Next Steps PVCC’s Diversity and Inclusion Agenda

On Tuesday of this week over 125 PVCC students, faculty and staff participated in an engaging and meaningful virtual all-college meeting to listen, better understand, and to “hold a mirror up to” our collective response to the continued deaths of African-Americans while in police custody. The conversation was ably facilitated by Dr. Cathy Mendoza with featured insights from Brian Wilson, Kevin Smith and Daniel Sanchez.

I’ve had the opportunity to read over 17 pages of comments transcribed from the chat during the conversation. Additionally, under the leadership of Dr. Versha Anderson and Dr. Norma Chandler, co-chairs of PVCC’s Diversity and Inclusion committee, a “top ten” of actionable items have been distilled from the listening session.

As I publicly stated during the conversation, in spite of our concerted and passionate efforts from faculty and staff driven by long standing Diversity and Inclusion Goals directing our work and our commitment to Equity Now, we as an organization have been inadequate and fallen short in reaching our goals.

This recent listening session has given me a renewed sense of energy and commitment, a series of new ideas, and solutions that can be scaled across the college. Next steps beginning immediately include: meeting with employee constituency groups; formulation of a college action plan; integration of the action plan into our existing diversity and inclusion goals; and creating new levels of leadership accountability to ensure we make sustained and notable progress.

We must continue to acknowledge that equal justice is in fact not equal as evidenced by the deaths of George Floyd while in the custody of police and Breonna Taylor, shot by police in her apartment, and locally Dion Johnson killed not far from PVCC. In a painful and clearly tragic way, we are reminded that Black Lives Matter.

Again my deepest thanks to all of the faculty, staff and students committed to moving our diversity and inclusion agenda forward in a stronger and more robust manner. Details on next steps will be shared soon.



Summer Update #2

As we end our second week of classes during Summer Sessions 2020, I wanted to provide you this college update.

Acknowledging Amazing Work: As I reflect back on spring semester 2020, one thought summarizes my feelings for PVCC:  “Your collective work to transition PVCC, in the midst of an international pandemic, to an almost entirely virtual learning, support service, and working environment in less than three weeks is simply extraordinary.” At every turn, I heard comments such as “We can make this happen.” “We’ll figure this out.” “Students are depending on us.” Thank you.

Beginning on June 15, approximately seventeen courses from spring semester will finish in a safe, in-person environment. My thanks to the faculty and Occupational Program Directors leading these efforts on behalf of our students.

College Budget: I’ve approved the college’s FY21 overall operating/capital budgets. I am also pleased to report that PVCC has received an additional $149,678 in base budget and $216,365 in one-time-only funds from the District. These additional new funds will be applied to student success projects supporting Guided Pathways, marketing outreach and contingency needs. On a related note, given that enrollment projections are uncertain for 2020-2021, we will continue to carefully review all open positions before decisions are made to fill these lines.

CARES Act Institutional Funds: PVCC has been awarded approximately $1.2m in funds by the Federal government to cover the institutional costs related to transitioning our in-person classes to the online space. Expenses need to fall into one of the following categories: student support, technology, or instructional support. We’ve already spent significant, unbudgeted funds to extend the spring semester by two weeks.

PVCC Student Emergency Funds: Under the leadership of Jessi Wright and her team in the Development Office, we have raised $31,912 since February, allowing the distribution of over $25,000 to 86 students for much needed emergency grants. My thanks to all who supported this fundraising effort.

Futures Work: Given the level of societal disruption caused by the pandemic, we know that PVCC will evolve and adapt to new societal and higher education realities. To this end, over forty PVCC faculty and staff have been engaged since late March in social action research to lay the foundation for the future of PVCC. The Futures Group problem statement is: Ensure that PVCC is accessible to all students, relevant, organizationally sustained, and thriving while transitioning through and beyond the pandemic. Five work groups including: student needs, faculty/staff needs, course delivery models, societal norms, and organizational risk are in the process of completing a summary of findings that will then be synthesized into a set of college recommendations.

All-College Meeting: Please plan to join your colleagues for an open meeting on Tuesday, June 9 at 2:00 p.m. for an important conversation around the current national events that have once again exposed the continued systemic racism that dramatically and adversely impacts the African-American life experience in the United States. We will explore the impact on PVCC and potential action plans moving forward.

Stay safe.