Campus News

Pierce Farm Center Donates Fresh Produce, Food to Needy Families

Pierce Farm Center Director Robert McBroom gives a tour of the farm to Councilman Bob Blumenfield July 18, 2014 in Woodland Hills, CA (left). Pierce Farm Center Director Robert McBroom loads a box of tomatoes to be donated to MEND (right). The Pierce Farm Center and MEND have partnered together to provide residents in need with much needed produce and farm grown products through the "Pound for Pound" program. The farm will donate a pound of produce for every pound sold through January 1, 2015. (Photos by Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)


POSTED: 07/18/14, 5:29 PM By L.A. Daily News Reporter Olga Grigoryants

More than 30 volunteers loaded a truck full of fresh tomatoes, squash and carrots at the Pierce Farm Center on Friday to distribute organic produce to families in need across the San Fernando Valley. Councilman Bob Blumenfield introduced the Pound for Pound program, which is designed to feed thousands of people at more than 35 food shelters and pantries with fresh vegetables and fruit grown produced locally at the Pierce College Farm and distributed through MEND, a community food pantry organization. 


“Anyone would be thrilled to have this food on their table,” Blumenfield said while standing in the middle of boxes full of strawberries and corn.  

Richard Weinroth, food director for MEND — Meet Each Need with Dignity, said the Pierce Farm Center donated more than two tons of organic vegetables and fruit. 

 “So many families are struggling and are in need, and it’s great when the community can come together to help each other,” Weinroth said.

Each family in need will receive….. more at



Keep Up Your Momentum by Registering for Fall 2014 at Pierce College


Keep up your momentum to get through school and reach your goals. Register Now for Fall Semester at Pierce College. Classes are already more than half full (as of early June,) so it’s time to prioritize getting your schedule in order and signing up. Classes start Sept. 2, 2014.


For schedule, click  To Register for classes, log in to the Student Information System (using your ID88 and 4-digit pin).


Our new LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez encourages students to consider taking more units to get through school faster and have a better chance for success. “Almost two-thirds of our students are part time. Instead of taking six units, how about nine? Instead of taking nine, how about going full time? Did you know that if you went full time, you would have more opportunities for financial aid, scholarships, work study, EOPS, etc.?


“When a student is nibbling at the edges, taking six units, it’s going to take them ten semesters to get their degree. That’s five years. If they first need to take developmental and basic skills courses, that’s another one or two years. Then, it’s going to take them seven years for a two-year degree. That’s simply too long. The students lose interest and get off the track. They stop or drop out. And the longer you are away from education, the less your opportunity for success.”



New Chancellor Rises from “Homeboy” to Head of LACCD


Q & A Interview by Steve Springer

Dr. Francisco Rodriguez, the new chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District, comes to LACCD from the MiraCosta Community College District in Oceanside where he has served as superintendent/president for the past five years. Overall, Dr. Rodriguez has worked in public higher education in California for nearly 30 years. He began his career at the University of California, Davis and went on to Woodland Community College in the Yuba Community College District and Cosumnes River College in Sacramento’s Los Rios Community College District. The 51-year-old Rodriguez has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from UC Davis and a Ph.D. in education from Oregon State University.


Q: In introducing yourself to our district, can you tell us about your roots and your family?

A: I’m the son of parents who emigrated to the United States in the 1950s from Jalisco, Mexico. They came from a rural village where my grandparents and great-grandparents had a small plot of land on which they grew corn and beans. My father got as far as the fifth grade, my mother, the third grade. They did not have the benefit of a formal education in Mexico, so they came here knowing America would provide a different kind of reality and experience. They settled in San Francisco and, eventually, our family grew to include five kids, I being the only son. My father spent 35 years working in a San Francisco factory making food and beverage containers on an assembly line, and my mother worked in an industrial laundromat for over 30 years. Today, my folks, now both in their 80s, still live in the house they purchased in the Mission District in 1965. To this day, my siblings and I only speak Spanish to our parents. I keep a picture of my grandmother Teodora, who I called Mama Lola, on my desk as a visual reminder to stay humble and to stay connected to my roots. My wife, Irma, is a faculty coordinator at Sacramento City College for EOPS (Extended Opportunity Program Services), community college programs for the education of the underserved. She is a mental health professional, a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in immigrant families. My son, Andres, just finished his master’s degree in ethnic studies at San Francisco St., and is now teaching at three different institutions. My daughter, Angelica, is a junior at UCLA studying communication and Chicano studies with a pre-law emphasis.


Q: How do you envision your new role?

A: I never imagined myself being in this role, a homeboy from the Mission District. Yet here I am. In coming to Los Angeles, I feel like I’m coming back home. The noise, the smells, the sounds, the whole urban vibe, it speaks to me. I’m very comfortable in it. I know and possess urban sensibilities and they have served me well. My principal goal as I assume my new role is to raise the educational attainment of the students while ensuring that our colleges, spread out throughout this large District, represent the communities they serve. Some would look at this position in this city and this district and think, “Too large, too urban, too diverse, too poor, too many low scores on the student scorecard, too this, too that. I’ll take a pass on the job.” For me, those are all the reasons I said, yes. I’m drawn to working in a large, urban district that desires to raise its educational profile and desires to use its size to influence legislation that will help the working class and poor students get the support they need to be successful. I’m excited about partnering with various agencies in the city and county on workforce development, putting people to work. Many are running out of the urban centers like Detroit and Houston. I’m running in with eyes open and hands extended, saying to everyone I meet, “You have a new partner here.” To me, it’s a privilege to have this job. I am beyond excited. What an opportunity to make a monumental difference. But it’s going to take some time. I’m in no rush here. I want to do it well with and through others. Leadership is a team sport. I’m not going to be able to do this alone. I’m certainly not coming in with all the answers, a know-it-all guy with all this experience. Not at all. I won’t just sit on the ninth floor and wait for things to happen, but I understand the role of the chancellor is not to get into the details of what’s going on at the colleges. That’s the role of the college presidents. I get that. I hope to be a friendly contributor to the conversation. I’ve been around this business for some time and I would hope that my views would be welcomed, and I think they will.  I’m going to be working with the Board to get a clear set of goals, to get a clear sense of the vision of the District. What I don’t know, and what I’m going to need the help of everyone who is reading this in order to learn, is an understanding of the relationship between the centralized District educational services office and the respective colleges. How do we find a way to maximize both? How do we avoid having unnecessary duplication in some areas and gaps in service in other areas?


Q: Do you feel your own background will help you relate to the struggles of so many students in the District?

A: Absolutely. I was the first one in my family to go to a university and obtain a degree. When I see the students in our District, I see myself. They’re more handsome, healthier, in some cases younger, but I am them. The fact that I grew up in a working-class family, that I learned English as a second language, that I’m a first-generation college student, all those things that people might consider deficits, to me, they are assets in my role as chancellor of LACCD. I understand the importance of financial aid. I understand the importance of a schedule that accommodates working people. I got my masters and my Ph.D. while working full time and raising a family. I understand the importance of mentorship and guidance. I understand the importance of hiring good people who can give our students support.


Q: The completion rate for District students – whether their goal is a certificate, a degree or a transfer – is disappointingly low. What suggestions will you bring to the table for driving those rates up?

A: I have several ideas:

1. Have better understanding of our students and their educational pathway through the monitoring of data rather than making assumptions that are not necessarily true. Do we know what the pattern is in terms of taking courses? Do we offer enough courses in the right sequence? I love data. It’s not the only piece of the puzzle, but there is too much anecdote driving our policies in general in education.

2. Support the systems that are in place to assist students, things like EOPS, financial aid, job opportunities.

3. Provide more assistance to faculty and students in the classroom, particularly in the basic skills and developmental classes. That’s where the faculty conversation comes in. Are we using models like accelerated math and English programs? Are there different pedagogical styles and approaches that work better with certain populations? A large part of the solution is to examine deeply what is going on in the classroom.

4. Use focus groups. Talk to students, hear their voices. How has your experience been? What could we have done better? What worked? What didn’t work? Was the website clear? Was the automated registration system fluid? What got in the way? Also, do a survey of those who dropped out or, as I like to say, stopped out. Ask what happened. Was it work? Was it family? Was it unresponsive curriculum? Was it the fact that you couldn’t get the classes you wanted? Finally, we should talk to the students who have graduated, who have completed their studies, the shining stars. There are thousands of wonderful examples. What made the difference? Was it a matter of being intrinsically motivated to complete your courses? Was it external support? A combination of both? Was it a belief in self? The completion agenda is here to stay.


Q: Now that the economy is turning around, both here in California and on a national level, more money will be flowing back into the community college system. What would be the best use for this additional revenue?

A: If people think we should go back to the way it was in 2008, when we had all this money, and do those things we were doing back then, that’s the wrong way to think. The budget crisis over the last four to five years has positioned us to think differently, more creatively about not just who we are, but about who we aspire to be and how we are going to serve folks. I hope we take an opportunity to derive meaning from that crisis. Ultimately, a budget should be a reflection of your priorities. People talk about recruiting in high schools and community service agencies. Yes, we need to do that, be vigilant about that. But why not also invest in the people who have already enrolled at LACCD and keep them enrolled and make them successful. Almost two-thirds of our students are part time. Instead of taking six units, how about nine? Instead of taking nine, how about going full time? Did you know, we should tell them, that, if you went full time, you would have more opportunities for financial aid, scholarships, work study, EOPS, etc.? When a student is nibbling at the edges, taking six units, it’s going to take them ten semesters to get their degree. That’s five years. If they first need to take developmental and basic skills courses, that’s another one or two years. Then, it’s going to take them seven years for a two-year degree. That’s simply too long. The students lose interest and get off the track. They stop or drop out. And the longer you are away from education, the less your opportunity for success.


Q: What are your first impressions of the District?

A: One young man I talked to at Southwest College said it was a nurturing place for him. “I felt at home here,” he said. “It was different than the gang life that I grew up in. I was safe here.”

What a powerful statement: “I was safe here.” Those are things that we take for granted, those notions of safety, nurturing, support. But we must never forget that our students entrust not only their educational lives to us, but, in some cases, life itself. The community college system is the most egalitarian system of higher education in the world. We accept the top 100% of every high school graduating class, all of them without exception and without apology. We are beacons of hope and opportunity. For some, the first chance to go to college, for some, the last chance.



Pierce Students Ready for Commencement 2014 on June 10

Celebrate the hard work and educational achievements of Pierce College’s Class of 2014 at our Commencement Ceremony, Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 6 pm. under the shade of the trees in Rocky Young Park. The festivities will begin at 5:15 p.m. as graduating students assemble at the Center for Sciences Courtyard to fill out name cards and line up in preparation for the procession.

Tavis Smiley, well-known American broadcaster, author, publisher, entrepreneur, advocate and philanthropist will be Pierce College’s keynote speaker for the event.

Pierce College’s Student Speaker will be Krishna Lou Ayungao, an international student from the Philippines. Ayungao is a California Ed Walsh Service Awardee, one of the 2013 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise, and the first student from Pierce chosen for the inaugural All-California Academic Team in 2014 and nominated to the All-USA Academic Team. She was selected as a speaker for the International Youth for Human Rights Summit in Belgium. Krishna has organized large events at Pierce College as the Associated Students Club Council President. She is a human trafficking abolitionist and an advocate for girls’ education in developing countries. She hopes be an anthropology professor at the University of the Philippines someday.


“It is a joyous and memorable time for our students and their families,” said President Kathleen Burke. “We know that those of you who have participated in past years agree that it is a wonderful experience for everyone. We encourage all of you to take part in this occasion.”


Caps and gowns will be available in the bookstore from May 1st through the day of graduation while supplies last. Students will be wearing the traditional black cap and gown, except for nursing students, who will wear white caps and gowns. Caps and gowns are mandatory for participants in the ceremony.


Families and friends will join the graduates in a crowd of about 3,000. After the graduation, cake and refreshments will be served in front of the Library Learning Crossroads building across from Rocky Young Park.  Free parking for Pierce College’s Commencement ceremony is available in Lot 7 on Victory Boulevard. Everyone is invited to celebrate this special time when we recognize the achievements of Pierce College students. For more information visit

NOTICE: Sheriff's Department to Conduct Training Wed., July 2, 2014 on Pierce Campus


ANNOUNCEMENT:  Please be aware that the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department will conduct a DEPUTY TRAINING EXERCISE for an active shooter on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 from 4 pm to 12 midnight. All training will be inside the old library building 1800 near the center of the Mall, and on the back road leading to the building.  This is a “movement training” for about 20 security officers and deputies.


Please do not be alarmed if you see officers training in the late afternoon and evening on campus Wednesday. This is only an exercise.   


Last Chance to Register for Summer with Session B starting July 21, 2014

It’s your last chance to register for Summer classes, as there is still some space available in Pierce College’s Summer Session B, the final five-week session that begins July 21 and ends August 23, 2014.


First, check the schedule for Summer B at To register for classes, log into the Student Information System (SIS) at You can also reach the SIS from the home page by clicking on Admissions and Records, then Add/Drop Classes.


Summer Hours are now in effect for Pierce offices, which means Admissions & Records is open Monday-Thursday, closed Friday, now through the end of August. Visit



Register Now for Largest Summer Ever—with 400 Classes in 3 Sessions

Pierce is having the largest summer ever in 2014 with 400 classes offered in three sessions—the variety of classes goes far beyond just core class offerings. Lots of class openings are available; check out the schedules at  Registration is now ongoing.


Summer Hours, Application Update from Admissions & Records:  As we are two weeks before classes begin, online applications for Summer 2014 have now closed. Students will need to apply in person for admissions. Beginning June 16, we will accept applications accompanied with an Add Permit only. Students will not need to stand in line twice; we will process both on the spot. Summer Hours are now in effect, which means Admissions & Records is not open on Fridays now through the end of August.


To register for classes, log into the Student Information System (SIS) at You can also reach the SIS from the home page by clicking on Admissions and Records, then Add/Drop Classes.


Summer Session 2014 dates are:

Session A:  June 16 - July 19 (5 weeks)

Session B:  July 21 - Aug. 23 (5 weeks)

8 week Session: June 16 - Aug 9


REGISTER NOW for Summer 2014 now because this is a big opportunity for students who want to get some units under their belt before Fall comes. You can do it--do it at Pierce College this summer.



Tavis Smiley to Give Keynote Address at Pierce College's 2014 Commencement

Tavis Smiley, well-known American broadcaster, author, publisher, entrepreneur, advocate and philanthropist will be Pierce College’s keynote speaker at the 2014 Commencement Ceremony, Tuesday, June 10 at 6 pm. in Rocky Young Park on the Woodland Hills campus. His topic is "Encouraging Students to Persist." From his celebrated conversations with world figures to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders, Tavis Smiley — broadcaster, author, publisher, advocate, and philanthropist — has emerged as an outstanding voice for change. Smiley is currently the host of the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS, as well as The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International (PRI), and the daily online radio program, Tavis Talks, on the Tavis Smiley Network (TSN) on BlogTalk Radio.


Smiley has written 16 books. His memoir, What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America, became a New York Times best seller, and the book he edited, Covenant with Black America, became the first nonfiction book by a Black-owned publisher to reach #1 on The New York Times best-sellers list. In his latest New York Times best seller, The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto, Smiley and his co-author Dr. Cornel West challenge all Americans to re-examine their assumptions about poverty in America — what it really is and how to eradicate it. His forthcoming text to be published in September 2014 is Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year, eye-opening account of widespread assaults on MLK’s character, ideology, and political tactics and how they shaped both the year leading up to his death in 1968 and his lasting legacy.

He is also the presenter and creative force behind AMERICA I AM: The African American Imprint — an unprecedented traveling museum exhibition celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and to the world. The nonprofit Tavis Smiley Foundation recently announced a $3 million four-year campaign called ENDING POVERTY: America’s Silent Spaces to alleviate endemic poverty in America.  TIME magazine has honored Smiley as one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People.” The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce recently announced that Smiley will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, April 24, 2014.


It's Back On! Join 2nd Annual Speech Tournament Friday June 6th


IT'S BACK ON -- the 2nd Annual Speech Tournament has been rescheduled and is now coming Friday, JUNE 6TH, 2014 at noon in Village 8342. Test your skills, win cash prizes! Or just come, bring your friends, and enjoy the show.  The tournament is the chance for students to display their oratory skills outside of the classroom. Current Communications 101 students are eligible to compete in informative or persuasive speaking. Cash prizes are 1st place- $200; 2nd place- $100; 3rd place- $75. Students who place in the final round will receive trophies. All students participating as speakers or attending to support their classmates as audience members are eligible for extra credit from their speech communications instructor. Refreshments will be provided.


Last year hundreds of people participated and joined the audience. Once again, everyone is invited to attend as Pierce continues this annual tradition of showcasing the student speakers in our Communication 101 courses. Email Professor Michelle Silver at to sign up or for more information.  


Perform, Participate in the Icebox Philosopher’s Cabaret


On Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 5 p.m. in the Great Hall, Pierce students will celebrate philosophy with this mixed media event that combines digital video, live spoken word, and live performance while highlighting the creative exploration of philosophical ideas. Students will create and present performances (up to 4-minutes) centered on the theme "PONDERING THE ABSURD—A NONSENSICAL DEFINITIVE." When we open the icebox, we are looking to be inspired, nourished, indulged. We hunt through the shelves and find an assortment of ingredients and dishes. Every flavor the mind can conceive is waiting to be sampled and savored. The icebox we aim to explore with the student contest isn’t just any old refrigeration device. It’s our imagination, which houses creativity, artistry, and individual perspective. For this semester’s theme, we are exploring the theme of absurdism and asking you to respond by creating something that philosophically engages that question.


Performances include original songs, skits, videos, poetry, dance, performance art, etc. Students may also create artworks that reflect the theme to be displayed in The Great Hall. There will be an opportunity to participate in a group art project during the Cabaret. All Pierce students are encouraged to participate. To perform or submit art, email Dr. McQuitty by Sunday, May 25 at 11:59pm. Or just show up and enjoy the show!


Icebox Student Contest winners will be announced at this year's cabaret. We are also celebrating the second issue of Icebox journal with readings and by giving out free print issues.  

The Philosophers Cabaret will take place on Thursday, May 29th at 5pm in The Great Hall; reception immediately following; live bands to open and close the cabaret; special guest host to perform throughout; refreshments and DJ after the show! For more information contact: