Blue waves behind the words Coast Colleges in dark blue

Weekly News Brief | February 4, 2022
From the Office of Chancellor John Weispfenning, Ph.D.

Chancellor Weispfenning at his desk typing

This past Tuesday, I announced plans to return to partial in-person schedules for services and operations on Monday, February 7, and a return of all classes scheduled to be on-campus this semester on Monday, February 14.

This announced return will keep offices and departments open three days per week at 50 percent capacity for now, with 60 percent of classes on site for Orange Coast and Golden West – and 20 percent of classes at Coastline on site. This deliberately provides for greater distancing as the COVID-19 Omicron wave recedes.

We continue to see falling new cases and hospitalization rates. This is a reason for cautious optimism. My hope is that we can resume the phased return to normal college life at some point this semester, to ensure that students get the full experience that is critical to their success.

On February 14, the District Consultation Council meets for the first time in 2022. On that agenda will be a discussion of the timeline for phased return and where we go from here. These decisions affect all of us, especially our students, and I want to hear from your districtwide representatives in participatory governance.

Many will greet the partial return on February 7 and 14 with relief and joy. We know prolonged isolation has consequences for our wellbeing and that of our students. Others continue to have legitimate health concerns related to COVID-19 or have adjusted their lives in response to remote work. All experiences are valid and should be respected as we move forward together.

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 2, the Board of Trustees met in regular session and heard from Vice Chancellor Andy Dunn on the successful completion of bond refunding – the equivalent of refinancing a home payment. The action to refund Measure C and Measure M community bonds, previously authorized by the Board, will generate savings for local taxpayers of more than $16 million. This is considerably more than anticipated savings. Dr. Dunn also reported on the District’s successful risk management program, which helps keeps insurance cost down.

Vice Chancellor Andreea Serban presented a report on financial aid and student loans. Among the highlights, some 26,000 students received financial aid in 2020-21 with fewer than 600 taking on loans. Given a small number of borrowers, default rates may fluctuate widely. Still, all three Coast District colleges maintain default rates below the federal measure of concern. Trustees commended the colleges on availability of non-loan aid and maintaining low default rates.

Trustees also approved Board goals for 2022-23. The Board approved Orange Coast's membership with the Mental Health and Wellness Association (MHWA) to provide support, resources, training, and list services for the counseling center. Additionally, the Board approved more than $3.7 million in revenue-generating agreements and contracts. Trustees commended the District and Colleges on bringing in substantial additional resources to expand offerings, enrich the student experience, and strengthen our communities.

The Board adjourned in memory of Congressman Esteban Torres, who served as a representative of the East Los Angeles area from 1983 to 1999.

Board Goals, 2022-2023

  1. The Board shall make student success, retention, and completion its highest priority, focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.


  2. The Board will support public health policy and measures relative to the COVID pandemic, including vaccines and masks, and support a safe environment for work and study, following CDC and local county health regulations.


  3. The Board will maintain proactive and positive communications with District employees.


  4. The Board will focus on enrollments, student-centered budgeting, and operational efficiencies in order to balance the number of faculty and staff with enrollment and retention.


  5. The Board will continue to support and closely review expenditures and audits, including those on bond-funded facilities and technology.


  6. The Board will continue to support effective and appropriate human resource and legal practices for the benefit of the District.


  7. The Board will support measures to address student food and housing insecurity through services on and off campus.


  8. The Board is encouraged to maintain strong connections in the broader District service area in order to enhance support for the District mission.



College News


Coastline College's Umoja Community will be hosting various events throughout the month of February in celebration of Black History Month. On February 17, Coastline will be hosting a Virtual Reality (VR) experience entitled, "Traveling While Black VR." "Traveling While Black VR" is an immersive 360 degree experience with footage of living history lessons told around a booth in Ben's Chili Bowl – the Washington, D.C. restaurant that has been a mainstay of the African-American community since 1958. Ben's Chili Bowl has witnessed significant Civil Rights milestones that are woven into the film via powerful snippets of footage. From the stirring memories of Civil Rights leader Courtland Cox to the heartbreaking words of Samaria Rice, whose young son Tamir was killed by police in 2014,"Traveling While Black VR" connects the parallels of the past to the present.


The words Coastline College above a shield with the letter C.


Golden West College is highlighting past and present students on their social media in a series entitled, "I am GWC." Priscilla Groh is a full-time employee and the first to go to college out of 11 kids. Groh says, "Taking a chance to go back to school was the best decision I made considering my age. GWC has always been there to help me on my journey, with amazing professors and the younger students ready to help out. Thank You!" Follow along GWC's social media to read about more students.


A circle with the words Golden West College, Huntington Beach, on the outside with a central surfboard and the letters GWC.


Painter Holly Topping presents new work in a solo exhibition on display at Orange Coast College’s Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion from February 15 until March 24, 2022. The exhibition, titled "Holly Topping: The Calamity Hustle," tells a tragicomic coming-of-age story of a onetime SoCal-80's-Party-Girl who finds herself stranded in a Westworld-like absurdist fantasyland of her own imagining. The exhibit is curated by The Doyle's director Tyler Stallings and presents new oil paintings and watercolors produced from travels throughout the American southwest. Topping created them while on sabbatical from OCC, where she is a full-time professor in the art department.


An Orange circle forming an O with two interior waves in dark blue forming two C shapes.


Schedule, Week February 7

Chancellor's Schedule
Dr. Weispfenning is in the District, Thursday and Friday
Dr. Baeza is acting chancellor, Monday
Dr. Serban is acting chancellor, Tuesday and Wednesday