports have been given at the Contra Costa District Board meetings. One of the earliest pieces of work was the adoption of a new (what we are calling “pocket”) mission statement per the commission’s recommendations. They said we did not have “student learning” within our mission statement. The background for our new short version of a mission statement came from Work Group Two and from the January 13th group’s identification of “themes.” Work Group Two has placed this mission statement on book markers, the back of business cards, posters and on signs throughout our common rooms and outside all major doors. We wanted it visible to everyone on campus.

DVC is passionately committed to student learning through the intellectual, scientific, artistic, psychological, and ethical development of its diverse student body. Diablo Valley College prepares student for transfer to four-year universities, provides career and technical education; supports the economic development of the region; offers pre-collegic programs and promotes personal growth and lifelong learning.

All work groups reported out the status of progress on Friday May 15th. There has been a great deal of dialogue with compromises from everyone to come to conclusions that were presented to the Accreditation Oversight Task Force and to the Leadership Council on May 18th. A parking lot group met this summer to finish some details to the plan and that information was presented to the AOTF group July 30th.

On Monday this week, we presented to Leadership Council the map of the organizational work that needs to be completed, including the first four committees as designed and approved by the AOTF and the resultant procedures that need to be changed. We will be collecting input from the various constituencies and then meeting with the Academic Senate on those matters deemed to be academic and professional using the current college and board procedures regarding the process for this. We will then be instituting the new committees and procedures on a date sometime before September 30, 2009.

The interest across constituent groups, the dialogue that has occurred, and the resultant decisions all point to an exciting and transforming DVC. We have used dialogue as a tool to focus on institutional integrity (as we worked across many different borders of interest with respect). We have achieved a monumental result in student learning outcomes, Title 5 updates, and program reviews, and have created an organizational way to incorporate planning, evaluation, and improvement conceived in a new campus participatory organizational structure with institutional commitments in a new mission statement.

Our planning process links our budget to program review processes. This work changes the isolation and self-interest into connectedness and caring for the whole DVC community.

We still have a lot of work to do, but I want to thank each and every person who has served on the accreditation work groups. They did their work with passion, care, and thoughtfulness and are greatly appreciated.

Next steps on accreditation
We will finish our October report. We will continue to implement the plans that have come from the work groups; we will submit an addendum to the October report with what we have completed. We will host a team on campus sometime between October 15th and November 15th to review our report and work.

There are two additional college recommendations and three district recommendations that will need to be followed up on after January. Our Accreditation Oversight Task Force (while membership may change) will continue its existence for the next several months. I anticipate that we will have another team visiting us within a year or certainly during our midterm … which would be March of 2011.

The resultant work on accreditation is changing the soul of our organism. The physical changes are the heart … the organism is the soul. We learned in our work during the first six months of this past year that when one is feeling positive – options expand and so does the field of vision, creating more possibilities to appear.

Vision is not the sole role of one person; it emerges from interaction of the good hearts and people in the community, an energetic collaboration of thinking and playing together to see the possibilities that could work. Vision controls our perception. When vision is clear then passion and creativity follow.

My vision is to generate a community that has a positive atmosphere of trust and engagement … to enable the unleashing of creativity that will support ourselves, each other, and signature strengths of passion for student learning. During this past year, I have come to understand that some people at DVC want a more task-oriented type vision. As the physical core - the heart - of our campus is changing, so is the – soul – the internal core of our social institution.

DVC is the hub of a culture of learning
My global vision is to instill in every 6th grade student (here in central Contra Costa County) the belief that they are all college bound students. I don’t care what college they go to, but I want all of them to know that they have options, opportunities, and choices they can make and DVC is a great choice.

Think of the social changes that would occur if every 6th grader believed they were college material and that what happens with their lives makes a difference.

I am much honored to be a part of this community and to have the opportunity to work with you. Thank you and may we all have a great year.

Judy E. Walters, Ph.D.
All College Convocation Day
August 14, 2009

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