City College student retention the focus of spring convocation

With a drop in student enrollment, City administrators allocate funds toward amenities, new hires and campus improvements

Solar Charging Station

Among the additions at City College to improve the campus experience is a solar charging station for mobile devices. Located between the A and L building, the station awaits use as campus is temporarily closed due to the omicron surge. Photo by Philip Salata/City Times Media

Philip Salata and Kathy Archibald

San Diego City College administrators held Spring Convocation 2022 on Zoom on Jan. 27, kicking off the phased-in return to campus announced by the district due to the omicron surge.

At an event largely targeted toward faculty, discussions centered on how to best support students throughout the upcoming term.

Here are some of City Times Media’s key takeaways.

• With a surplus of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF), City College President Ricky Shabazz put out an open call for student and faculty needs. Computers continue to be a challenge to acquire purportedly due to supply chain issues. (18:32)

• Vice President of Administrative Services John Parker said that the school has opened an outdoor Wi-Fi and study area to include a solar charging station for mobile devices. The cafe will also be home to a campus printer and computers. (38:30)

• Associated Student Government president Victoria Owusu announced that campus bathrooms will be stocked with free feminine products. This anticipates the California law (Assembly Bill-367) that will require public educational institutions sixth grade and higher to do so by the 2022-23 school year. (14:30)

• City plans to hire for approximately 24 open positions – counselors, instructors, supervisors and more – prioritizing the search for a Native American Studies professor, according to Shabazz. (29:45)

• Parker discussed the possibility of installing vending machines to provide rapid COVID-19 tests free of charge and of replacing water fountains with touchless filling stations. (37:40)

Keynote speaker Theresa Ambo, professor of Education Studies at UC San Diego and co-director of the Indigenous Futures Institute, spoke about the need to go beyond words in the Land Acknowledgement initiative. City will be creating a scholarship fund for Indigenous students as well as relieving all past student loan debt of former City students who identify as Native American, Shabazz said. (58:20)

City Times Media multimedia journalist Kathryn Gray contributed to this report.