President's Newsletter

October 2020 | Volume 2, Issue 14

College and District News

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Giving Week

Giving Week Proceeds to Benefit
President's Fund for Excellence

Giving Week will be held November 2-6.

The week will be a celebration of sorts, highlighting the College's potency and impact on the lives of Valley residents. Giving Week provides an opportunity for companies, alumni and community members to show their support. Donations will benefit the President's Fund for Excellence providing leadership with resources to impact programs and student areas with the greatest needs. The week will highlight the College's community ties, business partnerships and learning opportunities which have impacted students. Throughout the week there will be testimonials from business and education partners, current and former students, and student performances as well as live question and answer segments.

Follow the week's events on the College's social media platforms or view the Giving Week schedule of events. To make a donation to the President's Fund for Excellence, click here.


College to Hold Virtual Veterans Scholarship Recognition Ceremony

The Virtual Veterans Scholarship Recognition Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, November 10, at noon. This year's guest speaker is Altie Holcomb, Captain US Marine Corps, Retired, and a district representative for Senator Richard Roth. Born in Philadelphia on March 20, 1971, Holcomb joined the United States Marine Corps in August of 1989, a couple months after graduating from high school. He served 20 years, and was deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Click here to register for the event. Registration closes November 6.


College a Voter Assistance Center

Moreno Valley College is one of the county's voter assistance centers for the November 3 election. On campus voting is available in the Student Academic Services Building, Room 121, from October 31 to November 3. Hours are 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, and on November 3 from 6:30 am to 9:30 pm. Parking is free. The County of Riverside Registrar of Voters increased voter assistance centers and drop-off locations (80) and is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Having voter assistance centers and drop-off locations will further ensure Californians can exercise their right to vote in a safe, secure and accessible manner during the election. Per County of Riverside Registrar of Voters office, drop off boxes can be accessed from October 5-30. To find the closest voter assistance center or drop-off location, click here.

Patrick Saade

Apprenticeship Program Opens Doors to a World of Opportunities for Students

A white lie has Patrick Saade positioned for a successful career.

"When I was in middle school, there was this group called Math League," Saade, 20, said. "I joined it because I enjoyed math and thought it was fun. I was asked if I knew how to program because there was a (upcoming) competition/project. They were looking for a programmer. I volunteered and said I knew how to program, which I lied about, just to get the opportunity."

To learn programming quickly, Saade turned to Khan Academy for a course on java script. Turned out he was a natural and continued studying the field. A graduate of Valley View High School, he enrolled at Moreno Valley College in the summer of 2018 and quickly embedded himself into the file of computer science and cyber security.

This past summer, Saade had the opportunity to participate in a Base 11 Caltech Internship, a mission-based nonprofit that would solve two of the country's biggest problems:

  • The growing STEM talent pipeline crisis, which is only getting worse because of the under representation of women and minorities, and
  • The lack of a sustainable middle class in America made up of all Americans.

With $5 million in seed funds from a philanthropist, Base 11 built state-of-the-art Innovation Centers; developed hands-on, project-based STEM programming; and formed over 40 academic, industry and nonprofit partnerships all of which are designed to tear down barriers and develop the mindset and skills needed to succeed in the workforce and entrepreneurial opportunities of the 21st Century. Base 11 and its partners set an initial goal to accelerate 11,000 students on their pathway to the Victory Circle by the end of 2021. The Victory Circle is achieved by enrolling in a four-year STEM degree program, landing a STEM job, or getting trained in STEM entrepreneurship.

"I learned about the apprenticeship opportunity, Base 11 Caltech Internship, at Makerspace," Saade said. "A representative of Base 11 explained the program around February of 2020. I thought it was interesting, so I applied, and I made it into the program around April after a phone interview."

He credits the College's apprenticeship program for helping him land the opportunity. Jennifer McDaniel, apprenticeship director, said the program has developed two pathways and have submitted them for approval — IT Support Specialist and Cybersecurity Specialist.

"It can take some time for that to be finalized, especially now that COVID has slowed everything down, but since all the curriculum and pathways are developed, we can still begin the program," McDaniel said. "We have been focused on IT/cybersecurity since we have well developed pathways in that area. But we have other areas that we are starting to map out."

Apprenticeships are based off of occupations, much like a guided pathway. The student is given an educational plan with a group of classes to choose from. After their first semester, interviews are set up so they can start applying to do work-based learning with College partners. Simultaneously, they continue their education — all of which helps the student go from entry to mastery level.

"The difference between an apprenticeship and an internship is you are an actual employee, not a temporary employee," McDaniel explained. "Also, your educational fees can be waived with an apprenticeship. And, the most important piece is that a student can graduate knowing they have a living wage job."

Saade's goal for his internship was to get at least a basic understanding of how the typical research flow works with a group of scientists. He believed getting real world experience with scientific researchers would provide him the opportunity to understand how they function, handle their workflow, and communicate and present ideas.

"The goal was to become a researcher for the eight weeks I was there," he said. "I understand the importance of communication of ideas and how to properly demonstrate work depending on who your audience is. I also understood that there is no one who knows it all in the field. Everyone has their specialty and quirks - and with that, they are assigned specific tasks in a project. Everyone must be working to be productive, there is no slacking."

That was particularly true for Saade, who studied different methods for harvesting energy passively from the environment. His research entitled, Implementing the SINDy Algorithm to Identify a Model for Passive Vortex Induced Motion of an Airfoil, explored fluid dynamics with the goal of identifying a potential model for the motion of the airfoil.

"After research completion, executing the machine learning algorithm to determine a model of the specific system/object was to be done," Saade said. "This was not completed because the internship ended, sadly. We got to use the machine learning algorithm on a test case, however, and it worked by reconstructing a model of the system from simulated data. If we had more time, I would have loved to continue and finish the work.

"Looking back, the experience that I most joyed was the presentations in front of my group and the public. My research group pushed me beyond my comfort limit."

COVID19 also affected the experience. Instead of being on campus at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Saade was home on Zoom.

"I was supposed to have a dorm and experience the real scientific research environment, but sadly it could not happen," he said. "Research was harder to do especially with family and other situations at home. But that did not stop me from reaching my goal."

Saade admits at first, he had no clue what a non-linear dynamical system was and what it did. However, he had a pre-apprenticeship meeting with Morgan Hooper, a co-mentor, who explained her research.

"I was really confused and struggled to get a grasp on the topic," he said. "But luckily my co-mentor encouraged me and guided me throughout the eight weeks."

It wasn't until week three of four that he began to understand non-linear dynamical systems.

"That is when the programming started," he said. "I got to dip my toes in machine learning. There was something fun that I found when programming a computer to find a formula that is unknown to the world. It is like a sense of discovery that is very intriguing."

For more information on the Apprenticeship Program, contact Jennifer McDaniel, the director, at (951) 571-6965, or have students apply on the Apprenticeship webpage. Due to the fact that tuition is waived there is a student vetting process, so not every student may be accepted. Students need to understand they have to maintain the pathway and be dedicated until completion.

Maker Ed

Community of Practice Assists Faculty with Course Curriculum, Outcomes

Moreno Valley College has launched Maker Ed - Moreno Valley College Community of Practice (COMMP) which is intended to get faculty involved with learning and implementing courses or curriculum.

Meeting monthly until April, the workshops aim to assist faculty in exploring and learning with other educators, using different approaches in the principles of maker education.

"We think faculty will learn additional strategies to engage learners, deepen their understanding, and ultimately strengthen outcomes," Jason Kennedy, Makerspace project supervisor, said.

Workshops are hosted in collaboration with Maker Ed and Moreno Valley College STEM Innovation Center & Makerspace. Maker Ed is a nonprofit maker organization headquartered in Berkeley that is facilitating the workshops with Gabriela Florido, math instructor, and Joseph Murray, Makerspace laboratory technician. The first Community of Practice meeting focused on making to learn with a focus on brain development and a making activity for participants and sharing out and reflections using Padlet.

"These are intensive professional development workshops which immerse educators in an exploration of the ways making can enhance learning throughout Moreno Valley College," Kennedy said. "It is an opportunity to step into learners' shoes and explore foundational approaches that can be integrated into curriculum. Through participatory experiences, reflection, collaboration, and prototyping, COMMP culminates in the creation of a maker-centered project tailored to a learning environment.

"These workshops are perfect for those who are just getting started or are looking to further develop hands-on learning."

In January, the College has scheduled four, half-day virtual making events followed by two, one-day events either in the spring or summer. For the intensive virtual making workshops, faculty will be supplied with maker supplies kits to help them integrate in their own learning and can utilize ideas and techniques into their own courses, Kennedy added.

Welcome Center

College Holds Virtual Groundbreaking for Welcome Center

Moreno Valley College held a virtual groundbreaking for the Welcome Center, a $14 million single-story building that will house various departments that comprise Student Services. Situated next to Student Activities and behind the Science and Technology Building, the Welcome Center will join Student Academic Services, the Dental Education Center, and the Network Operations Center as buildings completed under the District's 2004 Measure C bond measure that was approved by voters to finance new construction and remodels across the District in order to accommodate the growing number of students the colleges are serving.

DE Den

College Creates a Collaborative Environment for Effective Online Course Design

Moreno Valley College has created The DE Den, a collaborative environment within Canvas that models effective online course design, provides targeted distance education information, and offers synchronous and asynchronous support through discussion boards and weekly Zoom training and community building meet-ups.

The DE Den was created in response to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges' (ACCJC) determination that MVC needed to demonstrate that its Distance Education courses consistently adhere to the policies established by the College concerning substantive instructor initiated contact with students.

While the College was undergoing its accreditation visit (March 2-5), MVC offered approximately 10 percent of its courses online. Less than two weeks later, the College transitioned 100 percent of its courses to online instruction as COVID-19 forced the campus to shut down. A couple months after moving instruction online, the College was informed by the ACCJC that it had a compliance issue related to Distance Education courses.

Given 18 months to address the issue, faculty and leadership got to work.

A Distance Education Response Team (DERT), led by Vice President of Academic Affairs Carlos Lopez; Distance Education Committee Chair Carrie Patterson; Sara Nafzgar, associate professor, Communication Studies and accreditation faculty co-chair; Jake Kevari, dean of Institutional Effectiveness; and Terrie Hawthorne; coordinator, Faculty Development, was assembled. The fully assembled DERT team composed of eight faculty and 11 administrators was then broken into three groups – Faculty Support, Student Support, and Communication and Assessment. Student Support created a student support shell to centralize communication regarding student services. The Faculty Support team considered ways to provide targeted training to faculty on the topic of regular and substantive instructor initiated interaction (RSI). Recognizing that the District already provided significant online training, the groups knew MVC's approach would need to complement what existed while offering additional value.

One of the exciting breakthroughs was the creation of a Canvas shell that allowed both administration and staff to have access — something that was previously not possible.

"We imagined an MVC specific, college-wide learning community where faculty could support faculty in the development of their online courses much like the virtual learning communities that were sprouting up on Facebook (Pandemic Pedagogy, Higher Ed Learning Collective)," Patterson said. Kari Richards-Dinger, associate professor, Mathematics, and DJ Hawkins, instructional designer for Distance Education, were added as leaders to the team and the interdisciplinary collaboration accelerated the efforts.

A survey was launched in order to assess what the faculty knew about the RSI policy and what was needed to ensure that courses met the standard. An RSI checklist was developed to assist faculty and a survey developed. The A-Den survey received 113 responses, a large enough sample size for a report out to the accreditation team. The commission will be sending a visiting team to review spring 2021 classes to ensure there is consistent evidence of regular and substantive interaction – an important step in determining accredited status.

"The goal was to create a virtual space where faculty could ask questions of one another (much like we do in the hallways on campus), where we could have targeted DE resources housed in a single location to reduce missed messages/message overload, and where we could build community through engaging Zoom calls and the shared experience of working on the same goal," Nafzgar said.

Ultimately, the goal of DERT is to get each MVC faculty member to self-enroll in the DE Den, access the resources that meet their needs, and participate in the supportive community. As of October 26, 187 faculty and staff have self-enrolled in the DE DEN (62 percent) with 66 individuals having completed the RSI checklist.

To further support faculty teaching online, MVC launched a peer support program. The support program comprises of nine faculty members (Sidekicks) who reach out to other faculty members offering assistance with a focus on RSI. Additionally, there will be a lotto where a third of the faculty will be selected to review a fall course together with a Sidekick, with the goal of identifying where the ACCJC peer review committee would be able to find evidence of RSI. Thursday meet-ups at 4 pm are held in order to discuss pedagogy and online challenges. Topics are related to RSI, but there are also discussions on student-to-student interaction and creating a welcoming climate in course offerings.

In September, the DE Den launched a training module section within Canvas. An Accessibility module will be published in the next few weeks. There is also an Equity and Anti-Racism module that is in progress. Many of the training modules can be completed in an hour or less and are self-paced. DERT continues to identify content experts in order to grow the library.

"(In the spring) we will have nearly 100 percent of classes online, so it is imperative that the entire College engages in significant DE training efforts," Nafzgar said. "It is our hope that when the visiting team returns, they find that all of the courses they review are exemplars of RSI and that our process to achieve that could be modeled by others.

"I think the real story here is the deep collaboration among the administration and faculty to respond to an urgent need in a timely manner. It was a case of true synergy where everyone's strengths fit perfectly together and allowed the creation of something special."


MoVaLearns–Mayor's Challenge Receives Recognition from ICMA

The city of Moreno Valley's MoVaLearns–Mayor's Challenge received another recognition as the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the world's leading association of professional city and county managers and other employees who serve local governments, honored the program with an Excellence Award for Community Diversity and Inclusion. The awards recognize outstanding local government programs. The city of Moreno Valley won in the category of 50,000 residents or greater.

The program assisted students at Moreno Valley College with a $250 monthly award for eight months. The idea was to help students advert the "earn versus learn" trap. The "earn versus learn" phrase refers to when students are low on funds and are forced to pause their studies and usually take a low-wage job. Many students never recover from the decision because they never return to finish their studies.

In citing the city for its program, ICMA said, "Inclusive economic development, in programs like MoVaLearns, has direct benefits not only for students, who enjoy job-related education, but also for cities, which enjoy a competitive edge that allows them to attain such traditional economic development goals as attracting new businesses, jobs, and revenues while at the same time creating economic benefits for residents."

MoVaLearns was the first-in-the-nation universal basic student income program involving the city, a college, the business community, local organizations, and students.

ICMA's vision is to be the leading association of local government professionals dedicated to creating and supporting thriving communities throughout the world. We do this by working with our more than 11,000 members to identify and speed the adoption of leading local government practices in order to improve the lives of residents. ICMA offers membership, professional development programs, research, publications, data and information, technical assistance, and training to thousands of city, town, and county chief administrative officers, their staffs, and other organizations throughout the world.

Diesel Mechanic

College Submits Grant for Development of an Employment Training Program

Moreno Valley College, in collaboration with the District's Grants department, has submitted a grant proposal for the development of an employment training program for semitruck drivers and mechanics. Funded by the US Department of Labor, the program will provide up to $5 million for training of students impacted by COVID-19.

The proposal is a training program to develop semitruck drivers as well as a program to train individuals to become diesel mechanics. Education opportunities would be expanded to include training in electronics, in response to California's mandate for clean fuel usage for large-scale transportation.

"The need for well-trained and skilled truck drivers and mechanics is in high demand in our region," Robin Steinback, Ph.D., MVC president, said. "The project will also have an emphasis on entrepreneurship in order to teach students the needed skills to establish their own operator businesses."

Starting wages in the industry can be as much as $70,000 per year.

ICMA's vision is to be the leading association of local government professionals dedicated to creating and supporting thriving communities throughout the world. We do this by working with our more than 11,000 members to identify and speed the adoption of leading local government practices in order to improve the lives of residents. ICMA offers membership, professional development programs, research, publications, data and information, technical assistance, and training to thousands of city, town, and county chief administrative officers, their staffs, and other organizations throughout the world.


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Moreno Valley College

16130 Lasselle St., Moreno Valley, CA 92551
(951) 571-6100


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