2021-2022 Excellence Award Winners

Four Receive National Honors from League for Innovation

Kim Palmore

Kim Palmore

Rosafel Nogra

Rosafel Nogra

Jennifer Mahato

Jennifer Mahato

Brandon Bailey

Brandon Bailey

Four members of the De Anza community will be honored this week with Excellence Awards from the national League for Innovation in the Community College. The recipients were selected in recognition of their outstanding service to the students of De Anza College.

  • English instructor Kim Palmore was selected for her leadership with Guided Pathways, a collegewide initiative to provide clear pathways and integrated support for students, and for her service as a former department chair and in other college projects.
  • Student Health Services clinic director Rosafel Nogra is being recognized for her leadership in implementing COVID-19 vaccination requirements and related policies that have been essential for protecting the health of students and employees.
  • Jennifer Mahato, director of College Operations, was selected for her leadership in the college's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and for her key role in bringing instructional programs and student services back on campus.
  • Brandon Bailey, writer/editor in the Office of Communications, was also recognized for helping to communicate COVID-related policies and vaccination requirements to students and employees.

The award recipients will be honored on Thursday, March 3 during the League's annual Innovations Conference, which is being held online. Also this year, De Anza representatives will be making two presentations during the conference:

  • "It Takes a Village: Facilitating Institutional Change" – a presentation on De Anza's Guided Pathways initiatives will be given at 2:15 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, Feb. 28, by Anu Khanna, instructor in Communication Studies and Intercultural Studies, Brian Malone, instructor in English, and Sarah Wallace, facilities and equipment assistant for Athletics.
  • "Punitive Probation is Passé: Compassionate Retention Is Here to Stay" – a presentation on the college's strategies for retention of struggling students will be given at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on Thursday, March 3, by Laureen Balducci, dean of Counseling and Disability Support Programs and Services, and Janet Weber, counselor.

Kim Palmore

Kim PalmoreKim Palmore knows how to keep busy. As co-coordinator for De Anza’s Guided Pathways initiative, and previously as chair of the English Department, the longtime faculty member has played a key role in several major college projects.

Since 2019, Palmore has helped lead collegewide Guided Pathways efforts that include establishing groups of related academic programs known as “meta-majors,” along with corresponding Village communities to provide engagement and support for students with common interests. The Guided Pathways project has also produced new degree and transfer maps for more than 200 programs, which guide students quarter-by-quarter in selecting courses to reach their goals, along with other initiatives to support students.

De Anza’s work on Guided Pathways was recognized this year with an “Exemplary Program Award” from the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.

As English department chair from 2019-2021, Palmore helped lead the development of new English placement and course challenge procedures that were part of a major shift to align with new state requirements. She also serves on the Distance Learning Committee and the Faculty Association Executive Council, while editing the Faculty Association newsletter.

During recent committee meetings, Palmore has been known to occasionally speak up in French. Although she has a doctorate in American and British literature, with expertise in Victorian literature and Shakespeare, she’s been brushing up on her French conversation skills to prepare for this year’s Study Abroad program in Paris, which she is co-leading.

Palmore, whose professional expertise also includes gender studies, says she strives to make her students feel empowered and engaged.

Before coming to De Anza, Palmore worked as a director of professional development at the University of California, Riverside, where she also earned her Ph.D. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at California State University, Long Beach.

Rosafel Nogra

Rosafel NograRosafel Nogra has been on the front lines of De Anza’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, playing a key role in providing services and protective measures for the health of students and employees.

As clinic director of Student Health Services, she implemented the PyraMED online health records system to make scheduling appointments and tracking records easier and more efficient. The system became an essential part of the effort to bring students and employees back to campus last fall, when the Foothill-De Anza college district enacted requirements for COVID-19 vaccination.

Nogra worked closely with the Enrollment Services Division and the district ETS office to adapt the PyraMED system for uploading and verifying vaccination documents, and to integrate those records with the student registration system – to ensure that students attending classes on campus had met the vaccination requirements.

She also advised college and district officials about the latest state, county and federal health guidelines for dealing with the pandemic. With her small staff, she coordinated contact tracing efforts, monitored cases and arranged special events on campus for COVID-19 vaccinations and testing

Before coming to De Anza, Nogra worked as clinic director and lead nurse practitioner for Chabot College, in affiliation with the Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare system in Pleasanton. When she became clinic director at De Anza in 2019, she was returning to the college where she earned her associate degree in nursing.

Nogra also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing at California State University, Los Angeles, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from Maryville University in St. Louis.

She is a member of De Anza’s Student Health Advisory Committee and the Campus Facilities Committee, and also serves as the lead medical adviser to the ISP immunization program and project director for the Mental Health Grant Program

In her free time, Nogra enjoys travel, spending time with her family and playing piano.

Jennifer Mahato

Jennifer MahatoIn just one year at De Anza College, Jennifer Mahato has become known for getting things done.

As director of college operations, Mahato is responsible for maintenance, groundskeeping and other operational functions, along with emergency preparedness, sustainability programs, facilities rentals, the Mail Room and bond-funded construction projects.

As a result, she’s played a key role in bringing instructional programs and student services back on campus – with close adherence to health and safety guidelines and coordination with numerous college offices, following the unprecedented shift to online operations in 2020 that was prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since she arrived at De Anza in 2021, Mahato has been immersed in the logistics of returning to campus – including the deployment of air purifiers, plexiglass dividers and informational signage, as well as hand sanitizer, face masks, gloves and other protective items. 

Mahato and her operations staff have also ensured the smooth operation of special activities such as the Red Carpet Photo Op organized by the Office of Communications for last year's graduation, the designation of campus Zoom spaces for students who are taking a mix of on-campus and online classes, and the launch event for a new Auto Tech program for autonomous and electric vehicle technicians.

Before coming to De Anza, Mahato worked as a project manager and then as associate director of Facilities and Operations for the Foothill-De Anza district. She currently chairs the Campus Facilities Committee and Campus Center Advisory Board at De Anza, and serves on the district Energy and Sustainability Advisory Committee.

Mahato has a bachelor’s degree in art history from Michigan State University and has done graduate studies in historic preservation at Eastern Michigan University and in architecture at Lawrence Technological University in Michigan. Outside work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, reading mysteries and memoirs, and painting or cooking while listening to old-school funk and rap music.

Brandon Bailey

Brandon BaileyAs the writer/editor in De Anza’s Office of Communications, Brandon Bailey has helped get the word out to students and employees about COVID-19 vaccination requirements and related policies since the college began preparing for the return to campus last fall.

Bailey worked with the Student Health Services office and the Enrollment Services Division to develop messaging for the college website and a series of emails that were sent to students, explaining the requirements and the process for uploading vaccination documents in order to take classes on campus. Bailey and two coworkers from the Office of Communications, Juan Diaz and Iman Seale, also responded to hundreds of emails from students who had questions about the process.

Since joining the Office of Communications in 2016, Bailey has edited or helped write a number of key planning documents and reports for the college, including the 2017 Institutional Self-Evaluation for accreditation, the 2019 Student Equity Plan and the college profile for the 2020 president search.

As a member of the college web team, he helped move the college website to a new platform in 2018 and has revamped or created new website sections for a variety of programs. He also developed specialized sites for initiatives such as Guided Pathways, online graduation, online resources for the pandemic, the president search, return-to-campus planning, Standing Against Racism and other activities.

Bailey said he enjoys teaming up with Office of Communications colleagues on big projects like online graduation, videos and marketing campaigns, and working with faculty and staff members to find new ways for students to learn about their programs.

He and his wife like to explore cities in California and around the country, a process that usually involves “a lot of walking around, eating good food and sampling local beers.” A former newspaper reporter, he has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from the University of Southern California.

(Posted on Feb. 28, 2022)

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