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Umoja Learning Community Now Accepting Students
An Education Thatís Personal & Meaningful to Each Student
Room 5419
September 21, 2016 2 to 5 p.m.

Make your college experience more meaningful by joining Foothill College’s newest learning community: the Umoja Community at Foothill College. An innovative instructional opportunity for all students, Umoja groups English, communication, and psychology courses in a three-quarter program. Students are admitted to the program each fall, and progress through the academic year as a learning community cohort.

Learn More & Meet Umoja Students, Faculty & Staff September 21Prospective students can learn more about Umoja and its exciting curriculum, and meet Umoja faculty and counselors at an orientation on Wednesday, September 21, from 2 to 5 p.m. in Room 5419 at the Foothill campus in Los Altos Hills.

The Umoja Community–now at more than 30 California community colleges, and expected to exceed 50 campuses during 2017–provides courses that promote learning about African and African American culture, comprehensive student support programs, on- and off-campus enrichment activities, and a safe place for students to discuss real issues that affect them and the broader community. “We believe that when the voices and histories of students are deliberately and intentionally recognized, the foundation for academic success is formed,” says Foothill Umoja Co-coordinator and English Instructor Samuel White, M.A. “We actively promote student success for all students through a method of curriculum and instruction that is responsive to the legacy of the African and African American diasporas.” White says that students who tend to get the most out of the Umoja learning community are those who generally prefer to work with a group of peers, and want to become active, responsible, and conscious learners.

Umoja also seeks to help students develop a sense of pride, ownership and responsibility in their own speaking and writing. The program coordinators see this as vital, given the low numbers of African Americans in Silicon Valley. The Umoja Community wants to educate students who may not be aware of the contributions of the black community to the success of this area. “Engaging in the practice of sharing historical importance enables students to experience language as power,” says Foothill Umoja Co-coordinator and English Instructor Kimberly Escamilla, M.A. “As Umoja faculty members, we are in a unique position to share our stories and our experiences to humanize our classroom instruction. Doing so, helps us create an environment that gives our students the confidence to participate in deep learning and share their individual stories and life experiences.”

By emphasizing a distinct history created by their predecessors, students enrolled in the Umoja Program study a variety of literary contributions from various authors, such as Phillis Wheatley, David Walker, Malcolm X, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robert Johnson, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, Langston Hughes, Desmond Tutu, Barack Obama, and other trendsetters, artists and intellectuals.

Umoja courses provide students with the opportunity to not only discuss issues relevant to the African American experience, but students are encouraged to critically analyze these issues. As an example, students who enroll in Foothill’s four-unit ENGL 12: African American Literature course, read Malcolm X’s speech, The Ballot or the Bullet, which, when written in 1964, demanded deliberate action on the part of America’s black citizens. Students write about the implications of Malcolm’s call to action; they also conduct research to determine how similar calls to action are issued today, and the associated implications on present-day society, White says.

To support students, Umoja prioritizes the powerful one-to-one relationship of the Umoja student and the Umoja counselor. Data suggest that a major reason that students drop out of college is that they have experienced isolation or alienation. “To combat dropping out, each student works with a dedicated Umoja counselor throughout their cohort schedule to develop realistic, and attainable academic and career goals,” says Foothill College Umoja Academic Counselor Tracee Cunningham, M.A. “The unique relationship between a student and a counselor can often provide the encouragement and motivation that a student needs to remain committed to achieving his or her goals.”

To further enhance the student experience, the Umoja Community features a dedicated study and social space on campus that Umoja students can claim as their own. Also, significant to the program, are Umoja’s recently signed pathways to transfer agreements with the University of California (UC) system and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Umoja courses that will be presented during the 2016–2017 academic year include:

Fall Quarter 2016

  • COMM 4: Group Discussion and
  • ENGL 1A: Composition & Reading or
  • ENGL 110: Introduction to College Writing or
  • ENGL 209: Introduction to College Reading

Winter Quarter 2017

  • ENGL 12: African American Literature and
  • ENGL 110: Introduction to College Writing or
  • ENGL 1A: Composition & Reading

Spring Quarter 2017

  • PSYC 22: Psychology of Prejudice and
  • ENGL 1A: Composition & Reading or
  • ENGL 1B: Composition, Critical Reading & Thinking through Literature
  • MATH 220: Elementary Algebra (optional)

For more information about Umoja, visit To schedule free English and math placement tests, visit To schedule an appointment with Umoja Counselor Tracee Cunningham before September 21, e-mail

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Astronomy Instructor Wins National Teaching Award
August 23, 2016

Encouraging students to look up and wonder has been the overarching goal of longtime astronomy educator Andrew Fraknoi. Teaching astronomy to students at Foothill College more than four decades, Fraknoi was recently awarded the Pinnacle Professor Award for longstanding, distinguished service to the professionalization of astronomy education. The award is presented annually at the National Astronomy Teaching Summit, which met in San Francisco earlier this month.

“Teaching about 900 non-science major students each year, I see first-hand the interest that a good introductory astronomy course can create in even the most reluctant minds,” Fraknoi says. “Students often enter my class grumbling about having to take a science class to satisfy a general education requirement, but come out at the end as fans of black holes, cannibal galaxies, or the search for intelligent life out there.”

The highly coveted and competitive Pinnacle Professor Award honors a distinguished educator who is recognized by his or her peers for positively impacting the teaching of astronomy across the country. “As an individual, Andrew Fraknoi has perhaps influenced more astronomy professors–and their countless numbers of astronomy students–than anyone else teaching astronomy today,” says National Astronomy Teaching Summit Award Committee Chair Timothy Slater, Ph.D., of the University of Wyoming.

The author of numerous astronomy books, an invited speaker at hundreds of events, and even a published author of science fiction stories, Fraknoi was selected for the award from a large pool of senior scholars. One of his nominators stated, “Andrew is always trying to find ways to help people share astronomy. Whether it be by running conferences for teachers, collecting the best ideas to share with colleagues, or by creating programs to help people learn from one another, he is tireless and completely committed to helping everyone do a better job teaching.”

“I’m especially honored to receive an award like this because the winner was selected by my peers in astronomy teaching,” Fraknoi says. “The members of the committee all face the same challenge I do, which is how to make modern astrophysics accessible to beginning students and show it as part of the human heritage.

“As we can see from the members of Congress eager to stick their heads in the sand and deny such basic notions of science as evolution and climate change, there is an enormous need for science education in this country,” he says. “About a quarter of a million students take introductory astronomy courses in the U.S. each year, and it’s been a privilege for me to help astronomy instructors around the country make that course a meaningful part of our work against scientific illiteracy.”

An award-winning educator, Fraknoi is the chair of the astronomy department at Foothill College near San Francisco. He is the author of Disney’s Wonderful World of Space and the lead author of several successful introductory astronomy textbooks for college non-science majors.

“2016–17 will be my 45th year teaching introductory astronomy,” Fraknoi says. “In all that time, I’ve been privileged to see astronomy expand to new vistas, including the discovery of thousands of planets orbiting other stars, and it’s been a pleasure to be able to translate the results of our exploration of the universe into everyday language for several generations of students.”

The National Astronomy Teaching Summit attracts an international gathering of science education scholars and astronomy outreach enthusiasts each year in a professional conference forum to learn from one another and share novel insights focused on improving astronomy education worldwide. In preparation for the 2017 Great Solar Eclipse, which will be visible across much of North America, the next summit will be held in August 2017, in Ft. Myers, Florida.

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Campus Closed Fridays through August 26
Many campus services are available online at and
July 15, 2016 - August 26, 2016

To maximize human, financial and physical resources, Foothill College observes modified hours of operation throughout the summer. Most campus services are closed Fridays, July 15 through August 26. To avoid disappointment before traveling to the campus, verify hours of operation.

Online Services Available During Holidays & Closures—Many admissions and records services, including registering and paying for classes, ordering transcripts, purchasing textbooks and more are available online during holiday observances, academic recess and campus closures via your account.

Got Questions? Ask Foothill!—Never wait in line or on hold. Instead, use the intuitive AskFoothill online information service to find updated, accurate answers to hundreds of your questions about Foothill College on a variety of topics, including admissions, registration, fees, hours of operation and more.

Reporting an Emergency—FHDA District Police are on duty during holiday observances, academic recesses and campus closures. To report an emergency, call 911. To report non-emergencies, call (650) 949-7313.

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Media Center Closed for Renovations
Center will reopen in time for Fall Quarter
June 27, 2016 - September 25, 2016

The Foothill Media Center (Room 5941) will be closed June 27–September 25 for renovation. The center will reopen for student, faculty and staff use in its newly remodeled location behind the Hubert Seman's Library in time for Fall Quarter. During the closure, you'll find printing services at the following on-campus locations:

  • ASFC Smart Shop (Room 2016)
  • Campus Center
  • Krause Center for Innovation (Room 4002)
  • Library (Room 3525)
  • Physical Sciences & Engineering Center (Building 4400)
  • STEM Success Center (Room 4213)

Also, starting June 27, the non-print media collection will permanently circulate through the Library's Circulation Desk.  

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Sign Up for Free On-Campus Emergency Alert Service
ENS capable of rapidly sending voice, e-mail and text messages
To add or update your contact information for the free ENS service, access your account and follow the instructions listed in the Set Up Emergency Notification section.
January 01, 2015 - December 01, 2016

Foothill College and De Anza College have implemented an emergency notification system (ENS) that rapidly sends voice, e-mail and text* messages to all faculty, staff and students. In the event of an emergency, including a power outage, campus closure or other urgent situation, Foothill-De Anza officials use the ENS service to provide emergency details and information on the appropriate response to all students and employees. The Foothill-De Anza ENS service will not be used for any purposes other than FHDA emergency communications and system testing.

Emergency messages will be sent via e-mail and to all phone numbers that you have signed up for the free ENS service, and can include your work, home, cell and text.

To add or update your contact information for the free ENS service, access your account and follow the instructions listed in the Set Up Emergency Notification section. The contact information used by the ENS service is drawn from the Foothill-De Anza employment database as well as data provided by students who have enrolled at Foothill-De Anza.

Be aware that mobile phone carriers require recipients of text messages to opt in to the Foothill-De Anza ENS service via their mobile phones. *Your mobile phone carrier may assess charges for receiving text messages, and you are responsible for paying them. Contact your carrier for more information. 

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