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Chaparral 2022-2023: 31.3 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.


Left: Calvin Madlock, Chief Information Services Officer
Right: Susie Moran, Administrative Assistant, Social Sciences Division

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

Susie

Like many others, I’m also a proud former student of Glendale Community College (GCC). Long story short, my journey began when I started GCC as a full-time student in Fall of 2000. In 2002, I started working at the Child Development Center as a student worker and slowly over the years, worked as an hourly classified while continuing and pursuing my education. In 2007, I was hired as the full-time Child Development Front Desk Assistant and in 2012, I was given the opportunity to become the Administrative Assistant for the Social Sciences Division. My role as an Administrative Assistant consists of providing support to the Division Chair with a variety of highly complex administrative duties such as: scheduling classes for 11 departments, assisting with daily office/division needs, preparing requisitions, assisting with the budget turnaround, monitoring financial reports and division expenses, responding to questions, requests, and concerns from students, staff, faculty, and the public. Moreover, I serve as a liaison between the Social Sciences Division, administrators, faculty, students, and other academic departments on campus. By the end of this year, it will be my tenth year working for the division. I am also part of the Student Equity and Achievement (SEA) Committee, and I am also a Board Member for the Classified Council

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

Susie

The Social Sciences Division is one of the largest divisions on campus. Currently, it houses 11 departments: Anthropology, Child Development, Economics, Ethnic Studies, Geography and Environment, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Social Science and Sociology. Regardless of the many different departments, our main purpose as a whole division is to help our GCC students succeed as they continue on to pursue their educational and career goals. We are also part of the Guided Pathways program: People, Power and Perspectives (PPP). The idea behind guided pathways is to provide students the option to explore local and global communities and interpersonal connections to find ways to positively impact society. Students who pursue the PPP pathways may discover academic and career options such as counseling, law, global studies, education, social justice, just to name a few.

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? 

Susie

I personally believe that as we move forward to a more student-centered campus, we must not forget that we were once also a student. The overwhelming feeling of being a lost student and not knowing what major to pursue, the stress of needing to pass and not fail a class, the withdrawals (W) on transcripts, third attempt forms, and personal life can become overwhelming. I believe that if we keep this in mind, we are better able to understand and relate to our students more.

Reflection

It was so nice to have been given the opportunity to meet Calvin. In fact, with the number of years being on campus, I knew of Calvin simply because I would see his name tied into the campus wide email messages, specifically when COVID-19 hit and the campus had to transition quickly to remote. Like Calvin said, Information Technology Services (ITS) is the nervous system for our GCC campus community and I personally agree with him on that. ITS is an essential department to our campus and I very much appreciate all that they do. It was a pleasure meeting Calvin via Zoom and getting a chance to talk, share our personal experiences, laugh a bit, and lastly, take our selfie together (it took us three tries, but we got a picture!).

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

Calvin

I was very fortunate to be hired by Glendale Community College (GCC) on July 2, 2018. I am well into my 5th year at GCC after being in higher education for over 10 years. Prior to higher education, I worked in the private sector consisting of stints in transportation, insurance, and aerospace. My current title is Chief Information Systems Officer (CISO) and I am responsible for vision and leadership in the development and implementation of GCC’s information technology resources – supporting telecom, security, networks, and software applications to meet and uphold the District's mission and program needs. As CISO, it is important that I effectively collaborate with campus constituencies and direct the strategy, planning, and deployment of technology systems to support student services, instruction, and administrative operations. Finally, I share an immeasurable extent of responsibility in the safety, security, privacy, confidentiality, protection, availability, and integrity of data for staff, faculty, and students.

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

Calvin

Information Technology Services (ITS) is the nervous system for innovations throughout the GCC campus community. Whether ITS is providing infrastructure for the new Science Building, setup for eSports, servicing your PC or desktop, deploying Hyflex classrooms, establishing WIFI internet connectivity, configuring classroom workstations, audio visual support, maintaining student support services programs, thwarting cyber threats, providing application support for payroll applications, or resetting your passwords – the diversity of technology assets is substantial.

The variety of skillsets required to maintain, operate, and sustain an information technology department is not fully understood by the general populace. GCC has state-of-the-art network infrastructure and software enterprise applications, such as CISCO, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Amazon, Microsoft, Dell, NetApp, Google, Azure – just to name a few novelties. In order to uphold the variation of technology resources, “one size does not fit all” and ongoing staff training and development is essential to reduce the digital divide.

Consequently, ITS at GCC requires 12 distinct technology professionals, such as computer programmers, IT support specialists, computer system administrators, network system administrators, database administrators, computer lab supervisor/s, project manager/s, cybersecurity analyst/s, a director for network, systems, and operations, a director for software enterprise applications, a chief information systems officer, and an administrative assistant.

Lastly, student workers play a critical role to help in coordination and administrative duties that are not assigned to staff including triaging support service calls and walk-in requests.

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?

Calvin

I think by establishing student first practices and building relationships between staff, faculty and students is a good way to support an overall student-centered campus. Once a relationship is established, then a collaborative bond can be established with mutual trust for a healthy learning environment.

I’ve personally formed relationships with students by attending athletic events. In addition, I directed the initial design, setup and configuration of eSports at GCC, inspired by a single student’s appeal. In many cases, these affiliations have sparked a mentor/mentee affinity – prompting discussions on transfer options.

Upon arriving at GCC in 2018, I’ve reinstated the hiring of student workers in the ITS department. Initially, ITS needed help in filling gaps in service delivery. However, we discovered other ways the student could help us by providing valuable input on how technology should support student learning outcomes, specifically by helping test the reengineering of a sluggish enrollment system and process.

Through student engagement, ITS discovered that our WIFI signal was weak throughout the campus in the quad areas where many students congregate between classes, which triggered a project to provide external WIFI services campus-wide starting with GCC main parking structure – Lot B/Lot C.

We’ve discovered with post COVID-19 pandemic realities that students who returned to campus were concerned about availability of food options. I think the campuses as a whole need to have more discussions on this, along with other impacts for student’s life in the “new normal,” which I see as a Hybrid/HyFlex teaching and learning environment.

Student representatives from Associated Students of Glendale Community College (ASGCC) serve on our Campus-wide Computing Coordination Committee (4C’s) providing valuable feedback in establishing technology policies. I encourage college constituents to visit 4C’s as my guest to learn about how technology is constantly changing and how ITS is adjusting to these transformations in supporting student engagement.

Finally, as Dr. Cornner mentioned, redesigning the GCC’s website from a student perspective should drive student engagement, enrollment, and accomplishment. The new GCC website will serve as the gateway to the college by allowing easy navigation for students and the community regarding college business and academic success.

Reflection

What was so prominent in meeting Susana Moran was the personability, grace and humility expressed while reflecting on her role in the Social Sciences Division. The brief chat was almost like someone that I already know, or someone that I should know. Hearing from a former student and now working here at the institution reminded me of when I was a student. For a brief moment, I found myself lost in reimaging how I potentially could have followed the same path. I suddenly stepped back into reality and began to appreciate the life values of Social Sciences for students and how Information Technology Services (ITS) could better serve this division as they educate students who eventually will make not only an economic impact in society, but a social one as well. I am really glad and thankful that I was given this opportunity to meet Susana and now when I see her – I will always remember her graceful spirit and reflections of the Social Sciences Division as one of the largest divisions on GCC Campus.

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