Belonging is vital to performance, innovation and retention, and starts with executive leadership commitment.

We believe that each employee plays a vital role in the development of our unique and diverse community, spread across our seven campuses. Our goal is to create an environment where employees feel included, accepted, and valued, with their uniqueness treasured by the organization and colleagues. To support this vision, our executive leadership is dedicated to developing a more inclusive leadership model and improving well-being across our campuses.

Faculty Appreciation Day Group
Faculty Appreciation Day Group
Faculty Appreciation Day Group
Faculty Appreciation Day Group
Faculty Appreciation Day Group


As an SDCCE employee, you are part of a unique and diverse community. We are unique in having seven campuses, each campus having its individual culture. SDCCE offers its constituents an enriched environment and opportunities to succeed in all their goals, and we are always here to help you during your journey and want to ensure employees feel like they BELONG.

Belonging is an employee’s sense that their uniqueness is accepted and treasured by their organization and colleagues.

As the leadership team at SDCCE, we are committed to developing a culture that is inclusive of all constituencies. We want all elements of the college to work together with a clear sense of the direction, and for trust to improve in areas where it hasn’t yet, so we can develop a greater sense of interconnectedness.

You all play a vital and valuable role in the development of our culture. We’ve chosen to begin this work as a leadership team of administrators, with the goal of including all campus constituencies in the coming year. R&D Facilitation is supporting us by creating spaces where we can look deeper into the challenges we face regularly and the assets and strengths we bring to our work. We also want to build stronger relationships conducive to greater collaboration and more robust communication across campus sites. The work revolves around having a series of critical dialogues and professional development sessions and creating new spaces for improving our well-being.

We acknowledge that you all have a special gift that you can contribute to the culture shift. Change and transformation are never easy - but it needs to happen to ensure that our students receive the best support and that the community is healthy.

As an Executive President’s Cabinet, we are committed to supporting you. We know change won’t happen overnight, but already since we've been together on campus, we’ve seen our growth. We invite you to be vocal, open, skeptical, supportive, and, most of all, kind because change begins within.


The campus established a partnership with R&D Facilitation in the summer of 2022 with the goals of:

  • Supporting the vision of the leadership team
  • Improving well-being across the campus
  • Supporting a campus culture committed to mutual support

SDCCE Leadership and R&D Facilitation, convened activities to build greater connection among members of the college leadership, addressing challenges coming out of the pandemic, and centering DEIAA in planning and dialogues. They launched the first 3-day retreat with Executive President's Cabinet, President's Cabinet, Executive Governance Council. Participants shared the values that drive them including: growth, service, effectiveness and empathy, and reflected on how important it is to build a culture of trust in order to do collective work. Some of the participants’ reflections were:

“I appreciate getting to know my colleagues better and the opportunity to focus on values and purpose.”

“I enjoyed the different settings of engagement. I liked how we moved around and applied our experiences. Most impactful was hearing people’s truth and vulnerable moments.”

“I plan to be more mindful, showing up with the 5 agreements always in mind. I’ll be working with a colleague, to be able to allow them to hold me accountable when I may sometimes miss something.”

“I am feeling refreshed and renewed”

Leadership participated in post retreat interviews to continue informing the work to improve the campus leadership culture.

SDCCE hired a Professional Development Coordinator, Carla Grossini-Concha, to develop a structure for PD that supports all constituents. Her talents have been critical in expanding professional development opportunities to new audiences from across our campuses.

Culture Change & Leadership: The leadership development and culture change work of the college continued in Spring 2023. The Executive President’s Cabinet met regularly to identify ways to create a more inclusive leadership model.

R&D Facilitation hosted a retreat with Deans and Managers to introduce additional leadership frameworks, and identify ways to embed the values of wellbeing and respect into the campus cultures. Participants shared:

“I have a greater understanding of how peers work, what they value and need in terms of communication and collaboration.”

“I feel we are growing closer. This is new, different, and welcome for me. Before I felt very alone and isolated, but not so now.”

“I know more about what things are working, and which areas need more improvement by collaboration.”

“This has been a positive experience. I look forward to what is next.”

Representative Deans and Managers formed a Dream Team from across the campuses to help inform the SDCCE culture shift. In particular, the Dream Team explored how they could support the building of stronger relationships, including expanding team membership to include students, classified professionals and faculty, as well as administrators.

DEIAA: Developed the President’s DEIAA task force and hired consultant Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud to support with DEIAA planning.

Climate Survey: Performed District climate survey. The data, disaggregated by campus, will inform the planning and vision for each campus as they deepen their work to create cultures of equity and belonging.

Staffing Study: An outside entity was hired to perform a staffing study to assess staff capacity for each campus. The results will help to inform staffing decisions going forward.

STAR Conference

The Staff Training and Retention (STAR) Conference for Classified Professionals took place on Thursday, May 18th, at ECC, welcoming more than 80 Classified Professionals from all 7 San Diego College of Continuing Education campuses. It was the first time since 2019 that the SDCCE Classified Professionals came together for this professional development conference. The “Back to the Future” theme sought to celebrate the journey of SDCCE and integrate that knowledge as we move #forwardtogether.

LearnIt LIVE Virtual Sessions

  • Office365 Basics Tips & Tricks: Monday, March 20th, 2:00 pm-3:30 pm
  • Microsoft Teams: Friday, April 14th, 2:30 pm- 2:00 pm
  • Microsoft OneDrive: Friday, April 28th, 12:30 pm-2:00 pm
  • Digital Equity Session hosted by the SDCCE, The City of San Diego, and SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments)
  • Office 365 Tips and Tricks hosted by LearnIt, available for viewing through April 30th, 2023
  • Office 365 Workshop on OneDrive hosted by LearnIt, available for viewing through April 30th, 2023
  • Office 365 Workshop on Teams hosted by LearnIt, available for viewing through April 30th, 2023

Culture of Dignity Workshops

Diego Navarro led these spring sessions to amplify a culture of dignity on our campuses. Diego is an Emeritus Professor at Cabrillo College and founded the Academy for College Excellence (ACE) in 2002, which has been studied and replicated by numerous colleges nationwide. Diego has trained faculty in affective learning approaches and developed the Five-day Experiential Learning Institute (FELI) in 2006 to teach faculty and staff how to have embodied interactions and employ non-cognitive learning activities to create psychological safety in students.

Constructs for Creating a Culture of Dignity workshop series

  • Three-part workshop series that took place on Friday, April 7th, April 14th, and April 21st.
  • The sessions took place virtually from 9 am – 2 pm each day and include a 30-minute lunch break and two 15-minute breaks.
  • Flex credit.

Developing Gravity and Glue to Empower Students in the Classroom & in the On-Boarding workshop series

  • Two-part workshop series that took place on Thursday, April 27th, and Friday, April 28th.
  • The sessions took place virtually from 9 am – 2 pm each day and include a 30-minute lunch break and two 15-minute breaks.
  • Flex credit.

As we move towards the goal of institutionalizing these two virtual workshop series at SDCCE, there is a potential opportunity for adjunct and contract faculty to teach these courses virtually in the future as non-classroom faculty coordinators. Those interested in potentially leading these series in the future must attend both workshop series.

Divisional Retreats

Administrative Services

Administrative Services held a retreat on July 12, 2023, at the VEBA Resource Center. All Administrative Services staff spent the day together learning and discussing our role within the college and focusing on how we can work collaboratively to provide exceptional service to the college. Participants attended workshops provided by Optum and had a team building cooking demonstration and enjoyed a healthy lunch together. It was a great day spending time together and getting to know each other better. - Jacqueline Sabanos, Vice President, Administrative Services

Instructional Services

The instructional services unit held a retreat on June 5th and 6th 2023 at the VEBA center in Kearny Mesa. Present were all instructional deans including Dr. Lorie Crosby-Howell, Dr. Jaqueline Hester, Michelle Gray, Catherine Shafer, Andrei Lucas, and representing Mid-City Karen King. Associate Dean Armin Rashvand, Curriculum Analyst Trila Gil, and Instructional Analyst Janay Patton were also present.

Both days were spent with our staffing consultants. Our two days together revealed historical approaches to how deans have been working and performing both instructional and student services functions. Given the changes and approach to serving our students, the instructional team spent time envisioning their responsibilities as instructional deans and focusing on faculty hiring, onboarding, and evaluation as well as the production of an accurate, and timely student-centered schedule. Onboarding for all our employees was part of our discussion multiple times. The Instructional Services team would like to see a robust onboarding program for our faculty, classified professionals, and management team. Additionally, we discussed how best the team would be able to produce an accurate and timely schedule and concluded that schedule preparers need to report to the instructional dean rather than to the COS. In order to serve our students, the instructional team would like to advocate to apportionment generating tutoring for all of our students. For our faculty, the instructional team advocates for a teaching and learning center, where faculty can discuss best pedagogy practices as well as receive assistance with designing digital content for their Canvas shells.

We look forward to a continued discussion with our Student Services colleagues, on how to best serve our students and the staffing needs and reorganizations necessary to meet our goals of increasing enrollment, while caring for our faculty, staff and students. – Dr. Minou Spradley, Interim Vice President of Instructional Services

  • Hosting 2nd Annual 3-day retreat with Executive President's Cabinet, President's Cabinet, Executive Governance Council.
Student Services Retreat

The Student Services management team held a two-day retreat on August 1st and 2nd, 2023 at the Crown Cove Aquatic Center in Coronado, CA. The entire management team was present for the full two days (participant list below).

The retreat was centered around four primary objectives:

  1. To create time and space to rest and reflect on all that we have accomplished collectively over the past year;
  2. To connect with colleagues across departments and functional areas;
  3. To engage in meaningful conversation about how we can move the division forward;
  4. And to engage in collective planning that will inform and guide our work for the year.

Day one of the retreat consisted of a series of mindfulness exercises designed to channel focus and creativity. We spent half the day discussing and developing our divisional goals and priorities for the year. Additionally, we planned out our divisional activities for the entire year.

Day two of the retreat were facilitated by staffing study consultants, Tadael Emiru and Steven Baisa. Tadael and Steven led the group in developing and documenting the ideal student journey from the student services lens. Additionally, the group completed a resources exercise where they were able to outline the resources they need to bring the student journey to life. They also completed a roles-and-responsibilities exercise where they provided input on the roles of students services employees at each phase of the student journey. The retreat concluded with each participant receiving a copy of the book, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World, to guide their work.

Participants: Myesha Jackson, Franklin Garrett, Katie Serbian, Shakerra Carter, Stephanie Lewis, Libbier Bakit, Michele Madrid Novak, Maureen Rubalcaba, Roberta Krauss

Five-Day Experience Learning Institute (FELI)

The Five-Day Experience Learning Institute (FELI) is a free Professional Development opportunity provided by SDCCE for all SDCCE employees (classified, administrators, and faculty) that is focused on student retention using an inside-out approach. The FELI is a 40-hour transformative workshop that uses dynamic activities centered around communication, working styles, leadership techniques, and building social capital in both your professional and personal life.

This year’s FELI will be taking place this summer from Monday, July 10th through Friday, July 14th, from 9 am - 5 pm at our ECC Campus, and will be a partially online

Leadership Retreats August 2023

R&D Facilitation hosted the 2nd Annual 3-day retreat with Executive President's Cabinet, President's Cabinet, Executive Governance Council. The retreats focused on getting aligned around the college’s goals and deepening the campuses culture of belonging. We acknowledged that many of the students at SDCCE have been made to feel they don’t belong in other spaces, due to historical and contemporary policies of exclusion. Participants defined belonging in their own words, and elaborated on its importance. They celebrated numerous accomplishments across campuses, and made commitments to continue to nurture cultures of respect and collaboration. Data from the campus climate survey was presented, and will form the foundation for ongoing work to improve the experiences of belonging for SDCCE administrators, classified professionals, faculty and students.

Participants shared:

“Like us, our students want to change their lives through belonging, through deep interactions and learning.”

“We wrap our students up and make them feel a part of this place.”

“Continuing Education is where we feel we belong. It’s where we can bring our gifts more fully and do our best work.”

“Belonging is important because this work is hard. It encourages us to communicate and understand one another. It allows us to reach our goals of serving students, and it’s vital to our goal of inclusion.”

“Belonging is the feeling you can be your authentic self.”

“Belonging is nourishing. It builds confidence, stamina and impacts your level of ownership.”

“Belonging is the vibe that we are welcomed.”

You Belong means that all of SDCCE’s campuses and all of our community members are involved in our culture change efforts. Our goal for 2024, is to support the involvement, in particular, of classified professionals, students and faculty in this important work. Our campus ended 2023 identifying goals and challenges inherent in this kind of deep culture change work.

In January 2024, Institution Day was a celebration of the numerous ways in which the culture is already shifting for the better at SDCCE. The expansion of the work to include more constituencies was discussed at a session with R&D Facilitation. Participants in that session pointed areas for improvement including strengthening the organizational structure and processes, having greater engagement in professional development by the faculty, getting the input from those seen as being on the “bottom” of the organization and reimagining what it means to belong.

The college has identified a team of culture change coaches drawn from the ranks of our classified professionals, teaching and counseling faculty, and administrators. This team will be guiding the You Belong initiative engaging their peers and students in the campus level culture change efforts. They are guided first and foremost by a commitment to inclusivity.

We are expanding our on-line professional development sessions for classified professional, faculty and administrators to bring the You Belong spirit and culture change work into each of our settings, and continue to make leadership and professional development opportunities more available to all. See flyer posted here for workshops being held this semester.

In August 2024, the campus leadership will take part in its annual gathering to explore how to deepen collaboration and inclusion. With enrollment at an all time high at SDCCE, the goal is to ensure the relationships and supports are in place to grow with an eye towards the wellbeing of our classified professional staff, faculty and administrators, through improve communication, and constructive and supportive accountability for taking part in new growth opportunities and for reaching our goals.

Institutional Day activities
Institutional Day activities
Institutional Day activities
Institutional Day activities
Institutional Day activities
Institutional Day activities

Mission: San Diego College of Continuing Education commits to student success and community enrichment by providing tuition-free, accessible, equitable, and innovative quality education and support services to diverse learners in pursuit of lifelong learning, training, career advancement, and pathways to credit more about the SDCCE mission »