Dear Skyline Campus Community,

On behalf of myself and President’s Cabinet, we are elated to welcome you and our students to a new academic year! It is remarkable to think that 2022-23 is already upon us. We show up with you on Opening Day and every day thereafter with an enormous sense of gratitude for your investment of time and energy in moving Skyline College forward and serving our students.

As an administration, we have heard numerous requests for no new major initiatives. In response, this academic year we will honor your collective requests by focusing on completing the major initiatives we have started, and the work to institutionalize them. We will also take the much-needed time to appreciate our students and each other. The following major items will be the focus of this academic year:

  • Celebrating the People
  • Improving the Divide in Access and Completion for our Hyper-Marginalized Populations
  • Integrated Strategic Planning in Action – Launching a New Educational Master Plan, a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan, an Equity Plan, and a Technology Plan
  • Institutionalizing the People’s College Initiative and Intergroup Dialogue
  • Completing the Comprehensive Redesign
  • Piloting our first “Bring Skyline to the People” Community Presence
  • Reimagining Communication from Administration

Taking the Time to Celebrate and Honor Each Other

This past year, together, we worked through the uncertainty of returning to campus and now we are reorienting with greater confidence that we can safely serve our students in-person and effectively manage the changing dynamics of what Covid may continue to bring. We have been through unprecedented times and I know we are stronger for it – but we have all experienced something that took its toll on our well-being – whether it was loss, illness, burn out, or something else; and more than ever before, now is the time to show each other some love, compassion, and appreciation – so people are cared for, seen, and heard.

  • Celebrate the People! It is in this spirit that we bring a theme to this academic year: Celebrate the People! We are planning a monthly calendar of Celebrations – where programs, departments, and divisions can share with our campus a creative and cultural presentation to honor, love and appreciate our students, your teams, and your work.
  • Honoring Our Student Accomplishments and Breaking the Barriers: Our “why” is always our students. We come to work every day to serve students knowing that everything we do is meant to help our students succeed. And, through the unprecedented challenges of the past two years, our students have worked so hard and continued to succeed! While we celebrated all of their accomplishments at the most inspiring outdoor commencement – the first in Skyline College’s history – let’s keep up the appreciation and encouragement of our students and find new ways to break down our barriers to their success. Disrupt!

Challenging Ourselves to Improve Access and Persistent Gaps

While course success rates improved for all demographic student groups at Skyline College, the gap for completion rates of our underrepresented and marginalized students persists. No one in the State has yet to understand how to close this gap. I am challenging us to be the first in the State to figure out how to improve this gap! Our holistic, wrap-around approach, providing instruction coupled with free SMCCCD supports (such as Dual Enrollment, Middle College, Promise Scholars, TRiO, EOPS, and OER/ZTC), basic needs support, personal counseling, academic counseling, cultural supports, learning communities, and peer mentorship certainly helps our students enroll, register, and develop a deeper sense of belonging and a feeling that Skyline College is a safe place – and the data shows this work improves completion for all groups. This is the Skyline College way! What else do we need to do? Skyline College has funded a number of new ideas this year through the President’s Innovation Fund to support completion for our most marginalized groups. Our PRIE team continues to populate new data dashboards to increase open access to data to help identify more targeted approaches to improving the gap. The PRIE team is responsive to the multitude of special data requests that come from staff and faculty all year long. And, the Stewardship for Equity, Equal Employment and Diversity committee (SEEED) has taken the lead to address the persistent gaps among student groups, especially the worsening gap for our Black/African American students. We will continue to work closely with SEEED and assess the need for additional resources to support their work as we strive to set the model for the State.

Integrated Strategic Planning in Action

This year we will see a number of college plans being worked on and completed through the participatory governance process: the Educational Master Plan, the Equity Plan, the Technology Plan, and the Strategic Enrollment Management Plan. We will work together to ensure all plans are integrated and aligned with our Educational Master Plan and the District’s Strategic Goals. All constituencies will be given opportunities to provide feedback, and ultimately, we will see these plans come through College Governance Council for approval and they will be presented to the Board of Trustees.

An outcrop of our early climate review work last year is to address Gender Equity issues in addition to our Antiracism and educational equity efforts. CGC authorized the creation of a Gender Equity task group in late Spring. I will be calling for constituency representation on a task group this semester to begin focused work on this and other issues. Also, we are planning to engage in efforts to become part of the Campus Pride Index, which will include a self-assessment with the goal to ensure that our campus has LGBTQIA+ inclusive policies, programs and practices. In addition, Dr. Lopez is working to populate the new Enrollment Strategy Committee, to begin the work of our Strategic Enrollment Management Plan.

Our “work ahead” items will be completed by our PCI task groups. If you are curious about the “work ahead”, please view the task group pages. We have been working since last Fall, Spring and Summer to complete this work – and appreciate the campus community coming together to reimagine our future as the “People’s College”. PCI’s goals are real:

  1. Become an antiracist and equitable institution;
  2. Integrate a civic-mindset into our curriculum and institution;
  3. Democratize the institution through an open participatory governance process; and
  4. Engage in regular climate review.

We have received an IEPI grant of $200,000 from the State to help us move all of this forward. If you haven’t had a chance to work with us, there’s still plenty of opportunity! If you are interested in being involved, please reach out to Dean Ingrid Vargas. This “work ahead” will be completed by June 30, 2023. At the same time, we are institutionalizing the PCI goals we have grown to love into our Educational Master Plan. This work will continue under the auspices of our master plan over the next five years. Once the Educational Master Plan has been implemented, we are the People’s College!

Completing the Comprehensive Redesign

The Comprehensive College Redesign has been on our plate for years. I describe it as a three-pronged approach to improve persistence and completion rates and truncate the number of units students take to put them on a significantly more efficient path to completion. The three prongs are: (1) Promise Scholars Program; (2) Transformative Teaching and Learning; and (3) Guided Pathways. Two of these three redesigns have been fully implemented and are now institutionalized. We are now ready for the final push to complete the Guided Pathways initiative and institutionalize this work, but we need a leader. As such, I am working with the Academic Senate to approve a one-year position of a Guided Pathways Coordinator for a full-time faculty member to serve in this role on release time. In addition, we have an upcoming accreditation report due in 2023 to address our progress on the Comprehensive Redesign. This coordinator role will be critical in assisting with the progress report, and taking the final step of our Comprehensive Redesign: institutionalizing the Guided Pathways work.

Piloting “Bring Skyline to the People”

As we shared with our constituency and CGC last year, we are working with a team of community members to launch a public/private partnership pilot program for families this Fall in our community – where parents and grandparents bring their families to an elementary, middle, or high school (we are still working with the K-12 District to secure a location in Daly City) in the evenings for nights of child care, food, homework help, educational and enrichment offerings from Skyline College and our Adult Education partners, and wellness services. If you would like to be involved, please reach out to Vice President Dr. Vinicio Lopez.

Communication from the Administration Reimagined

We have received feedback that as an administration we may not be communicating enough or offering the right kind of communication to our campus community. So, in response, we are going to try some new things this year based on your feedback. We are wholly committed to openness and transparency, and we have made great strides in the last two years improving transparency. We are also committed to continuous improvement, so, if there is anything you feel we should specifically communicate about, please let us know. Here is our reimagined administrative communication plan:

  • Weekly Skyline Shines: Sent every Friday and includes your submissions about your students and program accomplishments.
  • Weekly Campus Communication: Sent every Monday and includes important campus events/happenings of the week and beyond.
  • Live Whale and Event Planning Process: MCPR will be sharing an event planning guide that requires entry of events into Live Whale, so that we can all know what is happening on campus. We need to be better about creating calendar invites too!
  • Weekly Construction Update: Given that SKY B1 and SKY B2 are undergoing major renovations and construction, we will continue to keep our campus updated weekly.
  • Weekly President’s Message: I will be starting a weekly blog to include operational updates, Presidential work updates, President’s Cabinet updates, and a synopsis of the monthly work of College Governance Council.
  • President’s “Free Form Fridays” Will Resume. These are open zoom meetings to have a conversation with the President and with whomever joins. We have had some very interesting discussions! Topics are wide open and free form. Look for an announcement with dates and a zoom link for this academic year.
  • Cabinet Communications Each Semester. Every member on cabinet is encouraged to communicate campus wide on matters of import in their area. You should expect communications from the cabinet periodically throughout the semester.

I am honored and humbled to serve as your President and to have entered our third year together. I look forward to the wonderfully transformative work ahead on behalf of our global community of learners!

A heartfelt welcome to Fall, 2022!

Dr. Melisa Moreno's signature

Dr. Melissa Moreno
President of Skyline College