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Chaparral 2020-2021: 29.6 Reaching Across: Building Bridges with Colleagues

Reaching Across: Building Bridges with Colleagues

by Julie Gamberg and Sandy Somo

In this column, employees of Glendale College with different roles engage in dialogue about their departments/divisions, as well as thoughts about a more student-centered campus. Partners are given the same three questions to ask one another, and the option of additional questions and/or taking a selfie together. If you are interested in participating in this dialogue, please feel free to email Sandy Somo or Julie Gamberg (ssomo@glendale.edu; jgamberg@glendale.edu)

Joining us for this issue are Frankie Strong, Governance and Ed Karpp, Research & Planning


Pictured: left, Daisy; right, Murray

ED KARPP

How long have you been at GCC and what do you do here?

ED

I started working at GCC in February 1994, so I’ve been here a little over 27 years. I started as a classified staff member in Research and Planning and now I’m the Dean of Research, Planning, and Grants, with responsibilities in research, accreditation, planning, and I am also the instructional dean who works with the Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Biology divisions.

What do you wish people knew about your department or division that you think they might not totally understand? 

ED

In terms of the research and planning parts of my job, people probably don’t understand the extent of information the college is required to report to the state and the federal government. With the support of IT, my office is responsible for federal IPEDS reporting (15 surveys submitted during three collection periods per year) as well as state apportionment reporting (three times per year) and annual accreditation reports, among other reports.

When you think about our movement toward a more student-centered campus, how can the rest of the campus be more supportive of your department/division? 

ED

GCC has been extremely supportive toward research and planning over the years. One important change that is being discussed now is the addition of a research designer specializing in diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility who would serve the entire college and help us focus more on equity and success for all students. The recent concentration on equity issues at the college and nationwide is great to see, even though it was initiated by terrible events last year.

Bonus Questions

What is the most fun thing you’ve been able to do at GCC?

ED

The most fun thing was probably the college’s 90th anniversary celebration in the gym. I helped organize the event with a lot of other people, including Ani Keshishian, Agnes Eguaras, Rubina Hairapetian, Gus Rocha, and Robert Hill, along with many volunteers. The most interesting thing I’ve done at GCC is probably attending the address by President Bill Clinton on June 11, 1996. I’ve never seen so many people at the college (not to mention the snipers on the roof of the Library building).

Who or what person, places, things do you have an affinity for?

ED

Well, Frankie already took dark chocolate, but I would say in addition to that I like spending time with family, reading, and going on cruises, which was unfortunately interrupted by the pandemic. Speaking of the pandemic, one good way to get through it has been watching optimistic shows like Schitt’s Creek, Ted Lasso, and Detectorists.

What advice might you have for students?

ED

One piece of advice I have for students is to take the time to appreciate their educational journey. Education is a path that rarely leads straight from one point to the destination. Many students feel they have to complete on the schedule they have set, that if they don’t do well in one class, they will miss their opportunity to transfer on time and their life will be ruined. Their life will not be ruined. They can take advantage of second chances, third chances, fourth chances. Community colleges exist to provide opportunities to anyone who wants to take them.

FRANKIE STRONG

How long have you been at GCC and what do you do here?

FRANKIE

I think I’ve been here for 14 years now? It’s funny that I don’t exactly know. Let’s see, I was hired as a temp at the end of 2005, then was hired in a full-time position in early 2006 for the Language Arts Division. I’ve been in my current position since June 2006, so truly it looks like I’ll make 15 years this coming June, wow!

What do you wish people knew about your department or division that you think they might not totally understand?

FRANKIE

The Governance Office includes the two union offices: CSEA and the Guild, and the Academic Senate; AND the governance office (me).

The main duty that I am responsible for is tracking the activities of the thirty governance committees. You see the results of these meetings in the monthly Governance Update. I ensure that the information on the four webpages is current and correct www.glendale.edu/governance; /Senate; /CSEA; /Guild. Webpages are on the .edu site and within SharePoint.

I further ensure that seats on governance committees are filled – I do this by requesting that appointments be made by the Senate, Guild, and CSEA executive groups; as well as the students (ASGCC), Administration and managers. GCC governance works because of participation from all constituent groups, that means you.

I also provide support to each organization as I am the one constant of the office, meaning that the presidents in the unions and Academic Senate change because these are elected positions. It is an adjustment when the aforementioned happens. I maintain information such as the Senate’s motions database, and meeting records.

While I have your attention - here’s a shameless plug for the Governance Hour [queue confetti emoji here]. You are welcome to ‘drop by’ by each week on Wednesday, 10:00am for the Governance Hour via Zoom.

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android
Meeting ID: 987 7772 0237 Password: governance

And of course feel free to connect with me by email [fstrong@glendale.edu] with governance questions, we can chat or set up a Zoom.

Wearing multiple hats keeps me on my toes. There are a multitude of other details to being the Governance Office Coordinator but the main thing I’ll leave you with is: I like consistent processes – by doing do, we preserve the integrity of the process/practice.

When you think about our movement toward a more student-centered campus, how can the rest of the campus be more supportive of your department/division? 

FRANKIE

What comes to mind is that I’ve observed the increase in the level of awareness and mass communication – we are all, pretty much, on the same page! This is great! However, efforts do not just stop there. The best encouragement of support from the college community would be that we need to continue hearing from all college stakeholders, that means each of you, so please communicate with your leadership with concerns and possible solutions.

Bonus Questions

What is the most fun thing you’ve been able to do at GCC?

FRANKIE

Well, not to highjack Ed’s response, but I too have had a couple of fun events.

The first was when we merged the recognition luncheon with the Senate holiday party. I had the privilege of working with amazing friends and colleagues to ready the gym, set up, and receive our guests. It was amazing to see the gym transformed.

The other memorable event was transforming the, then aviation hangar, into a venue to hold the Senate holiday party. This was a successful, one-time use of the aviation hangar. It was so fun! Maybe you were there with your ugly sweater? It was a good time!

I learned that I love coordinating with colleagues from across the campus, and from different departments, to make things happen. I feel very fortunate to work amongst such dynamic and capable human beings.

Who or what person, places, things do you have an affinity for?

FRANKIE

I guess this is a brainstorm list of things that keep me sane, happy, and grounded, aside from the usual important spouse, family answer.

My list: Dark chocolate, Frank Sinatra, being in nature, yes the great outdoors; furry faces, especially my home office cat Murray; I’m a big fan of astronomy (thank you GCC planetarium events), good fiction, historical non-fiction, and watching period-pieces such as Mr. Selfridge and Downton Abbey – I just love seeing the past come to life.

What advice might you have for students?

FRANKIE

Define what being a student is to you. In other words, self-discovery and learning are things we’ll continue to do throughout life. Does being a student include going the traditional college route? Or is it pursuing a subject in career technical education? Is it becoming certified and getting a jump on your career? Is it joining an organization and advancing through the ranks? Is it being a domestic guru? You define what being a student is to you. Keep true to what’s in your heart and what you’re passionate about. What you ‘think’ you should do may take you away from what it is you are truly supposed to ‘be’.

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