Issue 24: Budget Impact Pushback: Creativity and Concerns


by Ed Shenk

With the severe impact of budget cuts this year and plans for more cuts in 2010-11, our writers in the Winter Edition propose approaches that: may stretch the budget dollar through new ideas to ponder or online high touch, may bring our awareness to a special  group of students,  or may help us utilize online resources to provide training on Basic Skills Education. Additionally, there is book review on meaningful work and an End Note remembering Jack Bessire.

Thus, our writers in this edition initiate some pushback on the budget impacts and provide some hope for the future. The Follett Higher Education Group is the sponsor of the 24th Edition of the iJournal and also offers new ideas to reduce cost.

Survive and Thrive in the Budget Cuts – a few ideas for kicks!

By  Jing Luan

Despite the historical fiscal crisis faced by California community colleges, we should maintain a positive attitude and deploy strategies not just to survive the crisis, but to thrive in it. Some ideas mentioned in the article include Tell Our Story, Focus on Student Needs, Energize Student Services, Seek Local Revenue, Marketing, Negotiate Service Contracts, and continuing with Planning at all levels.

Online Education: Meeting Educational and Workforce Needs through
Flexible and Quality Degree Programs

by Dr. Kristen Betts and Dr. William Lynch

Online education provides higher education institutions with innovative opportunities to increase student access to flexible and quality degree programs. Recognizing that educational attainment is linked to employment, career advancement, and increased earnings, it is critical that higher education institutions development online degree program options to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population and the current and future needs of the workforce. According to Learning on Demand: Online Education in the United States 2009, online enrollment growth rates now far exceed the overall higher education growth rates. However, student attrition in online programs is reported to be 10 to 20 percent higher then traditional, face-to-face programs. To proactively address online student attrition, a conceptual framework for Online Human Touch (OHT) was developed by Drexel University’s Higher Education Program. Through the integration of OHT strategies into instruction and programming, retention across cohorts in the Higher Education Program has ranged between 81percent to 88 percent since the program was launched in fall 2005. In addition, approximately 30 percent of the Higher Education students are promoted or transition into new positions before graduating from the program.

Ghosts You Can See - The Impact of the California Budget Crisis on AB 540 Students

By David McCabe

California Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) students make up a growing part of our student population and contribute to the richness of our campus and community at large.  The economic downturn has impacted them in a way that is disproportionately greater than that of our citizen students.  AB 540 students are often invisible, and many college faculty and administrators are unaware of the hardships that these students endure to attend classes and transfer to four-year colleges and universities. This article highlights some of those hardships and offers recommendations that community colleges can implement to provide assistance to our AB 540 students.

Introducing the Senate’s Online Resource List

By Kathyrn Molloy

For the past several years, the Statewide Academic Senate has been holding regional workshops for California community college faculty and administrators as part of its overall work with the Basic Skills Initiative.  Using past successful presenters from these BSI regional workshops, the Senate has recently created an Online Resource List (informally known as “Workshops-To-Go”) that allows colleges to create their own cost effective workshops and tailor them to their individual needs. 

Book Review: Mindfulness and Meaningful Work, Edited by Claude Whitmyer

by Mark Meadows

Meaningful Work is a collection of essays on practical, speculative, metaphysical, and utilitarian aspects of work. This collection can remind us that work can be a locale for self-development and growth. This read can prompt a “personal redefinition” of constructive effort that requires our reflection on such concerns as play, change, and love. The irony of reading these essays is that the more you come to understand the nature and encounter with work-- the more you come away with uncertainty about your current conceptions of work.   

End Note


Dr. Jack Bessire – A Life of Service to Students

by Grace N. Mitchell

This is a tribute to Dr. Jack Bessire, who was a well respected administrator and leader in the Community College system, serving at Monterey Pennisula College as the Chief Student Service Officer and President. He later became President of PPL, Professional Personnel Leasing, a firm that has assisted colleges in serving students for over thirty years. His years of service are captured in this End Note.