Laney College President's Report – September 14, 2022

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Laney Experiences Fall Enrollment Boost

Fueled by the Fall is Free campaign and buttressed by an unprecedented level of employee collaboration during the Summer, Laney College has seen its fall enrollment increase by 11% from the previous year despite a schedule that, by the same comparison, was 8% smaller.

Students who have completed their FAFSA application or Dream Act paperwork are experiencing a semester that has them not paying for books, class supplies, A/C Transit, parking, laptops, wifi, or lunch (in addition to food pantry distribution). Counseling, tutoring, and Areas of Interest (Guided Pathways work) are featured to students, as the program aims to have students concentrating on their classes and positioned to receive financial aid for semesters to come. In fact, nearly 5000 students - as of the 20% point of the term - submitted the required paperwork, increasing Laney's student engagement in the FAFSA/Dream Act application process, steps that will not be new to them in future years in school. Additionally, Laney has increased its already large level of participation in addressing Basic Needs issues pervasive throughout our higher education system.

Media coverage of Fall is Free (with FAFSA and Dream Act) continues, most recently with Laney among colleges featured in a CalMatters Article focused on Free Fall initiatives in community colleges. Also, television coverage now features an in-studio extended interview on KTSF, along with coverage in the Oakland Post.

Most notably, the effort has featured tireless dedication from employees at Laney which has many students staying for the semester. The College held two one-stop Saturday enrollment events in August, and with a number of late-starting classes opening on September 12 and October 18, the promotion continues. Also, Black Laney Love efforts highlighted Welcome Week events on the Quad, Laney was an invited guest at the Oakland Chinatown Streetfest (video of Laney remarks found here), and with the College now a full-fledged member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities, the momentum to touch all of our communities continues. The campus is bustling at Laney, thanks to the dedication of classified professionals, student employees, faculty, and administrators who have made great things happen!


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Laney Geography Professor Honored with Stanford Fellowship, Audubon Society Award

Mark Rauzon's Summer may have been short on rest, but it was certainly abundant with scholarly excellence and achievement. Professor Rauzon was accepted to and participated in Stanford University’s competitive Education Partnership for Internationalizing Curriculum (EPIC) Fellows Program for the 2022-23 academic year, along with receiving given the Paul Covell Environmental Education Award from the Golden Gate Audubon Society for his restoration and water quality work on the Laney College estuary with his lab students, a topic he covered during a talk he held as part of the August 19 College Flex Day Program.

Funding by Title VI from the Dept of Education allows Stanford University to support ten community college faculty in fellowship activities that involve making a course, unit, or topic of international research that other colleges can adopt. During this coming year, Rauzon will be creating a multi-discipline module examining the issues created at the Russia/U.S. Alaskan boundary in a melting ice climate. Elements of his research and upcoming course content will include topics such as Russian liquid natural gas and mineral extraction, militarization, food insecurity for Indigenous Yup’ik, and national insecurity for all Arctic nations. While Geography is Rauzon's discipline at Laney, the course will interface with other disciplines that include political science, psychology, biology, and climate/energy policies. The Laney community congratulates Professor Rauzon on these achievements, not only this summer but throughout his distinguished career.


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Laney College Joins HACU!

On Thursday, September 1, Laney College was welcomed by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities as a full-fledged member. The effort began during the 2021-22 academic year and came to fruition thanks in great part to the work of former President's Office Staff Assistant Savaugn Holcomb, Executive Assistant Arlene Lontoc, and Dean of Math and Sciences Angel Fuentes Figueroa. As a member, the College will now be eligible for the following opportunities:

  • Advocacy for funding for Hispanic Serving Institutions and other member institutions, which now includes Laney.
  • Capitol Forum Invitation: This is a conference in Washington DC that discusses legislative challenges of Hispanic populations in higher education and includes opportunities to meet with invited congressional leaders.
  • Conferences: HACU holds an annual national conference and a biannual international conference. As part of the annual conference, HACU hosts the Latino Higher Education Leadership Institute which provides training for LatinX leaders in higher education.
  • Paid internships for students: HACU National Internship Program (HNIP) provides students the opportunity to receive paid internships at federal agencies and some private corporations.
  • Scholarships: HACU provides scholarships for attending HACU member institutions
  • “Lánzate-Dándole Alas a Tu Éxito/Giving Flights to Your Success” program with Southwest Airlines: students attending HACU member institutions can receive scholarships for round trip tickets for students who travel away from home to go to college/university. These are available for low socio-economic students.
  • Discounts for students attending HACU conferences
  • Assistance from HACU with the establishment of programs and collaborations with international institutions of higher education.


This article is taken from the President’s Report, written by Dr. Rudy Besikof, Laney College President, that was presented to the PCCD Board of Trustees during their regular meeting on Tuesday, September 13, 2022. To view as a pdf, click here.

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