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Celebrating the University Glen Transaction

University leadership and staff members gathered in the President's Courtyard on October 5 to celebrate the sale of the University Glen apartments and Town Center to real estate investment company Kennedy Wilson. The transaction generated $81 million for the University, which will be used to retire debt and fund capital projects and program development here on campus. 

Guests in attendance included President Beck, Dr. Rush and Vice President Ysabel Trinidad, as well as other CI staff members who were critical to the transaction. Other guests included key stakeholders in the transaction, including representatives from Jones Lang LaSalle, Stradling Law Firm and Kennedy Wilson. All gathered for celebration and great conversation as the event marked a tremendous step toward meeting the goals of the CI 2025 plan.

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President Beck Arrives

On August 8, the campus community welcomed a new president on her first day, placing banners on the main streets of the campus with the hashtag #welcomebeck.  Dr. Erika Beck took over as president of the University upon the retirement of Dr. Rush.

President Beck has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego, a master's degree in Psychology from San Diego State University, and a doctorate in Experimental Psychology from UCSD. Before arriving at CI, Dr. Beck was the Provost and Executive Vice President of Nevada State College.

In an article from the CI View, Dr. Beck shared her enthusiasm about becoming a member of the CI family stating, “placing students at the center of education is where my heart is. What has happened here over the last fourteen years is extraordinary.” She has already started connecting with students, staff and faculty though the use of social media, announcing her Twitter and Instagram accounts and posting photographs of herself with members of our community as she gets to know the campus. Dr. Beck has stated that her emphasis is on making decisions that are evidence based, collecting data that demonstrates what needs improvement and what affects our community.

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Transportation & Environment Summit

In September, CI partnered with the Ventura County Transportation Commission to host the Transportation & Environment Summit. Students learned about some of the sustainability issues we face today as a nation and practices to improve the current situation. Additionally, students learned about career opportunities in the transportation sector from recognized leaders in the area.

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Islands Café Renovation

The eagerly anticipated expansion and renovation of Islands Café and its dining commons was completed as students returned to campus for the fall semester. University Auxiliary Services completed this project with the future growth of the campus in mind, adding 245 seats inside and 125 seats in the beautiful outdoor courtyard. The menu has also been updated, providing students, staff and faculty with an array of fresh options with produce from local farmers markets.

In addition, an outstanding historical mural was included depicting two deer by a stream. The mural was painted by artist Ray Nahara who found inspiration from a photograph he had taken while on vacation. Mr. Nahara was a food service worker in 1978 when the campus was a state hospital. Having much experience with the campus, he believes this calming painting will fit well with the tranquility of the campus.

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The 5S's at Work

With the growth of the University, and the various office moves that have occurred over the past several years, the Vice President’s office had accumulated file cabinets, binders of all sorts, and a host of supplies. During the spring and summer, we deployed a method used by high-performing workplaces called a Lean Six Sigma 5S project, or “Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize and Sustain.” Below are “before and after” photographs taken when we “5S’d” the file and supply rooms.

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Anna Pavin Says Goodbye

Anna Pavin, Associate Vice President for Human Resources, retired on October 14. Friends and coworkers gathered at a celebration earlier that week to honor Anna’s commitment and service to the University. That service began back in 1998, when Anna served on what was known as the warm shut-down team, a team that helped transition the old state hospital into the new University. Anna moved to Human Resources in 2000, where she worked for the next 16 years.

Anna has plans with her husband to travel for the next year while relaxing after retirement. She lived and breathed CI and will always have a tremendous love for the campus and people she worked with over the many years she was here.

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Improvising a Barrier at the Boating Center

How do you keep sea lions from sunbathing on a dock? Grab some five gallon buckets! The Facilities Services team worked diligently to create an improvised barrier at the Boating Center to deter sea lions from sunbathing on the dock by connecting a series of five gallon buckets filled with water.

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Staff Recognition 

We would like to recognize all staff within the division. It is your excellence in teamwork and collaboration that makes us an outstanding campus community.

Three Recognition Staff Awards were presented during the spring division-wide meeting held on April 21. The Recognition Staff Awards are about acknowledging our fellow colleagues who demonstrate a commitment to the Division's values. These include collaboration, diversity, excellence, integrity, respect and teamwork. Congratulations to all of our awardees!

Rigo Lopez

Teamwork Award

As the Islands Café supervisor, Rigo has shown integrity by leading through example. He respects his colleagues and cares about their professional growth. Always having a can-do attitude, he thinks outside of the box to proactively solve issues before they become problems. Rigo not only takes pride in his work, he guides others to succeed.

Carolyn Shamowski

Dedication and Willingness Award

Carolyn’s new role with Conference & Events has her collaborating with both on and off campus clients. She exemplifies excellence by always going above and beyond to ensure that events are run smoothly. Her attention to detail is important, especially when working with international guests. Carolyn’s hard work ethic and positive attitude make her a leader in customer service.

Miguel Contreras

Excellence Award

Miguel is an invaluable asset to our campus catering operation. He consistently shows teamwork by being dependable and resourceful. Always willing to assist, he is versatile in a professional and friendly manner. In his position he deals with many clients, yet he is able to incorporate their preferences or needs into the catering services. Miguel takes pride with each event, as if it were for his own family.  

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Did You Know?

This past semester, the Recognition Committee set out on a mission to reach out to the BFA division departments.  The group's effort included installing 25 "Got Recognition" information centers. These each consist of a poster on how to contact the Committee, racks that hold nomination forms and on-the-spot recognition cards.

We can all do our part to show our appreciation for our fellow colleagues by recognizing their hard work. Share your voice and get out, submit a nomination form in-person or online. Nominations are open each semester prior to the division meetings. Forms can be dropped off in person at the Lindero Hall reception desk, emailed to, or submitted by using the online paperless form located on the DBFA Recognition Nomination webpage.

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Professional Development Calendar — November 2016

Make time to learn this November with one of these Professional Development courses:

  • Tax Sheltered Annuity/Fidelity (403b) Workshop | Tuesday, November 1, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. & 2:15 to 3:15 p.m., Ojai Hall 1952
  • Tax Sheltered Annuity/Fidelity (403b) Workshop | Wednesday, November 2, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., Sierra Hall 1212
  • Co-Creating and Maintaining a Truly Collaborative Work Environment | Friday, November 4, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., Ojai Hall 1986
  • Mindfulness Monday | Monday, November 7, 4:00 to 4:55p.m., Lindero Hall 1776 (no RSVP required)
  • Go Paper Less - Collaborate with Google Docs | Tuesday, November 8, 9:00 to 10:30a.m., Sage Hall 2030
  • How to Create Beautiful Spaces  Using the Principles of Feng Shui | Tuesday, November 15, 10:00 to 11:30a.m., Sage Hall 2030
  • Applied Project Management |  Thursday, November 17, 9:00 to 10:30a.m., Sage Hall 2030
  • Gender Inclusivity on Campus | Tuesday, November 29, 9:00 to 11:00a.m., Sage Hall 2030

Go to the Professional Development web page for more details about the courses being offered and to RSVP.

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New Staff

Nathan Bowden

Web Content Coordinator

Nathan is the Division's Web Content Coordinator, joining our team last June. In his role, he helps design and manage the content of our Division’s web pages. He loves helping people with their web projects, bringing something from idea to reality, and is really enjoying working in a college campus environment for the first time since he worked as a student in his college library. Nathan is relatively new to the area, having moved to California in 2015 with his wife and twin daughters.

Michael Donlon


Michael started as a temp electrician and was hired on soon after as a full-time employee. He oversees the safety needs of the campus, including the repairing of campus street lights, among other things. Michael is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union, and brings years of experience to CI.

Brittany Grice

Title IX Inclusion Officer

Brittany started at CI in February 2015 as the first incumbent in the Title IX and Inclusion Officer position. She came to us from Fresno State where she worked in the equal opportunity field. Her favorite part about working at CI is all of the forums in which she gets to engage in discussions on socially critical issues with so many different perspectives. She also appreciates the leadership opportunity and intellectual challenge in building the Title IX, Diversity and Inclusion office from the ground up at an institution where the stated mission includes the celebration of innovation.

Sonja Howe

Internal Auditor

Sonja has been at CI for about two months, coming to us from Connecticut. Prior to coming to CI, she spent eight years conducting audits with the California State Auditor and the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego and Aurora, and was the Internal Auditor for Denver Human Resources. Sonja also has 2 1/2 years of experience as a Management Analyst working in Budget and Research in Connecticut. Her favorite part of the position so far is the people she’s surrounded by, including CI’s dedication to inter-departmental collaboration and maximizing the experience for its students.

Devyn Howell

Administrative Support Coordinator, VP Office

Devyn’s journey at the University began as a student assistant, and after graduating in May 2016, she became a part-time staff member supporting the Vice President’s office. Devyn is grateful for having the opportunity to work with individuals from all areas on campus and is proud to be part of the community. Her favorite aspect of working at CI is being able to grow as an individual.

Diane Mandrafina

Assistant VP for BFA/Controller

Diane joined us in May, coming from Pasadena City College where she was the Director of Fiscal Services. She provides oversight to Fiscal Services and Student Business Services in support of the Division, University and our fabulous students. She assisted with developing and implementing a Financial Literacy Program for students and is very proud of that accomplishment. Her favorite part about CI is being able to use her technical expertise to assist others.

Walter McDougald


Walter joined us last month and is assisting Housing and Residential Education, partnered with Facilities Services. You will see Walter diligently helping the multiple housing areas around campus.

Maria Miranda


Maria started working in Facilities in October after working for University Glen Islands Café. She appreciates the friendly atmosphere and the people she works with at CI.

Eduardo Perez


Eduardo joined CI in October, his previous position was at Pemko. Eduardo enjoys the friendly work atmosphere and the security his job provides.

Kim Ritchey

Director of Conferences & Events

Kim started at CI in the beginning of October, and has already been busy with incredible interactions and activities. She states that she loves working at CI as it is a true representation of the best our community has to offer. Prior to her employment with us, she worked at Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB, but most of her career has been spent in the hospitality industry at local hotels. Kim feels very proud to be a part of the CI family.

Leah Torres

Collections Specialist

Leah began working with Student Business Services in April. Before her position at CI, she worked in Financial Services for Santa Barbara Business College. Leah enjoys working on a campus where students are the main focus, and finds it rewarding to interact with them on a daily basis.

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