Campus Hosts Genocide Commemoration Event

May 5, 2010

FIGHTING FOR RECOGNITION: Father Vazken Movsesian explains why the Armenian Genocide of 1915 is still relevant toady. (Photo by Jennifer Elbe)

In 1915, 1.5 million Armenians were annihilated.

Some refer to what happened as a tragedy, and others use the phrase “Medz Yeghern,” meaning “great calamity,” to allude to it.

However, today, Armenians are still fighting for recognition of the catastrophe that occurred in 1915 as “genocide.”

The Armenian Student Association held a commemorative event marking the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 22 in LB 220 at noon.

The event featured guest speaker Father Vazken Movsesian, priest of the St. Peter Armenian Church in Glendale. He spoke about why the genocide should be recognized and its implications for the present and future of global society.

Early on in the presentation he discussed what he deemed an inaccurate report made by USC Annenberg TV about an Armenian commemoration held at USC. The report discussed the commemoration and what happened in 1915, but it did not refer to either of these as genocide.

“What they reported was that the Armenians got together to remember the ‘tragedy’ that befell them,” Movsesian said.

“When the event name is ‘Armenian Genocide Commemoration,’ and you as a reporter don’t even report the name, what are you saying? You’re saying that somebody told you to take off that name.”

According to Movsesian, “there is no other side to the story. It’s genocide.”

He continued: “We’re all victims of genocide. We’re all children of genocide, because this affects each and every one of us.”

Movsesian highlighted a response given by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to a question posed by California Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Glendale), as to why the Armenian Genocide is the only one the United States is “incapable of recognizing.”

Rice responded to this by saying that the United States encouraged Turks and Armenians to examine their past, and by doing so, “to get over it.”

“So we as Armenians have a tough, tough situation,” Movsesian said in reply to this, adding that the genocide should be remembered and recognized.

Because America has yet to recognize the genocide, Movsesian applied the implications of the event to issues currently facing society, specifically the Rwandan genocide and the war in Darfur.

He shared with the audience that he took a trip to Rwanda in Africa in 2006.

“The reason why I went there, I figured, if I saw Rwanda in 2006, I’d know what it was like to be in Armenia [in] 1925.

“Obviously our stories are a little bit different. Armenians were thrown out of their country, Rwandans still are there, but they do present us an opportunity to [see], how do you survive with the perpetrator right above you?”

He encouraged the audience to maintain awareness of the event that took place in 1915 and of issues facing today’s world.

“You have technology at your hands,” he said. “It’s great to play Farmville; put a time limit. Give it 10 minutes, then spend the same 10 minutes looking into genocide issues … I know it’s fun, keep up with the Kardashians, OK? Now give yourself 50 minutes to keep up with what’s going on in Armenia.”

To wrap up his presentation, Movsesian discussed the war in Darfur to reemphasize the importance of the Armenian Genocide.

“1915 was the first step. The second step was the Holocaust. Then came Cambodia. Then came Bosnia. Then came Rwanda, and now, it’s happening in Darfur.

“Learn about it,” he said about the situation in Darfur. “Blog about it. Put yourself in their shoes. Walk with them. Feel what it’s like. Understand what the story’s about. Right now in Darfur, every morning parents have to make the decision, ‘Who’s going to go out to get the water for the family?’ And you know who gets to go out?

“They send out the girl to go get the water and this is because the worst thing that will happen to her is that she will only get raped…. Parents shouldn’t have to deal with this.”

He concluded by urging those present to also take part in upcoming commemorative events, including a fast that was held on campus on April 24.

“We as Armenians have a past. We need to bring that past into the present and make it work to forge the future,” he said.

As the event approaches the 100-year mark, many are still far from letting it fade away in history without recognition.

“My ancestors experienced one of the greatest atrocities between the years of 1915 [to] 1923,” said Tevin Chopurian, president of the Armenian Student Association. “[We] as a nation are still fighting for recognition and reparation. Fighting to get our historic lands back and advocating so that history won’t repeat itself.”

The event has yet to be recognized by the Turkish government as genocide, and Turks feel differently from Armenians about the issue.

The report posted by Annenberg TV News presented the viewpoints of some Turkish students, including Rifat Tigli who said, “These people, who have never been to Armenia, who doesn’t know about Armenian culture and Turkish culture, are making claims about my history.”

Another Turkish student, Enes Kilic, said that both Armenians and Turks suffered from the event in 1915.

“My father’s family went through tough times. They were attacked by their own neighbors,” he said.

Other Turks appear ready to move forward. According to Hakan Tekin, consul general of Turkey in Los Angeles, said, “We want to build bridges of friendship with the Armenian community.”

Rep. Schiff has previously attempted to introduce legislation to recognize what happened as genocide. However, Turkey, a key NATO ally and U.S. partner in military functions in Iraq, claims that a genocide never occurred.

The Armenian Genocide is commemorated by Armenians worldwide on April 24.

More information about the GCC Armenian Student Association is available at


Summer Session Situation Gets Tight

May 5, 2010

Because of budget shortages the college is cutting one summer session and reducing summer course offerings by 40 percent.

Last year GCC had approximately $3 million allocated for its two five-week summer sessions. For the upcoming summer, it has about $2.2 million to spend, an $800,000 reduction from to the summer 2009 budget.

As a result of limited availability, classes are expected to be in high demand.

According to Mary Mirch, interim vice president of instruction, “Classes have been filling very quickly.”

In the winter, classes filled within the first few days of priority registration.

The anticipated demand has raised the minimum number of students required to be enrolled in a class. This number, also known as the fill rate, for last year’s summer sessions and the 2010 winter intersession was 20 students per class. This summer the number has been raised to 24 in order to serve more students with the given cutbacks.

Depending on the number of students enrolled in a class in a given time frame, classes that do not meet the fill rate may be cancelled.

“If … [a class] has eight or nine students two weeks beforehand and [the enrollment numbers] aren’t moving, then we’ll [cancel the class] then,” said Mirch.

For classes that just barely reach the fill rate, however, Mirch doesn’t anticipate cancellation becoming too significant of an issue.

“I don’t think we’re going to see too many classes where 23 students are in it and we don’t meet 24,” she said.

The cuts in offerings were made by division chairs, who, according to Mirch, “were trying to figure out what best meets the needs of our students,” given the financial circumstances.

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office advised the college to maintain transfer certificate, career and technical education, and developmental classes.

Most of the classes being offered this summer fall into those categories. Glendale has also focused on maintaining courses that are transferable and meet general education, Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) and Breadth requirements.

Although in recent years the college has usually offered two sessions in the summer, double summer sessions, along with the winter intersession, were implemented in the late ’90s. Prior to that, the college simply offered a single six-week summer session in addition to regular semesters.

While budget woes continue to face California, Mirch said the college is doing its best to serve students.

“We are still committed to having a summer session and that’s why we went back to our more traditional six-week [session],” she said.

The cutback in classes has created a stressful situation for students who want to complete their educational goals within a certain time frame.

“I already felt the effect of it this past semester,” said student Abigail Rodriguez, who is planning to take physics over the summer.

Although she had a priority registration date this spring, she did not get into a class in which she tried to enroll.

Rodriguez is somewhat worried that she may have to stay an extra year before transferring out if cutbacks in class offerings continue.

She is planning to attend Los Angeles Valley College and PCC in the fall, while still attending GCC, in order to complete the classes necessary for her educational goals.

Even with fewer classes and only one session, other students are simply looking for ways to deal with the current situation.

Student Christina Eltrevoog is not too worried about continuing her educational pursuits and is more focused on making the best out of the situation.

“Instead of just complaining about it, what can I do…about it?” she said. “How can I still pursue my academic goals within these constraints?

“I’m going to do what I can with [these] circumstances.

Prior to enrolling here Eltrevoog set out to participate in the Scholar’s Program. Aside from adding positively to her transcript and giving her an advantage when she transfers, being in the program also allows her to have an earlier priority registration date.

“It’s not impossible for me to get a degree in this way,” she said.

Students can now check priority registration dates by accessing the student center through the MyGCC web portal. Priority registration will take place from May 17 through May 25. Open registration will be from May 26 to June 20.

The campus will be open from Monday through Thursday throughout the summer, but will be closed on Fridays.

The summer 2010 session will run from June 21 through July 29. Five-week classes end on July 22.

Online Classes Ease Schedules and Budget Cuts

April 21, 2010

Attending class in fuzzy slippers and pajamas might sound absurd, but it’s an option available to more than 3,000 students at GCC this spring.

Glendale currently offers more than 50 distance education courses, also known as online and hybrid courses, in which 51 percent or more of the instruction is taught online. These courses are offered at the college in various subjects such as business, music and health.

Although some distance education classes require a number of on-campus meetings, online and hybrid courses generally do not require students to be physically present on campus at designated times, allowing for them to “attend class” at their discretion.

For those who lead busy lives, online classes are a fitting solution to tight schedules.

Panditha Sarathchandra, a student at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, chose to take online courses at GCC due to a number of time-constraining commitments.

“[I] am a [part-time] nanny and a figure skater practicing for my first competition next year,” she said. “And finding ways to complete my classes on time is not easy which is why I prefer online courses.”

For student Nicole Inman, schedule flexibility isn’t the only advantage to this type of learning.

“I prefer the online courses since I don’t have the distractions of other students acting up in class,” she said. “I am able to concentrate better without those distractions.”

As with most situations, there is good and bad, and there are also disadvantages to this non-traditional type of class. With no instructor verbally presenting material in a classroom or giving reminders to complete assignments, students are left to push themselves to get their work done, and it can be a challenge.

“Unfortunately it can be hard to stay disciplined without the classroom experience,” said April Kass, who recently completed Health 104 online. She added that is difficult to stay “motivated … to get the work done on time.”

Kass also said that a negative aspect of online courses was the lack of student-teacher relationship that is present in a traditional classroom setting.

Title 5, California’s education code, requires that distance education standards match that in traditional classroom courses, including student-teacher communication.

To meet this requirement, health instructor Barb Erfurt regularly hosts a live chat session to facilitate a virtual classroom experience for her online students. The chat session allows them to seek advice on personal health problems.

Erfurt also utilizes a public discussion board for her students to post questions and share thoughts. Students are able to read posts by their peers and may respond to them just they would be able to respond in a physical classroom.

If traditional and online courses still don’t provide an ideal or convenient learning environment, there is the option of taking a hybrid course.

Hybrid courses are designed so that students spend part of the course in a classroom and part of it online.

Instructor Brett Miketta teaches a hybrid five-unit computer science course, where three units are designated for in class work and two units are designated for online work.

Miketta believes that Glendale’s hybrid education “is getting … marginally better than our face-to-face [education]. And it’s because we’re leveraging that technology.” What does not work well in a classroom can be accounted for in the online environment, and vice versa.

Miketta has also found that this non-traditional education method results in more communication with his students.

“I find that … I actually get more direct communication with the students in the online environment than I do in the classroom, the reason being that many students fear raising their hand and asking a question.”

With the budget and finances a big concern for many students throughout the state, distance education courses may offer a partial solution.

Student Michael Sanchez, who has taken online courses at Glendale and Santa Monica College, said that online coursework allowed for him to avoid the hours of commuting he would have encountered if he were enrolled in traditional classes.

Another student, Jacob Hernandez, took a course at GCC online for reasons similar to those of Sanchez.

“I took [health] online so I wouldn’t have to drive to campus, save money on gas, and not have to worry about finding a place to park,” he said.

According to Miketta, online courses may be more cost effective than traditional ones because they do not require classroom space or utilities, and can be taught by adjunct faculty.

However, according to Associate Dean of Instructional Technology Shereen Allison, “It’s not a major cost saving.

“It does help in terms of … when you’re looking for classroom space if you can take some of the courses that can be done online. If you do some of them online, you have an easier time scheduling classes, so there are a lot of benefits to it.”

However, quality remains Glendale’s primary concern in distance education classes.

“You’re not going to find any online classes that have a huge number of students in them, and that’s generally one of the bigger determinants of how expensive something is,” Allison said. “So if you’ve got one teacher per 20 students, versus one [teacher] per 100 [students], the smaller class is more expensive, technically.”

Allison noted the increased demand for these courses.
“I think that you definitely see that [demand is] growing,” she said. “From what I hear from students, they seem to want more and more.”

Of the students currently enrolled in credit courses at GCC, nearly 18 percent are also enrolled in online and hybrid courses.
As demand for these courses grows, so will the college’s offerings.

“Our job is to service our community,” Miketta said. And if our students want online education, we need to be able to provide that to them…. If we don’t increase the online offerings, then our students will be going to [other colleges] because students can take online courses anywhere in the state of California. And as long as it’s in our community college system, it transfers and it counts.”

More information can be found at

Workshop Offers Inside View of Little-Known Voice Jobs

April 7, 2010

SAY IT LOUD, SAY IT PROUD: Cathy Kalmenson has run a successful voice-casting company for 17 years and shares the secrets to success in this competitive field in a campus workshop. (Photo by Richard Kontas)

These days, it’s impossible to watch television or listen to the radio for 10 minutes without hearing a commercial in which Kalmenson and Kalmenson has cast the voices.Cathy Kalmenson, who cofounded the voice-over casting company with her husband, Harvey Kalmenson, in 1993, held a workshop on March 25 in SC 212 that provided insight into the voice-over industry. The workshop began at noon and attracted an audience of more than 100, resulting in a standing room crowd.

Kalmenson, a voice casting director who has worked in the industry for 30 years, introduced the audience to the world of voice acting by playing voice auditions and voice tracks that have been used for actual commercials.

To begin the workshop, Kalmenson offered advice on how to prepare for jobs in the field. She particularly emphasized acting and improvisation skills.

“You’ve got to get your acting chops going on because it’s not about vocal quality, it’s about interpretation,” she said. “You need to be able to be loose and improvise in case the director asks for a take two or take three.”

She also advised against submitting “premature demos,” many of which she has received via email and CD, and most of which she said she would give a “C” if they were graded.

“Cs are average…. We can’t afford to spend any time with average. It’s got to be above average.”

Premature demos also serve as the lasting impression of the actor.

When producers contact Kalmenson and Kalmenson for voice actors, they typically provide “specs” for the gender, age range and personality type of the role they want to fill. The voice casting director noted that vocal quality was a “spec” that was not identified.

“The truth is, [voice over] is not about vocal quality,” Kalmenson said. “If you are blessed with a fabulous [voice], super. That’s great. But truthfully, [vocal quality] rarely comes up.”

Kalmenson also talked about “truth casting” which she explained by giving an example of commercials requiring certain accents. For these commercials, the company would select natives who possess the accents, rather than non-natives who can portray the accents.

She added that fluency in another language is also an advantage in the voice over industry.

A highlight in the workshop was a mock audition in which Kalmenson asked for two volunteers to read a script for a Ford Flex commercial. She asked them to read lines in a voice that had an urban feel, had a little edge and was not super refined. The voice also had to be intriguing, confident, conversational, and self-assured. The actor additionally was advised to recite the lines as though talking only to one person.

“Even though you’re going to be talking to millions of people out there in TV land, the truth is it’s one set of ears at a time,” Kalmenson said, “and it’s quite intimate, and those [intimate reads] are the [ones] that win the job.”

Following the mock audition, Kalmenson played the track that won the spot for the Ford Flex commercial so the audience could examine how the voice actor portrayed the given profile.

She subsequently went into further detail about demos, which normally run around one minute. Within that minute, actors must be able to effectively portray a personality that voicecasters can profile.

“Your mission with the demo is … to say, ‘Here’s who I am,'” she said.

To illustrate this point, Kalmenson played two demos that managed to effectively portray personalities in one minute.

Toward the end of the presentation, Kalmenson played four seemingly different JC Penney commercial tracks. She explained that although there appeared to be subtle differences in each of the tracks, the only difference in each was the background audio. She said that the voice track was the same used in each commercial, but that the varying background audio resulted in an audio illusion.

The workshop concluded with final emphasis on importance of acting and improvisation skills. Kalmenson played a few audition tracks of two couples that role- played for a commercial spot. While the audience generally agreed that the script read by the couples for the audition tracks was entertaining, a completely different script was used for the commercial spot.

Among the students satisfied with the workshop was Kameron White, who found the presentation “very nice” and “very informative.” He also said he found voice over a “very exciting field to look into.”

Kalmenson and Kalmenson is based in Burbank. The company currently has 23,000 voice actors on file, many of whom are from Los Angeles. They have cast voices for many prominent commercials, including the original Budweiser frogs and the current Tony the Tiger for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.

For more information, call (818) 377-3600 or visit

Dawn Lindsay Happy With Her 1st Semester

Dec. 9, 2009

INTERIM PRESIDENT/SUPERINTENDENT: Dawn Lindsay is finishing her first semester in a challenging new role. (Photo by Richard Kontas)

2009 may be coming to a close, but Dawn Lindsay’s journey as the interim superintendent/president of Glendale College has just begun.

Since stepping in office this July, following the departure of Audre Levy, Lindsay has approached her job with passion and enthusiasm.

Though bound by a busy schedule, Lindsay sat comfortably in her office on a Thursday afternoon to take time to reflect positively on her first semester.

“I love it,” she said of her job. “I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying working with the faculty and the staff. I’m enjoying making the contacts out in the community. I’m loving the receptivity that we’re getting back in the community as far as the welcome and the desire to be collaborative .… I’m very proud of the work that we’re doing and I’m very proud to be able to represent this college.”

Barely six months into her term, Lindsay has already engaged in efforts to encourage college growth.

“We really are working hard to get people out in the community so people hear and see Glendale College on a day-to-day basis,” she said.

To help address budget cuts, she said that the college has been “working so hard to look at various grants and collaborative efforts and really doing some very strong lobbying at the state, but even more so at the federal level.”

Even with the current deficit, Lindsay said that GCC is so committed to students and the community that it has an estimated 3,000 full-time equivalent students for which it receives no state funding.

Despite drastic funding cuts Lindsay does not appear to view the economic downfall as an obstacle: instead of worrying too much about the problem, she has diverted her focus on ways the college can secure additional funding.

In October she visited Washington D.C. to work with a federal lobbyist to help Glendale get in touch with people who make major decisions about budget appropriations.
Lindsay said that the constituent groups she met with were “very pleased with the collaborative relationships that we’ve got with our community .… ”

She is scheduled to visit Washington D.C. again in February to continue lobbying efforts.

The interim president expressed how proud she is of the college and noted attributes that make it stand out from other community colleges.

“We’ve got an amazing transfer curriculum, we have an amazing general education curriculum, we are really, really building up our career and tech education program [vocational programs],” she said. “But I think what really, really allows this college to stand out from probably any other college I’ve worked in, and I’ve been in five … the faculty and the staff and the administration at this college are so committed to the success of our students.

“There’s passion, there’s drive, there’s love. This college is in people’s hearts and souls. That’s how deep it goes. And I’ve never been in any other institution where I’ve seen that degree of dedication. It’s amazing.”

Lindsay started working at community colleges on the east coast in 1991. Since moving to California in 1994 she worked at Saddleback College for 8 1/2 years and at Riverside Community College for 3 1/2 years.
“[A] community college, in my opinion, is just a very, very special place to work,” she said.

With her experiences at community colleges, Lindsay said she prefers them over four-year institutions.

“Once I got my foot in the door of a community college, I never wanted to leave,” she said.

She obtained her doctorate in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University, holds a master’s degree in educational counseling, a bachelor’s degree in psychology and obtained a bachelor’s of social work degree from Western Maryland College.

Lindsay expressed pride in the successful partnership between the college and Glendale Water and Power, which resulted in creation of the Glendale Water and Power Academy.

“Glendale city had a problem, and the fact that they were having a hard time keeping their workers employed because they were losing them to outside agencies. So they came to us with a concern,” Lindsay said.

Together the college and Glendale Water and Power applied for funding to create the academy.

Twenty spots are open in the program, 17 of which go to unemployed Glendale residents.

“That’s just an example of working with the community to get people back, employed, where they’re contributing and living and staying within this community and continuing to give back,” Lindsay said.

Perhaps one contributing factor to Lindsay’s energetic approach to her job is servitude leadership, a humble form of leadership by which she abides. Under this principle, the higher one ranks in an organization, the more that people that person serves.

“It’s my whole training, ” Linsday said of the leadership principle. “It’s my whole background. It’s about respecting differences of opinion and being open to different ways of thinking about things.”

She added that servitude leadership is “not [about] what you keep, it’s what you give away.”

As she wraps up her first semester as the college president, Lindsay looks forward to continuing to serve GCC.

“It’s really nice to come to work with people that are just so much fun to be with. And with students that are so directed and so driven and so given,” she said.

With the holidays just around the corner, Lindsay is looking forward to spending time with her family and friends.

She also wishes everyone a “wonderful holiday season.

“We’ve done a lot and we have a lot to be proud of. We have a lot to be thankful for, a lot of successes that we can talk about, and I think it’s time we celebrate.”

Increased Enrollment Makes Gym Crowded

Nov. 25, 2009

FEEL THE BURN: A long line of students wait to sign up to use equipment in the Verdugo Gym fitness center. (Photo by Shaun Kelly)

On a typical weekday morning at the Lifestyle Fitness Center, it’s hard to ignore the whirring of the rotating belts of treadmills, the blaring upbeat music and the faint panting of exhausted students.But, it’s especially hard to ignore the mass of students that crowd into the fitness center at the Verdugo Gym for morning workouts.

Enrollment for physical education classes at the college has increased by an estimated 600 students. The number of students enrolled normally averages from 1,000 to 1,200, said Jon Gold, division chair of Health and Physical Education. This semester, however, nearly 1,800 students use the facilities.

With enrollment cut backs at Cal States and UCs, GCC has experienced an increase in student enrollment, Gold said.

“The fitness center has been a class that students have been able to enroll in because of the flexibility to attend the class. There is never a time conflict [within] [their] schedule,” he said.

The fitness center is open to students enrolled in physical education classes from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturdays.

Facilities are used by disabled students, used by staff and employees and undergo maintenance during 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., during which hours the center is closed to students.

The fitness center is an open-entry/open-exit class that allows students to enroll at any point in the semester as long they are able to complete required hours.

If students get dropped or withdraw from a class but still require units for financial aid, for insurance or to fulfill foreign exchange student requirements, “the center has been that safety net to get into to help these students,” Gold said.

With an estimated 50 to 60 percent more students enrolled in PE than usual, equipment at the Verdugo Gym is in constant use.

Gold estimated that 300 to 400 students use the center’s facilities daily.

“That’s a lot of people coming through here and using the center, and that means those machines are just on 24/7,” he said.

There are currently three treadmills, three cross trainers, a rock climbing machine and one bike that are defective at the fitness center.

The center did not have a lab tech during the summer and Gold said that it continued operating without one for five months. It currently has a lab tech that has ordered replacement parts for the non-functioning equipment.

A lab tech maintains and services fitness equipment, and inspects equipment prior to its use every morning.

The average lifespan of cardio equipment in gyms is about four to five years. Machines at the Lifestyle Fitness Center currently range from 2- to 17-years old.

The physical education division has been working to systematically replace one or two pieces of equipment a year for the past five to six years.

“If we waited until the equipment died we could be running into the tens of thousands [of dollars] to replace the equipment,” Gold said.

So far an estimated six treadmills, one cross trainer, two stationary bikes and one recumbent bike have been replaced.

To use facilities in the cardio section of the fitness center, students are required to sign up for the machine they wish to use. Students are limited to one name per sign-up sheet and 20 minutes per machine.

“Somebody might come in here and want to use the treadmill for an hour, but [they] can’t because that means for two sessions, [they] bump two people off,” Gold said.

With machines down, Gold said that students who could be using them end up waiting.

Instead of being able to use the machines when they want, students have to use other equipment until cardio machines free up.

Christine Andreasian, who oversees the sign-up sheets in the morning, said that the fitness center tends to get full from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Students have noted that the increased number of those enrolled in physical education classes, coupled with non-functional equipment has, at various times, resulted in a crowded gym.

Hospitality management major Mohamed Mahdy said that the gym tends to get crowded and noisy after 10 a.m.

Sociology major Angelica Kyrukchyan, who completes her workout four days a week between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., noted that the gym is generally crowded during this time. She also said that she often experiences a 10-minute wait before she is able to use equipment.

Student Chanel Secreto said that of the machines in the fitness center, “the treadmill is really hard to get on.”
“One time I went [to the fitness center] and there [were] no more slots [on the sign-up sheets],” she said. “All of the slots for the treadmill [were] filled up and I couldn’t get on that day.”

Secreto has waited 40 minutes to get on a treadmill.

Students who complete 32 hours at the gym per semester receive one unit of PE credit; 48 hours earn students 1.5 units; 64 hours earn two units; and 80 hours earn 2.5 units.

P.A.C.E. Program Helps Working Students

Nov. 25, 2009

Imagine working full-time, caring for your children and being a full-time student.

Imagine that even with all these responsibilities, it’s possible to graduate with general education requirements necessary to transfer to a four-year college or university and earn an associate’s degree within four to five semesters.

The Project for Adult College Education, better known as PACE, allows students to do just that.

PACE Director Bob Taylor said that a typical evening student who works toward an associate’s degree or transfer by taking from three to six units per semester may be going to school for a minimum of four to five years. Students enrolled in PACE, however, may complete this same goal in less time.

“It offers a viable alternative to the evening student, to the working adult,” Taylor said of the program.

The program, designed for working adults, allows those enrolled to complete an associate’s degree and general education transfer requirements to Cal States and private universities within a reasonable time frame. PACE students may also opt to transfer to UCs, though it is not a viable option for working adults.

According to Taylor, most UC classes run from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. He said that unless working adults are willing to yield their jobs for their studies, there are virtually no undergraduate evening programs offered at UCs. Cal States and private universities on the other hand, offer complete evening programs.

Students enrolled in the program attend classes one evening per week and every other Saturday throughout the full semesters. They take four classes each semester, generally by completing two classes per eight weeks, and are able to complete 12 units per semester. Week night classes run from 5:45 p.m. to 8:12 p.m. and from 8:20 p.m. to 10:47 p.m., while Saturday classes run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

While PACE is designed for working adults, it is open to all students, regardless of age, who may only be able to attend classes in the evenings.

The program currently offers degrees in liberal arts and business to students.

Though the concept of completing 12 units per semester by devoting a weeknight and every other Saturday may sound nice on paper, the curriculum is not necessarily easy.

“I tell people … ‘this is not easy, but it’s doable if you apply yourself,'” Taylor said.

Cyndee Whitney, head of organization development and training for the city of Pasadena, participated in the program from 1998 to 2000. Since graduating, she has earned a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a doctorate in human and organizational systems.

Whitney worked full time and traveled for her job while she was enrolled in PACE. With all her responsibilities, it was not always easy for her to keep up with the program.

“One night, it was 10, it was freezing cold, it was raining, I was walking up heart attack hill [to the upper parking lot] with a big giant book bag and an umbrella that turned inside-out in the wind,” she said. “I was frozen to the bone, and I just screamed out, ‘what the hell am I doing this for?’

“I drove home, and that night, I [watched a video for] our economics class [which was] about the Great Depression. And when I turned it on I saw my grandmother’s time, and I learned about what her life was like … and I thought, ‘that’s why I’m in this program, because I didn’t know this before.'”

Whitney enthusiastically recommended the program to working adults and to those with time constraints.

Because the program allows students to reach their academic goals within a reasonable time frame, it has become popular at GCC, with 400 students currently enrolled.
Taylor noted that one of the strengths of PACE is that students move through classes together as a group.

“They’re together for four or five semesters. So they can kind of form study groups, and they can kind of have like an external family,” he said. “Most of the students at Glendale College … take a class for 18 weeks, but chances are after that semester’s over, unless you see them on campus, you’re probably not going to take another class with them.”

He found that students that move through classes together “really increases graduation probability and expectations because students kind of feel that they have an identity, and they want to continue with their peers and graduate.”

Whitney said that the family she formed with her PACE peers affected her positively.

“You move through something difficult together; it’s a support system that you have,” she said. “This is your unique family because these people know what you’re going through.”

Instructor Libby Curiel, who taught a Speech 100 section in PACE in October, said that students in the program were unique.

“The one thing I can say about all of them is that they really were very engaging,” she said. “They’re there, they’re focused, they’re really interested, they want to learn, they’re self-motivated.”

Although Curiel had to devote weekend nights and Saturdays to teaching PACE students, she was positive about the whole experience.

“Teaching at nights and on the weekends for me is so rough, because … I’m a single mom,” she said. “It was a commitment for me, but … I made it, and I’m glad that I did. It was a great experience.”

Curiel also remains in touch with her students.

“They’re my friends on Facebook now that their grades are in,” she said.

PACE was originally started in Detroit, Mich. as a program for auto workers. It came to Southern California in the early ’90s, and was introduced at Glendale College in 1998 by former Vice President of Instructional Services Chris McCarthy, who passed away this September.

For more information, call (818) 240-1000, ext. 5153.

Guild Strives to Minimize Adjunct Wage Cuts

Nov. 11, 2009

Adjunct faculty at GCC have sustained a 3.76 percent decrease in salary due to scarce funds allocated to California community colleges. State community colleges were originally scheduled to receive an estimated $130 million in federal stimulus money this year, but funds were reduced to $37 million and a further cut to $35 million. Glendale’s share amounted to $549,000. There are an estimated 600 adjunct faculty and 220 full-time faculty at Glendale.

Because part-time faculty account for the majority of teachers, the Glendale College Guild is working to negotiate with the Glendale Community College District to prevent any further cuts to the wages of part-time faculty. The guild represents both full-time and part-time faculty at the college, and is responsible for negotiating the salaries, benefits and working conditions of its members.

“We are discussing cutting full-timer salaries so that part-timers do not sustain any further cuts,” said Guild Chief Negotiator Isabelle Saber.

Saber said that the guild has committed to exempt part-timers from any further cuts due to the significant cuts they have already sustained.

The reduction in parity funds for part-timers resulted in the cut to part-timer salaries.

Instructor Denise Robb noted that part-timers receive no benefits, earn just a few hundred dollars a week and get paid only for the hours they teach.

“I might spend seven hours creating an exam …. I might spend an entire weekend … grading papers. You don’t get paid for that,” she said. “You only get paid for the [hours spent] in the class.”

Robb works full-time by teaching part-time at GCC, Pasadena City College, L.A. Trade Tech and UC Irvine. She teaches Political Science 106 at GCC.

The union recently submitted a proposal to the district that would have, among other conditions, reduced the salaries of full-time faculty by 1 percent. The combined reductions from the salaries of all full-timers would have then contributed to the pay of part-timers.

The proposal was rejected by the administration, so the guild is currently in the process of negotiating another proposal to submit to the district.

With the college currently under a hiring freeze, the retiring of full-timers also presents a problem because the college cannot hire full-timers to fill open positions.

According to Guild President Ramona Barrio-Sotillo, “The district has been wanting to get [full-time faculty] to retire so [full-timers] are retiring.”

To make up for lost full-time faculty, the college has to add more adjunct faculty, though the cutting of classes results in the cutting of adjuncts.

“It’s a really vicious cycle,” Barrio-Sotillo said. “But it’s not exclusive to Glendale. [California community colleges are] all in the same boat.”

Guild budget representative Sarkis Ghazarian said that adjuncts at Glendale have also lost hours.

“Every time a class is cancelled or not offered, the teacher who was going to teach that class is not going to get paid. And most of these cuts have affected adjunct faculty,” Saber said.

Though full-time faculty have not sustained as significant a cut in wages as adjuncts have, they are also affected by the budget crisis.

“The hit for full-timers has been that our wages have not kept pace with inflation for the last several years,” Saber said. “The last real raise was in 2006 to 2007. Since then we have had no increase … and now [the district] wants us to actually [impose] a reduction in our salaries.”

Because full-timers receive priority in teaching classes during the shorter semesters, both full-timers and part-timers are left to compete for the classes they wish to teach. The decline in class offerings during the short sessions has also affected full-timers who are left with fewer courses to teach.

Full-timers were scheduled to receive a 1 percent pay increase last year, but because the college district claimed a fiscal emergency, the raise has been deferred.

Though the guild has gone through previous economic downturns, Barrio-Sotillo and Saber both said that the current economic situation is one of the worst in the guild’s history.

“The closest we encountered to this was when Proposition 13 passed in 1978,” Barrio-Sotillo said. “We had people that lost their jobs. But since then, even the recession in the early ’90s, isn’t like this.”

‘Stepfather’ Should Not Get Visitation Rights

Oct. 28, 2009

Put together a man obsessed with finding the perfect family and the compulsion to kill women and children who can’t meet the man’s idea of a perfect family, and say hello to “The Stepfather.”

“The Stepfather” tells the story of David Harris, portrayed by Dylan Walsh (“We Were Soldiers,” 2002), and his encounter with the Hardings, a family he doesn’t kill despite the fact they don’t turn out to be his perfect family.

David meets newly divorced Susan Harding, portrayed by Sela Ward (“The Guardian,” 2006), at a grocery store, and they become engaged within a few months of their encounter. David gets along well with Susan and two of her children, Sean and Beth.

Conflict arises when Susan’s eldest son, Michael, portrayed by Penn Badgley (“Gossip Girl”), returns from military school.

Michael meets David and is more suspicious than anyone else in the family about him, unsure if the man his mom is about to marry is a genuine person or if he has a hidden agenda.

Michael’s suspicions escalate when his neighbor suggests that David strangely resembles Grady Edwards, a criminal featured on America’s Most Wanted for killing his family.

Susan’s ex-husband, Jay, comes in to the film for a short time.

When Jay learns that David tried to choke Sean as a means to discipline him, Jay lashes out at David. This starts the two men off on the wrong foot.

When Jay has to leave town for a while, he stops by to bid his children goodbye. However, he is unable to do so because David murders him before he has the chance to get up to his kids’ room.

The climax of the plot takes place on a stormy night when Michael, more suspicious than ever, decides to snoop around David’s belongings in the basement.

David catches Michael intruding and the two eventually end up in a battle on a rainy rooftop that evening. They both fall off the roof, but David escapes before police arrive while Michael ends up in a
one-month coma.

As a remake of the 1987 film, directed by Joseph Ruben and Warren Carr, this rendition is better in some aspects but falls short in others.

With the given storyline, Director Nelson McCormick (“Prom Night,” 2008) fails to bring anything new to the table. The suspense portrayed in the film is so predictable that it’s hardly suspenseful. More disappointingly, “The Stepfather” is far from being a horror movie.

In an attempt to create suspense, the movie does not even come close. For instance, in scenes where characters need only to climb down a staircase or peer a little further down into the basement to witness David’s true colors, they abruptly, and for no apparent reason, decide not to pursue those actions.

Many such unrealistic situations occur throughout the movie, plugged in to make the film “suspenseful.” Most audiences, however, will easily be able to predict that the antagonist’s cover won’t be formally revealed until near the end of the film.
The movie desperately lacks frightening visuals and relies much too heavily on audio to convey the horror it fails to present to its audiences.

In scenes where a character opens the door to find David simply standing there, the accompaniment of startling sounds typical in horror movies hardly contribute to the goal to scare viewers. Such ineffective combinations of average scenes with booming horror audio demonstrate the story’s incredibly unconvincing plot.

The original does a much better job with visuals. It shows murdered victims with fair amounts of blood surrounding the corpses, while McCormick’s version tends to keep blood to a minimum.

McCormick’s version has been adapted to appeal to today’s generation by including a heated romance between Michael and his girlfriend, while the equivalent of Badgley’s character in the 1987 film did not have such romantic moments.

Both films ended similarly with the families still alive despite being unable to meet the stepfather’s ideals of a perfect family. The events leading to the conclusion of

McCormick’s film, however, were unrealistic.

Both Michael and David fall off the roof on the evening they fight. With Michael having gone into a one-month coma after the fall, David quickly managing to garner enough strength to escape before police arrived is an implausible event.

None of the actors deliver any notable performances, they but aren’t really required to because the characters in the story are generally quite dull.

“The Stepfather” is one sad excuse for a horror movie. With an improbable story line, obvious reliance on audio to mask the shortcomings of the plot, lack of horrifying visuals, and no compelling performances, this movie is not worth a nearly two-hour time investment.

If you’re looking to watch a movie with a “Gossip Girl” hunk, a horror movie rated PG-13 for sensuality more than disturbing images or violence, or one to boost your thought process because you’ll be busy figuring out how the movie is supposed to be a suspense/horror film, then you won’t want to miss “The Stepfather.” Otherwise, look elsewhere.

Foundation Seeks to Boost Awareness of College

Oct. 14, 2009

With state budget cuts depleting the amount of money available to the college, the Glendale College Foundation is working hard to soften the economic blow by raising funds for students and departments at Glendale Community College.

The foundation, established in 1983, is a tax-exempt charitable organization recognized under government law as a 501c3. Although it is a separate entity from Glendale College, it directs its funds to students and various departments at the school.

Under the leadership of Lisa Brooks, the foundation has remained on top of its goals, innovating new ways to raise funds for and increase community awareness of GCC.

Brooks, the foundation’s executive director, has served on the board for the past eight months. Though a relatively new member, she has already begun to work on meeting the organization’s goals. Brooks recently implemented a new community relations committee to improve the college’s publicity.

Dianne Endsley, who has served on the foundation board for 15 years, was appointed the committee’s chair.

“Our main goal is to attract maximum visibility and resources to the college through the foundation,” she said.

“We think that there’s a lot of people that even live in Glendale that don’t even realize that Glendale College is as large and as wonderful as it is. So we kind of want to get the word out.”

The committee is composed of 17 members throughout the community with various areas of expertise.

With the trend of online social networking, Brooks is also looking to work with the marketing department to create an online presence for the foundation.

She created a causes page on Facebook and has managed to raise about $600 for the foundation this way.

Each year the organizationgives out $300,000 in scholarships to students and sponsors a different department of the college.

According to Susan Borquez-Dougherty of the scholarship office, the foundation sponsored 236 of the 500 scholarships disbursed by the school.

Student outreach coordinator Henan Joof was one student who benefited from the scholarships in the spring of 2004.

“The most important [way the scholarship helped] was my transfer applications,” Joof said.

With Cal-State and UC applications nearly $50 each, the scholarship helped Joof. He was an international student at the time and could not qualify for waivers. The scholarship also helped Joof pay for books.

To raise funds for students and departments, the foundation relies on developing long-term relationships with individual donors and corporations.

“Fund raising is relationship building,” Brooks said.

Despite the current economy, Brooks emphasized that maintaining good relationships with donors is crucial.

“[Donors] might be going through financial trouble right now, but we’re looking at our relationship with [them] over a lifetime,” she said. “That’s what makes good fund raising. You can’t focus on short-term gain.”

The organization is also looking into the creation of planned giving, a program that would honor the lives of donors who leave money to the foundation after their deaths.

The foundation is also funded through grants and voluntary payroll deductions from faculty and staff.

Among the contributions the foundation has made to the college include funding for the nursing center, observatory, the football field, scoreboard and refurbishments to the tennis court.

Brooks perceives the next two years to be “tough” as GCC is affected by state budget cuts, higher unemployment, and more students seeking to attend the college.

Overall, funds donated to the foundation tend to be designated for specific causes.

“One of my hopes is to build a bigger pot of money that is unrestricted, and that way we can respond every year to urgent needs on campus,” Brooks said. “For us to be able to respond to urgent needs, we really need some money that’s unrestricted.”

The organization is governed by a 35-member board of directors, composed of community members who are nominated based on their connections and position to raise money for the college.

Board members include businesspeople, marketing people, and one member from the Glendale News-Press.

Those interested in donating may do so by visiting the foundation office in AD 149, through phone, in cash or check, by volunteering payroll deductions (for faculty and staff), through the foundation’s Facebook page and online at