Dear Faculty, Classified Staff and Administrative Staff Colleagues:

Welcome Back!

It was such a joy to see many of you at Flex Day and to renew our bonds as we start a new year. I was especially grateful for the Flex Day presentation by our own Kristina Rizga, whose book about nearby Mission High, documented the key to closing the achievement gap in the graduation rates of students of color: “trust the teachers”. Let this be the theme and let Mission High be our guidebook as we continue on our own mission of reform to close the graduation gap for our African American, Latino and Pacific Islander students.

Thanks to the trust we place in CCSF teachers, we have so many “green shoots” of reform, too many to mention here but I will do so in my next statement because we need to mirror to each other and to pull into the center of our attention the extraordinary reform work so many of you are doing. I will, however, mention two astonishing CCSF events I attended over the holidays that show the wonderful things that are happening all around CCSF.

The first was the 22nd CCSF Biosymposium held at UCSF’s Genentech Hall last Dec 21. There I met 15 CCSF student interns who presented posters of their research. Our interns have been working on projects at UCSF, Gladstone Institutes, USDA, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Valencia Street Food Safety, Cel Analytical, Terramino Foods and Chimera Bioengineering. It is not too much to say that these students are working to solve the most difficult problems we face in climate change, disease and agriculture. I came away with my faith restored for our future as well as a deepened admiration for our faculty and students.

The second event was the Forum Launch Part at Alley Cat Books on Dec 20th . Established at CCSF in 1937, Forum is a student-run literary journal published every spring and fall that serves the CCSF community. Dedicated to providing a platform for the contemporary, urban voices within the College, Forum collects, edits and publishes quality works of literature and visual arts produced by the CCSF family. Again, it was truly nourishing to the soul to witness the student editors and contributors speak. Their writing is marvelous. I read one passage from a short piece, Sanctuary, at Flex Day. For me this piece is an allegory for community college education at its best: sifting through the past, like an archaeologist, and finding what serves the truth at the present moment. For true uplift in this New Year, check out the Forum Blog or contact their editors at for information on how to purchase a copy and support Forum.

Both of these events were, to me, miraculous and characteristic of such CCSF events for the diversity of our students. Most were students who, statistically, had been grouped into the achievement gap. However, the trust they had in themselves and their teachers put them on a different path to graduation. Therefore, the way to graduate and transfer more students is to give them real problems to solve and to support them and their teachers to solve them.

Spring Registration:

Last week I spoke of the technical difficulties our faculty and students are having with the new Banner 9 registration system. While the system is functional and registration and enrollment are proceeding according to normal patterns, these problems are unacceptable. Therefore, I am taking the following three steps:

First, we have posted this message on the CCSF website:

To Our Continuing and New Students: The online registration system is now functioning properly. However, if you experience any technical difficulties please call 415-239-3285 and you will receive assistance. You also have the option to get registration assistance in-person at the Ocean Campus or any of these other CCSF CAMPUS CENTERS.

For classes starting the week of Jan 14th, please attend the first day of class. If you are not currently registered for that class, speak with the instructor about the possibility of receiving an add code. Finally, do not worry, you have time: we have extended the add deadline for full-term classes for three weeks until Monday, February 4th. You will get the Spring Semester class you need.

Thank you for your patience.

Second, no class cuts without mutual agreement between deans and department chairs.

At this time we will not make further reductions in the class schedule, even if the class has not yet enrolled 20 students. I do agree with AFT that, given the registration glitches, we need to have the maximum opportunity to “Grow Our Classes”. (And thanks, Steven Brown, for the wonderful ‘grow our classes’ plants you sent over!)

Having said this, we must recognize that as I write this we have well over 100 class sections that have not enrolled even 10 students. These are mostly classes that have been historically under-enrolled for the last six years. These classes in total cost about $750,000 to teach less than 1000 students when we could use these funds to teach 3500 students in high demand required classes. So we will continue to work closely with the department chairs, the Academic Senate and AFT 2121, to see how some of this expense can go instead to high demand courses for our students.

Furthermore, I will meet with the enrollment management committee soon to ask them to study and make consensus recommendations for the Fall schedule on the management of historically low enrolled classes.

Third, it is long past time for a new online registration system.

Among our many IT problems are that CCSF is using 20th century website architecture in the 21st century. I am therefore consulting with faculty and staff leadership to form a special Business Process task force that will be charged with developing a RFP and conducting am open and transparent selection process for a new vendor and system.

In the meantime, I thank our valiant IT staff who have been working every day, all day and all night, to apply duct tape to the current system to keep it functioning.

New Assignments for the New Year:

  • Chancellor’s Office. I am pleased to announce that Leslie Milloy will move from interim chief of staff to permanent chief of staff in the Chancellor’s Office, following the last semester’s search. Among her many duties, Leslie will coordinate Free City, the website project and the college communications team (with Jeff Hamilton, Director of Government Relations and Connie Chan, Director of Media Relations.) Also, Angela Wu has returned to the Chancellor’s Office and will handle the front desk and scheduling. Angela will continue to work with Linda Shaw, Board of Trustees liaison, on all things board meeting. Please call Angela if you want to do a Philz Coffee.
  • Business Process Project. I have asked Dianna Gonzales, Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, to lead IT and Administrative Services to develop recommendations for improvements in all of our support operations.
  • Student Development. We need to do more thinking on the future of Student Development and how it can best serve students and align and synergize with Academic Affairs. I have therefore hit the pause button on a search and have formed a working group of faculty and staff leaders to review all operations in Student Development to make consensus recommendations on how to move forward to serve students. Heading up this work group are Tom Boegel, Elizabeth Coria and Dianna Gonzales.

Final Comment:

So many other things to report, but today we rejoice to have our students back. There really is no better work to have than to help our student realize their dreams. I see the good work you are doing to help each one of our students. Keep up the great work. I’ll see you along the way this semester and I hope to see all of you at graduation in May!

With sincere thanks,

Dr. Mark Rocha, Chancellor
City College of San Francisco

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