Faculty and students attend Educational Master Plan meeting


Perla Lara

Mark Sillings Educational Master Plan Project Manager for Moore Iacofano Goltsman Incorporated speaking during the final part of the EMP meeting held on Friday, Feb. 10 at Cerritos College. The meeting was held to collect suggestions and ideas to implement during the next five-years; and had over 110 people in attendance. Photo credit: Perla Lara

Perla Lara

All were welcomed at the Educational Master Plan charrette; a meeting that had over 110 participants from the Cerritos College community.

“It was great to have the collaboration across the campus from all groups from students to faculty to classified staff to administrators and managers,” Publications Department document services technician Lynn Laughon said.

The purpose for the Friday, Feb. 10 EMP meeting was to bring the Cerritos College community together and create a list of ideas, suggestions and plans for the next five years of Cerritos College.

The firm Moore Iacofano Goltsman Incorporated is in charge of organizing the meeting, collecting data and creating the master plan that Cerritos will work toward implementing in the next five years.

Faculty Senate President Michelle Lewellen who is also part of the EMP committee said, “I thought it [the meeting] was great, I thought it was good lots of good information lots of good discussion.”

Besides the organization of the meeting MIG also created an online survey that students could complete online.

Mark Sillings EMP Project Manager for MIG said, “We had over 1,600 people respond to the survey which is four to five times what we’ve seen in other colleges; that was great. That shows there’s a lot of desire from part of the community here to really make Cerritos College better than what it already is.”

Psychotherapy major Shakira Serna Villa said, “[the meeting] was a very enriching event, the people who participated were very enthusiastic, they showed a lot of interest [in the discussion groups]. The event was also well organized; I hope that everything can move forward from improving assisting service programs to the new programs that we suggested.”

The meeting had 10 different discussion groups labeled from A to J that focused each on one of the following areas:

  • Culture of completion
  • Program augment
  • Professional development
  • Partnerships
  • Leadership continuity
  • Information technology
  • Internal communications
  • External communications
  • Streamlining systems
  • Diversifying revenue

Each group had a mixture of faculty, management, classified staff and students which served the purpose of having multiple view points on each discussion topic.

Lewellen was in the professional development group; she was surprised by the students that where in her group. Especially since they stated they saw the need for faculty and classified employees to have professional development training.

“I didn’t realize students were aware that there would be training and I didn’t know that they felt like ‘yeah managers, faculty, classified and everyone should be trained’. I was a little surprised by that, I thought they [students] just lived in their own student world. I’m very impressed with the students that came and gave that idea.”

Because of the students suggestions Lewellen said, “I would recommend that we increase the opportunity for classified and managers to have training.”

Toward the end of the meeting each of the ten groups had a group reporter present to the rest of the groups at least four key points or suggestion the group discussed.

Serna Villa said, liked the group that emphasized on improving careers especially in health care; group B program augment which discussed program reinforcement and new programs.

She said, “The suggestions that were given are based on the future for the next five years. I recommended that there should be a special emphasis on English conversation practice [courses]. I also recommended [an emphasis] on gerontology [courses] because it is the career of the future.”

Among the other groups discussed communication was one that Laughon believes is important.

“How do we get the communication across the campus in a timely manner that everyone is able to get meaning what will catch their eye and have them [everyone in the college] pay attention to. How do we get training for all of the constituencies faculty staff managers students?” Laughon said.

Research analyst, Latarah Williams participated in the meeting she, was the reporter in the external communication group.

She said, “One thing that stood out to me was how everyone’s emotion was on the community of the school, we wanted to make sure that the school presence was more of a community supportive effort. It was more of ‘let the students know that we’re here and that they have support’. I really like how that’s what Cerritos College wants to be known for.”

Serna Villa like other attendees arrived for the meeting at 8:30 a.m. and stayed until 3 p.m. when the meeting concluded she said, “It was fast, enjoyable and had a continuity, it was a very well organized [event].”

Williams agreed the event was successful due to organization and the enthusiasm that fellow group member showed.

She said, “It was a good amount of time; time actually flew by I thought it was going to drag but everyone was involved in the conversation.”

Cerritos College President, Dr. Jose Fierro agreed and said, “I think [the meeting] went well; I think we got a lot of feedback from a lot of the groups in the college. The conversations were lively which is encouraging because it seems the people were engaged.

“What caught my attention was the intersection of ideas from the different groups. There were working separately but somehow many of [the groups] ended up mentioning very similar things that became themes throughout essentially every group, which in my mind it means there is a high level of interest on campus of developing a number of initiatives.”

What comes after the meeting is the developing of the actual master plan, Sillings said, “We’re close to finishing with analyzing the data now we’re moving into the planning phase […] we’re going to develop a plan based on what comes out of today’s meeting.”

Looking further ahead Fierro said, “We will do check points every six months to a year to see how much progress we have made because the idea is to use this plan as a guiding principle as we move into the next five years of the institution and obviously at the end of the five years we will do something like this but our starting point would be where we finish here, to make a continuous strategic educational master plan and continue to move forward.”