Overview: Reflections on the Changing Times

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In this edition, the authors reflect on ways to survive in these tough budgetary times via community, collaboration and creativity. There are also articles addressing basic skills and assessment practices to be recommended to the California Community College Board of Governors along with a section on Staff Development. sponsor for this edition is the parent organization for the iJournal, the California Community Colleges Chief Student Services Administrators Association (4C2S2A).

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As the Napa Valley is quickly converting the lush greens of the spring to the golden hills of summer/fall, we still wait for the summer heat as Californians wait for the 2009-10 budget. I have a feeling the heat will arrive first and may help push the latter.
 
The sponsor for this edition is the parent organization for the iJournal, the California Community Colleges Chief Student Services Administrators Association (4C2S2A). The Editorial Board Chair attends the Executive Board meetings to receive and provide input on editions and themes. The incoming president of the Association, Celia Esposito-Noy, provides a message to the field on the plan and aspirations for the Association in 2009-10 in A Message from the California Community Colleges Chief Student Services Administrators Association (CCCSSAA) Board President.
 
In this edition the writers share their Reflections on the Changing Timesand relate how the economic crisis is resulting in new practices and better ways to communicate on our campuses. As of this writing, there is no resolution in Sacramento for the 2009-10 budget year and time is running out. The severity of this crisis is reminiscent of the budget shortfalls created by Prop 13 in 1978. Then, as now, everything was on the chopping block. It seemed at the time that the budget cutting would continue for years. Student services bore the brunt of those budget reductions, with restoration not coming until matriculation funding in the late 80’s. Now, as college leaders up and down the state and across the nation examine core college fundamentals, opportunities emerge as leaders explore new ways to provide services and instructional programs. A few approaches are described in this edition.
 
 
In “Enduring Good and Bad Budget Times Through Collaboration,” Dr. Francisco Arce and Dr. Jeanie Nishime ask the question, can instruction and student services collaborate on cuts to the budget without turf wars? The authors found that collaboration and the establishment of trusting relationship can help mitigate the impact of tough budget decisions. In “Creating Community,” Dr. Gwen Plano articulates an approach to building community on campus that returns us to our roots. By taking this journey, college faculty and staff can reconnect to what is most important to each of us. From this vantage point, the college community will be in a better frame of mind to address the current challenges. Our next article focuses on ideas for students. “Even Small Budgets Can Make Room for College Tuition,” notes Tawan Perry. He writes about the difficult challenge of finding the funds to attend college during these tough financial times and describes several approaches.
 
 Our last two articles focus on student access and basic skills. In “Ensuring Student Access and Enhancing Student Success: Are Both Possible at the Same Time?” Dr. Deborah DiThomas describes the work of the Strategic Plan Assessment and Placement Action Planning Group (APG) for the California Community Colleges and the recommendations the group will present  to the Board of Governors this July.Daniel Martinez, Ph.D., writes in “Basic Skills Students: A Closer Look"about the Basic Skills Initiative (BSI) occurring throughout the state. A key part of the BSI is the establishment of baseline measures to help a college gauge its success over time with these students. He asks several questions in this article to clarify the baseline measurements and provides several insightful recommendations.
 
 In the Staff Development section a few key dates for the 2009-10 academic year are listed. The iJournal will be accepting information for additional staff development activities scheduled after Oct 1.
 
Feedback and Format Changes
 
Your feedback, comments and inquires are appreciated. If you are interested in providing an article, book review or staff development opportunity, please contact me at editor@ijournal.us or eshenk@alliant.edu.  
 
For future editions, the iJournal will consider articles focused on student services, collaboration with academic services or other issues in community college education. Book reviews are also welcomed, as are any staff development activities after October 1st. If you desire to submit an article, the article should be 500-2000 words in Word format using Times New Roman, 12pt font. The submission should also include an abstract, short bio and a picture of the author. The submission deadline for the fall edition is Sept. 15, 2009.
 
We are exploring several changes in the format and potential of the iJounal site. In the future authors will be able to post their articles, abstracts, pictures and bios directly into the selected edition. The web site will also enable readers to reply directly to an article and post comments, and discussion forums will also be developed. Look for these changes with the next few editions. Thank you for interest and support of the iJournal. Ed Shenk, Editor