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October 2011

SACS Accrediting Team On Campus Oct. 4-6

Representatives from other community colleges will be on campus Oct. 4-6 for a site visit required for Palo Alto College's reaccreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities.

The College's accreditation must be reaffirmed every 10 years. When a college is not accredited, the institution cannot offer federal financial aid and their courses may not transfer.

The nine who will be visiting the campus are:

  • Dr. William G. Ingram, President of Durham (NC) Technical Community College, Chair of the Reaffirmation Committee;
  • Dr. Kenneth R. Bishop, English Instructor, Itawamba Community College, Fulton, Miss.;
  • John W. Carrico, Vice President of Administrative Services, West Kentucky Community and Technical College, Paducah, Ky.;
  • Dr. Susan E. Graybeal, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, Northeast State Community College, Blountville, Tenn.;
  • Dr. Augusta A. Julian, President of Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Lexington, Ky.;
  • Dr. Maria E. Lander, Chair of Business, Computer and Public Services, South Piedmont Community College, Monroe, N.C.; and
  • Dr. Delores W. Scott, Dean of Students, Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria, Va.;

The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Evaluator, who will be leading the discussions with employees and students about the “Make It RREAL!!” initiative will be Dr. Clara Gerhardt, Professor in the Department of Family Studies, Samford University, Birmingham, Ala. The QEP is an effort to promote problem-based learning as opposed to constant lectures in class. The goal is to engage students in the learning process. RREAL is an acronym for Relevance + Reflection + Engagement = Active Learning.

In addition, the SACS staff representative who is traveling with them will be Dr. Cheryl D. Cardell, Vice President of the Commission on Colleges in Decatur, Ga.

They will be meeting with individuals and groups on Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday. They will provide a verbal report to the College leadership on Thursday morning.

The group will submit a report to the Commission on Colleges Board of Trustees, and a final decision on Palo Alto College's reaccreditation will be announced in June 2012.

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New website helps students, community as it standardizes navigation across the Alamo Colleges

Palo Alto College will welcome an entirely new website on or about Oct. 10 when you will see work that has evolved over several years to bring the Alamo Colleges into one unified website.
 
This project has been called WCMS for Web Content Management System.  It was designed when the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees contracted with The C2 Group in Michigan, which specializes in higher education websites.
 
The Colleges and District have worked collaboratively to create a site that will be easier for our students and community to navigate.  The first and second tier links will be the same so that students don’t have to hunt when they go from college to college.
 
This site is geared toward recruiting students and providing information for the community and businesses.  It will allow more beautiful graphics and rotating banners than are on our current site.
 
Many items on our current site are internally focused and will be placed in ACES or in Sharepoint (share.alamo.edu).  That is where you will find internal documents such as meeting minutes, help guides, forms, etc. 
 
The current site will not be updated after the new site launches, but will be available through December at the URL of legacy.alamo.edu.  That will give faculty and staff time to move more of their content from the current site into Sharepoint or ACES.  Training on Sharepoint is available by going to Train Track in ACES and registering for the training.  It also will be offered on Employee Development Day on Oct. 26.
 
Those who are doing the lion’s share of moving the current material are Senior Multimedia Specialists Leroy Ibarra and Dimona Esparza.  Others in the Public Relations Department also are updating new content, such as the News and Events sections.
 
One of the great things about the new site is that individuals can make changes to content without learning Dreamweaver.  A point-of-contact (POC) in each department will be trained to update the site. 
 
If you want a peek at the new site as it is evolving, you can go to http://mywebdev.alamo.edu.  

If you would like more information, please contact Public Relations Director Ginger Carnes atvcarnes@alamo.edu or Senior Multimedia Specialist Leroy Ibarra at libarra2@alamo.edu.

 

 

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Palo Alto College awarded five-year, $4.1 million STEM grant

Palo Alto College has been awarded a STEM grant that is designed to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, specifically at institutions serving Hispanic and other low-income students.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Education is for $864,549 for the first year and is anticipated to be renewed four times. The announcement was made by U.S. Rep. Francisco Canseco’s Office.

Palo Alto’s grant will concentrate on faculty development, increasing the academic and transfer success of Hispanic and low-income students, and the expansion of a seven-acre Science Exploration Lab Center that was created with a current STEM grant.

“This grant will ease Palo Alto’s funding cuts and will continue to help us provide services to our students,” said Dr. Ana M. “Cha” Guzmán. Sixty-seven percent of Palo Alto’s students are Hispanic, and 80 percent of the students who take classes on campus are on financial aid.

Titled the CAARE Project – Coaching, Active-learning, Advising, Research & Endowment – the grant will include an endowment to increase funding for student scholarships.

One activity will be an Intrusive Academic and Career Advising/Planning Program (IACAPI) that will encourage students to pursue STEM job pathways. Staff will track student progress, retention and completion and will coach students at risk of failing or dropping out of STEM courses.

Another will create a Problem-Based Learning Clearinghouse that will focus on professional development, instructional innovation and assessment of student learning outcomes for STEM courses using problem-based learning pedagogy.

 

 

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Palo Alto College earns Military Friendly School® designation

Palo Alto College is among the top colleges named by G.I. Jobs, the premier magazine for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, as a Military Friendly School® for 2012. The list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members and veterans as students.

Palo Alto has more than 850 veterans or VA-eligible family members using their educational benefits at the college, along with an office and staff dedicated to providing services to its military community.

The designation among 1,518 institutions on this year’s list validates the services offered by the schools, including the student veterans’ clubs, military credit and staff assistance offered at Palo Alto College. To select this year’s list of schools, G.I. Jobs for the first time incorporated a survey of student veterans, providing peer reviews from current students.

Michael Dakduk, Executive Director for the Student Veterans of America, said: “The Military Friendly Schools list is the go-to resource for prospective student veterans searching for schools that provide the right overall experience. Nothing is more compelling than actual feedback from current student veterans.”

“We knew San Antonio would be a town attracting veterans, so we have ramped up the staffing, space and programs for veterans,” said Palo Alto President Dr. Ana M. “Cha” Guzmán. “This designation provides the stamp of approval on the importance we place on service to our veterans, who have done so much to serve our country.”

Information is available at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com. Palo Alto’s Veterans Affairs Office can be accessed at alamo.edu/pac/veteransaffairs.

  

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 Hispanic Heritage Month Activities continue 

Palo Alto College continues celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month through Oct. 15 with a blood drive, a craft showcase featuring PAC International students from Nicaragua, and National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. The college kicked off its celebration Sept. 15 with an address from Enrique Romero, Mexican Consulate.

In September 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed National Hispanic Heritage Week, which was observed Sept. 15-16. The observance was expanded by Congress in 1988 to a month long celebration (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15). During this time, America celebrates the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.

The celebration continues this month at Palo Alto College with the following events:

  • Oct. 3 & 6 - South Texas Blood & Tissue Center Blood Drive
    9 am – 3 pm
    Student Center Annex

     
  • Oct. 4 - Celebrating Diversity with PAC International Students
    Students from Nicaragua will showcase crafts from their country
    Food sampling
    11 am – 1 pm
    Student Center Annex

     
  • Oct. 6 - National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
    Various health and community organizations will be on campus to provide important information about HIV prevention, testing and treatment.
    10am – 1pm
    Student Center Annex
 

AROUND CAMPUS

Emergency Evacuation Drills conducted 

PAC is rolling out planned evacuation drills across the campus by alerting several buildings at a time of the date and time of the drill. Emergency messages have been deployed through system that notifies employees and students via phone, email and text.

If you are not receiving those messages, you must update your Personal Information in ACES. Then you will be notified when there is a real emergency and of bad weather conditions. To receive text messages, you must give your cell phone number.

The instructions are available at:
http://www.alamo.edu/it/pdf/helpguides/Personal_Contact_Information_for_Mass%20Notifications.pdf 

  

First responder courses begin Oct. 20 

If you are interested in helping others and working in a fast-paced environment, then Palo Alto College can prepare you for being a first responder. EMT Basic and Emergency Care Attendant classes begin Oct. 20. Advanced EMT classes begin January 30, 2012.

For more information, please call 210.486.3406 or email swoods1@alamo.edu.