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Chaparral 2018-2019: 27.4 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 (;

Joining us for this issue are Melissa Malandrakis in Instructional Services and Carol Paxton, Math Faculty.

How long have you been at GCC?


I have worked at GCC full time for 5 years. Prior to that I was a substitute employee for 3 years. Most of that time was spent working at the Child Development Center. For the past year, however, I have been working in the Scheduling Department performing academic and event scheduling.


I have worked at GCC as a full-time faculty member in the Mathematics Department for 31 years. I teach math courses across the spectrum, from developmental to advanced calculus.

What do you wish people to know about your division that you think they might not totally understand?


There is only limited space on campus so making room reservations in very important. Once classes begin there are many clubs, supplemental instruction sessions, meetings and workshops that fill up rooms on campus, especially during college hour. Making a reservation through our office guarantees that the room will be booked for your use and there will be no conflicts with other classes or meetings.

Our office also gets calls from those who are lost. If an event, meeting, or class relocation is not scheduled in the room booking system, we cannot help this person find their way.

If you are a faculty or staff member, you can contact our scheduling office directly. Division Chairs and Administrative Assistants to Division Chairs are also being trained in finding and requesting spaces so they are a great resource.


As we are going through many changes from AB705, we are setting up workshops for staff and counselors so everyone knows about the new state mandated changes and how we are reconfiguring our programs to meet the new requirements.

With these new courses and new mathematics pathways, we are also setting up trainings with our faculty on how to best support students in their successful completion of the courses. Our faculty has been focusing on active learning and incorporating more of these techniques into our teaching. We even created a short video series of active learning activity samples and are using these videos in active learning workshops with fellow faculty members.

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


The saddest part of my job is canceling classes. I feel for the students who are scrambling to find a course to take after a cancelation and the faculty or adjunct who has just had a class taken from them. As we continue working on guided pathways, I hope that we are collectively able to streamline our scheduling so cancellations are much fewer, students know when courses will be offered in a consistent manner, and they are able to move through their programs efficiently. We are already working on this; however, we can always strive for better.


Our focus in the math department has always been to support students through completion of their courses. We find that some students are apprehensive about taking math courses and are taught to see them as a barrier. We are all here to provide the best learning opportunities for these students and aim to break down this barrier. All students can find success here.

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