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RCC Newsletter
AUGUST 2020

2020-21 ACADEMIC YEAR KICKS OFF 


As the 2020-21 academic year begins, RCC is focused on providing excellence in teaching and learning, while ensuring the safety of students, faculty, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the current crisis creates challenges and uncertainty for our students,  20,784 are currently enrolled at RCC (unduplicated count as of August 25). 

While the majority of classes and services remain online this semester, students are to be reminded that staff and faculty are available and eager to provide support and services online. Most student support online resources can be accessed through the Online Resources page (www.rcc.edu/resources) on the RCC website. In an effort to guide new and returning students enrolled in limited face-to-face classes and labs, a few Ask Me/Welcome booths were available on campus the first week of the semester. Staff answered questions, gave directions, and provided encouragement. 

Virtual services are available during normal college hours for students to access Admissions and Records, Counseling, Financial Aid, the Disability Resources Center, and other departments. Students are also encouraged to access library resources, tutoring, engagement centers, and other academic resources online. 

Safety continues to be the College’s and District’s top priority. This summer representatives from the three colleges and District developed Safe Return to Campus plans which include comprehensive safety guidelines and protocols to help keep students and employees safe and healthy. Information regarding the safe return to campus and COVID19 can be viewed on the District website or by clicking here.

RCC WELCOMES 35 NEW FACULTY MEMBERS



Our College welcomes 35 amazingly talented full-time members of the RCC faculty who were introduced at Fall Professional Development Days (Flex). They bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, insights and excitement. We are honored to have them join the RCC family.

Adriana Arias  (Mathematics)
Brian Brautigam  (Counseling/Learning Disabilities)
Courtney Carter  (Counseling)
Michael Chavez  (Sociology)
Parissa Clark  (Political Science)
Ruben Contreras  (Spanish)
Jennifer Corr  (Accounting)
Michael Dahl  (Chemistry)
Jairo de Leon  (Counseling - EOPS)
Chancellor Dean  (Theatre Arts)
Andrea Dillon  (Life Sciences)
Jonathan Evans  (Automotive Technology)
Rebecca Faircloth  (Counseling - NextUp/CAFYES)
Rosa Frazier  (Dance)
Alexandria Gilbert  (English)
Brandie Greene  (Life Sciences)
Katherine Johnson  (Life Sciences)
Ryan Joseph  (Life Sciences)
Bryan Keene  (Art History)
Brian Kohl  (Art)
Rakel Larson  (Psychology)
Sam Lopez  (Art)
Steven Mahpar  (Music)
Maria Maness  (Counseling)
Michael McCracken  (Counseling)
Kfir Mendelovitz  (Air Conditioning)
Anthony Musumba  (Physics)
Leticia Ortega  (Nursing)
Arya Parsa  (Life Sciences)
Emily Philippsen  (Early Childhood Education)
Antoinette Rangel  (Early Childhood Education)
Tina Stavropoulos  (English)
Aubrey Weston  (Accounting)
L. Justin White  (Business Administration)
Vivian Ygloria  (Counseling - DRC)
 

NEW FACULTY FEATURE


Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Brandie Greene attended Southeast Missouri State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science and a master’s degree in Microbiology. Greene and her fiancé began applying for positions outside the Midwest, knowing there were more options elsewhere, and within two months her fiancé was offered a position at Cal State San Bernardino. So the pair packed and moved to California. 
 
Greene applied at RCC and in 2011 was hired as a Biology Laboratory Technician II. She continued in this role while launching her teaching career and began teaching part-time in the Biology department in 2016. 
 
When the opportunity presented itself, she applied for the full-time teaching position and made it to first round interviews. Unfortunately, she was not selected for hire at that time. She was afforded another opportunity, and successfully earned the full-time tenure track assistant professor position this year.  
 
“Things have come full circle for me and I am honored to join my RCC Family in this new role,” Greene said. “As RCC Faculty, we are charged with catering to the WHOLE student in order to ensure their personal and professional success well beyond their time with us.”


WELCOME WEEK VIDEOS AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING


Leading to the start of the semester, the Office of Student Services hosted a virtual Welcome Week for students. The successful event highlighted student support services, a virtual campus tour, and provided general information helping students feel prepared as they start their college journey. Students reported feeling the sense of community expressed throughout the event and are thrilled about being enrolled at RCC.  

The informational videos are available for viewing, can shared in your class, or simply serve as valuable resources. Click here or visit RCC’s YouTube channel to watch the videos. 

IMPROVING STUDENT SUCCESS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the College is identifying ways to mitigate barriers to academic success. Among those barriers was access to technology. In addition to the hundreds of laptops issued to students during the Spring, Summer and preceding the fall term, another 600 students have expressed interest in receiving laptops. Additionally the college purchased hundreds more laptops that are being made available for loan.

Technology Support Services is acquiring mobile Wi-Fi hotspots for students and has made Wi-Fi available in the campus parking lots enabling students to connect to the internet using their RCCD student email credentials for authentication. The College is also purchasing Adobe Creative Cloud licenses for students who are taking classes requiring the use of Adobe Creative Cloud applications.

For technical support, please email helpdesk@rccd.edu or call (951) 222-8388. For questions regarding TSS, contact Gabriel Rivera at Gabriel.rivera@rcc.edu.

MUSIC PROFESSORS BRING ENJOYMENT THROUGH A VIRTUAL PERFORMANCE


Faculty members in the Coil School for the Arts have brought creativity to their efforts to engage students, the College, and the broader community. Performing at a social distance, members of the Music faculty, Peter Curtis and Charlie Richard recorded a duet titled The Nearness of You. The Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington song was shared with the College community and received a number of supportive responses such as “You create gorgeous music, Peter. Great job guys. Keep up the great work.” Beautiful music was expressed as Curtis played the guitar and Richard the saxophone. 

A former student of both Curtis and Richard saw a post on YouTube of a collaboration with other musicians and suggested that the duo perform something similar. They discussed a song that would be appropriate for an era of social distancing and this was one of the titles they came up with. 

Curtis said, “Charlie's consummate musicianship and professionalism made it easy.”  

Though they had never recorded virtually together before, Curtis and Richard have played together countless times in numerous configurations for nearly twenty years. They hope to do more virtual recordings. The process of virtual recording is something they say they are getting more familiar with. 

They are pleased to share the former student that inspired the duet is now a full-time professional musician.

Click here to watch Professors Curtis and Richard perform “The Nearness of You.”

CALL TO ACTION TASK FORCE ON EQUITY


A Districtwide Call to Action task force on equity and anti-racism was formed by Chancellor Isaac to focus on closing racial equity gaps and combatting anti-Black racism.  It will facilitate and assist the three colleges and District as they create equity in both access and success and seek to dismantle institutionalized racism.
 
The task force identified three focus areas: curriculum, pedagogy and student learning; internal climate, structures and processes; and external influences such as civic engagement, community relations and local, regional, state, and national collaborations. 
 
College and District representatives prepared a preliminary report that identified fundamental principles that will help inform and strengthen District and college practices. This report identifies what is currently being done and how these actions should and will guide our work as we move forward as a reflective, inclusive, anti-racist, and multicultural institution.

CALIFORNIA STUDENTS VOTE


Stunningly, in the 2014 General Election, only 52% of eligible youth were registered to vote—more than 20 points below any other age group—and only 8% of eligible youth aged 18-24 voted. 

However, during the 2018 General Election, youth voter registration in California increased to 61.6% and youth voter turnout increased significantly to 27.5%. Though there have been increases in voter registration and turnout among California youth, 18-24 year olds are still the lowest represented age group in the state. 

Given the need to improve civic engagement, in 2016 the Secretary of State created the California Students Vote Project. This project is a first of its kind partnership in the nation where all major institutions of higher education in California have solidified commitments to partner with the Secretary of State’s office and encourage student civic engagement efforts to promote a democracy that is more inclusive of student voices. 

The 2020 General Election will be a critical one, and arguably the most important election of our lifetime. Students  have a chance to make their voices heard on key issues, policies, and elected officials, including the presidential race. In order for student voices to be heard in this crucial election, we must work together to engage them to not only register to vote, but also turn out to the polls.

The Passing of Salvatore G. Rotella, Ph.D.


Salvatore G. Rotella, Ph.D., the seventh president for Riverside City College and then chancellor of Riverside Community College District, passed away on August 11 in New York, with his family at his bedside. Rotella, 86, served the District for 15 years, retiring in 2005.  

Dr. Rotella was born in Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, a town in Sicily, on July 24, 1934. He spent most of his youth in Asmara in Eritrea, then an Italian colony, and came to the United States with his family in 1951. He said he had great affection for all three of the countries that shaped his life; he knew the American dream wasn't a cliché because he lived it. When he arrived by ship in New York at age 17, he barely spoke English. While working fulltime, Dr. Rotella enrolled at Hunter College, earning a bachelor's degree in 1955. He studied Political Science at the University of Chicago, attaining his master's degree in 1956 and Ph.D. in 1971. He earned a Fulbright grant to the University of Pavia in Italy, earning an Italian doctorate in 1958.
 
Prior to moving to California to lead RCCD, Rotella had leadership roles in New York and with the Chicago community college system. He brought many of his ideas from New York and Chicago. He was a proponent of shared governance and developed the dean/division structure at RCCD which remains today. Thinking along the lines of a university model, Rotella also restructured the administration into four service areas – academic affairs, student services, research and planning, and administration and finance. 

“A scholar and a visionary are the terms most often used in describing Dr. Salvatore Rotella," Mary Figueroa, president of the RCCD Board of Trustees, said. “He was a leader unlike any other to have come along in Riverside's history. His ultimate contribution was his desire and focus to ensure that any student, regardless of where they came from, what their socio-economic background was, or the color of their skin, received a quality education. The growth of this District in the last 30 years can be attributed to him and his vision, and the region has excelled for having had his presence." 

His vision also led, despite little help from the state, the District to expand the campuses in Moreno Valley and Norco. However, it was his vision for ensuring young people understand the benefit of a college education that might be his biggest legacy. Because his vision, and work of the District Foundation, the Passport to College initiative was created, guaranteeing that 5th graders in the 1996 class would be able to attend college tuition free. The program was honored by then-President Bill Clinton during a ceremony at the White House. Many of the students who benefitted from the initiative came from working-class, predominantly Latino communities. 

Dr. Rotella was also a fan for the arts which led to the development of the Riverside School for the Arts. In honor of Dr. Rotella, Riverside City College renamed the digital library the Salvatore G. Rotella Digital Library and Learning Resource Center.  

“Dr. Rotella's vision of transforming RCCD and its three colleges with Moreno Valley College having a concentration on allied health and public safety; and Norco College with a concentration on engineering, manufacturing and logistics is still a major driver to the District's strategic plan," Wolde-Ab Isaac, Ph.D., chancellor of RCCD, said. “His endless energy, devotion and commitment to the District even after he retired has been a source of inspiration to many. I had the good fortune and privilege of meeting Dr. Rotella in 1994 while I was the president of the University of Asmara in Eritrea. Over the past 26 years he has been my mentor, my friend, and indeed in every sense of the word my true elder brother. I will miss him dearly." 

He is survived by his wife, Pilar, of 59 years; his sons Sebastian, Carlo, and Salvatore, Jr.; his daughters-in-law Carmen Méndez, Christina Klein, and Maria Kiernan; his grandchildren Valeria, Ling-li, Yuan, and Joseph; and his brother Vittorio, Vittorio's children, Vittorio, Jr., and Alessandra, and their families, Isabella and Alessandro, and Neil, Gabriella and Sofia. ​

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the following charities — the Scalabrini International Migration Network and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. ​

UPCOMING EVENTS

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Riverside City College
4800 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506
www.rcc.edu