Blue waves behind the words Coast Colleges in dark blue

Weekly News Brief | February 19, 2021
From the Office of Chancellor John Weispfenning, Ph.D.

Chancellor Weispfenning, blue jacket and blue tie, in front of the Coast District building

Yesterday, I was able to join in the opening sessions for Flex Day at Coastline, Golden West, and Orange Coast. It was great to see our campus communities coming together in both reflection and renewed commitment to action.

This underscored, for me, the value of professional development. I particularly think that it's important that our faculty had a chance to talk through the challenging year behind us and find those lessons we can bring into the future. We are all lifelong learners in our own ways.

It is also important to celebrate our shared accomplishments. Our Colleges continue to be effective leaders in so many student success metrics – as Dr. Serban shared with the Board of Trustees on Wednesday.

Successes don't just happen, they require constant effort by everyone in the Coast District. So, I add my thanks to the appreciation shared by the presidents during Flex Day. May we continue the momentum into the rest of 2021.

Be well,


John Weispfenning, Ph.D.


Report from the Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees gathered around a conference table in conversation

On Wednesday, February 17, the Board of Trustees met in regular session. Vice Chancellor Andreea Serban presented the District-wide Annual Institutional Effectiveness Report. Dr. Serban identified that the main challenge continues to be declining enrollment, while the major success continues to be strong student outcomes. The timing of the dataset for the report limited the role of COVID-19 pandemic in the metrics. Meanwhile a report on the redirection of first-year students to credit-bearing math and English courses demonstrated the challenge of comparing student performance during the pandemic to pre-pandemic results.

Financial aid factors heavily into the support network that empowers student success. Andrea Garcia, financial aid manager for Golden West College, discussed the high-engagement model used by Golden West in distributing more than $18 million in aid during 2019-2020. The College's Financial Aid Office worked closely with Admissions and Records in a retention effort to limit the loss of students due to financial difficulty. Trustees lauded the approach and encouraged the sharing of best practices districtwide and statewide.

Vice Chancellor Andy Dunn and independent auditors, Crowe LLC, presented a clean (unmodified) report on the District financials – free of adjustments or findings. This indicates that financial documents prepared by the District fairly presented material facts. Auditors did note the declining end balance (reserves) resulting largely from declining enrollment. Trustees also approved a memorandum with the Enterprise Corporation and District Foundation addressing the impact of the pandemic on swap meet operations and finances.

Tuition for out-of-state and international students was set at $331 per unit for 2021-2022. California resident students and AB 540 students do not pay this tuition.

Trustees adjourned in the memory of three students recently lost, Danh Le who attended Coastline, Amonie Palmer who attended Orange Coast, and Robert Stell who attended Orange Coast.


Powerful Educators Shaping Our World

Background of red, yellow and green in geometric patterns with the words join us in celebrating Black History Month accompanied by twelve images of prominent Black educators

The Coast District is proud to celebrate Black history and the contributions of Black educators. This Black History Month's newsletters will feature national figures who have forged the path we follow.

This week, we honor Septima Poinsette Clark, who advanced civil rights and created new opportunities for immigrants through literacy education.

We honor an educator of 40 years who makes human connection with her students the centerpiece of teaching. Rita Pierson's powerful TED Talk, Every Kid Needs a Champion, addresses those "born to make a difference."

We also honor Jeanne L. Noble, professor, author, and education advisor to three U.S. presidents. Her book, Beautiful, Also, Are the Souls of My Black Sisters, gave voice to historical and contemporary Black women struggling to assert their identity.

We look to these examples of the power of educators to transform lives and change society as a whole.


College News


Man in profile looking into the mirror wearing a suit. Coastline College logo in the right corner.

This week included Flex Day professional development for all three colleges. As part of their opening session, Coastline shared an inspirational message in the testimony of graduates. These powerful stories are a reminder of the transformative power of the College in students' lives.

The video is available here.


Golden West ranks among the best colleges for students with autism. GWC's Comprehensive Autism Program (CAP) provides multifaceted support to its students and employees. Students in CAP have access to invaluable personalized services that enhance their scholastic and personal success.

More information is available here.

Ribbon of rainbow puzzle pieces over a green and gold field.


This month, Orange Coast marked the passing of a beloved former faculty member. Always known as Mike, James Michael Finnegan taught English and Literature at the College for thirty years before becoming administrator of education abroad programs for the District. Mike was known for his laughter, quick wit, and sense of humor.

A full obituary is available here.

Single candle over a black field with the words pirate for life.


Schedule, Week of February 22

Chancellor's Schedule
In the District, Monday through Friday