On March 22, Delta College President/Superintendent Dr. Omid Pourzanjani hosted his second Instagram Live Q&A session of the semester.
Pourzanjani answered questions from students about a variety of topics, including the commencement ceremony being planned for Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 graduates.
Pourzanjani confirmed the institution would be proceeding with a virtual commencement ceremony, similar to the commencement ceremony held in May 2020.
“I have a brand new Vice President of Student Services [Dr. Lonita Cordova] who’s responsible for commencement,” Pourzanjani said. “She is really trying to come up to speed and run the virtual commencement because that is the sure thing. We are going to do a virtual commencement.”
Pourzanjani added that the institution is planning on providing students with free caps, gowns and tassels. More information will be given to students within the following weeks.
Pourzanjani said students will be allowed to submit photos and videos to be featured in the virtual commencement ceremony.
In addition to the virtual commencement ceremony, Pourzanjani said the institution is considering a drive-through commencement ceremony.
“If I can get the resources to take on the project in running a drive-by commencement, certainly we will do that,” Pourzanjani said. “If I can pull that off, that is definitely a goal for me as well.”
Another topic addressed by Pourzanjani is free tuition for first-time, full-time students.
In late 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 19, which waives fees for first-time California community college students for their first academic year.
In 2020, Delta College upgraded the program to include free tuition for first-time, full-time students for two academic years.
“We’re going to continue doing that, at least this coming year,” Pourzanjani said.
Pourzanjani also said the institution is working on a partnership with San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) to provide students with free bus passes when they return to campus.
Pourzanjani said his goal is to lower the cost of attending college for students, and encouraged students to not give up on their academic goals despite the challenges that have come with the pandemic.
“The way to get economic mobility is through education,” Pourzanjani said. “I was a community college student, I was low-income and my career certificate in electronics, my AA degree, completely changed my life from a low-income job to a middle-income job.”
Pourzanjani encouraged students to consider degrees in fields that are high in-demand to ensure their best chance at employment.
“Look for things that can get you jobs quickly,” Pourzanjani said.
Considering some students might be hesitant to return to campus, Pourzanjani said the institution would be “exploring more comprehensive offerings for online.”
“When we go back to campus, I don’t believe all of our faculty and I don’t believe all of our students will want to come back,” Pourzanjani said. “The majority may, but we just don’t know what those numbers are. I do think there will be a portion of our population that would want to stay online.”
Pourzanjani said he wants to ensure students have the option to complete degrees fully online if they wish.
“We will try to make this as flexible as possible going forward,” Pourzanjani said.