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College of Marin
President’s Weekly Briefing - November 17, 2011
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COM's Indian Valley Organic Farm & Garden Gets $233,000 Boost

The California Community College Chancellor's Office has awarded a $233,000 grant to the College of Marin Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden which, combined with more than $201,950 in matching grants, will expand the regional organic farming training laboratory and make it a sustainable enterprise in the next 20 months. The grant recognizes the value of the regional collaboration that has gone into making the 5.8-acre farm on the Novato campus and its overflowing classes a reality.

College of Marin, Conservation Corps North Bay (formerly Marin Conservation Corps), the University of California Cooperative Extension and Marin Master Gardeners have worked with a long list of committed partners that includes 25 local farmers, the Workforce Investment Board of Marin, the Marin Economic Forum, the Marin County Board of Supervisors and just about every other countywide organization workforce and economic organization in Marin.

The "Industry-Driven Regional Collaborative" grant was awarded by the Chancellor's Economic and Workforce Development Division. It will help develop a regional teaching farm laboratory and launch a self-sustaining, expanded farm production operation in less than two years. Students will also be exposed to an expanded core curriculum and a certificate program linking to baccalaureate granting university standards.

Earlier this year, the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards partnered with College of Marin and Fresh Run Farm to offer a first-of-its-kind apprenticeship program for organic farming. Students learn progressive, responsible farming practices including landscape ecology, composting and fertility management, as well as the business side of farming with coursework in marketing and organic certifications.

Congratulations to Nanda Schorske, COM dean of workforce development, Marilee Eckert, chief executive officer at Conservation Corps North Bay, and all of our partners for their work on behalf of our IVC Organic Farm and Garden Program.

Faculty/Staff Survey

Your participation is requested; please take a moment to fill out the Fall 2011 Faculty/Staff Survey.

Your input is critical for setting our future direction as we prepare our strategic plan for 2012-2015. By “taking the pulse” of the college’s internal community with this survey, results will be analyzed and used as one element for building the future plan.

Please click here to complete the survey before it closes at midnight on Nov. 24, 2011. The survey results will be posted at the Planning, Research, and Institutional Effectiveness (PRIE) web site.

Fresh and Natural Cafeteria Services Are a Big Hit with Students and Staff

Manager Suzy Lee and salad bar manager Luis Sanchez (who also works as a chef at Woodlands Market) are making a great first impression in their first few weeks of providing food service in our Kentfield cafeteria.

Here are some of the highlights of our new cafeteria food offerings:

  • The menu changes daily
  • They always have a grilled special and a burrito special
  • Enjoy a special soup of the day
  • Next week they will be starting a stir fry and sauté special on Wednesdays
  • Salad bar items change daily as well
  • They offer sushi three times a week
  • Spring rolls are on the menu twice a week
  • A selection of breakfast menu items
  • Grab and go sandwiches and salad boxes

If you have not yet tried Fresh and Natural’s fare, consider stopping by for lunch or a snack!


The Peer Summit Planning Team reported that the summit held Friday, Nov. 4, went extremely well. A lively Opening Ceremony started the day followed by highly engaging youth-led workshops, a great lunch (the students gave the thumbs up on the box lunches—hats off to the new food service folks), and a very powerful and entertaining closing act, “Nightmare on Puberty Street”, the students went away with newfound skills and perspectives. The committee expressed its sincere appreciation for COM’s hospitality and for making this event possible for the 400 students and their adult allies. The adult session, “Navigating the Teen Years” was incredibly powerful, and the counselors, teachers, and parents who attended learned volumes from the presenters about the dangers that young people face, the resources available to families, and the responsibilities we collectively share. Maintenance, media services, food service staff, and student ambassadors all did a wonderful job, and the Peer Summit Committee made sure that the campus was left in ship shape condition. Kudos to Outreach Coordinator Anna Pilloton on her amazing coordination skills!

Upcoming Events

Piano Ensemble

Paul Smith, director
Thursday, November 17, 3pm
The Tamalpais Retirement Community
501 Via Casitas, Greenbrae
FREE Admission

The Piano Ensemble class presents a variety of works for both two pianos and one piano, four hands, featuring Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Arensky, Gershwin, Bruch, Anderson, Schubert, and Mihaud.

COM Biology Professor is Guest Presenter at Benefit

This year’s annual Evening with Owls event coincides with the tenth anniversary of the Hungry Owl Project. College of Marin Biology Professor Joe Mueller is the guest presenter and he will be discussing owl hoots, cries, and screams in the dark at the event held Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. with the event ending around 9 p.m. at the Mill Valley Community Center, 180 Camino Alto Mill Valley. Appetizers, a light dinner, desserts, and wine and micro-brews, and dessert will be served with live owls and hawks on display! Tickets are $75 per person. Proceeds benefit The Hungry Owl Project. Come and enjoy an evening in the presence and magical spirit of owls. For more information visit Hungry Owl Project web site.

An Evening with Kay Ryan

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former U.S. Poet Laureate and COM Basic Skills Professor Kay Ryan will be reading her poetry and signing copies of her books on Friday, Nov.18, at 7:30 p.m. at Dominican University of California, Angelico Hall, 50 Acacia Avenue in San Rafael. Student tickets can be purchased from the College of Marin Bookstore for $20 with a valid student ID card. Tickets for the general public are $25 and can also be purchased at any Marin County Free Library branch. Proceeds from the event will be used to support arts and poetry programming at all branches of the Marin County Free Library. 

COM Symphony Orchestra

Paul Smith, conductor/pianist
Joanna Pinckney, guest conductor
Admission: $10 general (suggested donation)

Saturday, November 19, 7:30pm
St. Hilary Church, 761 Hilary Drive, Tiburon

Sunday, November 20, 4pm
Unity in Marin, 600 Palm Drive, Novato

Monday, November 21, 7:30pm
First Presbyterian Church
72 Kensington Road, San Anselmo

The College of Marin Symphony Orchestra, lead by conductor Paul Smith, celebrates the 200th birthday of Franz Liszt with performances of Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, and Camille Saint-Saens’ Suite Algerienne. Then, concertmaster Joanna Pinckney conducts as Smith performs Liszt’s scintillating Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major.

January Flex Program

The Professional Development Committee is planning Spring 2012 Flex activities. If you would like to present a workshop on the January Flex days or during the spring semester, or have a suggestion for a presenter, please send a brief description along with your preferred date and time to Kathleen Kirkpatrick at for the committee’s consideration by Nov. 18. Independent Flex days are Jan. 18 and 19, 2012. College Convocation and Department Meetings take place on the Mandatory Flex Day, Jan. 20, 2012.

Eat at Wipe Out Bar and Grill and Help the Classified Senate

On Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., invite your friends and family to eat at Wipeout Bar and Grill located at 302 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae. Wipeout will donate 20 percent of the funds earned during this event to the College of Marin Classified Senate. Please request a flyer by emailing Flyer must be presented to your server. The Classified Senate uses funds to recognize outstanding faculty and staff, honor retirees and long-time employees, and host community-building events such as faculty and staff appreciation luncheons.

COM Athletics

Women’s Basketball vs. Las Positas College
Wednesday, Nov. 23, 6 p.m. in Kentfield

Have a great week!

David Wain Coon, Ed.D.


President's Monday Briefing Web Page
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Content Responsible: Cathy Summa-Wolfe, Director of Communications and Community Relations, (415) 485-9528