Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Chaparral 2020-2021: 29.4 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.

Laura Matsumot
Laura Matsumoto, OTR/L
Professor - DSP&S Access Technology, Adapted Physical Education, Kinesiology & Health
Head Coach, Men's Soccer
Safety Committee Chair 2020-21
Talk
Freddy Saucedo
Freddy Saucedo, Dean (Interim)
Career Education and Workforce Development
Joining us for this issue are Laura Matsumoto and Freddy Saucedo

Freddy

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

Laura

I am fortunate to have been at GCC since January of 1999. I cannot believe that it has been over 20 years to be honest! I was initially hired as a full-time High Tech Center Specialist / Instructor in the Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS) department. My position has evolved significantly over the years. I started teaching adapted physical education (APE) around 2001. I was the assistant coach for the women's soccer team from 1999 - 2004. I was the assistant coach for the men's soccer team from 2006 - 2013 and I became the head coach for the men's team in 2014.

As an access technology (aka High Tech Center) specialist / instructor I teach adapted computer applications classes, evaluate the computer skills of students with disabilities, determine alternate media (e.g. electronic text) recommendations, and consult with GCC's faculty and staff to meet the accommodations needs of students with disabilities. We have recently merged our High Tech Center and our Instructional Assistance Center into the Accommodations Resource Center (ARC). For APE I teach adapted aquatics and adapted indoor cycling. I also teach health and kinesiology courses. I am 60% in the Kinesiology Division and 40% in the Student Services Division (DSPS).

In addition to my teaching and coaching duties I have served as the Safety Committee chair for many years. I am also on the Baja Advisory Committee and I am a co-chair of the William L. Parker Award Committee.
 

Freddy

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

Laura

In the realm of DSPS and serving students with disabilities I wish more people understood the immense challenges faced by many of our students with disabilities. For example, I have students who must get up hours earlier than most to prepare to arrive at school on time because they must rely on others to assist them with getting ready and/or they are reliant on Access transportation, which is sadly very unreliable.

In the realm of both DSPS and Kinesiology and athletics I wish more of my fellow faculty members understood the value of physical education and athletics in college (not to mention across the life span). My APE students consistently take my classes for many reasons; for example, to improve their ability to successfully attend academic classes by increasing their activity tolerance and improving their ability to focus, and/or to sustain their ability to lead engaging and meaningful lives in their communities. Many of my student-athletes are "front porch" candidates, which means that they initially come to GCC because of the opportunity to participate in their sport, but then become fully engaged student-athletes pursuing academic goals. Without athletics as the "carrot" many of them would never have attended college in the first place.

Sadly, physical education and athletics are often targeted for proposed cutbacks when budgets must be tightened. Fortunately, at GCC we have a very supportive administration that I feel does understand my points noted above. I hope this trend continues - especially during the COVID budget challenges!

Freddy

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? 

Laura

As I noted above, during this time when GCC is facing significant financial challenges due to the pandemic, I would like to remind people about how valuable physical education, athletics and our DSPS services are at GCC. I hope people will review the scientific evidence on the academic benefits of physical activity provided via physical education classes. My adapted PE classes fall under DSPS, which is part of Student Services, as is athletics. I hope for people to recognize that our students with disabilities and our student-athletes may require extra support, time, and understanding as they progress on their journeys at GCC. For example, my students in both DSPS and athletics often face the typical challenges of community college students - e.g. come from low income households, are first generation college students, etc. However, in addition to these challenges the student with a disability may require extra time, extra explanations and patience, and a student-athlete is potentially balancing a full-time class schedule, work, and family commitments, in addition to the many hours required to participate in athletics.

I do think GCC is on the right path (e.g. social justice initiatives, food scarcity support, LGBTQ+ support, etc.) and I'm hoping we continue to evolve towards a more "whole person" approach to serving our students. A student-centered campus is driven by an effective, collaborative effort between Student Services and instruction. We are all on the same team and our team only wins when we creatively and effectively work together to serve our students inside and outside of the classroom.

Freddy

Follow-up question: If you were not in the position that you are currently what would you be doing outside of education?

Laura

I have my occupational therapy license, which is what my formal master's training is in. I feel that if I wasn't at GCC or in education I probably would be doing some sort of community-based OT like hippotherapy (using horses for therapy for people with disabilities) or in the adapted sports world, maybe with the Challenged Athletes Foundation. My passions live within the realms of service to people with disabilities and sports, so that's where I would see myself outside of GCC.

Laura

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

Freddy

I’ve been at the college for a little over 3 years now. My role started as an administrator as the interim Associate Dean and then I became the permanent Associate Dean. Currently, I’m serving in the capacity as the interim Dean for Career Education (CE) and Workforce Development. My role is to provide support to all of our faculty in our Business, Tech and Aviation, and Health Sciences divisions. In addition, we have many grants that I oversee. This requires fiscal management along with reporting functions. Lastly, I’m involved in various campus wide initiatives and committees. So the work doesn’t end with my Department.

Laura

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

Freddy

Sometimes I find myself articulating what CE is. I’ve notice that vocational education can sometimes have a negative connotation because it’s not seen as being at the same level as a baccalaureate or graduate level educational path. Many programs within our divisions are just as valuable as 4 year University pathways. Many students start their careers in CE and transition to other career paths. Even if you don’t pursue a BA or graduate level work, you can still find a career path that you will enjoy, in a shorter term period.

Laura

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? 

Freddy

Many of the students that we serve in CE are underrepresented in the workforce. Some come from a marginalized or disenfranchised background. As a campus, we need to value their experiences and also value whatever education and career path they want to pursue. By valuing and supporting all programs, it sets the tone for a culture that is inclusive and supportive.

Laura

Follow-up question: It sounds like we both work with populations of students who are marginalized. What are a couple of things you think GCC can do to improve inclusion and de-marginalization of our populations and others like them?

Freddy

I think if we continue to be more intentional with how we involve students from marginalized backgrounds, they will have a voice on various aspects of the college. I think it’s dependent on champions like ourselves to integrate them into discussions, meetings etc. We can also continue to advocate within our own departments so that others can see the impact and best practices. It’s very doable.

Glendale Community College | 1500 North Verdugo Road, Glendale, California 91208 | Tel: 818.240.1000 | 
GCC Home  © 2021 - Glendale Community College. All Rights Reserved. | POLICE 

chat loading...
chat loading...