Oceanside, CA Chamber Blog

MiraCosta's Annual Report Highlights the College's Top Accomplishments

29. October 2014 11:00 by DrFranciscoRodriguez

The opening of new science buildings, a $2.75 million grant, and new partnerships with area high schools are just some of MiraCosta College’s many accomplishments this past year. These milestones, plus many more, are captured in the 2013-2014 Annual Report, presented to the community at the college’s Report to the Region, held October 16.

 

The Annual Report demonstrates the many ways that the college continues to provide superb educational opportunities, leadership and prudent fiscal stewardship to the North San Diego County communities. The report also underscores the philanthropic and generous spirit of our local community. Read highlights of the report below, order your own copy, or read online.

 

2013-2014 Annual Report Highlights

  • In spring 2014, MiraCosta College partnered with Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad and began offering college credit courses on the high school campus. Following the formation of this partnership, the MiraCosta College Board of Trustees voted to eliminate the enrollment fee for high school students taking college courses at MiraCosta College.

  • MiraCosta College broke ground and opened two new science buildings. Building 4900 on the Oceanside Campus is a new, high-tech science building that helps meet student demand for chemistry courses. The $1.9 million modular building houses two sustainable state-of-the-art biology laboratories.

At the San Elijo Campus, MiraCosta College broke ground on a new science building. Building 1000, which opened during the fall 2014 semester, has enabled the college to expand the breadth and number of science courses available to students in the southern portion of our district. 
 
  • The Department of Labor awarded MiraCosta College a $2.75 million grant to start a Technology Career Institute (TCI) aimed at filling a growing demand for qualified machinists and industrial technicians in North County. The institute, to be located in Carlsbad, is set to open in February 2015.

  • In 2013, the college opened a Veteran’s Memorial Garden on the Oceanside Campus to honor all military personnel. The garden features five black granite benches, each engraved with the names of a branch of the military and adorned with each branch’s individual emblems. To further accommodate the growing veteran population, the college partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) Program. The college now is one of 94 campuses nationwide to provide this on-site support to veterans transitioning to student life.

  • In May 2014, a record 500 of MiraCosta College’s 1,715 graduates participated in the college’s 79th graduation ceremony, the largest graduating class in our college's history. In 2014, graduates transferred to nearly every UC and CSU in California, as well as to private universities across the nation, including Cornell and MIT.

  • MiraCosta College entered into a partnership with Brandman University, a private, nonprofit institution, to offer three undergraduate degree programs on the Oceanside Campus. Classes in early childhood education and liberal studies are the first Brandman programs to be offered at MiraCosta College and are planned to begin spring 2015.

  • The MiraCosta College Foundation launched and completed the most ambitious fundraising effort in its history. Generous donors contributed $500,000 in Phase I of the Campaign for Opportunity Scholarships, which will be used to expand the foundation’s scholarship endowments by $1.5 million. During the next phase of this campaign, the foundation will seek an additional $1 million in endowedscholarship gifts by matching new gifts for scholarship endowments on a 2-to-1 basis.

 

In fiscal year 2015, MiraCosta College continues to expand and grow, attract new populations of students, and adapt our facilities and programs to meet the changing needs of students and the community. We would like to congratulate our faculty, staff, students and supporters—all of whom contribute to what makes MiraCosta College truly exceptional.

 

To read more of the Annual Report, order your own copy or read the full report online.

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October 2014 11:00

MiraCosta College Celebrates Student Success

28. May 2014 09:28 by DrFranciscoRodriguez

 Few events are as moving for me as graduation. Commencement is a time when our passion to help others and commitment to a strong and supportive community college system reach fruition. 

 

Last week's graduating class was the largest in MiraCosta College history. We awarded more than 1,400 associate degrees and 1,100 certificates. Never before had I seen our campus as vibrant and alive as when nearly 500 of our graduates marched down our long faculty recessional line, diplomas and certificates in their hands, smiles on their faces, and pride and promise in their eyes. Each of these students came to MiraCosta College with a different goal and purpose, and each is leaving with the skills and knowledge that will serve them well throughout the rest of their lives. These students are now off to public and private colleges and universities throughout the state and nation, or off to start new careers in the fields of their choice.

 

Each year, I share the profiles of a few of the students who just earned their degree or certificate from MiraCosta College. Each of these stories is unique, but each also shares a common thread: these alumni remained vigilant in their commitment to receiving a high quality education, and each was guided by the expert and caring faculty and staff at MiraCosta College.

 

Alina O’Tool: Talk about an odyssey. Born under communist rule in Poland, Alina O’Tool witnessed the rise of the Solidarity movement, the country’s first free elections and its transition to democracy. She moved to Germany and married an American, and she and her husband spent stints in Switzerland, India and England before settling in North County.

 

Her life really changed when the 40-year-old mother of two enrolled at MiraCosta College two years ago. “When I went to my first class, I was so scared. I said to myself, `I want to go back home.’ But the professors helped me so much, the people were so supportive. They gave me confidence. I learned that if you do the work, they will not let you fail.”

 

O’Tool will transfer to a University of California campus in the fall with a 4.0 grade point average. Her plans include studying human development and earning a Ph.D.

 

She says she turned to MiraCosta College with one goal in mind: improve her English. “The only English I knew was from talking to my husband,” O’Tool said. “I couldn’t help my children with their homework. I was working at a Target, and I said this was not what I wanted to do with my life.”

 

She soon opted to seek an associate in arts degree.

 

“If you work hard and you believe in yourself, and if you have people around you who are supporting you and believe in you, you can do anything,” O’Tool said.

 

Richard Huizar: After concluding that he couldn’t afford to attend San Diego State University, Richard Huizar turned to MiraCosta College.

 

It’s one of the best moves he has made in his young life. The 19-year-old graduated last week with an associate degree in applied mathematics as an Honors Scholar with a 3.9 GPA. He is also a Medal of Honor recipient, on the President’s List, scored a perfect 800 on the SAT subject tests in math and physics, and plans to earn a Ph.D.

 

“MiraCosta College was my educational destiny,” Huizar said. “It is an amazing place with a positive environment and excellent faculty and staff. It gave me an opportunity to transfer to a great four-year program and showed that I can do anything I wanted.”

 

Huizar has financed much of his education by working three jobs. One is tutoring in the EOPS/CalWORKs Program helping underprivileged and underrepresented students in lower-level mathematics courses.

 

“Some of these people have failed these classes before and are about to give up, so it’s great to see them succeed,” Huizar said.

 

Huizar is the first in his family to graduate from college. “I want to show my younger family that higher education and their dreams are possible--a matter of course, not something out of reach for us.”

 

Huizar is eyeing a career in engineering, but says he hasn’t focused on a particular area yet. “I’m going to miss MiraCosta,” Huizar said. “It’s my home away from home. I’m there all the time.”

 

Huizar just learned he was accepted to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the country, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to study applied mathematics this fall.

 

 

Alex Klimek: Marine Corps veteran Alex Klimek, who grew up in Champaign, Illinois, first came to Oceanside in 2001 when he enlisted in the service and was stationed at Camp Pendleton. When he left the Marines a few years later, Klimek held a series of jobs that ranged from customer service representative at a Carlsbad auto dealership to auditor at two North County hotels.

 

A few years ago, Klimek decided to give MiraCosta College a try. “I didn’t really have any direction in my career and I really couldn’t stay in just one industry.” It was while he was at MiraCosta College that Klimek learned of an opening at Genentech, which manufactures medicines to treat a variety of illnesses. Klimek soon secured a job supporting quality control analysts by preparing glassware and equipment for testing. Eager to learn more about the industry, Klimek’s focus at MiraCosta quickly turned to biotech.

 

“It was a whole new industry for me,” Klimek said. “I wanted to learn everything I could.”

 

Although Klimek has earned his degree, he plans to remain at MiraCosta College for additional courses before transferring to UC San Diego.

 

“MiraCosta is a great school,” he said. “It has invaluable resources. The admissions office is very helpful, the book loan program has been great and they have an excellent tutoring program both in person and online.”

 

Ariella Sosis: Her resume says it all: CEO for a nonprofit she founded; sales and marketing professional for the Italian fashion company Versace, and social media coordinator for a San Diego piano studio. She speaks fluent Russian, is a skilled musician, and engages in extensive volunteer work.

 

Oh, and Ariella Sosis is just 19 years old. The Honors Scholar graduated this spring with a 4.0 GPA, is a Medal of Honor recipient, and will attend the extremely competitive Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley this fall.

 

She hopes one day to run an international nonprofit.

 

One of Sosis’ first projects at MiraCosta College was launching a Hillel chapter for Jewish students. “It was kind of lonely for me Jewish-wise,” Sosis said. “There were no Shabbat services, no Purimspiels (a comic dramatization retelling the story of Purim) or anything like that.” Three years later, Hillel of MiraCosta College has more than 100 members.

 

Sosis came to MiraCosta College upon graduating from Del Norte High School in San Diego when she was 16.

 

“MiraCosta has some of the best faculty members anywhere, faculty members who support you no matter what you do,” Sosis said. “It has a dedicated staff that cares about the school and believes in it.”

 

Philosophy professor and longtime family friend Isabel Luengo is one of Sosis’ biggest boosters.

 

“Ariella is a girl who has always had a lot of initiative,” Luengo said. “Even when she was in middle school and high school, she took charge, worked well with others and had set very clear goals while finding a way to accomplish them.”

 

 

 

 

These are just a handful of the many wonderful students who participated in commencement last week. If you'd like to read more student stories, please visit our website. And, take a look at some of the wonderful photos from our ceremony, posted on our Flickr and Facebook pages.

 

Participating in commencement is always the most rewarding part of my job. Last Tuesday's ceremony was the last MiraCosta College commencement for me, as I will embark next week on a new venture as chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District. Although my departure made this year's ceremony bittersweet, I am so very happy for all of our graduates; proud of all our hardworking students; and grateful to our college faculty, staff and administration whose dedication to student success help make it all happen. Thank you for five memorable and joyous years.


Sincerely,

 

Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Superintendent/President

 

Interested in learning more about MiraCosta College history? Check out our 80th anniversary video, request a magazine be mailed to your home, or read the full college history online.

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Categories: Community College | Oceanside History | Oceanside Living | Student Success

May 2014 09:28

Start Here, Go Anywhere! MiraCosta Prepares Students for Transfer

29. April 2014 08:12 by DrFranciscoRodriguez

One of the greatest strengths of MiraCosta College is that it has among the highest transfer rates for community colleges in the region. Not only are MiraCosta College alumni accepted into an array of prestigious four-year universities and colleges, such as UC Berkeley and UCLA, they are succeeding there, too, as our faculty continues to do an exceptional job preparing our students for the academic rigors they will face at the university level.

 
Students across the nation are increasingly taking advantage of community colleges like MiraCosta. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times reports that the nation's 7.7-million community college students represent 45 percent of all undergraduates in two- and four-year colleges. Of those students, 36 percent are the first in their families to attend college. Plus, a growing number of students from historically underperforming communities are realizing success at community colleges and then transferring to their four-year institution of choice. 
 
“MiraCosta College is dedicated to transfer students,” said Lise Flocken, faculty director of the Transfer Center. “And because of the strong foundation they receive from the dedicated MiraCosta faculty, our students are exceptional transfer candidates.”
 
Shirin Marashi and her husband, Hamed Hajiha, agree. The MiraCosta College graduates are excelling at San Diego State University’s highly competitive business program, where Hamed is earning a master’s degree in accounting. He already has secured a job as an auditor with PricewaterhouseCoopers once he graduates in May and was named this year’s Outstanding Graduate of the College of Business Administration at San Diego State University.
 
“MiraCosta College is the best,” Hamed said. “The first accounting class I took at San Diego State, I could tell I was ready right away. The preparation I had received from MiraCosta College was much better than the preparation other students in my class had.”
 
That sentiment is shared by Jaime Figueroa, who transferred from MiraCosta College to UC Berkeley, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. He plans to attend law school soon.
 
“MiraCosta College became my bridge to the rest of the world,” Jaime said. “I am very grateful for my degree from UC Berkeley, but I am more than certain that no single academic accolade or professional title will ever surpass the emotional sentiment that resides within me whenever I have the opportunity to proclaim that I am a proud MiraCosta alum.”
 
Rosie McDonnell-Horita graduated from MiraCosta College in May 2013 and now is excelling in sociology, with a concentration in social inequality, at UC San Diego. She hopes to earn a master’s degree and Ph.D., and perhaps go to law school. 
 
“I love MiraCosta College,” she said. “Counselors there were always helpful. They are always looking out for you. They want to see students succeed, and they will move mountains to get it done.”
 
Rosie, Shirin, Hamed and Jaime are hardly alone. Transfer students have multiple university transfer options. Most students who enroll seek to transfer to a Cal State University campus and others to the University of California through MiraCosta College's Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program. Students who meet various requirements are guaranteed acceptance to UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis and UC Merced. Students also can gain guaranteed access to UCSD through a separate but similar ULink Program.
 
How has the TAG program fared? For the 2013 fall semester, the University of California system received 1,269 applications from MiraCosta College students. Some 80 percent of those who applied to UC Riverside were accepted, 76 percent of those who applied to UC San Diego were accepted, 75 percent of those applying to UC Santa Cruz were accepted and 70 percent of those applying to UC Davis were accepted. MiraCosta College also has matriculation agreements with Arizona State University, Brigham Young University and USC, among other prestigious universities across the state and nation.
 
In fact, students from MiraCosta College last year were enrolled in more than 150 four-year universities, including private schools and Ivy League campuses.
 
Much of our student success is due to the dedication from MiraCosta College faculty whose teaching helps to develop exceptional academic ability in motivated students, and also to our Student Services Division, which provides the support and guidance students need to excel in college.
 
Meanwhile, our San Elijo Campus is catering to the needs of students motivated to move on to a four-year college or university by increasing its transfer curriculum and positioning itself as a leading transfer institution.
 
Students looking to graduate from a prestigious university would do well to look at MiraCosta College first. Our students leave here extremely well prepared. And there is no better return on your investment. The same general education classes are smaller than at the university, and a plethora of support services exist in a wonderful climate to learn and engage with others.
 
When you start at a college committed to student success, a college like MiraCosta, you truly can start here and go anywhere!

 


Sincerely,

Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Superintendent/President

 

Interested in learning more about MiraCosta College history? Check out our 80th anniversary video, request a magazine be mailed to your home, or read the full college history online.

 

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April 2014 08:12

MiraCosta College Staff Dedicated to Leadership

25. March 2014 07:30 by DrFranciscoRodriguez

Leadership and service are ever-present at MiraCosta College. A growing number of faculty and staff are serving on federal, state and regional boards, which is impacting policy and practice in a wide range of educational areas. The involvement of so many people not only helps MiraCosta College personnel learn and share new ideas, but it enables us to influence educational policy to better meet our mission of serving students. One would expect a college president to serve on several local, state and national boards, but I am hardly the only one.

 

Take Director of Human Resources Sheri Wright. She is a past president of the Association of Chief Human Resource Officers and now serves on the statewide Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee. “The number of people who serve on the various boards and commissions speaks to the quality of people we have here at MiraCosta College and it speaks to the dedication they have to their professions,” she said.
 

In fact, vice presidents of every division in the district have involved themselves in various leadership roles with their respective professional organizations. One of those vice presidents is Charlie Ng, who serves with the Association of California Community College Administrators, is an adviser to the Government Finance Officers Association and is the southern state representative to the Schools Excess Liability Fund. Charlie said serving on such groups “brings access to information about programs and policies that are in the development stage and it allows you to participate and influence the process in some way.”

 

Vice President Dick Robertson, meanwhile, is the past president of the state’s Chief Student Services Officers group and Vice President Mary Benard (pictured on right) serves on the executive committee of the state’s Chief Instructional Officers for California Community Colleges.

 

Charlie concurs with Sheri that having so many faculty and staff in leadership positions on state and federal advisory boards underscores MiraCosta College’s excellence and commitment to the community. “It says a lot about the engagement of our team here that we interact with some of the movers and shakers in our industry.”

 

Herschel Stern’s efforts epitomize the impact we are having. The Social Sciences Department chair, who heads the geography program at MiraCosta College, also leads the national Geography Education Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), which promotes research and best practices in teaching and learning geography. And, he is vice chair of the AAG Community College Affinity Group, which focuses on teaching, learning and institutional issues that relate specifically to geography programs at community colleges.

 

Herschel says that working with a large national organization allows him to stay abreast of trends and issues in geographic education and perhaps even have some influence on their direction. Having so many MiraCostans involved in statewide and national organizations "shows that the faculty here are concerned with the bigger educational picture as we aim for constant improvement of our programs, and that can only make us better," he said.

 

Lise Flocken, our Transfer Center counselor/coordinator, has leadership positions with several state and regional groups. “You can’t join these committees unless you have a substantial knowledge base. And that goes to the type of people we have working at MiraCosta College.”

 

“It’s a tremendous responsibility and it's extremely beneficial,” she said of her work with professional organizations. “You get to be on the cutting edge of changes–or potential changes–in your field at the state level, and you also could help prevent changes from happening that may negatively impact the college.”

 

One example she gave is her role as representative for transfer center directors in a region covering all of San Diego and Imperial counties. At a meeting in Sacramento, she shared information about a new online system that San Diego State University uses to confirm a student’s ADT (associate degree for transfer) for admission purposes. “Because I shared this information, the CSU Chancellor’s Office is taking a look at it and perhaps modeling a statewide program based on the work SDSU has already implemented.”

 

Said Cheryl Broom, MiraCosta’s director of public and governmental relations, who is the District 6 director for the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations:

 

“MiraCosta College values the growth and personal development of its faculty and staff. The campus climate is one of learning—and that climate extends from the classroom to the administrative offices. Employees are encouraged to fine-tune their skills, grow in their professional disciplines and make bold, innovative advancements to improve the quality of the institution. MiraCosta's culture is permissive of employees learning from and with their peers from institutions around the state, nation and world. So many on campus are involved with professional organizations and play a leadership role because they are dedicated to improving the way MiraCosta College operates. It's through this knowledge-sharing that new ideas are formed and best practices are shared.”

 

I’m very proud that we are extending our reach and lending our expertise to so many professional organizations. It underscores the quality of our institution and shows we care about our profession as educators. It also enables faculty and staff to bring back ideas from other institutions. That helps the college, and ultimately that translates to more student success.
 
As always, I want to thank you for your support and interest.


Sincerely,

 

Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Superintendent/President

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Categories: Community College | Oceanside History | Leadership

March 2014 07:30

MiraCosta Superintendent/President Francisco Rodriguez reflects on 5 years of service.

25. February 2014 07:33 by DrFranciscoRodriguez

When I arrived at MiraCosta College and delivered my inauguration speech in March 2009, I spoke about the transformative power of education and my goal to build upon the great traditions that have been set at this college by so many people before me. I also shared my zeal for education and my commitment to a community college system dedicated to open access and student success, academic excellence and affordability. As I celebrate my fifth anniversary on March 1 and begin my sixth year at this great institution, I want to take a few moments to reflect on some of our collective work.

 

Student Success: The focus on students and their success is job one at the college and all of our faculty and staff have supported activities that improve our students' overall experience. Innovative programs and services, combined with expert teaching and strong student support services have resulted in the college awarding more degrees and certificates than ever before. In the last five years, our graduation numbers have more than doubled, and in 2013, we awarded a record number of degrees and certificates--2,455, plus an additional 52 high school diplomas.

 

College Enrollments and Programs: Student enrollment has grown by nearly 25 percent since 2009. The college has met this student demand by using our resources to embark on constructing new facilities, building programs and substantially beefing up the number of courses available on Fridays and Saturdays.

 

The number of military veterans and active-duty personnel has nearly doubled to 1,900, prompting us to create a veterans lounge, hire a veterans academic counselor and bolster veteran-specific services. The college also has earned the distinction as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), a federal designation that now positions the college for funding to bolster student success. The Honors Scholar Program has flourished in the last several years, affording students an enriched educational experience through intensive instruction, challenging coursework and close interaction with Honors faculty. 

 

New Academic and Training Programs: A new, high-tech science building on the Oceanside Campus is helping us meet student demand for science courses. At the San Elijo Campus in Cardiff, students are benefiting from a growing academic program. With more students seeking to take advantage of the transfer-focused curriculum, extracurricular activities on campus have expanded and we now have a robust campus-life program.Construction of a new science building, which began last year, will be complete in time to open next fall.

 

With the launch of a revised and improved Gerontology Studies Program, MiraCosta College is at the forefront of preparing students to work with and care for our aging population – the fastest growing population in the world. Faculty have also developed new programs in the areas of biomass technology and social mediaarming students and those already in the workforce with the vital skills needed in an increasingly technologically savvy world.

 

Online Education: Students are utilizing online education more than ever before. In 2009, we offered 208 online and hybrid courses. In 2013, that number had increased to 310. The breadth of online classes has grown as well, and all three MiraCosta College campuses now support a new online tutoring service that allows students live access to tutors throughout the week, including nights and weekends.

 

MiraCosta College also continues to meet its mission to address the needs of the local business community. The Community Services and Business Development Program, for example, has crafted a new Machinist Technology Program for individuals seeking fast-paced, high-level training for employable job skills. In spring 2013, the college, with private financial support from numerous local corporations and from the San Diego Workforce Partnership, opened its doors to the new program, which is currently housed at the Landes Center in Oceanside. The US Department of Labor also just awarded MiraCosta College a $2.75 million federal grant to start a Technology Career Institute (TCI) aimed at filling a growing demand for qualified machinists and industrial technicians in North County.

 

Community Engagement: Our commitment extends beyond the students at MiraCosta College to those who are still in elementary, middle and high schools. Our partnerships with Encurentros Leadership of North County and the GEAR UP Program with the Oceanside Unified School District are aimed at preparing students for college and careers and at developing a college-going culture for all students and families.

 

This spring semester, we began offering college classes at Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad and are now in discussions with the San Dieguito Union High School District about strengthening our partnership in providing adult education. And just recently, the MiraCosta Community College District trustees passed a resolution that waives enrollment fees for high school students concurrently enrolled in college courses.

 

Philanthropy: Over the past five years, MiraCosta College Foundation donors have joined together to support the college and its students at record levels, generating more than $7.6 million in total revenues. The college foundation’s total assets have grown from $4.6 million to $8.8 million and endowments have also nearly doubled. These gifts have enabled the college foundation to distribute more than $1.3 million in scholarships and direct financial aid while also providing nearly $2 million in support of college programs and priorities over the same five-year period. Contributing significantly to this success is the exceptional generosity of local, regional and national private foundations that have supported the college with more than $1.5 million in grants. In addition, the college has secured more than $15 million in public grants. The continued generosity of our donors and our focus on building our endowments will ensure that generations of students will continue to be encouraged to reach for college with the support of scholarships, direct aid and enhanced academic and student support programs.

 

Fiscal and Organizational Management: Also in the last five years, the college has maintained a strong financial footing. Our firm commitment to fiscal prudence has guided the district through the country's most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression. We have also revamped our governance structure, completed our accreditation processes with strong results and, year over year, we continue our string of successful financial audits.

 

Many of you know my story as a first-generation college graduate from a working-class family and my upbringing by immigrant parents, who overcame a myriad of obstacles and hardships that are not unlike those faced by so many of our students today. Through their selfless example, my parents demonstrated that through hard work anything was possible.

 

Looking back, we have much to be proud of. Clearly, MiraCosta College continues to be an exceptional institution with an unfaltering commitment to educate students and serve the community. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your president for these past five years, and I appreciate your support for me, this college and its students.

 


Sincerely,

Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Superintendent/President

 

Interested in learning more about MiraCosta College history? Check out our 80th anniversary video, request a magazine be mailed to your home, or read the full college history online.

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February 2014 07:33

MiraCosta College Celebrates 80 Years of Excellence

28. January 2014 13:20 by DrFranciscoRodriguez

Dear MiraCosta College friends and colleagues,

 

The more things change, the more they stay the same. And that certainly is true when it comes to MiraCosta College. Founded 80 years ago as Oceanside-Carlsbad Junior College (OCJC) during the Great Depression, the college was established as a place where local students could complete a quality higher education without leaving home.

 

“I was delighted when the junior college opened,” said 97-year-old Charles Ernst, who was among the first students to enroll and graduate from the new school. “When OCJC was formed, it made going to college immediately affordable.”

 

Much has changed since 1934, when TWA made its first commercial flight and a loaf of bread cost about 8 cents. But eight decades later, MiraCosta College continues to provide opportunities for anyone to secure a higher education—whether at the San Elijo or Oceanside campuses, the bustling Community Learning Center in Oceanside, or through online education.

 

When we began our journey in a wing at Oceanside High School, the college had but 122 students and 20 faculty members.

 

In 1964, we moved to our current 121-acre hilltop location in Oceanside and renamed the college MiraCosta. In 1988, we opened the San Elijo Campus in Cardiff. A few years later, the Adult Learning Center opened its doors. Later dubbed the Community Learning Center, it is now located on Mission Avenue in downtown Oceanside.

 

Today, our enrollment has ballooned to nearly 15,000 credit students with an additional 5,000 noncredit and fee-based students, and we continue to meet the needs of a growing community.  Last year, we added a much-needed, high-tech and "green" science laboratory at the Oceanside Campus and began building a new science lab at the San Elijo Campus that will be open in time for the fall 2014 semester. Meanwhile, more students are taking online courses than ever before, and on-campus offerings have expanded to include more core classes on Fridays and Saturdays. And we remain dedicated to enrolling and supporting the men and women who have protected our country by serving in the military. In fact, the MiraCosta College student-veteran population has nearly doubled since 2008.

 

The college also continues to partner with local elementary, middle and high schools. In 2011, MiraCosta College received a seven-year, $7 million GEAR UP grant, which provides multiple services to ensure middle and high school students and their families are prepared for a higher education and career choices. In addition, we are now partnering with the Carlsbad Unified School District to offer MiraCosta College classes at the new Sage Creek High School, enabling high school kids to take college classes, without having to pay an enrollment fee.

 

Underscoring our dedication to serving the needs of local workers and employers, the US Department of Labor last fall awarded MiraCosta College a $2.75 million federal grant to start a Technology Career Institute, a comprehensive training facility that will prepare participants—including military veterans and the unemployed—for high-skilled careers in the manufacturing and technology industries.

 

Over the past 80 years, hundreds of thousands of students have passed through MiraCosta College and contributed to our tradition of strengthening the intellectual, economic, social and cultural life of the community. Graduates are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars going into the local economy. And by expanding the state’s economic base through their higher incomes, combined with the ripple effects of the goods and services they produce, our students contribute an estimated $74.1 million in taxable income to the California economy every year.

 

MiraCosta College is about creating success through our students, alumni and communities. It is about preparing students not only to transfer to the best four-year colleges and universities in the country, but to providing people the skills needed to compete and thrive in a rapidly changing economy.

 

MiraCosta College owes its success to the strong foundation built over time, and with your support MiraCosta College will continue to thrive over the next 80 years.

 

As always, thank you for your interest in our college.

 


Sincerely,

 

 

Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Superintendent/President

 

Campus photos, top to bottom: Oceanside-Carlsbad Junior College, located in one wing of Oceanside High School circa 1934; Building 4900--the science lab at the Oceanside Campus; the San Elijo Campus in Cardiff; and the Community Learning Center in downtown Oceanside.

 

Interested in learning more about MiraCosta College history? Check out our 80th anniversary video, request a magazine be mailed to your home, or read the full college history online.

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January 2014 13:20

Educational Opportunities Abound in North San Diego County

4. December 2013 10:14 by DrFranciscoRodriguez

With high-performing preK-12 schools; MiraCosta and Palomar community colleges; Cal State University, San Marcos; and a handful of private colleges and universities, North County has established itself as a hub for education.

Families looking to raise their children in areas with superb public education need look no further than North San Diego County. Parents, teachers and administrators in all our local school districts work tirelessly to prepare students to embark on their college and career pathways. These educators are committed to ensuring that students are prepared for and can access a college education, and have implemented a variety of innovative programs and services to get young students on the road to college completion. For example, the $7.5 million GEAR UP grant from the U.S. Department of Education has allowed MiraCosta College and Oceanside Unified School District to link teachers, counselors and tutors with some 1,000 junior high and high school students. The first Oceanside Unified GEAR UP student cohort will finish high school in 2017 and the MiraCosta College Foundation has already raised a minimum $100,000 in scholarships for GEAR UP students who choose to attend MiraCosta College.


In Carlsbad, beginning in January 2014, all high school students can now take MiraCosta College credit classes at the newly opened Sage Creek High School. And for all high school students looking to concurrently enroll, MiraCosta College has waived its enrollment fees to encourage attendance. This removes a substantial financial barrier to college, which gives high school students a chance to earn college credit and get a taste of college life, while inspiring them to continue their education.

Those ready to enter the workforce can find the training they need at one of two local community colleges. MiraCosta and Palomar colleges collectively prepare thousands of students each year for jobs in a variety of career and technical fields, including health care, automotive technology, hospitality and tourism, design and more. MiraCosta College’s biotechnology facility, built with donations from local industry, has been named a Center of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Labor. Meanwhile, the college has created a machinist technology program to specifically meet industry needs.


MiraCosta College’s efforts at preparing students for the local workforce recently received a huge boost when the Department of Labor awarded the college a $2.75 million federal grant to start a technology career institute aimed at filling a growing demand for qualified machinists and technicians in North County. In 2014, the college will open a comprehensive training facility that will prepare participants – including returning military veterans and the unemployed – for high-skilled, high-paying employment in the manufacturing and technology industries.

Students who are ready to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree also don’t have to leave beautiful North San Diego County. Our region is home to world-class universities such as Cal State San Marcos, San Diego State, UC San Diego, University of San Diego, National University, and Point Loma Nazarene, among others.

At Cal State San Marcos, construction is under way for the university’s Student Health and Counseling Services Building, which promises to bring health care closer to students, while promoting healthy lifestyles and overall wellness. And student enrollment in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics has more than doubled, with 15 percent of the college's 12,000 students currently enrolled in degree programs within the College of Science and Mathematics. Once they graduate, many of these students will go on to find great local jobs in local industries.


In North County, students can stay close and go far—starting with preschool and going on to earn doctorate degrees—without ever having to leave the area. When people think of North County, they think about the climate and the ocean. They should also think about this beautiful area as a bastion of education—and that with a higher education, anything is possible. 

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December 2013 10:14

Highlights from the 2012-2013 MiraCosta College Annual Report

7. November 2013 08:37 by DrFranciscoRodriguez

What a year we’ve had!

 

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to address a room of local leaders, educators and community members to share the myriad of accomplishments the college and its students, faculty and staff achieved this past fiscal year. These accomplishments are captured in the beautiful pages of the college’s Annual Report. This report is our demonstration to you—our students, education and business partners, and the public—of the many ways that the college continues to provide educational opportunities, leadership and prudent fiscal stewardship to the North San Diego County communities we are proud to serve. The report also underscores the philanthropic and generous spirit of our local community, as demonstrated by the MiraCosta College Foundation. I invite you to read the report on our website, or request one be mailed to your home. You can also watch online the alumni video we played at the event or glance at our Report to the Region photo gallery. I hope you can also take a moment to read below some of the highlights from the 2012-2013 academic year.

 

One of the college’s many accomplishments this past year includes the addition of a new, high-tech science laboratory. The building is the first of its kind at a California community college—it can run completely on photovoltaic power generated from the sun. Plans are now under way to add a new science facility at the college’s San Elijo Campus in Cardiff.

 

Our recent increase in student enrollment has also meant that the college has increased the availability of courses. Students are taking more online classes than ever before, and our on-campus offerings have expanded to include more core classes offered on Fridays and Saturdays, allowing students to get into the classes they need most.

 

There has been a lot of growth at the college over the last couple of years, but perhaps none as dramatic as the growth in students who are currently serving in the military or who are military veterans. Since 2008, the college student-veteran population has increased by 93 percent. Today, MiraCosta College enrolls 1,900 student-veterans and an additional one thousand of their family members. In response to this, the college has made it a priority to meet the needs of these students, and has been named a Military Friendly Institution by Victory Media, a distinction given to the top 15 percent of colleges and universities doing the most to ensure the success of military service members, veterans and spouses.

 

Our 2012-2013 Annual Report also demonstrates the strength of the college’s partnerships with local elementary, middle and high schools. In 2011, we received a seven-year, $7 million federal GEAR UP grant that provides multiple services to ensure middle school students and their families are prepared for college and career choices. In fall 2013, the first cohort of GEAR UP students moved from middle schools to either Oceanside or El Camino High School as freshmen students. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, including the MiraCosta College Foundation and its board members, prestigious foundations, college faculty and staff, and community members, $100,000 in scholarships will be available for these students if they enroll at MiraCosta College following high school graduation.

 

Also discussed in the pages of our Annual Report is the role the college plays in preparing local adult students for high-tech jobs. In 2013, we created a new Machinist Technology Program, graduated our second cohort from the Biomass Production Certificate Program, and celebrated our registered nursing students’ 100 percent passage rate for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing licensing exam.

 

The success of the college and of our students would not be possible without the support of our local community. In 2012-2013, the MiraCosta College Foundation again exceeded its fundraising goals by securing nearly $1.1 million in private support for the college and its students. Thanks to the generosity of several local philanthropists and endowments held by the foundation, more than $328,000 in scholarships and direct aid was distributed to students and $571,000 expended on college programs and priorities. In recognition of the outstanding contributions one of our donors, Knox Williams (pictured on left with his family), has made to the college over the years, the foundation awarded him its first ever Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

As the year roles on, MiraCosta College continues to expand and grow, attract new populations of students, and adapt our facilities and programs to meet the changing needs of students and the community. It’s never been a more exciting time to be at the college, and I want to offer my congratulations and sincere thanks to our faculty, staff, students and supporters—all of whom contribute to what makes MiraCosta College so incredibly unique. 

 

 

Sincerely,

Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Superintendent/President

 

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November 2013 08:37

MiraCosta College's San Elijo Campus: A Vibrant, Active Community

24. September 2013 07:50 by DrFranciscoRodriguez

MiraCosta College’s San Elijo Campus is undergoing dynamic changes that are strengthening the campus' role as a leading transfer-focused institution with an actively engaged student body.
 
Students are benefiting from a growing academic program. Construction of the first phase of a new science building is set to begin this semester with the scheduled opening next fall. The number of Friday course offerings this fall has almost quadrupled from last spring. And extracurricular student activity has exploded.
 
“I see a much more vibrant campus and students who are much more engaged,” said Nikki Schaper, associate dean of Student Services. "In the past, for example, we often struggled to get students to our events. Now we have people coming up to us asking when our next event is going to be.”

The transformation is being directed by Dana Smith, the instructional dean who is in charge of the picturesque campus located near the northern shore of the San Elijo Lagoon. Smith has developed a strategy based on an analysis of student needs and demographics after she arrived as site dean little more than a year ago. What she found was that San Elijo is a campus where seven of every ten students are between the ages of 18 and 24 (compared to the Oceanside Campus’ ratio of six in ten), and where nearly half of all students are no older than 20. The school is drawing a growing number of students from Carmel Valley in the district’s southern boundaries, complementing the still large number from Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas. Finally, she found that the younger students were going to the San Elijo Campus with a purpose.
 
“Our students are local, our students are young and our students want to transfer to a four-year college or university,” Smith said.
 
That led to the new ‘Friday Core+’ courses in English composition, political science, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, chemistry, film, communication, biology, art, and oceanography – that enable students solely enrolled in Friday classes to meet all the general education requirements needed to transfer to a UC or CSU school, or a private university. The added courses also relieve crowding of these high-demand classes during the rest of the week.

 

“The best part is that these classes filled,” Smith said, adding that enrollment is up to nearly 400 students on Fridays, from roughly 100 just last year.
 
Another key addition will be new science labs, eliminating the need for students in the southern part of our college district who are taking advanced science courses from having to drive to the Oceanside Campus. In May 2012, the Board of Trustees authorized spending up to $4.7 million on several new modular laboratory buildings at the Oceanside and San Elijo campuses, and “green” Gen 7 models were installed at the Oceanside Campus in June. It later became clear, however, that it would be better aligned with the long-term needs of the San Elijo Campus to build permanent lab space. The labs can accommodate up to 30 students each, and they will be used initially for popular and much-needed transfer classes in chemistry and general sciences classes.
 
“You cannot teach chemistry or biology in a regular classroom,” Smith noted. “You need these labs. They will be a vital addition.”
 
Administrators, meanwhile, have been busy working to accommodate the growing number of students by expanding cafeteria hours and health services on Fridays. Efforts also include making the campus more of a place for students to stay and socialize. “We’ve created spaces for students to meet and form a greater sense of community,” she said.
 
Those spaces include the revamping of a second-floor patio at the Student Center, which offers breathtaking views of the San Elijo Lagoon. Lawn chairs also have been placed around the campus. College Hour, where students can gather to hear live music, relax, and eat while visiting various informational tables, is held twice monthly. More than 300 people attended the first event featuring singer/songwriter Raelee Nikole.


In addition, the Learning is for Everyone (LIFE) Program coordinated by the Student Activities Office partners with the International Languages Department to show foreign films on various Fridays and hold symposiums ranging from poetry to politics on the Fridays when no films are shown.
 
“We’ve seen more students stay here and gather throughout the campus,” Schaper said.
 
One barometer of increased engagement is in student government. In the past, it often wasn’t until late in the fall semester that all student government positions were filled. Not so this year. All positions were filled by mid-September.
 
“That was unprecedented,” Schaper said. “Students are much more interested in campus life.”
 
The campus has come a long way since the MiraCosta College District purchased the 47-acre site in 1980 and opened its doors to 2,500 in 1988. Today, more than 3,300 students are enrolled in at least one of the 225 courses offered, and classes are 91 percent filled.
 
Thanks to all the work the faculty, staff and administrators are doing at the San Elijo Campus, it is a jewel in the southern part of our district that serves the needs of our students and community.



Sincerely, 
Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Superintendent/President, MiraCosta College

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September 2013 07:50