The Laney Newsletter
January 2017 Issue 1. Vol. 1
Laney College Welcomes Dr. Audre Levy, Interim President
Dr. Audre Levy is Laney’s new Interim President. She assumed her role on Jan. 9 after being selected by Peralta Colleges District Chancellor Jowel C. Laguerre, Ph.D.
“I am truly excited to be at Laney at this pivotal time in history – at an institution that is so much a part of the community. To be here as we experience the change (new President of the Free World) but the sameness (the Black Panther movement) is an amazing divergent of the past and the future,” Dr. Levy said.
A Michigan native, Dr. Levy comes to Laney with five advanced university degrees and decades of experience in higher education. She’s held positions of leadership in Californ
ia at the Los Angeles Community College District, including serving as president at Glendale Community College. She was also a leader at the Dallas Community Colleges in Texas, and in Florida, at Edison Community College.
Dr. Levy comes out retirement from her most recent role as president of Lone Star College-CyFair in Cypress, Texas where she spent six and half years.
“Laney College stands as a beacon for Oakland and shapes the lives that attend and the community that surrounds. I am honored to be here and daily I am even more impressed with the sense of pride that everyone exhibits and the concern they have for our students.”
Emergency Food Bank for Needy Students
In coordination with Roger Chung, Instructor and Alejandra Bautista of Restoring Our Communities Initiative (ROCI), the student leadership team is partnering with the Alameda Food Bank to implement an on-campus emergency food bank for our Laney students.
Laney’s Office of Student Services began piloting the food bank during finals by distributing food to five evening courses, and in addition, three distributions to the counseling department. We are looking to launch the program during early spring.
Leading from the Middle Academy
Five staff from Laney College will attend the Leading from the Middle Academy 2017. The academy will focus on promoting organizational coherence within the college through the integration and coordination of college programs including equity, student success, basic skills, and professional development.
We will be building tools and strategies to effectively respond to the myriad of reforms facing our institutions, facilitate communication, and move stakeholders to action. The academy is run by the RP Group.
Among those attending the academy is Brandi Howard, staff assistant in the President’s Office. Ms. Howard also serves as President of the Classified Senate and Phi Theta Kappa Society advisor.
On Jan. 18, Ms. Howard was awarded the Chancellor’s Recognition Award at the District’s Flex Day. Congratulations!
Making Textbooks Accessible to Students
The high cost of textbooks creates an impediment for all students, but at Laney it is an even greater obstacle. Laney’s student body is predominantly low income (almost 80 percent). Our low-income students succeed at fairly high rates, but still not as high as higher income students, and their success may be affected by the high cost of textbooks.
We propose to engage in a planning process designed to raise awareness among a wide range of instructors about zero-cost textbooks and course materials so that we can solicit a commitment from at least one department to develop a plan and timeline for at least two certificates or degrees to become zero-cost textbook pathways for students.
The college already has several approaches to help students overcome the high cost of textbooks. Students in Laney EOPS/CARE/CalWorks programs receive textbook vouchers which cover some of the cost of textbooks for these students. In addition, the Laney library receives equity funds from the college for the purchase of library textbooks, which allows the library to continue its practice of making available for checkout a copy of every textbook on the bookstore’s required reading list.
The instructors who have already committed to participating in the zero-cost textbook project are ones who have been experimenting with such approaches and are eager to find more permanent solutions. Their work in the project will serve as a spark for more faculty to get on board.
We have two key strategies, each with benchmarks.
Our initial intent is to cast a wide net so that a large proportion of our faculty gain awareness of the existing zero-cost resources. In this way we can promote zero-cost resources among all our faculty, regardless of whether or not they are able or choose to participate in a full zero-cost certificate or degree pathway.
We know that some faculty already either use zero-cost materials or are very close to doing so, and we want to build on that foundation. Not all instructors may be in departments or programs that can successfully transition entirely to zero-cost textbooks, but they can at least lessen the costs to students overall by participating singly. A benchmark for this strategy will be the number of faculty who move individually from some cost to no cost course materials. We will evaluate this benchmark through attendance at our workshops and through increased use of and contribution to OER and other library materials. A second benchmark will be the actual change in cost to students as indicated by prior and current textbook adoptions at our campus bookstore.
At the same time, our process will result in a firm and specific plan for at least two awards. Our second strategy is to then narrow the group of interested faculty to at least one committed department who will complete specific plans. The department that commits will be identified as a result of the larger group work, and will derive from the faculty’s own interest and recognition that the certificate or award pathway is possible in their discipline. Benchmarks for this second phase will include the commitment from the department to form a plan and the plan itself, and again, changes to actual costs to students as demonstrated by the campus bookstore adoptions.
Enrollment Services and Laney College Gateway to College Program
Gateway to College (GtC) is a scholarship program that provides academically and economically disenfranchised Alameda County residents 16 to 20 years old with an opportunity to experience success in an academically rigorous, supportive and safe environment as they pursue their high school diplomas and transition into college.
Gateway to College partners with a number of local external partners to offer internships to students. Currently, our Director Shawn Taylor is producing some of the following program successes:
- Approximately 39 students (41%) of GtC students are anticipated to graduate May 2017.
- 10 students have been placed in internships for summer 2017; 4 Gateway to College students received full scholarships; and 2 Students earned a Dean’s Medallion last academic year.
Laney Says Goodbye to Dr. Stanley
Before the holiday break in December, Laney College staff, faculty, and administrators said goodbye to Dr. Patricia Stanley at a farewell party held in the Tower Building. Dr. Stanley had served as Laney Interim President since March 2016.
A higher education veteran for decades, Dr. Stanley succeeded in getting a lot done during her short time at the college.
Here is a partial list of accomplishments during her tenure:
- Course and program assessment
- Integrated planning
- Completed the Educational Master Plan
- Developed the College Strategic Plan
- Aligned budget expenditures