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College of Alameda President's Report – November 15, 2023

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COA Hosts AUSD Educational Summit for Black & Multi-Ethnic Students

On Saturday, October 14, 2023, College of Alameda opened its doors to a remarkable event, “My Sister's Dynasty and My Brother's Legacy,” a groundbreaking educational summit designed to empower Black and Multi-Ethnic students. This special event, hosted in collaboration with the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) Office of Equity, brought together a diverse group of speakers, presenters, and attendees.

Empowering Voices

The event was presented by Shamar Edwards, AUSD Senior Director of Equity for African American/Black & Multi-Ethnic Student Achievement, and Shanti Croom, AUSD Educational Equity & Family Engagement Coordinator. Together, they orchestrated a powerful lineup of speakers who shared their wisdom, experiences, and knowledge with the eager audience.

Notable Presenters

Among the impressive slate of presenters were:

  • Pasquale Scuderi, Superintendent of Alameda Unified School District (AUSD)
  • Dr. Mildred Lewis, Interim Vice President of Student Services at College of Alameda
  • Renate Westbrooks, Advisor at AUSD Office of Equity & Ruby Bridges Elementary School
  • Juanita Williams, Island High Office Manager
  • Vickie Smith, Retired Community Activist
  • Aaron Mercadel, Office of Equity & Maya Lin School Advisor
  • Dr. Tracey Wagner, Doran Lewis, and Lizett Perez, Physical Therapy
  • Shawn Granberry, CEO of HipHopTV, Inc.
  • David Newton, Realtor and Humanitarian
  • Ann Munene, San Francisco Attorney
  • Tyrone Robinson Jr., Educator and Coach
  • Lawanda Dickerson, Entrepreneur, Owner and Operator of U3Fit & certified Health & Wellness Life Coach
  • Dwight Monroe Jr., Politics and Entrepreneurship

These diverse voices came together to provide a wealth of inspiration, motivation, and practical advice for Black and Multi-Ethnic students.

Empowering Futures

"My Sister's Dynasty and My Brother's Legacy” was not just a series of presentations but a deliberate effort to uplift and amplify the voices of Black students. The event aimed to provide life lessons, tools, and encouragement to help students navigate their academic and personal journeys successfully.

The organizers extended their heartfelt gratitude to all who participated, from the students and their families to the dedicated presenters and volunteers who made this event possible.

College of Alameda (COA) played an important role in making this event a success. The event organizers expressed their sincere thanks to the COA team, including Acting President Dr. Diana Bajrami, Interim Vice President of Student Services Dr. Mildred Lewis, Dean Dr. Shalamon Duke, Program Manager Louie Martirez, Facilities Specialist Shuntel Nathaniel, Audio/Visual Specialist Shawn Foster, and Food Service Supervisor Alfred Brown, along with the entire COA staff.

“My Sister's Dynasty and My Brother's Legacy” was more than just an event; it was a celebration of unity, diversity, and empowerment, and a testament to the strength of community and collaboration in Alameda. The College looks forward to more such initiatives in the future, working together to create a brighter future for our extended community and students.

Click below to watch the video of the Keynote Speaker: Aaron Mercadel


Click below to watch the video I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dream” a poem by Shanti Croom



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COA’s Faculty and Staff Flex Day: Unleashing Imagination and Creativity

College of Alameda recently held a Faculty and Staff Flex Day event on October 18, 2023, focusing on the theme of “Imagination” and the power of creativity in addressing challenges and developing innovative approaches and programs. The day-long event, filled with engaging activities, workshops, and discussions, offered a unique opportunity for the college's faculty and staff to come together, share ideas, and learn from each other.

The day began with a warm welcome in the H Building at 8:00 AM, where attendees enjoyed a light breakfast and the chance to mingle with their colleagues. It set a friendly tone for the day, encouraging collaboration and the exchange of ideas.

Getting Started

At 9:00 AM in H Room 153, College leadership, including Acting President Diana Bajrami, Academic Senate President Jennifer Fowler, Classified Senate Vice President Kawanna Rollins, and PFT leadership represented by Richard Kaeser and Andrew Park, welcomed participants and set the stage for the day's activities. President Bajrami’s presentation included a state-of-the-college update focusing on recent community engagement events and activities.

Workshops and Sessions

The day was filled with informative and interactive sessions that encouraged creative thinking and problem-solving. Here are some of the highlights:

Course Articulation 101 with Vinh Phan: An exploration of the course articulation process between community colleges (CCC), California State Universities (CSU), and the University of California (UC). Attendees gained insights into why articulation is essential for students and how it impacts enrollment.

Keeping it Real 1: Identity Talk with Dr. William Ramos Ochoa: This workshop delved into the complexities of understanding students' diverse identities. Participants learned tools and theoretical frameworks to enhance their understanding of the educational landscape through a practitioner's lens.

The Nuts and Bolts of Faculty Evaluation: This session provided insights into the faculty evaluation process for part-time and tenured faculty, offering valuable information and a Q&A session to address any queries.

Division Meetings: Attendees had the opportunity to engage with their respective divisions and Deans in these division-specific meetings, fostering communication and collaboration.

A special treat awaited everyone during lunchtime. The College of Alameda Dance Department, led by Danny Nguyen, put on a captivating performance, adding a dash of artistry and creativity to the day. In keeping with the theme of Imagination Dance Professor Nguyen and Acting President Bajrami led a warm-up exercise and invited participants to join them in singing the song “Imagine”, by John Lennon.

Continuing the Dialogue

As the day unfolded, participants delved into emerging issues related to AI, ethical considerations, and ways to detect and respond to AI-generated plagiarism. They also explored the need for institutional policies in the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence.

Enhancing Skills and Knowledge

The afternoon featured workshops on Microsoft Teams, cyber security, and exploring XB12 requirements within the context of Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) initiatives. These sessions aimed to equip attendees with practical knowledge and tools for the evolving digital landscape.

Stay Fit and Healthy

After a day filled with workshops and meetings, participants had the chance to unwind and rejuvenate with a Yogalates and Body Conditioning class led by Danny Nguyen, focusing on strengthening, flexibility, and stress reduction techniques.

Fall Flex Day 2023, was a great success. It encouraged participants to tap into their imagination, embrace creativity, and collaborate in finding innovative solutions to challenges. The event offered a platform for learning, sharing, and fostering a sense of community, enriching the academic environment at COA.


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COA USSP Café: A Heartwarming Experience

The College of Alameda's H Building was beautifully transformed on Thursday, October 19, 2023, into a heartwarming venue known as the Undocumented Student Success Program (USSP) Café. This delightful event offered not only delicious warm beverages and pastries from Lala's Tea Time Treats but also a safe and welcoming space for all attendees.

The event commenced with an engaging workshop focused on self-discovery and celebrating individuality. This identity workshop was led by Interim Dean of Enrollment Services Natalie Rodriguez, and provided participants with a safe and welcoming space to explore and embrace their unique identities. An “identity workshop” is a structured and guided session where individuals are encouraged to delve into their personal identities, which encompass various aspects of who they are, including their cultural background, experiences, values, and self-perception. The main objectives of such workshops are to help participants gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the factors that shape their identities. These workshops typically involve discussions, activities, and exercises that prompt participants to reflect on their life experiences, cultural heritage, and personal values. It can be a valuable tool for fostering self-awareness, building self-esteem, and promoting a sense of belonging and acceptance. COA’s event provided a platform for attendees to connect with and appreciate their own unique identities and, in doing so, foster a more inclusive and supportive community.

A Special Moment with Poet Deyci Carrillo López

The event concluded with a touching book reading and giveaway by the talented local Oakland poet Deyci Carrillo López. Deyci Carrillo López shared her remarkable journey, hailing from Guanajuato, Mexico, and arriving in the United States at the tender age of three. At the age of 13, she discovered her undocumented status, and it was then that she turned to writing and poetry as a means of self-expression.

In Deyci Carrillo López's own words, “Poetry has helped me find my voice in this country that’s constantly screaming to tell me I don’t have one.” She graced the audience with the recitation of her beautiful poems.

A Vision Brought to Life

The Undocumented Student Success Program (USSP) Café was one of four events held at the College commemorating the Community College’s Chancellor’s Office Statewide Undocumented Student Action Week, from October 16, 2023, to October 20, 2023. These workshops and events served as a reminder of the power of art, identity, and community to inform, inspire, and uplift. USSP Coordinator Juan López’s vision and dedication were instrumental in coordinating activities where individuals could come together, connect, and celebrate their unique identities in a safe and supportive environment.


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College of Alameda Celebrates Latinx History Month

College of Alameda proudly celebrated Latinx History Month under the theme “Unidos Somos Más Fuertes: We are Stronger Together.” This meaningful commemoration brought together faculty members, classified professionals, and administrative staff to coordinate a series of engaging and educational events.

Exploring Latinx Heritage

One of the highlights of the celebration was the Film Screening and Q&A of “We Still Here - Nos Tenemos.” This powerful documentary introduced the audience to the incredible youth of Comerío, Puerto Rico, as they navigated the challenges and triumphs in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The screening was followed by a thought-provoking Q&A session, offering attendees an opportunity to delve deeper into the issues presented in the film.

Art and Culture

As part of Latinx History Month, a vibrant Papel Picado Activity allowed participants to immerse themselves in Latinx art and culture. Papel Picado involves the creation of intricately designed paper banners, representing a rich tradition of artistic expression. It was a fantastic opportunity for attendees to showcase their creativity and appreciation for Latinx artistic heritage.

A Heartfelt Thank You

The success of Latinx History Month at the College of Alameda would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of those who supported and organized these wonderful events and activities. Latinx History Month provided an excellent platform to recognize and appreciate the contributions and rich cultural heritage of the Latinx community.


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Alameda Meals on Wheels Celebrates 50th Anniversary at CoA

Meals on Wheels/Alameda Friends Visitors celebrated its 50th anniversary in October 2023 at the College of Alameda campus in the lobby of the beautiful Liberal Arts Center, Building H. City of Alameda Mayor the Honorable Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft was one of the attendees and presenters celebrating the special occasion. It was the Mayor’s first visit to the College’s new Liberal Arts Building. Alameda Meals on Wheels (AMOW) is a locally-funded, seven-day-a-week program that has been delivering hot, nourishing meals to Alameda residents since 1973. Each day, holidays included, their caring volunteers deliver a mid-day meal to more than 140 Alameda residents of all ages. Recipients pay on a sliding fee scale, based upon their ability.


This article is an excerpt from the President’s Report, written by Dr. Diana Bajrami, College of Alameda Acting President, that was presented to the PCCD Board of Trustees during their regular meeting on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. To view it as a PDF, click here.

Tags: College of Alameda


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