CollegeBuys Newsletter Creating Spaces | 2020, 1st Quarter


The landscape of learning continues to evolve. Often, technology is embedded with this idea of evolution as we have seen through the Online Education Initiative and through the establishment of the system's newest institution, the Online College. However, the most proven method of learning and instruction still occur on physical campuses. It is on our campuses that technology, and evolution in methods of teaching (and engaging) students, are on a symbiotic collision -- and where spaces conducive for learning and collaboration play an impactful role.

According to Learning Environments: Where Space, Technology, and Culture Converge, which was published as part of the Educause Learning Initiative, the term learning environment "encompasses learning resources and technology, means of teaching, modes of learning, and connections to societal and global contexts ...it requires us to examine and sometimes rethink the roles of teachers and students because the ways in which they make use of spaces animates the educational enterprise." In some spheres, this is referred to as collaborative learning.

The collaborative learning space encourages and challenges students socially, mentally, emotionally, and intellectually. When students are comfortable they are more likely to open up to learning. Students can discuss and share ideas openly and freely listen to one another, debate, defend their points of view, offer alternative points of view that might be informed by their personal experiences and perspectives, and raise questions for which there might not be any ready-made answers. As such, students, instructors, technology, and the desire to foster a positive classroom culture are seminal ingredients in collaborative learning.

Architecture firm BWBR, as part of its Knowledge Series released a case study called "Every Space is a Learning Space" focusing on the role of spaces in encouraging informal learning and collaboration in higher education environments. According to the study, "Learning-space design, approached from a holistic perspective, takes into account the spectrum of learning activities and the variety of environments necessary for students to optimize their academic experience. These unique spaces allow students to engage in a richer educational experience."

Proposition 51 Bond Resources

In July 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom and the California State Legislature approved Proposition 51, in so doing, approved funding for all projects on the 2019-2020 Capital Outlay Plan. Proposition 51 enables community colleges to modernize existing, and build new, facilities. The funding will also support 20 continuing projects and 39 new projects.

CCC System Resources

Over the past 15 years, the California Community Colleges, through the Foundation for California Community Colleges -- the statewide 501c3 nonprofit organization for the CCCs -- in partnership with districts statewide, have competitively bid furniture, flooring, lighting, and fixtures agreements that allow our colleges to retrofit and to build spaces that respond to the needs of our institutions and students.

The shared work of our system in developing these agreements have resulted in the adoption of our contracts by the California State University system in 2018. These contracts are invaluable to ensuring taxpayer funds (such as Proposition 51 funds) are spent responsibly by working with vendors/suppliers to provide an added layer of accountability (i.e. mandatory performance specifications, warranties, and added support) to products they provide to our community colleges. For more information on these agreements, please visit CollegeBuys.

Photo Blog

Procurement’s Role in Academic Success

Jorge Burwick and Jennifer Le, Foundation for California Community Colleges

Solano College recently completed its Science Center reflecting the evolution of higher education learning environments. The Science Center was part of the campus tour conducted during the most recent Northern California Purchasing Group's meeting, held in Solano College.

This past May, we had the opportunity to tour the newly constructed Biotechnology and Science Building at Solano Community College, host of the Spring Northern California Community Colleges Purchasing Group (NCCCPG) meeting. The building project, which first broke ground in August 2017, was developed to offer a four-year biotechnology program to train Solano College students to meet regional workforce demands. The building serves as an interdisciplinary science facility and houses an expanded Veterans Center providing student resources and support.

The impressive state-of-the-art building fosters learning through thoughtfully curated spaces where art meets functionality by offering the latest in furniture, safety and lab equipment. To achieve best value, Solano College utilized Foundation contracts with KI, Fisher Scientific and Bio-Rad. The building’s success is a culmination of the often-overlooked commitment from those in procurement and facilities in giving students the tools and environment they deserve for academic success.

From the Editor

Expanding into "Virtual" Space

Jorge J.C. Sales, Executive Director of Program Development

What an exciting time, as we bear witness to the changing landscape of education as online learning continues to take an expanded role in our students' academic journeys.

It was 2003 at the University of Southern California, and I was carrying (what I now think is dizzying) 18 units for the fall semester and was presented with the idea of taking online courses to help balance my schedule. At the time, I had heard of it but I was skeptical. My skepticism received its merits when I logged onto the course management system, and my "online course" was basically a powerpoint presentation that I had to flip through and read the annotations at the bottom of the screen to "absorb" the course. I passed the course but it was with tremendous difficulty in the absence of peer and faculty interaction. Needless to say, I never took an online course at USC ever again.

Fast forward to 2013, I received a call from my friend Pam Gray who then oversaw Foothill - De Anza Community College District's procurement office. Coincidentally, I was in Chicago at the time for Neocon and she asks me, "Have you heard of the Online Education Initiative?" To which I responded, "what initiative?" After walking me through the particulars, I was overjoyed to hear about a large scale effort to enhance online education in a way that has never been done before. The Online Education Initiative (OEI) aimed to provide a dynamic systemwide environment for students to cross-enroll between online courses at community college institutions, supported by a dynamic online support ecosystem, and working with faculty to develop a course rubric to ensure students absorb the coursework (i.e. No more powerpoints for students to self guide through!)

To execute on the OEI's ambitious objectives, "things" had to be procured and since the procurement addresses the system, they had to be bid competitively. Pam and I agreed to work closely with each other, and OEI leadership in developing RFP's for the OEI. Before we knew it, we had churned out RFPs for online tutoring, online proctoring and authentication, online counseling and advising, online readiness assessments, etc. Our partners at Butte College secured the statewide course management system (awarding to Canvas). Needless to say, we learned things we never thought we ever needed to learn.

This was all part of a grand design to create space for our students needs. Instead of a tutoring center, we worked on securing an online tutoring service provider. Why? Tutoring centers in brick and mortar institutions are open during business hours (typically through 7pm), while our online students may also be working students who may have challenging work schedules and/or responsibilities. The premise of online learning is flexibility: if a working mother wanted to take her coursework at midnight, and needed tutoring support for it, she can access the online infrastructure as needed -- eliminating the challenge of having to show up to campus -- through the OEI. The same intent was placed on designing the entire ecosystem of support tools -- the intent being: support.

Fast forward to 2018, and the state has doubled down on its online education objectives. The Online College for the California Community Colleges (known as Calbright College as of 2019) became official. As its website states, it is "a new kind of college, built around the needs of working people." Calbright became our systems 115th community college, and the 73rd district. Its focus is driven by the workforce -- both individual and industry needs. This "space" was designed and built on need -- and the need to support Californians in obtaining gainful employment.

The work of our local Distance Education Centers, Online Education Initiative, and Calbright College are all intended to address an understood need to create spaces in the virtual environment as much as we have done so on our brick and mortar campuses. This is all intended to enable Californians to build a greater California. Behind all of these efforts focused on building and creating spaces are people like you and me who live in the world of contracts, procurement, and risk management that pick up knowledge (things we never thought we would ever have to learn) to advance the common interests of the institutions we represent. The reason I share is to remind you -- each of us -- that we are all part of the process of creating spaces that in turn yield California's future. Let's keep working and learning together.

Legislative Advisory

Proposition 51 Bond Resources Approved

Community Colleges League of California

Thanks to persistent messaging and over a dozen advocacy days with community college district leaders from throughout California to demonstrate the urgent need and value of college facilities, Governor Gavin Newsom and the State Legislature approved funding for all projects in the 2019-20 Capital Outlay Plan. The 2019 Budget Act includes $535.3 million in capital outlay funding from Proposition 51, a measure approved by California voters in 2016. The funding will support 20 continuing projects and 39 new projects.

ANALYSIS: Unquestionably, Proposition 51 will result in positive improvements on infrastructure. It should be noted that only projects (including those which are Proposition 39-related) approved by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors in September 2018 will be funded by Proposition 51 (at this point). This impacts Procurement/Purchasing offices since the funds may increase activity with regard to local Board approvals, bidding, and issuance of purchase orders.

Assembly Bill 1809

On June 27, 2018, Assembly Bill 1809 was signed into law by California's Governor. Below are some of its highlights that have direct impact on California Community Colleges procurement and business offices:

  • Establishes the California Community Colleges as one of the state's 3 segments of public post-secondary education in the state (in addition to CSU and UC).
  • Appropriates $13,500,000 to support technology advancements and innovations in financial aid processing and management systems at the community colleges in order to streamline financial aid verification and to enable the community colleges to more efficiently process state and federal financial aid grants.
  • Appropriates $10,000,000 for allocation to community college districts. At least $9,750,000 of this appropriation be used to provide a funding incentive to each community college district that is designated as a “hunger free campus” pursuant to existing law. Up to $250,000 of the appropriation be used for a systemwide study related to student hunger, housing, and basic needs issues.
  • Appropriate $10,000,000 to support mental health services and training to be allocated as grants to community colleges.

ANALYSIS: The law finally recognizes the CCCs as one of three (3) segments of the state's higher education systems allowing us to have better footing in Intersegmental business conversations, and opens the door for more streamlined collaboration between the systems -- best value contracts for commodities, for example.

Financial Aid processing and management funding are distributed in grant format to the community colleges, this carve out aims to expand the number of students who can avail of much needed financial aid to persist in their academic careers. To support the objectives of funding, CollegeBuys secured an agreement with CampusLogic, at the request of the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office.

Appropriations for expanding mental health services and training; and student hunger, housing, and basic needs issues reflect a commitment by the Administration to support expanded support services for our student population as cost of living and education continue to increase within California.

Sierra College and Campus Logic Partnership Supporting Financial Aid Enhancements

Jennifer Alford, (formerly) Sierra Joint Community College District

The contract agreements produced by the Foundation are thorough and competed in accordance with community college procurement guidelines, rules and regulations. The process and contract documents are transparent, accessible and available for review as needed. When the call was received from the Sierra College Financial Aid department to provide a solution to process financial aid the estimates provided were well above the bid threshold. I made the first step to explore delivering the request within the desired timeframe through the Foundation CampusLogic agreement.

The financial aid department worked with the vendor to identify the scope of work, project schedule and cost. The ability to procure from the existing agreement allowed the department to submit the agenda item to the Board of Trustees for approval at the upcoming meeting and move the contract forward for execution and project planning.

Through implementation, Sierra will be using the Foundation CampusLogic agreement to transform the complicated FAFSA verification process from a manual to automated solution and reduce the document review time from weeks to days. CampusLogic also includes enhanced communication text and email released directly to the student.

Take the time to review the available contracts offered through the Foundation, chat with your regional chairs or meet with the northern and southern purchasing groups to learn more about how the Foundation can be an extension of your procurement operation.

2019 Impact Report for Systemwide Procurement

July 1, 2019 signaled the beginning of fiscal year 2020, symbolic of new beginnings and the continuation of best practices. As we get comfortable in this new fiscal year 2020, it is worth taking a look back at fiscal year 2019 and all that we have accomplished together as a procurement community:

  • Aggregate cost savings of $60.7 million for the California Community Colleges through CollegeBuys contract usage;
  • $100,000 in funding for equity programs that support Veterans, Foster Youth, Mental Health Services, Food and Housing Security;
  • Directly served over 12,806 students, faculty, and staff through CollegeBuys;
  • 5,000 scholarships provided for California Community College students;
  • Expanded system impacts of 24 California Community Colleges Corporate Roundtable partners;
  • Brought 49 California Community College districts together for the annual Purchasing Conference for professional development and to support unified approaches in contracting and procurement
  • Collaborated with CSU, UC, and AICCU to further streamline procurement through the California Higher Education Shared Services initiative.

These impacts were made possible through contract utilization, the dedication of the CollegeBuys Advisory Group and the focus of its Workgroups, and the system's support for CollegeBuys.

You made this possible!

Register Now for Regional Forums!

2019 Regional Construction Risk Summits

With escalating bids resulting from increased material cost and a shortage of qualified labor, your General Funds could be at great risk due to claims from poor workmanship and negligent contractors. Which could result in millions of dollars in claims and lawsuits. How you manage your risk up front will determine your success when claims arise. This summit is a great opportunity to learn risk management strategies to protect your district. Topics include:

  • The state of public education construction risk
  • Construction Defects – What could go wrong?
  • Is their risk your risk? How to negotiate and protect your district through insurance and indemnity provisions (construction and non-construction contracts)
  • Building design to mitigate active shooter risk
  • Campus tour

Legislative Advocate, Rebekah Cearley, from Murdoch, Walrath & Holmes will also be in attendance to hold a town hall discussion on legislation that could impact your district.

The Construction Risk Summit is offered regionally in partnership with the Northern and Southern California community college purchasing associations, at no cost to district employees.

  • Southern California edition will be held in El Camino College on September 5, 2019. The
  • Northern California edition will be hosted by Skyline College on September 16, 2019.

The District Purchasing Roundtable for California Community Colleges (NCCCPG and SCCCPA) will be held prior to the summit at each location at 8:30 AM. Register no later that September 2, 2019!

Systemwide Contracts for Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO)

The California State University (CSU), University of California (UC), and the Foundation for California Community Colleges (Foundation) have secured agreements with industry-leading Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO) suppliers: Fastenal Company and Grainger Industry Supply through the California Higher Education Strategic Sourcing (CHESS) Initiative. CHESS leverages the purchasing power of all three segments of California public higher education.


Through CHESS Initiative, California’s community colleges are able to access an expanded CollegeBuys portfolio of contracts allowing for increased cost-savings for MRO and other offerings. These contracts are compliant via legislative support through Assembly Bill 653 (Levine) which expanded California Education Code 81641; and added California Education Code 81646 and California Public Contract Code 20653.5.

Cost Savings and Value

Fastenal and Grainger contracts provide category discounts ranging from 3% to 57% and offer custom core products list based on commonly purchased items by each campus location -- such as air filters, fasteners, outdoor equipment, plumbing, safety, and fleet and vehicle maintenance. Furthermore, each college/district is eligible for rebate and discount incentives based on standardization, annual purchase volume growth, green product purchases, and single point of delivery. The agreements also provide MRO sustainability specifications for green products.

Agreement Access

Aimed at expanding cost savings locally, this information may be shared with your Facilities decision makers, Maintenance and Repair professionals, and Faculty (who work with industry-related courses). Links to the agreements and appropriate contacts are as follows:

Foothill-De Anza Community College District Implements Applicant Tracking System

Maria Contreras-Tanori, Foothill - De Anza Community College District

In April 2019, the Foothill-De Anza Community College District (District) leveraged the competitive RFP previously conducted by LACCD, and utilized the Foundation for California Community Colleges (Foundation) cooperative agreement with Cornerstone OnDemand (software solution) and Alight Solutions LLC (system integrator) for a Recruiting Applicant Tracking System in support of the Human Resources Department (HR). Since this cooperative agreement was awarded through a competitive bid administered by the Foundation, the District can purchase directly from these contractors with the confidence that all District and State requirements for competitive bidding have been met.

The District has been using Oracle’s Taleo since 2013, but it has not been able to effectively integrate with Ellucian Banner, the District’s Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP System). HR has worked with Taleo and numerous consultants and project teams to integrate with our ERP System without success. As a result, HR staff members have to use manual processes to completely onboard new employees. In order for HR to improve efficiency, it is critical for HR to have an online and fully automated Applicant Tracking System (ATS System) for accepting, processing, and tracking employment applications, including data integration with the our ERP System.

The project is currently in process and once complete, the new Cornerstone ATS System will enable the HR recruiting team to keep track of all job requisitions, manage candidates’ profiles and resumes, view application statuses, and exchange candidate feedback. The new Cornerstone ATS System will also provide the following benefits:

  • Seamlessly integrates with District’s existing Ellucian Banner ERP System.
  • Automates and streamlines the recruiting processes of collecting all candidate data, requisitions, and recruiting workflows into one easily accessible location towards reducing time spend on manual paper-based processes and redundant data entry.
  • Provides robust applicant tracking and on-boarding features to automate job posting, manage candidate data, manage employee referrals, track recruiting metrics.
  • Provides the base platform for future automated application add-ons such as performance management and professional development.
  • Highly configurable that will facilitate workflow configuration (without costly customization), electronic forms, document storage, task management and automatic notifications.

Overall, the Cornerstone solution will improve efficiency by integrating with our existing ERP System and automate application processes, onboarding of new employees, and eliminate the need to manage multiple disparate systems.

Looking to Grow and Broaden Your Skills? Look Internally!

Mireille Hernandez, Long Beach Community College District and Co-Chair of SCCCPA

In my opinion, a rewarding profession is a job that continues to challenge you. Not all learning and growth opportunities have to be through external sources and sometimes the most rewarding ones sit just outside your comfort zone yet inside your District’s boundaries.

I have focused my personal development goals over the last year to include building a network of new professional relationships, looking for collaborative learning opportunities in areas which are tangentially linked to my position as a Buyer, and ones where I can feel satisfaction because my actions contributed to someone else’s success.

I started looking for ways to go beyond my daily job and to learn more about the goals and inner working of other areas of the Long Beach Community College District (LBCC). LBCC offers a 10-month professional development program where a cohort of approximately 38 staff, administrators and faculty learn about themselves, their management styles, the operations of the District and the community college system, financial management, student programs, communication skills, and leadership. With a little trepidation mixed with curiosity and enough pushing from those who participated in this program previously, I applied and was accepted to the program.

I was thrown into a mixture of people learning similar things but through different lenses. I enjoyed seeing my colleagues who work in different positions at the District looked at the same materials and exercises as I did but saw things in a different perspective. It showed me how their point of view could be so different from mine, but also taught me to look at things differently and approach solutions in new ways.

The second half of the program challenged smaller work teams of approximately 6-8 people to take what they had learned and focus it on a topic or challenge the District was facing. The general area we focused on was stumbling blocks to student learning and success and a direct focus on increasing the use of Open Education Resources (OER) in our curriculum. The group researched, initiated, and developed an in-house training program “Innovate to Achieve Equitable Student Success,” which is aligned with LBCC’s strategic plan. Our work culminated with LBCC hosting the District’s inaugural OER mini conference, which highlighted how faculty can meet the needs of students while maintaining a high academic standard of textbooks and materials. More than 70 faculty registered for the conference and the event resulted in an immediate increase of OER adoption.

As the Buyer who focuses upon purchasing technology and the integration of Accessibility and Sec 508, having this new perspective and network of colleagues who are now friends, I am more effective in my position. I view the requisitions and emails regarding purchases from a multitude of perspectives, not just that of a buyer. I can more closely link what I do daily to the successes of my co-workers whether they are in offices, classrooms, laboratories, or out on our athletic fields. I am now better equipped to ask the questions of the end user and the companies and be a well-versed advocate for my clients.

I am writing this to encourage everyone to look for opportunities whether it be a half-day meeting or a seminar that brings you closer to comprehending the needs of your clients, their distinct backgrounds, and training. Investing time in these learning opportunities will pay you back with knowledge outside of purchasing, improve your team building skills, increase your network of friends, and challenge your communication skills. It also helps tie every action you take at work back to helping others succeed and that makes it all worthwhile!

Expanding Systemwide Procurement and Business Support

CollegeBuys, the system's procurement program housed in the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the official nonprofit c3 auxilary of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and Chancellor's Office, is committed to being a resource to all 115 California Community Colleges.

In this spirit of continuing to serve as an effective and nimble resource to the CCCs, CollegeBuys has reinvested into expanding its human capital and building capacity to continue working with our community colleges to innovate and create.

Elaine Reodica Shyu, Director of Collaborative Services

In July 2019, Elaine Reodica Shyu joined CollegeBuys as Director of Collaborative Services. Her role is intended to expand our system's library of agreements, and work with Procurement Professionals, Chief Business Officers, Presidents, and Trustees. Her prior experience from the Community Colleges League of California supporting District Services and her experience in the banking industry provides Elaine with a diverse depth of understanding for our system, integral in furthering the interests and positive impacts of our procurement community.

Jennifer Keiper, Director of CollegeBuys

In August 2019, Jennifer Keiper will rejoin CollegeBuys as Director of CollegeBuys. Jen's role is intended to streamline cooperation between intersegmental partners (CSU and UC), and internal operations efficiencies that focus on supporting community college partners and contract(ing) compliance. Jennifer was a part of the CollegeBuys team from 2015-2018, and transferred to UC Davis Medical Center 2018-2019 as part of their strategic contracting arm. She returns to CollegeBuys with deeper insights on UC operations and a depth of familiarity for our shared objectives.


Systemwide Contracts Update

  • Proctorio has been awarded a three year agreement to provide online proctoring and authentication services to support the Online Education Initiative.
  • Link Systems International has been awarded a three year agreement to provide online proctoring and authentication services to support the Online Education Initiative.
  • Adobe has signed a renewed agreement with the California Community Colleges, providing deep discounting for institutional/enterprise deployment of Adobe, locking the price in for three years (for ease of budgeting) and providing the added benefit of Adobe Sign access for all 110 participating California Community Colleges.

Key Dates


  • Open Nominations for CHEC Focus on Efficiency Awards -- please nominate a person, department, program/initiative, and/or community college. Deadline to submit is August 23, 2019. Find our more.
  • Call for Articles -- CollegeBuys is seeking articles, blogs, photos, highlights to be included in the next edition of the CollegeBuys Newsletter. Desired focus is on best practices, (individual, team, college/district) accomplishments, and opportunities to enhance systemwide knowledge. If interested, please contact Jennifer Le (jle@foundationccc.org)



Newsletter Archives

CollegeBuys Advisory Group and Workgroups Updates

Thanks for Reading!

Look out for the next edition due out in October 2019.


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