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College of Marin
President’s Monday Briefing - August 16, 2010
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Superintendent/President Harrison’s Convocation Address to the College

The Board of Trustees and I have worked hard over the summer months to ensure a smooth transition while a permanent replacement for the new College of Marin superintendent/president is found. The search for the new superintendent/president is in progress and you will have an opportunity to meet the five finalists recommended by the search committee during the week of August 30 when they will be on campus participating in forums and interviews.

Prior to the start of the new academic year, convocation provides us with an opportunity to reflect on what has been accomplished and look to the year ahead. At the core of our mission is student success and at the heart of student success is the tremendous work that each of you do in and out of the classroom. I’d like to take this moment to express my deep appreciation for all that you do for our students, our college and for our community. We have many reasons to be proud and we have accomplished so much.

Last year the college achieved many milestones and received a number of accolades. While there are too many accomplishments to list in this forum, a few highlights include: COM professors Yolanda Bellisimo and Robert Kennedy received statewide recognition for their pathways assessment model; arts and humanities professor Katrina Wagner won a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities grant to study Native Cultures of Western Alaska and the Pacific Northwest Coast; Chemistry Professor Patrick Kelly and English 98 Instructor Meg Pasquel both received Golden Bell awards for teaching excellence; the COM Organic Farm Project was selected by Washington D.C.-based Corps Network as a Project of the Year; the Diamond PE Center reopened last fall and was recently awarded LEED Gold for its sustainable building features; five former College of Marin star athletes, whose achievements in sports grew into successful careers and lives of generous service to the community, were honored at an inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner; and the college modernization program received a Green California Community College Summit Pioneer Award for its overall sustainable building practices.

In addition, recent research conducted by our new Director of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness Dr. Chialin Hsieh shows that College of Marin excels academically and significantly exceeds the state average for transfer, retention, and student success in a number of important areas. You can read more about these findings in your convocation packets. For these achievements we can all be very proud. Special thanks again to all of our faculty and staff who work every day to support student success and make College of Marin an outstanding institution.
The keynote speaker is Dr. Swarup Wood. It is noteworthy that Dr. Wood focused his presentation on the relationship between outcomes-based learning and assessment in contributing to student success and student learning. This is a very timely topic for us to consider in light of the fact that we have recently completed our Institutional Self Study Report in preparation for an accreditation team visit in October 2010 by ACCJC-WASC.

Our institutional self study co-chairs will give us an update this morning; however, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have worked tirelessly on preparing the college for the institutional self study journey, including the self study committee members, the many members of our governance committees and our various planning committees. Thank you for your good work.

New hires
This year there are many changes on the horizon. Part of the positive changes that are occurring at the college are due in part to the new faces that we see. The college has hired a number of new faculty and staff and it is a great pleasure to welcome our new colleagues.

Last year three new tenure track faculty were hired: Anthropology Professor Jessica Burton, Physics Professor Colleen Marlow and Puente/Basic Skills Luz Moreno.

A number of classified staff were hired last year, including

  • John Adams, District Police Officer,
  • Julie Breakstone, Human Resources Technician,
  • Shook Chung, Senior Creative Designer,
  • Tonya Hersch, Instructional Specialist - English,
  • Devon Kinka, Human Resources Specialist,
  • Leslie Lee, Human Resources Technician,
  • Mary O'Connor, Police Officer,
  • Margie Pratchenko, Office Technician - Internet Café ,
  • Guadalupe Romo-Padilla, Administrative Assistant - College Skills,
  • Alejandro Suarez Maldonado, Administrative Assistant - College Skills,
  • Kathy Takemoto, Workforce and Partnership Program Specialist,
  • Justin Zollars, Laboratory Technician - Chemistry,
  • Michelle Greitzer, Accountant - Fiscal Services, Classified Supervisory
  • Anna Pilloton, Interim School Relations and Outreach Coordinator, Classified Supervisory
  • Shannon Timpane, Health services Assistant
  • Yvette Vargas, Accountant, Classified Supervisory

Three management positions have been hired, including Bob Balestreri, Dean of Enrollment Management; Dr. Chialin Hsieh, Director of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness; Laura McCarty, Director of Modernization; and Marshall Northcott, Director of Information Technology. Also, during this period our Director of Fiscal Services Peggy Isozaki is serving as the Vice President of Operations.

Challenges ahead
First, we face a challenge of institutional change. The college is going through a period of change in leadership and facing an amount of uncertainty due to the economy. However, this is not new. We have seen it before and I am certain that together we can prevail.

Second, we still have to address what is perhaps the most difficult period of fiscal instability that the college has ever seen. Revenues continue to decrease and expenses continue to grow. Our spending or disposable income has been reduced and there is nothing we can do in the short-term to offset these reductions. Our operational budgets are decreasing and the demand for our wonderful services is increasing. Our modernization program is moving forward on schedule and within budget; however, we will have to devote an amount of our already limited financial resources to ensure that new facilities are properly maintained and conducive to a teaching and learning environment.

During one of the most difficult economic periods in history, we have been able to work together for the benefit of our students, our community, and our college. Thankfully, we have managed to avoid becoming mired in petty differences thereby allowing us to focus on the important issues that we face. So far, we have been able to adjust without negatively affecting the lives of our employees and students. Moreover, through our continued efforts of cooperation and collaboration, I believe that we can emerge from this most difficult period even stronger than we were when we started.

Special thanks
Many thanks to those whose excellent efforts made our fall 2010 Convocation a great success, including Kathleen Kirkpatrick, Jon Gudmundsson, Andy Haber, and Steve Brown. Special thanks to the College of Marin Foundation for the delicious breakfast as well as the custodial staff for set up and clean up.

Welcome back and I hope that you have a wonderful and productive semester!


Welcome New Academic Senate Members

I would like to congratulate our new Academic Senate Officers, including Sara McKinnon who is serving as President, Derek Wilson, Vice President, Becky Brown, Secretary, and former Academic Senate President Yolanda Bellismo who will serve as treasurer. I would also like to welcome the following new members to the Academic Senate: Becky Brown, Bonnie Borenstein, John Sutherland, and Robert Ovetz. For more information about the Academic Senate visit

New Textbook Rental Program Has Arrived At COM
College of Marin students can save money this fall by choosing to rent instead of purchase textbooks. Currently over 50 titles are available for rent and that number is expected to increase over time as demand increases.
The new textbook rental program will allow students to rent their textbooks for less than 50 percent of the cost of purchasing a new printed textbook. Plus, as an added convenience, students will be able to rent their books either in the store or from the store’s Web site:
Other program features include:

  • Students can pay the rental fees using any form of tender currently accepted by the bookstore—including student financial aid and campus debit cards. (Note: For security purposes, a valid credit card must also be provided regardless of the tender used for the rental fee.)
  • Students can highlight or mark the rented books just as they would if they purchased a book and planned to sell it back to the bookstore.
  • Students can convert their rental to a purchase during the first two weeks of class.
  • The rental period is for the duration of the term/semester. Books are due back at the bookstore no later than 10 days after the last day of finals. Students can return the books in person or mail them to the bookstore.
  • Courtesy e-mails will go out as the end of the term/semester approaches reminding students to return their books.
  • Books not returned (or returned in unusable condition) will be subject to replacement and processing fees.

Barnes & Noble began piloting their rental program earlier this year at 25 campus bookstores across the country. Response from students where the program was piloted was tremendous. In particular, students like having the option of getting their books immediately—as opposed to waiting for a shipment to arrive—and they appreciated knowing that the books they were renting were guaranteed to be the right books for the classes. More than 90 percent of the students surveyed said they would rent from their campus bookstore again.For more information about the College of Marin bookstore, visit

Volunteers needed for First Week of School

The Office of Student Development and Special Services is looking for volunteers to help direct students to classes, and other locations, during the first week of school. People are needed at the dates, times, and locations shown in the table below.
Volunteer Shifts and Locations

Day date time Locations
Tuesday 8/17/2010 7:45a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Bridge PE Building Harlan Quad In Front of Fine Arts SS Quad
Tuesday 8/17/2010 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Bridge PE Building Harlan Quad In Front of Fine Arts SS Quad
Tuesday 8/17/2010 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Bridge PE Building Harlan Quad In Front of Fine Arts SS Quad
Tuesday 8/17/2010 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Bridge PE Building Harlan Quad In Front of Fine Arts SS Quad
Tuesday 8/17/2010 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Bridge PE Building Harlan Quad In Front of Fine Arts SS Quad
Tuesday 8/17/2010 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Bridge PE Building Harlan Quad In Front of Fine Arts SS Quad
Wednesday 8/18/2010 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Bridge PE Building Harlan Quad In Front of Fine Arts SS Quad
Thursday 8/19/2010 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Bridge PE Building Harlan Quad In Front of Fine Arts SS Quad

Please let us know as soon as possible if you would be available to work any of these shifts by calling Rhonda Jones at (415) 485-9618.

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New Book Published by Staff Member

Curriculum and Articulation Technician Tom Hudgens has published an amazing cookbook titled The Commonsense Kitchen: 500 Recipes Plus Lessons for a Hand-Crafted Life. Hudgens worked as a chef for 15 years, including stints at Chez Panisse, Liberty Café in San Francisco, and the Moosse Café in Mendocino. In addition to his current position with the Office of Instructional Management he teaches cooking classes through COM Community Ed.

The book is a big, all-purpose cookbook with recipes in all categories. Recipes are based on his time as the chef (1998-2001) at Deep Springs College, a unique 2-year honors college for academically advanced young men, situated on a working cattle ranch in the high desert of California’s Eastern Sierra region. He also attended Deep Springs as a student from 1988 through 1990.The book is published by Chronicle Books of San Francisco and is available at 1st Street Books in Kentfield, across from Half Day Café. It’s also available through most online bookstores. For information about the publisher go to More information can also be found at the author’s Web site

COM Professor Featured in Strings Magazine

Tara Flandreau along with the College of Marin Symphony Orchestra were featured in the June 2010 edition of Strings magazine. Flandreau, a violinist and composer and the performing arts department chair, has conducted the orchestra since 2001. The article recognizes the orchestra for providing an opportunity for high-school students, doctors, businesspeople, homemakers, and middle-school string teachers to perform music that they wouldn’t get a chance to play anywhere else. Excellent work!

Director of COM Choral Activities Taking Oratorio to New Heights

College of Marin Professor Boyd Jarrell had a wonderful write up in the June 20, 2010, Marin Independent Journal. Jarrell, director of choral activities since 2004, also directs COM's 100-voice Marin Oratorio. The article highlights that under his direction Marin Oratorio concert offerings have doubled and public attendance has quadrupled, to the point of selling out the 600-seat Fine Arts Theatre. Many in the community have commented on the quality of these performances. I wish you continued success in the future!

RN Program Graduate Named Employee of the Month

Director of Health Sciences Roz Hartman reported that Beth Cassidy, 2008 RN Program graduate, was named April Employee of the Month at Marin General Hospital. Beth works in the cardiac stepdown unit (CSU). Her nominators said she is “respectful and sensitive to patients’ needs…an exceptional RN. Communicative and calming. She went above and beyond in obtaining a social worker for me to talk to…Keep up the good critical thinking skill”. Cassidy received a $250 cash award and a premium parking space. Kudos goes to the Health Sciences faculty and staff for doing so much to make the department an environment for success.

Thank You to Marin County Fair Volunteers

This summer many new faces were seen at this COM’s general information booth at the Marin County Fair. Many thanks to all of the fair volunteers for their time, including Arnulfo Cedillo, Barbara David, Becky Reetz, Cathy Summa-Wolfe, Deirdre Martinez, Devon Kinka, Hoa-Long Tam, Janice Austin, Jeanie Jacobson, Jeff Cady, Joanna Pinckney, Kelvin Ling, Linda Beam, Maridel Barr, Marti Sukoski, Melinda Molloy, Nicole Cruz, Olga Borissova, Paul daSilva, Pearl Monemzadeh, Sara McKinnon, Scott Adams, Scotti Clair, Shook Chung, V-Anne Chernock, and Vickie Lamke.

Spotlight Gallery

Thank you to Barry Douglas and John Rodriguez from Maintenance and Operations for doing such a beautiful job hanging pictures of College of Marin students, faculty, and staff in hallways of the Learning Resources Center. Many people have commented on how professional it looks and how nice it is to read about members of our COMmunity.

COM awarded two grants from Marin Community Foundation!

The College Skills Noncredit ESL program has applied for and received an $80,000 grant from the Marin Community Foundation (MCF) for the development and offering of 9 noncredit vocational ESL classes. These classes would be offered in Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 and include two ECE bridge classes, English for Healthcare Workers, two levels of English for Childcare workers, English for Landscapers and Gardeners, English for Restaurant and Hotel Workers, English for Housekeepers and Custodians and in Spring, if all goes well, a class on Civics and Financial Literacy. Congratulations to Sara McKinnon for her hard work securing funding for this project.
Under another MCF initiative, College Readiness, COM collaborated with community partners Youth Leadership Institute (YLI), Educational Excellence and Equity (E3), and the Parent Services Project (PSP) on a $250,000 grant to increase the educational performance, college readiness, and ultimate college enrollment of some of the most academically, socially, and economically at-risk students in selected Novato and San Rafael middle and high schools. As part of the grant, 15 COM students who have completed one of our learning communities will be paid as mentors to work with at-risk middle school students from their communities. Congratulations to Patricia Torres and Susan Andrien for their work on this partnership.

Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet a Success
The first College of Marin Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on June 5, 2010, was a huge success. The inductees were Irwin "Red" Diamond (Basketball 1947-1984) Mario Ghilotti (Football 1948-1949) Ray Snyder (Basketball 1947-1948) Rich Nave (Football 1948-1949) and David A. Cotton (Springboard Diving 1974-1975). There were over 150 people in attendance. Athletic Director Matt Markovich, along with athletic department faculty, staff, and students put together a wonderful program. All who attended were treated to a history of the college as well as the inductees’ personal lives during the time that they attended College of Marin. Many former College of Marin coaches were also present for the evening’s festivities.


Upcoming Events

Welcome Week

College of Marin will host its Fall 2010 Welcome Week August 17, 18, and 19 in the Learning Center Quad area, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Below is a list of the many vendors that will be here to serve our students, as well as our staff, faculty, and administration. This is a wonderful opportunity for our local businesses to promote their business and offer students discounts.
Borders, Costco, Marin IJ/Chronicle, AT&T, 24 Hour Fitness, Gideon Bible, Blue Cross/Allstate, KMEL, Live 105, Chiropractors, Community Violence Solutions, Marin Education Fund, an ice cream vendor, and many wonderful art and jewelry vendors. Be sure to take a break and join in the festivities.
No need to bring your lunch because Ned’s BBQ will serve BBQ ribs, chicken, steak sandwiches, potato salad, etc. If you would like further information please call Vickie Lamke in the Student Affairs Office (415) 485-9376.

Transfer Agreement Guaranteed (TAG) Workshop

Seven UC campuses offer guaranteed admission to California community college students who meet specific requirements. Students participating in a Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program will receive early review of their academic records, early admission notification, and specific guidance about major preparation and general education coursework. tudents planning on transferring to a UC campus in fall 2011 should attend the TAG Workshop on Wednesday, August 25, 2010, from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Science Center, Room 144. Contact the Transfer/Career Center at (415) 485-9671 or e-mail to reserve your seat. Students can begin the application now BUT may only submit online between September 1 to 30, 2010.
To get access to the application and for a complete UC TAG requirements go to

Transfer Day

The College of Marin will be holding its Annual Transfer Day on Thursday, September 30, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Services Building, dining area. This event is a great opportunity for students, parents, academic advisors and the community to meet representatives from four-year California colleges, universities, private colleges and out-of-state institutions and get their questions answered about the institution, admissions, housing, financial aid, and the general transfer process.
For more information, contact the Transfer/Career Center at (415) 485-9671 or e-mail


Ongoing Events

Static Progression

The Fine Arts Gallery is featuring new work by Jason Dunn in the exhibition Sculptures and Vessels now through Sept. 23, 2010. A reception for the artist will be held Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact Andrea Antonaccio at (415) 485-9493 for more information.

Emeritus Exhibit

The College of Marin Emeritus Center is sponsoring an exhibition titled Currents featuring paintings by Sharon Paster now through Sept. 20 in the Student Services Building, Room 148. A reception for the artist will be held Tuesday, Sept. 7, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Emeritus Center is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call (415) 485-9368 for more information.

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Student Parking Information for fall 2010

Please share this information with students.
The campus modernization program is now in full swing and the effect on parking will be noticeable. Students are encouraged to arrive early to class and park in available student parking areas (see list below). Parking permits are required for most lots and are available from Admissions and Records, Student Services Building, Room 254.* Parking maps are posted on campus building entries and are also available in the Swinerton Management construction trailer located in the Portable Village near the Diamond PE Center. For more information about parking call (415) 485-9455 or visit

*Correction: Information in a COMall sent August 10 stated that parking permits could be purchased from Campus Police in TB-1. Parking permits may only be purchased from Admissions and Records. Sorry for the confusion.

Free parking in lot 13 at the Kentfield Campus
For your convenience, the college is offering free student parking in Parking Lot 13 (south of Parking Lot 12 near Diamond Physical Education Center); all other lots require a parking permit.
Preferred parking in lot 12 at the Kentfield Campus
If you carpool or own a Fuel Efficient Vehicle or “FEV”—like a Toyota Prius or other hybrid vehicle—and you have purchased a semester parking permit, you are eligible for an additional permit that allows you to park in specially designated spaces in Parking Lot 12. For more information on the Preferred Parking Program visit or call
(415) 485-9455.
Consider using public transportation
Students are also encouraged to use public transportation. See for public transit information to both campuses.
Thank you for your patience and your continued support of the Measure C bond program!
Student Parking at the Kentfield Campus—(a general map of the Kentfield campus is available at

Parking Lots 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 12, 13, 15, 16, and 17 are open. Modifications to parking lots are as follows:

  • Parking Lot 6 is open; the driveway between Lots 6 and 9 (between Austin Science Center and MS3) is for construction traffic only.
  • Parking Lot 9 is open; the driveway between Lots 6 and 9 (between Austin Science Center and MS3) is for construction traffic only.
  • Parking Lot 11 (behind Lot 12, adjacent to the Portable Village) is open. Mind the construction by the Ross Valley Sanitation Agency. This is a non-bond project.
  • Parking Lot 13 is open and available for free student parking (adjacent to Lot 12 near the PE Building).
  • Closed Parking Lots at the Kentfield Campus:
  • Parking Lot 3 (Circle Drive) is closed for duration of the new Fine Arts building construction.
  • Parking Lot 4 has limited ADA parking and is otherwise closed for duration of Science/Math/Central Plant building construction.

Student Parking at the Indian Valley Campus
Parking Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4 remain closed for construction of the new Main Building.

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Welcome back!

Al J. Harrison II

President's Monday Briefing webpage
Technical Contact: Nicole Cruz, Assistant to Director of Communications and Community Relations, (415) 485-9648 x7648
Content Responsible: Cathy Summa-Wolfe, Director of Communications and Community Relations, (415) 485-9528