Plans for the future


Irvin Trigueros

Music Department Chair Silvester Henderson argues a vital point during the meeting. Photo taken in 2013.

Los Medanos College held a district strategic planning meeting Oct. 7, led by district Senior Dean of Research and Planning Gregory Stoup, to talk about future plans and initiatives. The meeting, referred to as a charrette, gave the opportunity for all staffers to discuss and share ideas to improve the overall schooling environment.

To kick things off, Stoup ran through some of the data found in the environmental scans that were talked about at the first charrette at Diablo Valley College Oct. 2. In the scans, Contra Costa is broken up into three counties, the west, central, and east. The west holds the Contra Costa College, the central holds DVC and the San Ramon campus, and the east holds LMC and the Brentwood campus.

Talking about the diversity of outcomes of the scans, Stoup said, “we have such a dynamic county, we have to have something that accommodates all of that difference.”

The first part of the scans looked at district enrollment trends since 1978. The peaks of recession, of which there have been three since the early 1990’s, tend to bring in more students. The last recession peak of 2009 showed a student headcount of about 42,000 district-wide while the 2012 census was about 36,000 students.

Since Fall 2007, there has been some trends in growth or decline in student factors such as gender, age, and ethnicity. There is a small percentage of growth for males since 2007, while female growth is declining, despite still being more plentiful overall. Age wise, there is growth in the 20-24 year old range, while students under 20, between 25-49, and over 50 are all declining to various degrees. The percentage growth for Hispanic students has continued to rise while all other elasticities are declining.

“Our fastest growing segments in each area have traditionally been our lowest performing,” Stoup said, talking about the major takeaways from the enrollments trends.

Trends in higher education were also a topic of interest. Some key points included the fact that resources are scare and will continue to stay that way and colleges looking to push towards students the agenda for completing a degree.

The theme as to excelling in overall college excellence is having coherent pathways for students in terms of either graduating or transferring. Stoup said the process should be “not quite the maze that it would be otherwise.”

The vision, values, and mission of the district were also highlighted in the presentation.

The vision is, “our colleges transform lives. We are agents of equity, compassion, and excellence, building upon the diverse strengths of our students, faculty and staff. We thrive upon the learning and success of all our students.”

The values and mission speak toward servicing students needs.

The charrette concluded with break out sessions that had the staff break into groups and pitch ideas and questions to Stoup about the changes the college needs in order to meet its goals.

Speech and Debate instructor Kasey Gardner said, “The minimum Title 5 stuff, we can do that, I think we can set our sights a little higher than that.”

LMC Music Department Chair Silvester Henderson spoke in response to the sense of community and the fact that a large faction of it is not being paid attention to. “A large portion of students of color, males in particular, are incarcerated. So, one of the things community college have no addressed is to have education for people in the penal system who make up a large portion of the community we serve,” said Henderson. The next charrette is planned for early November and will include more feedback from community members as well as the emergence of a second draft of the plan.