With the Fourth of July behind us and the summer doldrums just around the corner, we find ourselves smack dab in mid-summer, that time of year when just about anything can happen. And happen things do at the Peralta Colleges.
Very good news came to Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney and Merritt Colleges on July 3, when the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges announced that the Peralta Colleges were off "warning" and had passed their accreditation reviews with flying colors. ACCJC, which accredits colleges in California, Hawaii and the Pacific islands, had issued a number of recommendations to the Peralta Colleges that required administrative attention (academic programs were never questioned). After site visits and follow-up reports, the commission lifted the warning status -- the lowest-level alert -- signaling that the four Peralta Colleges are fully accredited.
The good news could not have come at a better time. The chancellor of the Peralta Community College District, José M. Ortiz, issued an announcement with word of the commission's decision and college presidents thanked faculty and staff for their thorough work in addressing ACCJC's recommendations. All of this just in time for the fall semester -- the busiest time of year in the academic calendar -- when the colleges will be rolling out their newly added classes and educational programs. Mid-summer certainly lived up to its reputation this year for our community's colleges.
The Social Media quagmire: Ever wonder what a hashtag is and how it's changing our world? Have you been Twitter bombed? You must be on Facebook, but does Pinterest or Snapchat mystify you? If so, you might just sign up this fall for the Social Media class at Laney College. Journalism 65: Social Media for Journalists (and others) is a new class, first offered last semester in a revamped format that lets everyone jump on the social media bandwagon — or at least try to make sense of it. (Full disclosure: I teach the class with Scott Strain of Laney's top-notch journalism department.)
Last semester, the class heard from such notable journalists as National Public Radio's foreign affairs correspondent Jackie Northam; investigative reporter and author Seth Rosenfeld; United Nations and former New York Times photographer Staton Winter, who spoke to the class via Skype from the African nation of Liberia; the Bay Area News Group's higher education reporter Katy Murphy; and award-winning Bay Area News Group photojournalist -- and Laney College graduate -- Ray Chavez. Students ranged from just-out-of-high-school Instagramers to retired nurses, budding journalist-bloggers to traditional small business owners. Join the class this fall on Fridays at Laney College and get your hashtags in order. (Already on Twitter? Check out #journalism65 for a preview.)
Other news: Eric Gravenberg will grab the reins at College of Alameda as interim president, beginning July 15. He takes over from Jannett Jackson, who was tapped to become chancellor at the Chabot-Los Positas Community College District. Gravenberg has had a distinguished 38-year career in education, most recently serving as vice president of Student Services at Merritt College. His résumé also includes stints as vice president for Undergraduate Education at Alliant International University in San Diego and associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Cal State Sacramento. Gravenberg belongs to a number of civic and professional organizations and volunteers as a mentor for high school and college students. He'll be in the top position at CoA while a national search takes place to find a permanent president for the island college.
Stay tuned next month for more mid-summer fun as the Peralta Colleges continue to put the word "community" into our community colleges.
Reach Jeffrey Heyman at firstname.lastname@example.org or @jeffheyman on Twitter.