FLEX Week Spring 2021 (Jan 19 – 22)

Cultivating Empathy, Care, Connection, and Inspiration

All sessions will be held virtually. Zoom links are available at ProLearning.

Flex activities are open to all faculty and staff. Please register for all Flex sessions at ProLearning, your personalized professional learning site. Simply log into MyCOM and choose ProLearning from the list of applications. From the Workshop Calendar, you can view and register (REQUEST) workshops, and find Zoom links. After each session, please complete the short evaluation.

Employee Excellence (EE), Equity (EQ), Institutional Effectiveness (IE), Online Instruction (OI)
Student Success (SS), Teaching and Learning (TL), Technology Training (TT)

Download Flex Week Program Descriptions (PDF)

Pre-FLEX Week Benefits and Wellness Sessions (January 11–15, 2021)

Date/Time Program/Descriptions Presenter / Facilitator
10 am – 11 am
Your Retirement Plan at Work

In this workshop, you will learn about your CalSTRS or CalPERS pension, Social Security Benefits, and how individual retirement savings help to complement employer pensions and maintain your lifestyle well into retirement. In addition, the presenters will discuss the reasons people delay saving for retirement, how much you should save for retirement, the benefits of participating in your employer-sponsored retirement plan, and planning for your retirement early or mid-career.


In addition to registering on ProLearning, you need to register with VALIC to get the event link: my.VALIC.com/seminars
Enter registration code: MCCPWA11AA

J. David Creech
Jeff Isley
VALIC Financial Advisors

10 am — 11:30 am
CalSTRS - My Retirement Benefits

Are you ready to get serious about understanding your retirement? This interactive workshop is designed to give you all the tools you need to calculate your retirement. You will also learn about important topics like the CalSTRS’ hybrid retirement system, survivor benefits, your retirement gap, and steps to increase your retirement income. Get the information you need to know to be informed about CalSTRS retirement.


In addition to registering on ProLearning, you need to register directly with CalSTRS to get the event link: My Retirement Benefits Registration

Marcus Hoey
Defined Contribution Specialist

10 am — 11:30 am
CalSTRS Pension2

Start Saving Now with Pension2 provides information regarding the one voluntary component of the CalSTRS hybrid retirement system that may seem optional, but for almost all employees, is crucial for ensuring a comfortable retirement.

In this portion of the webinar, you’ll understand how valuable saving even a little money today will benefit you hugely by the time you’re ready to retire.

Note: This workshop is open to all employee groups, including certificated, classified, or management.


In addition to registering on ProLearning, you need to register directly with CalSTRS to get the event link: CalSTRS Pension2 Registration

Marcus Hoey
Defined Contribution Specialist

2 pm — 3 pm
Home Ergonomics Made Easy

Establish and maintain a neutral body posture with items found in most homes. This presentation will focus on what is neutral body posture, how to optimize the configuration of computer equipment to support neutral body posture, and basic techniques to minimize discomfort.

Frank Cardoza
Keenan & Associates
Sr. Loss Control Consultant

1 pm — 2 pm
It’s Time to Zoomba! Zumba over Zoom

Zumba takes the "work" out of workout, by mixing low-intensity and high-intensity moves for an interval-style, calorie-burning dance fitness party. Once the Latin and world rhythms take over, you'll see why Zumba® Fitness classes are often called exercise in disguise. Zumba is perfect for everybody and every body! Each Zumba® class is designed to bring people together to sweat it out and have fun. 

Important: You must submit the online waiver in ProLearning before the class.

Susan Wagner
Fitness Instructor

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Time Program/Descriptions Presenter / Facilitator
9 am – 10 am
The Equity Syllabus Workshop — Session 1

This is a two-part series. Attend one or both sessions. Sponsored by the Umoja Equity Institute.

Create an inclusive syllabus that welcomes students and piques their interest before they ever log into Canvas! In this two-part, hands-on workshop series, participants will learn how to use student-centered language and online resources to transform their syllabus into a welcoming, equity-based resource.

Session 1: Using Student-Centered, Equity-Minded Language
Introduces simple ways faculty can adapt syllabus language to better engage students and foster an inclusive classroom ecology. Have a digital copy of your syllabus ready, we will be workshopping our syllabi.

Session 2: The Liquid Syllabus Workshop — Friday at 9 am

Colleen Mihal
Patricia France
Yashica Crawford

10 am – noon
Department Chairs’ and Coordinators’ Meeting

All chairs/coordinators, deans, and directors should attend.

The first 30 minutes of this meeting will offer an update on important topics for the semester. The rest of this meeting will be a presentation from Larry Woodland, Clinical Director of Side by Side. The information and discussion will be applicable to share at department meetings.

Jonathan Eldridge

10:30 am – noon
Using Trauma Transformative Principles to Understand and Change Your Workplace

This workshop will provide an overview of trauma transformed principles and how to use these principles to improve organizational culture. There will be concrete examples of what each person can do to create the work culture each person needs for success. Emphasis will be placed on changes in our external environment that impact teaching and learning, including racial injustice, political division, and the global pandemic.

Larry Woodland
Clinical Director, Side by Side

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Fostering Student Engagement and Inclusivity with Interactive Tools

Wondering what to do with your recorded Zoom lectures? Do your asynchronous discussions seem flat and one-dimensional? Are you curious if your students actually view the videos you post? Are you interested in having students create and share their own videos?

Join this session to learn about the interactive video tools available at COM, consider some scenarios, and discuss their ability to increase student engagement, interest, and knowledge retention. The tools discussed will include:

  • Canvas Studio
  • PlayPosit
  • FlipGrid
  • VoiceThread

We will spend approximately 10 minutes discussing each application. A Q&A session will follow. If you are already using one of these applications and are interested in sharing tips or best practices with faculty during the session, please email Stacey Lince at slince@marin.edu — include a brief summary of how you and/or your students used the tool and its benefits to students.

Stacey Lince
Kathleen Smyth

1 pm – 2 pm
Virtual Cooking Demo — Mediterranean Skillet Chicken and Rice 

Check out this virtual cooking demo that will showcase dinner recipes that are simple, adaptable, wholesome, and delicious! Dinner happens all in a single skillet, in around thirty minutes. The Mediterranean Skillet Chicken and Rice recipe is healthy, delicious, and so easy, even the busiest person can pull it off. This virtual healthy cooking class taught by Chef Alisha is for the foodies and home chef.  No experience needed!  Fun and fully interactive! Come join us and learn culinary techniques, ingredient nutrition facts, and new recipes. 

About the instructor - Alisha is a certified holistic health coach, expert healthy chef and virtual cooking instructor from her Manhattan Beach kitchen.  She caters artisan-style, nutritious meals to individuals, families, and corporations.  She loves to share her enthusiasm and knowledge for food, fitness and help guide your shift in consciousness around your own health and lifestyle. 


Chef Alisha

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Embedded Tutors Faculty Meeting

In this session for faculty members who have embedded tutors in their classes, Tonya and Oksana will present ideas about how to work with their tutors to promote student success and engagement.

Tonya Hersch
Oksana Pensabene

2 pm — 4 pm
New Faculty Orientation 

Are you new to teaching at COM? If so, welcome! 
We’re glad to have you as part of our faculty. We want to give you the support and information you need to be successful, so please join us for this orientation session. You will meet other new faculty and learn important information about COM policies and procedures to help ensure that you are ready for the first day of classes and beyond.

Cari Torres-Benavides
Beth Patel

2 pm — 3:30 pm
Reading Apprenticeship: An Interactive Method of Offering Student-Centered Reading Strategies

Reading Apprenticeship is a just-in-time strategy to boost student reading skills in academic courses. This program, which Karen Koenig studied during her sabbatical, empowers students who struggle to comprehend academic texts by teaching them to work cooperatively to use strategies that unlock the meaning of challenging texts. This framework supports success in their courses, as students read more strategically and confidently. This workshop will be the first of a series during the semester in which faculty of all disciplines will get a chance to experience various strategies in the framework as they tackle challenging texts.

Karen Koenig

4 pm — 5 pm
UndocuAlly Training: Supporting Undocumented Students

This session will provide participants with knowledge, tools, and resources to support undocumented students at College of Marin. We will cover common terms, state and federal laws affecting undocumented students, resources available on and off-campus, and share best practices. 

Hugo Guillen

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Time Program/Descriptions Presenter / Facilitator
10:30 am - noon
COM CARE: Supporting Students during a Pandemic

Learn how best to support students during this difficult time and ways to have hard conversations with them. This presentation will focus on the challenges our students are facing, how we can best support them, and what resources we can refer them to.

Matthew Kent
Sadika Sulaiman Hara

11 am – noon
Raise the Room: Creative Tips to Connect, Engage, and Inspire Learning in the Zoom Room

Now that you're Zooming, are you ready to take it up a notch? In this session, faculty who participated in the Raise the Room Community in Practice will showcase a series of activities to engage, connect, and inspire students while teaching in Zoom. Activities will include Google slides, Jamboard, Flipgrid, Venn Diagrams, jigsaws, and more. You will leave with teaching tips that you can implement from day one of the new semester.

Members of the Raise the Room Community in Practice

Noon – 1:30 pm
Becoming an Access-Centered Educator? Disability Justice in Practice

Changes in our environment have led to shifts in pedagogical approaches and student support. As a result, we have an opportunity and greater obligation to consider the varying needs of students, resources available, and the role we each play in ensuring access. Join Student Accessibility Services, as we provide information on the changing landscape within disability services and the classroom. 

Attendees will:

  • Learn what it means to be an “Access-centered Educator”
  • Explore recent challenges and solutions to address issues of access and accommodation in the classroom
  • Gain practical approaches for immediate implementation in the classroom, including universal design, trauma-informed principles, and technological resources available to all employees

Stormy Miller
Juliette Blank
Elle Dimopoulos
Luna Finlayson

12:30 pm -1:30 pm

Canvas Term Start Checklist and New Features

A key component to student success is creating a smooth entry to their semester by removing technical and cognitive overload barriers. In this session, we will review key steps to ensuring your Canvas course and content are easily accessible to students from day one. We will also cover new Canvas features and updates including:

  • New Rich Content Editor
  • New Zoom LTI Integration
  • Canvas Technical Support Changes

Stacey Lince

1:30 pm – 3 pm
IDEA Community in Practice: A Panel on Engaging in Anti-Racism at COM

College of Marin's IDEA Committee launched the Community in Practice (CIP) series in Summer 2020. CIP cultivates community spaces for COM faculty and staff to support, engage, and heal with each other around anti-racist reflection, dialogue, and practice. This session will be a panel presentation of CIP participants who will share their experience from this community learning model.

Tea Perales
Coleen Mihal
Patty France

2 pm – 3 pm
Practical Mindfulness: Finding Peace and Balance in the Midst of Your Busy Day

Meditation can reduce stress and anxiety, promote creativity, compassion, focus, emotional wellness and so much more! And yet it can be overwhelming to think of finding the time to sit down in silence for even just 15 minutes during our busy day. Luckily there is more than one way to practice and to reap the benefits! 

Practicing mindfulness can be done without changing anything else in your busy schedule. it is the simple act of paying attention, noticing, and being present in whatever you’re doing. When you are being actively mindful, you notice the world around you, as well as your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, movements, and the effects you have on others. What’s great about mindfulness is that you can practice it anytime, anywhere, and with anyone by being fully engaged in the here and now.

Monica Applegate

3 pm – 4 pm
Library in the Time of Corona (with Apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

What does equity look like for novice researchers? It starts with caring librarians who are friendly and supportive. In this session, David Patterson and Sarah Frye will share details about how the library can support you and your students during shelter-in-place. They will discuss the library’s most popular services, including library instruction, library research guides, research assistance, curbside pick-up of materials, Kanopy (streaming movies), The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, E-books, and a 45-minute library tutorial.

David Patterson
Sarah Frye

3 pm — 4 pm
Embracing Online Teaching and Learning: A Student and Faculty Panel Discussion

During this panel, faculty will share how they have embraced online instruction by applying accessible course design strategies to enhance online community, promote interdepartmental collegiality, balance student workloads, and preserve academic integrity.

Students will share their positive experiences about supportive and inclusive online activities and resources that provided connection with their peers and increased their ability to learn and retain the course material.

Allyson Martinez
Kathleen Smyth
Stacey Lince

4 pm — 5 pm
New Integrated Learning Resources Center Planning Meeting: Updates and Q&A

You are invited to join the staff and faculty to hear plans for our new integrated Learning Resources Center. The design team will share a summary from the first round of design values input, present emerging design concepts and interior design values, and close with Q&A.

Learning Resources Center Design Team

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Time Program/Descriptions Presenter / Facilitator
9 am – 11 am


Welcome Back!

Join your friends and colleagues as we prepare for the new year and hear important updates and information about the College.

David Wain Coon

Keynote Presentation
Our Call to Action: Systems Change and Racial Equity in Marin County

A panel discussion with members of Trap the Vote, a Marin County-based social justice organization addressing issues of social justice, systemic racism, and equity. 


11 am - noon
Post-Convocation Breakout Sessions

Following Convocation, choose a group and join members of Trap the Vote to discuss equity through the lens of the individual, COM, and community-at-large. 

Group 1— Community Organizing and Activism: Join in a discussion about youth development, community engagement, and forming authentic relationships with communities that we serve.

Group 2— Future Visions of Marin County: Join in a discussion on the legacy of our racist history in Marin County, and how this presents a unique opportunity to create a new vision of equity.

Group 3 — Your Seat of Influence: Join in a discussion about how we can all use our positions of power to transform educational policy and work toward equity in Marin County.

Group 1:
Bishlam Bullock
Berry Accius

Group 2:
Paul Austin
Amber Allen-Pierson 

Group 3:
Alena Maunder

12:15 pm – 1:45
UPM Meeting

Faculty are encouraged to attend this meeting to hear the latest on the UPM activities.

Patrick Kelly

2 pm — 4 pm
Department Meetings 

Join your department meeting for updates and planning. Check with your department chair for Zoom links.


Friday, January 22, 2021

Time Program/Descriptions Presenter / Facilitator
9 am – 10 am
The Equity Syllabus Workshop – Session 2

This is a two-part series. Attend one or both sessions. Sponsored by the Umoja Equity Institute.

Create an inclusive syllabus that welcomes students and piques their interest before they ever log into Canvas! In this two-part hands-on workshop series, participants will learn how to use student-centered language and online resources to transform their syllabus into a welcoming, equity-based resource.  

Session 1: Using Student-Centered, Equity-Based Language - Tuesday at 9 am

Session 2: The Liquid Syllabus Workshop 
Ready to take your equity-minded syllabus a step further and turn it into something students will be excited to read? This workshop will introduce and get you started on creating a liquid syllabus, an accessible, multimedia, student-centered syllabus that welcomes students. This workshop will utilize Google Sites. Have a digital copy of your equity-minded syllabus ready!  No prior experience is required. 


Colleen Mihal
Patricia France
Yashica Crawford


10 am — noon
Caring for Ourselves While We Care for Others

Our life’s work as educators is in service to others. We take pride in our service, we know how to give, and we work to give well. With the demands of our career, and our personal mindset, caring for ourselves often falls to the wayside. How do we make our own well-being a priority? How do we care for ourselves while we care for others? Answering these questions and successfully implementing self-care, along with knowing what we do that prevents it, is critical to our long-term health, happiness, and success as educators. Self-care, a form of self-empowerment, fueled by internal advocacy, self-regeneration, and resilience, are key components for us to embody and model for those we are serving. This workshop will provide you with the time to assess your current level of practiced self-care, commit to action steps you can take to improve your sense of well-being, and genuinely relax in the moment.


Becky Reetz

Lourdes Billingsley
Life is Your Teacher


Noon – 1 pm
Action Planning: Racial Equity at College of Marin 

We heard from our community during Convocation, and now it is time for us to brainstorm action steps around racial equity. Come and share ideas about how to take our equity efforts to the next level.

Umoja Students and Faculty

1 pm – 2 pm
Beginning Yoga

Learn to integrate the foundations of yoga: breathing techniques, postural alignment, and how to be more present to your mind, body, and spirit. You will learn how to build strength and balance by creating a solid foundation that is rooted in good alignment, body awareness, and breath.

Michele Vaughan

1 pm – 2 pm
Embedding Kanopy's Streaming Movies in Canvas

Equity requires student engagement, and few things inspire students more powerfully than excellent documentary movies. Kanopy is a wonderful collection of documentaries and other movies available through the library. Learn more about Kanopy, including how to integrate Kanopy movies seamlessly into your courses by embedding them into your Canvas shell. Embedding is easier than it sounds! Students can watch an entire documentary or a 30-second snippet and then respond in a variety of ways.


David Patterson
Colleen Mihal
Sarah Frye


1 pm — 2 pm
Promoting a STEM Mindset

What does it mean to be good at math and science? Many students have difficulty viewing themselves as mathematicians or scientists and need some help to change that mindset. In this session, Paul Daubenmire and Hien Nguyen will share tasks and tools to help students change their self-perception of their math and science abilities. These ideas will inspire and encourage students and help them to feel more at home in STEM disciplines.

Paul Daubenmire
Hien Nguyen

2 pm — 3:30 pm

Brave Spaces:  A Proactive Approach to Supporting LGBTQ+ Students

This presentation covers foundational information about sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Participants have the opportunity to examine their knowledge and beliefs and critique paradigms that are harmful to LGBTQIA people and gain practices that can help cultivate affirming spaces at College of Marin and our larger communities.

Teresa Perales
2 pm — 3 pm
From the Boardroom to the Classroom: Applying Business Strategies to Teaching

In this session, Philip Tran will share some of the valuable lessons he learned from almost 20 years in the corporate world and how he applies them to his classroom. These lessons include concepts of efficiency, delegation of work, resourcefulness, and personal responsibility in the classroom, all of which lead to greater student engagement and success.

Philip Tran
3 pm — 4 pm
Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with NameCoach

Stanford Research shows that sense of belonging is a critical factor in student success and persistence, and that name mispronunciation is a frequent and pervasive way in which students often are or feel alienated or “uncertain belonging” (Blackmon, D. 2016). The Distance Education Committee is pleased to announce the adoption of NameCoach for Education.

NameCoach is a recording tool that allows students to record the correct pronunciation of their names and gender pronouns so faculty, staff, and other students can listen and learn how to say the names correctly.  NameCoach can be accessed through Canvas and Outlook. Join this session to learn how to access NameCoach, listen to pronunciations, and record your own name!

Stacey Lince
Elle Dimopoulos
NameCoach Representative