Gavilan's President, Dr. Pedro Avila.
Dr. Pedro Avila
Building: Administration Building
March 20, 2023
Dear college community,
On March 14, our Board of Trustees voted to pause the college’s COVID vaccine requirement, and we plan to start implementing this for Summer 23 registration.
Any student who registers for summer 2023 and fall 2023 will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination. For employees, any employee hired on or after March 15, 2023, will not be required to show proof of vaccination. Our teams are updating our websites, systems, and all messaging to reflect these changes.
Last semester, students and employees were surveyed to understand where the campus community stands on the Covid-19 vaccine requirement. Over the past month, Ryan Shook, Coordinator of Student Health Services, and I have presented the Covid-19 vaccine mandate survey results to our shared governance groups.
The surveys gave us a general idea of the community’s perspective on the Covid-19 vaccine mandate. We also considered external information to help inform our decision. Most of our neighboring colleges have lifted or suspended the requirement. Gavilan College is one of a few colleges in the area still requiring proof of COVID vaccination or an exemption. Furthermore, removing the COVID vaccine requirement would remove some barriers to the registration process and could increase enrollment.
On February 28, Governor Newsom ended the COVID-19 State of Emergency. As the State of Emergency is being phased out, the SMARTER Plan guides California’s strategy to protect people from COVID-19. At the federal level, the Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 will expire on May 11, 2023.
We will begin working with GCFA and CSEA to address the following questions related to working conditions. To ensure we address these questions and concerns adequately, answers to these questions will be provided after consultation with our unions.
- Will masks be required again if the mandate is lifted?
- Can we require students to wear masks in our classrooms or offices?
- At what point will the vaccine requirement be reinstated? In other words, what is the threshold at which we would return to the mandate?
- What steps will we take to promote vaccinations, and will vaccines be available on campus?
- Will Gavilan still offer COVID testing?
Dr. Pedro Avila
March 24, 2023
I hope this message finds you well. As you all know our food service through Pacific Dining is limited to a schedule of Monday through Thursday. Given the isolated location of our campus I know how important it is to have food available each day of the week.
Today I am happy to share with all of you Pacific Dining has agreed to extend their food service to include Fridays, making food available for the full week! Starting next Friday, March 31st, you can buy food from Pacific Dining from 8 am to 1:30 pm. In order to improve the student experience on campus, we will continue to discuss and explore food options, especially hot food. Stay tuned!
Dr. Pedro Avila
Dear Gavilan community,
As I approach my fifth month, I reflect on my time here with extreme gratitude. I am grateful for the opportunity to listen and learn from each of you during my short time here. Together, we have already accomplished so much!
November 14, 2022
Through our collaborative efforts we have had a successful Fall semester. First, I want to recognize our incredibly talented ASGC Leaders who played a pivotal role in bringing students back to campus for both educational and social events. Second, I want to thank all our employees (faculty, staff, administrators) for your dedication to our students and their success.
As we enter the Holiday Season, I am mindful of all of us staying healthy and strong. Enjoy your time with family and friends.
Dr. Pedro Avila
This morning I called Irene Day to wish her a happy 103rd birthday. Her grandson Michael Sekulic contacted me a few weeks back and provided me with the following information:
“Irene was raised with her two brothers by a single mother. There wasn’t much for the family to live on, and Irene did not attend high school because it was her responsibility to help her mother at home. At age 17, she returned to night school to receive her GED, after which she completed an associate degree in Cosmetology from Gavilan College. With this training, she took off to Australia and Europe to teach Cosmetology theory alongside other professionals, including Paul Mitchell and Vidal Sassoon.
Years later, she transferred to San Jose State University and graduated with an honors bachelor’s degree in Education. She decided to continue her education at the University of San Francisco, where she received her master’s and Ph.D. in Education with honors. Incredibly, throughout Irene’s pursuit of education, she was raising twin daughters and running a business she had started called Charm Cottage in Carmel. She also taught at Gavilan as a cosmetology instructor. As a teacher, she provided her students with the inspiration, skills, and opportunities to succeed as she did. She is my grandmother — a woman who is feisty, strong, and makes the best chicken enchiladas — and she is a trailblazer.”
Irene is a reminder of our mission to actively engage, empower and enrich students of all backgrounds and abilities to build their full academic, social, and economic potential.
Dual enrollment is an area where our college has significant growth potential. Currently, Gavilan College enrolls approximately 400 high school students. Most of these enrollments come from our on-campus Gilroy Early College Academy (GECA) and our High Step program, which offers transfer-level courses on select high school campuses after school hours. In 2015, Assembly Bill (AB) 288 established the College and Career Access Pathways (CCAP) partnership, allowing community college districts to partner with K–12 districts in offering college classes exclusively to high school students on high school campuses during their regular school day as part of their school schedule. The goal of CCAP is to increase college access to students who may be underrepresented in higher education. Unfortunately for Gavilan, we have not since established any CCAP partnerships and have missed out on increasing dual enrollments. The good news is that we are in the process of launching our first CCAP Dual Enrollment agreement with Hollister High School. Lelannie Mann, our Interim Director of Community Education and Career Pathways, is working with Hollister High School on an agreement to begin teaching two college classes this spring semester. We are treating this first agreement as a “pilot” that will allow us to establish processes and prepare to scale up CCAP agreements with all school districts within our service area. We are currently in the process of vetting this agreement with our faculty union and our Academic Senate. We are excited about this opportunity but want to be inclusive and deliberate as we establish these agreements.
Thanks to our Veterans Resource Center for hosting: “Remember our Fallen Veterans Memorial Exhibit” at our Gilroy campus. I also want to express gratitude to all our Veteran students, Joshua Johnson (pictured below), all our employees, and their family members who have served our country. Thank you for your sacrifices and commitment to preserving our freedoms.
Chancellor’s Student Engagement, Enrollment and Success CEO Roundtable
I’m honored to be one of nine presidents/chancellors who were asked to serve on the Chancellor’s CEO Roundtable. At our first meeting, we discussed initiatives that work well at our colleges and shared challenges. While some of my colleagues on this roundtable are still trying to mitigate enrollment declines, I was proud to report that our college enrollments are bouncing back.
SER’s Farmworker Jobs Program
Last week we received a visit from Emma Treviño, SER’s Vice President of Program Operations. She came all the way from Texas to meet with us to discuss their farmworker assistance program and introduce us to their staff assigned to serve Santa Clara County. The US Department of Labor has awarded SER the National Farmworker Jobs Program. This program assists farm workers and their dependents in acquiring the necessary skills to advance in their jobs or obtain employment in new industries. Their services include paying students’ tuition, books, transportation, and childcare. They met with our El Centro and Continuing Education teams and will continue working directly with our programs to provide additional student support.
This day is meant for students and staff to meet the clubs on campus and for the programs on campus to expand their outreach to the students. Last Wednesday we had around 100 people attend this event at our Student Center. Both Gavilan and GECA students attended. Good job ASGC!!
Google Career Certification Program
Thanks to cyber security instructor Mario Ramos who represented Gavilan College at the SBC LULAC/Google Career Certification Program open house.
Join me in a huge round of applause for Grace Cardinalli! After more than two years, due to COVID, Grace organized and delivered a very successful in-person Transfer Fair last Thursday. There were representatives from 24 universities, including UC, CSU and new online universities. Representatives provided information on admission requirements, major preparation, housing, financial aid, scholarships, and answered questions. In attendance were also two branches of the military, with local representatives. I want to thank the faculty members who walked over their classes to the Transfer Fair. We had more than 150 students attend this event! #GavilanIsBack!
October 17, 2022
Dear Gavilan Community,
Last week was one of the busiest and most productive weeks for me as President. Let me start with some great news!
Gavilan College's Emergency Conditions Allowance Funding Was Approved
This past Friday evening, I was notified by the Chancellor's office that our college's application was approved to receive the Emergency Conditions Allowance. Thanks to my executive team and everyone who worked with us to submit our application. This news will allow us to implement the budget presented to the Board of Trustees at the September General Meeting.
Board Meeting Item - Director of Capital Projects (Measure X)
Tuesday, we held a board study session and our regularly scheduled meeting. During our study session, our board supported moving forward with exploring the hiring of a Director of Capital projects to increase our capacity to manage our Measure X construction projects. This temporary position will be funded out of our Measure X funds and will not impact the college's budget.
Board Meeting Item - Enrollments Are Up!
During our regular board meeting, I provided the board with an update on enrollments. The great news is that this fall semester, we are up 3% in student unduplicated headcount and 8% in enrollments (seats)! This reflects everyone’s hard work and commitment to returning to campus and re-engaging with our students. Kudos to our outreach and marketing folks! A huge thank you to Wade Grant for generating our enrollment reports!
Gilroy Campus Measure X Open Forum
Wednesday, October 12, we hosted the Gilroy Campus Measure X open forum. We celebrated the completion of our bridge and critical projects such as boiler replacements, energy control systems, and alarm systems. We showcased the preliminary design of our future Library and Student Resource Center (LSRC). Thursday, we met with our Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee to review our projects and our budget and hear input from the committee members.
Campus Training - Enrollment Management Academy
Friday, October 14, we hosted our second Enrollment Management Academy focused on reviewing the Student-Centered Funding Formula (SCFF), how it affects our budget, and how Student Services supports enrollment management. We had over 60 employees from various areas of our institution participate. Thanks to Brad Stone, Dr. Reneé Craig-Marius, and Dr. West for their leadership in helping organize and coordinate the academy. Our next step is to work on identifying enrollment management priorities. Click HERE to listen to the October 14 Enrollment Management Academy recording.
Congratulations and Kudos!
Annual Health Fair
Congratulations to Ryan Shook for hosting a very successful Health Fair with over 30 partners and more than 230 students who participated. Well done!
Thanks to Annette Gutierrez and the El Centro team for hosting a successful open house. They always have the best food!
Education Forum: "Latinx: Encontrando El Camino"
What a great way to close out Hispanic Heritage Month and begin Undocumented Student Action Week! A huge round of applause goes to the committee members of our first education forum in Spanish, held this past Saturday at our Gilroy Campus: Victor Reza, Elizabeth Flores, Blanca Melchor and Gladys Elizondo. For some years they have had a vision to bring this event to our college. Thank you to Carina Cisneros, Dean of Special Programs (Undocu Ally Program), Interim Director of Admissions and Records, Irene Haneta, Director of Financial Aid, Marina Martinez, and Susan Sweeney, Dean overseeing Continuing Education. It was an honor for me to be the keynote speaker. Connect to our social media channels to view the videos and pictures!
Student Tutorial Services
Thanks to Jessica Gatewood and Megan Wong for stopping by my office to share the great work they are doing in providing our students with tutorial services. They’re a great team, and I’m impressed with their commitment to supporting student success.
Congratulations to Michelle Castro for being selected as our new Senior Program Services Specialist! She’s a product of Gavilan College, who transferred to UC Berkeley as an older student. She will be an inspiration to our students. Glad to have you on our team!
Attendance at Regional Conference
Friday, October 14, I attended and was a panelist at the State of the Region Conference at CSU Monterey University Center. It was great to see so many of my colleagues and unite with Presidents from Cabrillo College, CSU Monterey, and Hartnell College.
(Dr. Avila with Presidents of Cabrillo College, CSU Monterey, and Hartnell College)
Attendance at Community Event
My packed week finally came to an end Saturday, October 15 with my attendance at San Benito LULAC’s 35th Year Anniversary Dinner! Congratulations to this organization for uplifting our youth by providing thousands of dollars in scholarships!
(Attendees of LULAC's 35th year anniversary, including Celia Marquez, Dr. Avila, Elvira Zaragoza)
Please follow me:
Dr. Pedro Avila
5055 Santa Teresa Boulevard | Gilroy, CA 95020
408-848-4712 | firstname.lastname@example.org
August 8, 2022
I hope all of you are enjoying your summer and that you’ve had the opportunity to take time off to rest and be with your family and loved ones.
Tomorrow, Friday, I will complete my first month as your college President. I’ve enjoyed meeting faculty, staff, students, managers, and community members. I’m looking forward to meeting others who I have not had the chance to connect with. As promised, my first few months are focused on getting to know you and understanding our culture. To schedule a visit with your department or an individual meeting with me, please feel free to reach out to my Executive Assistant Lisa Scott at email@example.com or 408.848.4711.
I am excited to report that we have received a donation of $167,782 from the Gene R. Medinnus trust to assist our financially disadvantaged students. These funds will be available to us next year and will go towards providing scholarships to support our students with the greatest financial needs. It is an honor for me to welcome such a significant donation for our students and I hope it is the beginning of many more to come.
Our bridge, which unites the two sides of our campus and holds history and symbolism for our college, is near completion. We are planning a student led ribbon-cutting ceremony in September. More information will be coming soon.
At Tuesday’s Board meeting, a major topic of discussion surrounded the Emergency Conditions Allowance from the Chancellor’s Office. This condition would allow our district to receive a higher level of apportionment based on a higher number of Full-Time Equivalent Students (FTES). It would increase this year’s budget allocation of $38 million by $4.2 million to approximately $42M. This option would increase this year’s funding by $4.2 million but comes with some risks, liabilities, and added requirements for the college. This includes having to increase enrollments to protect future funding, increasing our Full-Time Faculty Obligation costs, impacts to future COLA, and the college must complete a number of requirements to become eligible.
The deadline to apply for the Emergency Conditions Allowance is September 1, 2022. My team will continue to work with the Chancellor’s Office to gather more information and make a recommendation to our board. There will be consultation with our Academic Senate President on areas related to 10+1 faculty purview. The Board will hold a special meeting during the last week of August (to be scheduled) to review and discuss the information and recommendations presented based on our analysis.
I encourage you to review the attached presentation and will keep you updated as we learn more. As always, please feel free to reach out to me directly with your comments or questions or contact my assistant, Lisa Scott, to set up a time to discuss should you have any questions.
Dr. Pedro Avila