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Be Prepared: Participate in Great California Shake Out 10/20, 10:20 a.m.

18 October 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-8-47-28-amMerritt College will join millions of others across the state and country as they prepare for an earthquake as  a registered participant in this emergency training. The annual Great California Shake-Out Disaster Drill Training and Campus-Wide Evacuation will be held on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 10:20 a.m. Jon Murphy of Merritt’s Health and Safety Committee, has urged everyone to participate beginning by viewing the one-minute, mandatory video below under Step 1. The exercise will include evacuating the buildings following these instructions.

The  Committee has chosen campus monitors and hallway moderators in all the buildings on campus who will meet for practice/preparation for the evacuation drill on Mondays, October 10 and 17. If others would like to play a proactive role to help, please show up on one or  both days from 12 Noon to 1 p.m. in Q-218 (Business Office Conference Room).

Here are three easy steps to having a successful drill:

Step I.
All classes must view the mandatory Drop, Cover, and Hold Video here:

Step. II

Follow drill instructions on October 20th at 10:20 a.m.:thunderclap-01
1 Fire  Alarm Sounds
2. Everybody will perform the Drop, Cover, and Hold as instructed in the 1 minute video
3.  Hold on until All Occupants are Directed that it safe to Evacuate Your Areas.
4.  Wait for this Guidance to Evacuate your Buildings
5.   Instructors: Take Personal Belongings with you
6.   Instructors: Remind students to Take all belongings when exiting
7.   Every Building Must Be Evacuated to  the Outside Locations as
8.   See attachment on the attached Evacuation 1 Pager-Schematic

Step III:  
Return to buildings only after your Incident Command Team Member announces  “All Clear for Re-entry.”

Additional Information about the importance of this drill:

Earthquake Historical and geological data substantiate that every city in California is within an area of potential major damage in the event of an earthquake of major magnitude. The exact time and place cannot be anticipated; therefore, disaster planning will help prevent or minimize the danger to life, property and equipment. Safeguarding the lives of employees and students is paramount; all will be immediately affected. Fear at the time of an earthquake may breed panic: this panic will account for more deaths and injuries than the earthquake itself. Therefore, calming personnel and preventing panic is critical. The magnitude and severity of damage to facilities as well as injuries will dictate the level of response.

Inside Building
• “Duck and Cover” (Drop, Cover, Hold)
• Stay away from windows, overhead fixtures and falling items
• Crouch under solid cover; desk, table or doorway
• Cover head with arms and protect face
• Remain calm
• Avoid exposed wires, pipes or other hazards
• Assess the situation when shaking has stopped
• Evacuate quickly and calmly to predetermined areas
• Take note of absent/injured and assist as directed
• If trained, disconnect electrical controls and turn off gas, if safely possible Outside Building
• Move away from structures and power lines
• Expect aftershocks
• Report to predetermined assembly areas, if possible
• Do not enter buildings until appropriate personnel has declared it safe KEEP CLEAR OF BUILDINGS UNTIL THEY ARE DECLARED SAFE BE PREPARED TO BE SELF SUFFICIENT FOR 48 HOURS OR MORE!







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“Proud to Be a Filipino:” Celebrate Filipino History Month with Guests, Cuisine, and Martial Arts on 10/20

16 October 2016

Enjoy presentations, learn about the history of Filipino Americans and their contributions, taste some Filipino cuisine, and watch a demonstration of Filipino martial arts as part of Filipino History Month, “Proud to be a Filipino.” Also Merritt’s own Maria Spencer, Interim Dean for Educational Success, will present a report about her trip to Dumaguete City as the liaison for Peralta for the development of a study abroad program. All are welcome!


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Merritt Votes!: ASMC Sponsoring Voter Town Hall Mtg. on 10/21

15 October 2016

To give the Merritt community as much information as possible before November 8, the ASMC is sponsoring “Merritt Votes,” an informational Town Hall meeting in the Student Lounge to provide information and urge everyone to vote. The event will feature community speakers Shanthi Gonzales, Leadership Development Director from Oakland Rising, and Steven Jones, External Affairs Representative from AC Transit to discuss propositions and local measures that will impact you!


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Check Out the Variety of Late-Start Classes Available in the Fall

10 October 2016

anthro-photoFrom Anthropology and African American Studies to ESL and Computer Literacy, Merritt offers more than 50  late-start classes for those who need catch up with extra units or want to take an interesting class for personal enrichment. See the link below to see the entire schedule of late-start classes  for September and October. Then apply and/or register at


See all Sept. and Oct. Late-Start Classes 

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Check Out the NEW Merritt Connection!

9 October 2016

Keep up with the news by reading the latest edition of the The Merritt Connection: president’s message, new employees, profile of Research and Planning Officer Samantha Kessler, Fall Summit summary, Black Caucus feedback, Fire Science Program spotlight, Black Panther 50th Anniversary events, the Learning Center’s new online tutoring service, and everything you ever wanted to know about Assessment! Enjoy!

(Click on graphic below to open PDF.)


Merritt Connection 

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Samantha Kessler: Translating Data Into Student Success

8 October 2016

samantha-kessler-web-ready-copy-2Working with data and charts as an institutional researcher at a college in California was not on Samantha Kessler’s radar  growing up in a small Pennsylvania farm town and majoring in Spanish at East Stroudsburg University. But the combination of taking a sociology class as an elective taught by an inspirational professor, going to graduate school, having a mentor give her research opportunities, and attracting an employer who recognized her talents, led to a career where her skilled analysis of those data and charts can affect a college’s future.


“I became interested in sociology as a sophomore because the professor made the topic so interesting,” says Samantha. “She encouraged me to take specialty classes focusing on projects like gender in sports and race and ethnicity, and I began looking at life in a different way. I started noticing the big patterns of why things are happening, and I found it fascinating. With her encouragement, I ended up continuing to study sociology in graduate school.”


Armed with an MA in sociology from Lehigh University, she was chosen for her first job as a research associate at a local community college because her employer had been a sociology major, had started his own career as an institutional researcher, and knew she would have the skills to be successful.


“At that point I was realizing that I really liked working with research and working around education and seeing how different things could positively impact education,” says Samantha. “I was thrown into it without very much experience, so it was sink or swim to find my own resources.”


Toward the end of the two years she worked there, she began dreaming of leaving the sleepy farming town where she had lived all of her life and started sending out resumes to find a job in a place with specific requirements: no snow and near a big city. When she was offered a job as an institutional researcher at a small, private online military intelligence university in Santa Clara, California, she grabbed it. Then she had to convince Eric, her boyfriend of two years, to move with her when he finished architecture school in six months. Soon he was helping her pack her car to make the 3,000-mile trip.


It was at Henley-Putnam where she began gaining experience working with program reviews, assessment, and accreditation. But after three years she missed working on a community college campus and was excited to accept the position she found at Merritt College as Research and Planning Officer.


By that time Eric had moved out, they were engaged, and the wedding she had been planning was two months away. “I was starting a new job and planning a wedding at the same time, “ says Samantha. “I’m glad I did it, but I wouldn’t recommend it!” After a weeklong Jamaican honeymoon, she was back at work.


Nearly a year later, Samantha enjoys her job where she collects data about the college, its students, and the community to use for supporting decisions or figuring out where improvements can be made or services can be added that will make a difference. Her work touches the entire campus.


“I use data to help the college plan, make informed decisions, and ultimately improve student success,” she says. “Right now I’m helping the Basic Skills Grant Team with tutoring and research, working with Brock Drazen to look at his athletes’ success, helping Lilia Chavez with a student services survey, and assisting Jeff Lamb with institutional effectiveness and planning. My goal is to help establish a good system of tracking data to teach others so they can be more conscious and data driven and help the college be evidence based and accountable, or even just be able to talk about their success in a quantifiable way. I’m already seeing incremental changes, and I’m getting great feedback.”


                                                                                                                            –Susan May


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Transfer Day on Oct. 13 To Bring 39 College Reps to Campus

5 October 2016

Merritt’s  TRANSFER DAY COLLEGE FAIR is happening on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p .m., in the Student Lounge (R-110),  with participation by 39 schools. In addition,  a staff member from the California Community College Transfer Guarantee Program to Historically Black Colleges and Universities  will be representing Merritt’s  21 HBCU partners. This is your opportunity to talk to representatives from your favorite college choices to get all the information you need to make a decision about where to transfer!



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Black Caucus

5 October 2016



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Chancellor to Hold Open Forum at Merritt on Thurs., Oct. 6, 2-4 p.m.

4 October 2016

jowel-laguerre-195x297Chancellor Jowel Laguerre, accompanied by several Vice Chancellors, will hold a two-hour Open Forum on Thursday, October 6, for all Merritt employees (he will do the same at the other colleges on different dates). According to the Chancellor, the forums will continue the discussion from Fall Flex Day and also give him the opportunity to connect more personally with faculty and staff from the Colleges.

He will address a variety of topics to underscore the broad vision of improving the District in the following areas.

  • Improved academic focus – improvement of learning through faculty support.
  • Improved services to students through better coordination and planning.
  • Improved outreach and enrollment for greater access to our Colleges and success of enrolled students.
  • Improved connections with the community and strengthening of social justice by reaching out to the least fortunate in our community and those left behind in the economy.
  • Development of advocacy and resources to support our Mission.

This will also be an opportunity to discuss the vision for the establishment of the structure in the District Office.




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30 September 2016


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