What’s the Latest News at Merritt? You Tell Us!

Do you always feel like you’re the last to know the news at Merritt? This site was created to change that by increasing the communication regarding new developments in important areas of concern for staff, faculty, and administration and keeping everybody up to date!

This site is for you…and by you. You can submit news by sending an email with the subject “News on Campus” to Dr. Mario Rivas, President of the Merritt College Academic Senate, mrivas@peralta.edu, or to the Office of the President at merrittpresident@peralta.edu.

Thanks for your participation!

1. Accreditation

a.) 3/1/19 Message from President Burns

“Dear Merritt Community,

I would like to keep you informed and updated as to Merritt College and the District’s communication with the Accrediting Commission for Community & Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

As you are aware, the ACCJC sent a letter to Merritt College on November 20, 2018 that outlines significant deficiencies in the College and District finances.  I emailed to you, on December 14, 2018, the District and Merritt College’s response to the Commission that included an actionable improvement plan.  Then on January 25, 2019, I sent to you the ACCJC’s response to our plan where the Commission agreed to give both the District and the Colleges until May 1, 2019 to complete our plan.

Today, March 1, 2019, a requested update from the District and Colleges was emailed demonstrating our progress on the Five-Year Integrated Financial Plan.  Please see Merritt College’s response attached. 

Thank you, Marie-Elaine

ACCJC Letter. 3.1.2019

b.) 1/29/19 Message from President Burns

“Merritt Community,

As you are aware from my email of December 14, 2018, the College responded to the letter from ACCJC that outlined significant deficiencies in the College and District finances.   Yesterday, Merritt College (and our three sister institutions) received its response from ACCJC.  Please read the attached letter from the Commission. 

The good news is that the Commission has given us or basically agreed to the College’s request for an extension of May 1, 2019 to submit the plan. This now allows the Colleges and the District sufficient time for governance participation and Board of Trustees approval prior to submitting the final plan.  For additional details please see the updated attachment, 5 Year Fiscal Plan prepared by Dr. Brown.

To get the work done, there are two workgroups:  Enrollment Management & Student Success workgroup and the Finance Workgroup.  If you are interested in participating in either of the groups,

  • Please contact Dr. Siri Brown at sbrown@peralta.edu to participate in the Enrollment Management & Student Success workgroup which will meet this Friday, February 1, 2019 at 10:00-11:00 am at the District Office. 
  • To participate in the Finance workgroup, please contact Dr. Romaneir Johnson, VC, Finance at rdjohnson@peralta.edu.


Please let me know if you have questions.

Thank you, Marie-Elaine”

ACCJC Response to Merritt College | Proposed 5-Year Fiscal Plan

c.) The Accrediting Commission has scheduled a Self-Evaluation Training for Merritt College which will be held all-day on Thursday, February 14, 2019, at the Hilton Oakland Airport. The training will launch the colleges’ self-evaluation process and is held for colleges whose Institutional Self-Evaluation Reports are due to the Commission in approximately two years. Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, Merritt College, and Peralta Community College District will all be in attendance. The training is designed for the institution’s CEO, ALO, and those Faculty and staff involved in leading the college’s accreditation and institutional quality assurance processes. The training will help attendees to serve as accreditation leads who will assist all campus personnel as they prepare the institution’s self-evaluation report, in anticipation of, the external evaluation site visit and ongoing accreditation efforts to support quality improvement.A group of 15-20 constituents will be selected to attend this training. While membership is still being finalized, Merritt’s team will consist of: CEO Dr. Marie-Elaine Burns; ALO Dr. David Johnson; and members of Academic Senate, College Council, SLOAC, IEC, and Classified Senate.The institution’s next comprehensive review will occur in the Spring term of 2021.

d.) On November 20, 2018, the four college President’s received a letter from ACCJC that listed eight concerns they would like the colleges and our District to address. Several work groups were developed involving District and Campus Administrators, Faculty, and Staff. The result was the Actionable Fiscal Plan Response that was shared with the campuses on December 14, 2018. This letter was also submitted to ACCJC on December 14, 2018. This letter will be vetted through the campus shared governance process this Spring 2019 to allow all constituents the opportunity to weigh-in. The District and the Colleges have not received a response from ACCJC. An update will be shared with the community once we receive one.

2. Awards and Recognitions
a. Merritt was recognized as one of the top four colleges in the Bay Area with the highest FTES and Strong Workforce student completion and salary earning targets during the Bay Area California Community Colleges Consortium (BACCC) in November of 2018. Strong Workforce is managed by Allied Health and Public Safety Dean Rick Ramos.

SWF Data

3. Budget updates

a. More info coming soon….

4. Committee updates

a.) Committee minutes can be found at the following link: https://www.merritt.edu/shared-governance/ 

b.) In the October 2018 College Council meeting, the following motion was approved and recommended to be forwarded to Participatory Governance Council (PGC):

“Processes at the college that need District collaboration, cooperation and support are floundering and need to be corrected for the best interest of our students, faculty, and staff, including: Safety, IT, emergency procedures, budget oversight, personnel, and unnecessary District expenditures (power strips).”

A detailed list to identify concerns that will be presented to PGC are as follows:


  • Fire and burglar alarms and pathway lighting; changing locks; cameras; electronic locks; security services;


  • Additional computer network staffing and support;

Emergency Procedures

  • Disaster preparedness

Budget Oversight

  • Loading budget on time; equitable percentage of budget for college, as opposed to district;


  • Appropriate staffing levels to run college; delineation of district versus college functions;

Unnecessary District Expenditures

  • Power strips

PGC is the highest shared governance committee within the District, and has the ability to make recommendations to the Chancellor. This motion has been placed on the 1/25/19 PGC agenda. An update will come following the meeting.

5. Facility updates (including Safety and Security)

a.) Blue Phones were re-installed at Merritt in Fall 2018 and will resume operating beginning Friday, January 18, 2019

b.) DGS and IT have collaborated with Peralta Police Services to deploy a new security mobile app for everyone to reach the District Police Dispatch Center. This app is called “CampusShield” and is available for download for free at IOS Apple Store and Android Google Play. Please visit the YouTube link for a short video of how it works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IqjOQ21GZo

Special Features of CampusShield

CampusShield connects you directly with campus safety forces, while also providing convenience and helping you to save time.

When the EMERGENCY Button is pressed, campus safety is directly called. Location information is also sent to help cut down on response time. Your location is NOT passively tracked. Location services are only used when you signal for assistance.

The Anonymous Tip feature allows you to easily submit tips to campus safety forces anonymously. Tips can include safety concerns, suspicious activity, drug use or any other non-emergencies. You can also attach photos / videos when submitting a tip.

The FriendWatch feature helps protect you during certain activities, such as walking to / from your car at night, jogging or walking between buildings after hours. If your FriendWatch timer hits 0:00, your emergency contacts will be notified.

The Bus Tracker feature allows you to keep track of where AC Transit buses are actively located. Bus schedules can also be accessed through this feature. Bus Tracker is built to save you time through convenient tracking of bus locations

6. Human Resources
a.) More information coming soon…

7. Technology Updates

a.) More information coming soon….

8. Special Program updates

a.) Check out the following resources provided by the Student Health Center:

9. Senate updates
a. Classified Senate

i. Senators are actively serving on PBIM committees (PGC, BAM Committee, Peralta Classified Senate), and are collaborating with other campuses. They are currently reviewing Peralta Classified Senates by-laws and updating as necessary.

ii. Faculty, Staff, and Administrators have all collaborated to successfully obtain a Veterans Resource Center Grant. The location of the Resource Center is still being finalized.

iii. There will be forthcoming changes to our senate membership, and we will be seeking new classified members to serve.

iv. Classified Senate motioned to support the interim-IT department plan as well as the IT succession plan. The plan was originally brought to College Council from the Merritt Technology Committee with a recommendation for approval by the College President.

v. Margie Rubio is the classified lead for Guided Pathways.

vi. Classified Senate is actively discussing the 2018-19 Classified Hiring Prioritization list and it will be presented to the College Council for a recommendation for approval and submission to the College President. More updates will come following the January 23, 2019 College Council meeting.

b. Academic Senate

i. Please visit the link to the view the updates from Academic Senate President Mario Rivas. This is the first report of the Spring 2019 semester and created February 6.

Spring 2019 Academic Senate Report #1

c. Associated Students of Merritt College

10. Miscellaneous

a.) President Burns chaired a taskforce composed of several different constituents including: VC Cifra, Rupinder Bhatia, Brandi Howard, Mario Rivas, Victoria Menzies, and Brandon Christian that developed new Strategic Goals for the District and aligned them with the CCCCO “Vision for Success” goals. These goals will be on the 1/25/19 PGC meeting as an action item, and will be submitted to the State Chancellor’s office.

b.) 16th Far Western Regional Director Soror Dr. Norma J Tucker, who was also the first African American female President of Merritt College, passed away on Thursday, January 10, 2019.



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