| After two years of work and $22 million spent, Foothill College is kicking off its 50th anniversary celebration this Tuesday -- the first day of school -- with the unveiling of its new Campus Center.
The college's 50th anniversary is technically next year, but administrators wanted to begin celebrating this year because of the center. Housed in two buildings on the east side of campus, the 30,000-square-foot facility features hardwood floors, redwood paneling and wireless Internet throughout.
"The Campus Center is the college community," said Donald Dorsey, dean of student affairs. "It's a place where people are people, and for students and staff to cross those roles and get to know each other as people. I think this is a great facility."
In the spirit of new beginnings, the college's new president, Judy Miner, said she wants to see a "systemic change" in bringing faculty, administrators and support staff closer together for the free exchange of ideas and to improve campus life.
"I really want people to think very deeply about infrastructure, about the kinds of courses and the way that we offer them," said Miner, who most recently served 18 years as vice-president of instruction at De Anza College.
Miner is already pushing one new idea, a "career workshop on wheels," where career counselors would visit the various departments on campus and talk about what it takes to land a job in a particular field.
"You could be in your classroom as a dental hygiene student and they would come to you instead of you having to pick up your stuff and go to a counseling office. Plus you're in there with your friends. You're in there with your faculty," she said. "I think that was brilliant."
Currently the college has 19,000 students, and Miner wants to see the school expand to 25,000 in five years. She particularly wants to expand the "Middlefield campus," housed in the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto. The off-campus site offers a pharmacy tech program and emergency medical training, but the college has a new name in the works as part of a bigger and better school: The Northern California Center for Career Pathways.
"We really need that space and I think there is incredible potential there," Miner said. "What we want to do is develop a new career program that would be housed at Middlefield and provide enough general education coursework, so if a student chose, they could do their entire program at the Middlefield campus."
By the fall of 2008, the Middlefield campus may offer child development programs, she said. Foothill is also working closely with Mountain View and Los Altos high schools to offer more college credit courses.
Foothill also is also thinking about introducing a new viticultural program to make use of vacant land on campus. "There are some acres that can never be developed by way of buildings, but we could plant vines," Miner said.
Students would learn the entire process of wine-making, from growing the grapes to fermenting them, she said. "We're very interested in seeing if the wine community in the region would agree with that."
Miner also instituted an author's series, and chose "The Tortilla Curtain" by T.C. Boyle for the entire campus to read together. She calls it a "one book, one campus" bonding experience.
"I think we need to have a lot of intellectual stimulations," she said. Boyle is scheduled to visit the campus in May 2008.
What: Foothill College 50th Anniversary Celebration
When: Sept. 25, 4 to 7 p.m.
Where: Campus Center at Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills
Contact: (650) 949-7082 or www.foothill.edu
Are you receiving Express, our free daily e-mail edition? See a sample and sign-up for Express.