top
California
California
Indybay
Indybay
Indybay
Regions
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
Topics
Newswire
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature

Two Los Angeles Film Professors Bilked Taxpayers Over $3.5 Million Dollars

by Anonymous
Faculty infighting and an attitude of entitlement in a Community College Film School, deprived low-income students in the Van Nuys/North Hollywood area of technical training and financial aid, while two full-time film professors bilked California taxpayers over $3.5 million dollars in salaries.
sm_10402564_10154204184265243_638725478729620098_n.jpg
On May 14, 2023 ‘Everything we know about the Van Nuys/North Hollywood Los Angeles Valley College scandal’ hit the wire. This was followed on May 17, 2023 by ‘Van Nuys/Los Angeles College Screenwriting Professor Faked Writer’s Guild Membership’ proving Los Angeles Valley College Media Arts Department Chair Eric Swelstad had lied in his professional bio about being a member of the Writer’s Guild of America – West, for the past decade.

May 5, 2023 ‘Dozen LAVC Cinema Student Narratives challenges Erika Endrijonas’s LACCD Success story’ was published, documenting first hand from dozens of Media Arts students how their education had been negatively impacted enrolling in the Los Angeles Valley College Media Arts/Cinema programs.

But an over-all question remains what drove many of these situations?

At least some of the answer appears to be petty squabbles and infighting between community college faculty, who collected combined salaries of $3.5 million dollars during the period of 2012 – 2021 (as far back as Transparent California’s records go) on the taxpayers dime.

In 1997, recently retired Professor of Media Arts Arantxa Rodriguez also known as Arantzanzu Rodriguez, was hired as a full-time faculty member in the LAVC Media Arts Department. In 2001, Eric Swelstad, current chair of the LAVC Media Arts Department) was hired full-time.

Multiple documents – emails, court declarations, and official minutes of the Los Angeles Valley College Curriculum Committee meetings, suggest Rodriguez and Department Chair Eric Swelstad weaponized academic programs in a malicious manner hurting student graduation and completion, while the Los Angeles Valley College Administration and LACCD Board of Trustees did nothing.

On May 3, 2023 ‘Erika Endrijonas faces new questions in LACCD fraud’ hit the wire, including two student led complaints to the Accreditation Commission of Junior and Community Colleges filed in June 2016. In August 2016, Student 1 received an email from Joseph Dacursso replying to an email Student 1 sent venting that about the mismanagement of the Media Arts Department. The reason being then LAVC President Erika Endrijonas had submitted a reply to Accreditation blaming Dacursso for policies and curriculum in the Department. Dacursso’s baffled reply showed Dacursso was unaware of the accreditation complaint or a fact-finding mission, demonstrating that Endrijonas had lied to the Accreditation Commission and shamelessly submitted yet another fraudulent report.

In one part of his email, Dacursso however specifically confirmed that he had been at odds with Rodriguez and Eric Swelstad for most of the past ten years since stepping down as Department Chair.

START EMAIL

“Since stepping down as Chair by 2007, I have disagreed with several important decisions the Dept. and its Chairmen since have made...as I thought those decisions would eventually weaken our curricula programs (particularly our production course offerings). Though the senior-most member of my Dept., my admonitions, suggestions, and teaching philosophy were pretty-much ignored by my colleagues.”

END EMAIL

This also wasn’t the only instance of infighting in the Department.

In ‘Dozen LAVC Cinema Student Narratives challenges Erika Endirjonas’s LACCD Success Story’, both Student 1 and LAVC Media Arts Student Narrative 10 (April 25, 2016) specifically mention the visible infighting among the faculty.

START EMAIL

“I have been a student with LAVC for 4 years. I was majoring in Cinema and Media arts. I have kept a 4.0 GPA and was offered membership with Phi Theta Kappa honor society. I had to stop coming to LAVC for several reasons. It seemed that a year ago the school canceled the Sound Design class, a class I was hoping to take. I went to SIGGRAPH courtesy of and I was discussing my leaving with one of the teachers. She said she was the Dean who was responsible for cancelling the classes, due to the fact she felt it wasn't relevant. It appears the Cinema/Media department does not care for it's students anymore. That is why I have gone on to LACC. Their curriculum is vastly superior, and the petty squabbles are not as present.”

END EMAIL

Email to cc’d LAVC Academic Senate (April 17, 2016)

START EMAIL

“Now that the Fall 2016 Schedule is out and neither and are scheduled for Fall 2016 - the Department is suddenly able to schedule the same two classes on different nights that don't have a conflict!

There is more then enough documentation that the Department scheduling committee which has consisted of you and Prof Swelstad, scheduled these conflicts with these two particular teachers and now that the classes they taught last semester are being given to the new hire, there is now no scheduled conflicts.

Whatever personal problems that YOU and Prof Swelstad have with your co-workers HOW DARE YOU use the School Schedule in violation of the College's Accreditation agreement and interfere with students ability to finish and graduate!

Give back Photoshop class AND STOP using the schedule and curriculum to settle YOUR PERSONAL PROBLEMS with your co-workers.”

END EMAIL

In 2012, LAVC Media Arts Department founder Joseph Dacursso retired as a full-time faculty member, leaving Arantxa Rodriguez and Eric Swelstad as the only remaining full-time professors in the Media Arts Department. Additional classes were taught by a revolving door of half-a-dozen adjunct faculty members. Dacursso’s retirement also created a job opening, but budgetary approval to hire a new full-time faculty member was withheld until 2016.

Because of union seniority lists, an adjunct faculty member who had previously quit LAVC for a period of time before returning (again due to conflict with Rodriguez) was at the top of the Media Arts Adjunct Priority List. This adjunct had created and taught Photoshop, After Effects and other required classes in the Post-Production Degree.

In 2013, Los Angeles Valley College was the recipient of a multi-million dollar Deputy Sector Navigator Grant to specifically offer these classes. Despite this funding, the classes mentioned in the grant were almost never offered. A month after submitting the Deputy Sector Navigator Grant, the LAVC Academic Senate archived Media Arts 121: Advanced Digital Editing and Media Arts 132 ‘Business of Entertainment’ specifically mentioned in the Grant Application. The remaining classes Media Arts 104 Photoshop, Media Arts 103 After Effects, and Media Arts 110 Sound Design, were offered in one section, once a semester, once a school year for the next four years.

Between 2012 – 2016, the Media Arts Schedule of Classes had been repeatedly made up nearly every year pitting rarely offered, required classes against one another and assigning the same two adjunct faculty members to teach them. In 2015, Career Technical Education Dean Laurie Nalepa made a unilateral decision to stop offering Media Arts 110 – taught by the other faculty member who was ranked as the top adjunct in the Cinema priority lists. In Spring 2016, this situation finally resulted in the first Adjunct's After Effects class being cancelled due to splitting the enrollment between two required classes.

It also threw off multiple students graduation by years yet again.

At the same time Arantxa Rodriguez submitted curriculum changes to further eliminate the classes taught by the first Media Arts Adjunct Faculty member from the Post-Production Degree and replace them with two un-related theory classes that Rodriguez taught.

Both adjuncts faculty members had applied for the full-time faculty position, but in April 2016, Eric Swelstad and Arantzanzu Rodriguez informed a recent graduate that one of the adjuncts had been excluded from full-time position before interviews were even held.

Swelstad and Rodriguez had also not informed the adjunct his/her exclusion from the full-time job, while gaslighting him/her and dissuading him/her from teaching elsewhere.

Ultimately, the adjunct faculty member resigned from Los Angeles Valley College.

Also in 2016, the Broadcasting Faculty petitioned to separate from the Media Arts Department. The reason put forward by Broadcasting Faculty was they were unable to provide adequate training to students under the umbrella of the Media Arts Department and sought to rejoin the Communications Department.

The motion was approved by the Valley College Curriculum Committee and LAVC Academic Senate, but unilaterally vetoed by Erika Endrijonas in her trademark autocratic fashion.

A year later, Rodriguez was a special guest at the Valley College Curriculum Committee, where Rodriguez, Swelstad and Assistant Professor C. Sustin objected to creating new broadcasting classes to offer technical training for students at Los Angeles Valley College, due to a collegial agreement they’d forged too strangle offering Media arts Classes at LACCD Pierce and Mission Colleges in exchange for strangling Broadcasting Classes at LAVC. On the other side of the debate, Broadcasting Faculty Jason Beaton and Betty Ballew argued that the classes would be needed when the Valley Academic and Cultural Center opened. Full-time Broadcasting Professor Gail Nastasia ultimately resigned that year as well.

Only two years after Rodriguez submitted her curriculum changes, all Media Arts curriculum was re-written again by the Department’s Assistant Professor, to correct and change Rodriguez’s curriculum.

During this time Rodriguez and Swelstad collected combined salaries of $3.5 million dollars during the period of 2012 – 2021 for a department with few to no graduates. Meanwhile, multiple low-income students were unable to finish the academic programs they were deceived into enrolling in and exhausted their financial aid at Los Angeles Valley College.
§Joseph Dacursso Email
by Anonymous
sm_1.jpg
RE: Hi Joe - Personal Email about the Cinema Program

Daccurso, Joseph A.
Sun 8/7/2016 12:16 AM
To: REDACTED

Hi, REDACTED

I just saw what you sent as I only intermittently check my campus email while I've been on-the-road out-
of-State. It was good to hear from you...though I'm sorry your e-letter seemed to be filled with so much disappointment, discontent, and disgruntled feelings about your education (LAVC or otherwise) and the various economic challenges in your life's journey. Actually I'm a little confused as to why your concerns were directed at me as if I was or am the cause of your disappointments and dissatisfaction...and wonder if they should have been directed to the Media Arts Dept. (which includes the Cinema curriculum) Chairman Eric Swelstad and the Dept.s administration supervisor Dean Dr. Laurie Nalepa (or even addressed your concerns to the College President?)?
I don't know if you're aware of it...but I have not been at LAVC for a full year now (the first time in 50 yrs. of teaching in general & 39 yrs. specifically at LAVC)...having only been a part-time Adjunct during the 2013-15 academic years as I retired at age 70 from full-time teaching in Summer 2013. Though I had been a Dept. Chairman for 15 yrs. (5 yrs. for Theatre/Cinema, then 5 for Cinema Arts, & finally 5 yrs. for Media Arts...a Dept. I helped create, including its first several digital production courses back in 2001-02)....I have not been the Media Arts Dept. Chairman since 2006 & have not taught any of the Cinema or Media Arts curriculums production/studio/workshop hands-on courses since 2008. Thus, I have not been responsible for creating or eliminating or changing/altering any of the Dept.'s curriculum offerings (certainly not what has happened to production/hands-on courses).
In all the years I was in charge of any Dept. curricular matters at LAVC, I was usually adding/creating new courses of a practical hands-on nature...as my teaching of film/TV/media throughout my career (both as an academician & a professional filmmaker/media-maker) has always centered around students having an integrated (broad yet specific) experience of reading about, seeing/hearing a multitude of examples of, & definitely doing/making films/videos/media. And both through writing numerous grants over the years, soliciting equipment donations from the industry, & even buying things (or getting equipment repaired) out of my own pocket during most of my years at LAVC, I was always trying to make our Dept.'s offerings beneficial to students' time spent in our classes. It was my efforts at grant-writing when the Media Arts Dept. was first created that the College obtained its first digital cameras, editing/compositing computers, digital sound- recording equipment, etc., as well as my supervising the design & building of our labs & studio.
§Joseph Dacursso Email
by Anonymous
sm_2.jpg
Since stepping down as Chair by 2007, I have disagreed with several important decisions the Dept. and its Chairmen since have made...as I thought those decisions would eventually weaken our curricula programs (particularly our production course offerings). Though the senior-most member of my Dept., my admonitions, suggestions, and teaching philosophy were pretty-much ignored by my colleagues. Of course, a variable that is always at work in life (especially in education) is the matter of funding & how those limited funds are spent/applied. As a matter of fact, one of my personal disappointments is that the College has yet to bring ground on what was to be a new Media Arts-related building (including studios, labs, theatres, etc.) that we had been seriously making plans (architectural & curriculum-wise) for well over a decade before you came to LAVC.

Again I'm frankly confused as to why you vented what you did to me as if I am or was the cause of your disappointments & concerns??? Much of the decision-making as to curricular changes during my last 8 yrs. at LAVC (meaning even a couple of years before you started to attend) were made by Chair Eric Swelstad & full-timers such as Prof. Arantxa Rodriguez who taught several of the production courses...to whom your concerns should have been directed while you were in attendance at LAVC. I'm glad you were in my Cine 107 class & hopefully got out of it some cinematic understanding that you were able to apply to whatever hands- on/production type courses you took since. I sincerely wish you success & contentment in whatever your current & future endeavors, be they academic (hopefully, going forward with your Bachelor's completion), professional (in whatever industry or career), & personal...for a life filled with prosperity, good health, nurturing people, and peace (inward & outward).
Best, Prof. Joe D.
§Joseph Dacursso Email
by Anonymous
sm_3.jpg
From: REDACTED
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2016 8:21 AM
To: Daccurso, Joseph A.
Subject: Hi Joe - Personal Email about the Cinema Program

Joe,

My name is - I was a student of yours four years ago when I first came to Valley College and had your Wednesday Afternoon 1-4pm, Cinema 107 class - Fall semester 2012.
I am sending you this email because I am at the end of the Cinema Program and I wanted to communicate now at the other side how disappointed and dissatisfied I am with the education program you created. I will also note that my dissatisfaction is shared by virtually everyone I know or have met in the film industry when I described the education or rather lack there of that I received - due I am told to the policies and educational culture in the Department that was created in the 1970's.
In the entire time I have been at Valley College, I have received almost no practical, hands on training with the equipment and only handled the Valley College cameras one time for one project that was completed for Cinematography in a single day. Handling Valley College camera's for probably a total of six hours (counting two camera clinics I attended) in four and a half years does not in my opinion even remotely meet the most basic criteria for a film education and among the people I know in the industry is considered a scam. Almost all my technical training comes from the year I spent at Santa Monica College.

The issue of why students are denied access and training on school equipment, which was not made available to my senior capstone 123 class Spring 2014 or the most recent 123 class Fall 2015, has been raised with the College Omsbudperson, the President and the Accreditation Commission. Particularly the fact that despite advertising two hours of in class practical lab time with instructors - this never happens and students in general are completing classes with little to no hands on technical training with the school equipment.
§Joseph Dacursso Email
by Anonymous
4.png
The reason that the President provided to the commission after completing her fact finding mission, that based on her answers I assume you were apart of, was that this is standard Media Arts Department Policy and was created the 1970's - when you started the Department. This was not the answer I was expecting as faculty have described you as ferocious in mandating extensive use and hands on technical training when teaching production classes.

As you appear to be the faculty member and professor emeritus responsible for this situation, I wanted to express my thoughts regarding this.

First - I think to create and advertise a program that pretends to be a cinema program and offers little to no practical training and technical education (and does not) as a pathway into the largest industry in Los Angeles, is very exploitative of students time, money and resources when other film schools in LA do offer the training.
§Joseph Dacursso Email
by Anonymous
sm_5.jpg
Second pursuing my education in your program has caused me to endure a number of personal hardships. I moved to LA in Aug 2011, having never been to California before. I have no family here and I knew no one. After a rocky first year, I relocated to the Valley starting from scratch again. In the course of my first year at Valley, my room-mate who had the lease moved to Ventura County and offered me the chance to move with them - which I declined to stay at Valley. I was unable to secure a lease on my own and was homeless from October 15, 2012 - November 1, 2013 (during a period which if you remember I was also going up against my prior job in court for unpaid wages), while attending Valley College as a full-time student because of how strongly I believed in what I was doing - when I did not have too. I also paid out of state tuition that ate up most of my student aid that year and also had my car die on me forcing me to use public transit while self-employed, including taking the bus from North Hollywood to Malibu and back for days a week for work and then sitting in night classes. I was without my own vehicle for two years. I'd like you to know that with all these other hardships - the policies and the hands off educational culture that you created have been a major handicap for a student who enrolled in a community college. I fully expected that I would have the support of the Department and the faculty in my studies - not to be told to beg other students in my classes to borrow their privately owned uninsured equipment, when thousands of tax dollars and grant money including the Deputy Sector Navigator grant have gone to pay for media arts.
I don't believe that this situation or experience was ever your intention or that you wanted a bad cinema program - but that is what we have and one that is frankly becoming obsolete because of your policies. Students can obtain the same information from YouTube and shoot on their Iphone - and are forced to do so due to the lack of support from the Media Arts Department again as the President stated are due to the Department policies you made in the 1970's.

I personally feel the Academic Senate should have a campus wide policy of "use it or lose it" and require student use tracking for all departments for all equipment, and forcing departments that have classes not using it for student training and projects to liquidate it.
There is no reason for program assistants salaries, storage, or insurance for cameras, recorders ect . . . that are sitting there gathering dust.
§Joseph Dacursso Email
by Anonymous
sm_6.jpg
I personally at this moment don't believe that I will pursue a Bacholers degree after having wasted so many years at LAVC and have not received the type of education I believed I would. Had I honestly known about your policies, the lack of services and support that as the President's official reply to the commission state were made in the 1970's, I would never enrolled in the Cinema program and focused on completing my IGETC and transferring to a four year University. I would have most likely finished a Bacholers and possibly be working on a Graduation degree.

I wanted to communicate this to you as so many students are choosing to leave LAVC Cinema/Media Arts programs the past couple years.
§Student Narrative
by Anonymous
sm_1_1.jpg
Re: LAVC Fall 2016 Schedule
FROM: REDACTED
Mon 4/25/2016 9:53 AM
To: REDACTED
Hello,
my name is REDACTED I have been a student with LAVC for 4 years. I was majoring in Cinema and Media arts. I have kept a 4.0 GPA and was offered membership with Phi Theta Kappa honor society. I had to stop coming to LAVC for several reasons. It seemed that a year ago the school canceled the Sound Design class, a class I was hoping to take. I went to SIGGRAPH courtesy of and I was discussing my leaving with one of the teachers. She said she was the Dean who was responsible for cancelling the classes, due to the fact she felt it wasn't relevant. It appears the Cinema/Media department does not care for it's students anymore. That is why I have gone on to LACC. Their curriculum is vastly superior, and the petty squabbles are not as present.

On Sun, Apr 24, 2016 at 4:36 PM,
REDACTED wrote:
Hey could you reply to me with the comments you shared with me about the schedule conflicts and the Dean dismissing the sound class.

Sent from my iPhone Begin forwarded message:
§Student 1 Email to LAVC Academic Senate
by Anonymous
sm_2_1.jpg
From: REDACTED
Date: April 17, 2016 at 11:37:31 PM PDT
To: "rodrigueza [at] lavc.edu" , "prof.rodriguez.lavc [at] gmail.com" , "frankre [at] lavc.edu" , "millerje [at] lavc.edu" , "miyasaj [at] lavc.edu" , "daccurja [at] lavc.edu" , "fowlesmr [at] lavc.edu" , "joneslh [at] lavc.edu" , "murrayrf [at] lavc.edu"

Subject: RE: LAVC Fall 2016 Schedule

Prof. Arantzanzu Rodriguez,

I have seen the Fall 2016 schedule that YOU and Prof. Swelstad have made up AND I am aware of the curriculum changes made recently.

I am also aware that the Media Arts Department Scheduling Committee for the Media Arts/Cinema Disciplines for the past several years has consisted exclusively of YOU with Department Chair.

REDACTED was not assigned to teach REDACTED Photoshop class that wrote has wrote and taught for the past several years. Prof. Swelstad has claimed that it is Department policy to offer classes to the new hire first before the adjuncts. That is a lie. Adjunct Professor Dan Watanabe (who does not have an MFA and less academic credentials then ) and Adjunct Emeritus Professor Joseph Dacursso (who is retired) have already been scheduled to teach and assigned courses on the published schedule.
§Student 1 Email to LAVC Academic Senate
by Anonymous
sm_3_1.jpg
For SEVERAL YEARS two adjunct instructors names always scheduled in conflict against each other and always assigned classes that are required to graduate in conflict with one another in a manner that undermines student matriculation and in violation of Valley College's most recent accreditation self-evaluation report submitted to the Accreditation Board in January.

Fall 2013 -
Monday Nights - Media Arts 104/Broadcast 26
Tuesday Nights - Cinema 101/Cinema 110

Spring 2014 -
Saturdays -
Cinema 123/Media Arts 103, (Violation of Accreditation Agreement - Both core requirements for Associate of Cinema Arts)

Fall 2015 -
Saturdays -
Media Arts 104/Cinema 111
§Student 1 Email to LAVC Academic Senate
by Anonymous
sm_4_1.jpg
Spring 2016 -

Media 110, Media Arts 103 (Violation of Accreditation Agreement - Both requirements for Post-Production Associates)

In January, 2016 Valley College submitted it's self- evaluation to the Accreditation board citing its compliance with the student's rights and schedule of the Accreditation Agreement "Department chairs, in consultation with their deans, ensure that scheduled course offerings enable students to transfer or complete certificate and degree programs in a timely manner" (P.69 LAVC-Self-Evaluation Report-January 2016) The previous timeline of the past schedules YOU HAVE MADE UP for THREE YEARS contradicts the college has submitted to the accreditation board.

In Spring 2014, Cinema 123 with was was scheduled on the same day and over-lapping time as Media Arts 103, with (AND as you well know Media Arts 103 has been the class that the department has awarded credit for Cinema 124 for several years) preventing my entire Cinema 123 class from completing the Cinema program that semester.

The entire recent curriculum change to archive Cinema 123/124 and create Cinema 125 would have been UN- NECESSARY - but for the schedule YOU made up.
§Student 1 Email to LAVC Academic Senate
by Anonymous
5_1.png
In Spring 2015, students let the Department Chair know that WE DID NOT WANT THE Cinema 111 and Media Arts 104 on the same days and that Photoshop being scheduled on Saturday undermined the ability of many students to enroll for Fall 2015. We were told that it was impossible to move either classes and that they had to be scheduled on that day at the same time. (SEE BELOW EMAIL).

That was a lie.

There were no classes in the CC8 labs last semester and Cinema 111 as a lecture class could have been scheduled in any classroom on any night. More to the point requested a schedule change that was denied after so many students communicated to that they were un-happy with the situation and was willing to offer her class on another day.

Now that the Fall 2016 Schedule is out and neither
and are scheduled for Fall 2016 - the Department is suddenly able to schedule the same two classes on different nights that don't have a conflict!
§Student 1 Email to LAVC Academic Senate
by Anonymous
6_1.png
There is more then enough documentation that the Department scheduling committee which has consisted of you and Prof Swelstad, scheduled these conflicts with these two particular teachers and now that the classes they taught last semester are being given to the new hire, there is now no scheduled conflicts.

Whatever personal problems that YOU and Prof Swelstad have with your co-workers HOW DARE YOU use the School Schedule in violation of the College's Accreditation agreement and interfere with students ability to finish and graduate!

Give back Photoshop class AND STOP using the schedule and curriculum to settle YOUR PERSONAL PROBLEMS with your co-workers.
§Email to Erika Endrijonas
by Anonymous
sm_1_1_1.jpg
Redacted
Fri 3/11/2016 7:49 PM
To: Erika A Endrijonas
Dr. Erika Endrijonas

I wrote you regarding the full-time faculty position that is becoming available back in January and expressed my thoughts about as a candidate then. I standby the recommendation I wrote should submit and I am writing you now because I recently became aware that another member of the Media Arts Department may or has submitted for the position as well.
has been a faculty member for nine years and is the primary teacher for the Media Arts Post-Production Track. specializes in teaching Adobe After Effects and Photoshop. The Media Arts Department is a technical education program and film production is leaving LA for Atlanta, Georgia and other parts of the world. An industry professional I arranged to speak at Valley College last year is currently on
Post-production on the other hand has become a very in demand and hot industry in LA.
I had the pleasure of taking After Effects class last Spring and also volunteering for the LA Hi-Tech as a student mentor.
is warm, punctual, personable and a great teacher. After Effects was a program I initially was reluctant to learn because of its complexity and with assistance quickly mastered. I truly enjoyed class. also created a safe, support drive and collaborative environment. She provides a great deal of personal attention and consideration to students, I have witnessed her go as far as to personally go to the registrars office with students to resolve registration issues.
Again this is not a withdrawal of my previous recommendation for , it is an additional recommendation for as another amazing candidate! Valley College is fortunate to have both of these dedicated, passionate candidates who have already given so much of themselves to the department!
It is my personal opinion that the department should hire both due to the fact that while Broadcasting and Cinema Arts disciplines have had two full time instructors each, the Media Arts Tracks have had none since Dr. Dacursso retired four years ago. I have been in the Department completing multiple degree tracks since Fall 2012 and will soon be graduating. I believe that the Media Arts discipline has suffered from not having a minimum of two full-time instructors dedicated to developing and mentoring students like Broadcasting and Cinema tracks do. The rotating door of adjuncts has not served the students as well as two dedicated full-time faculty members would. It is VERY DISHEARTENING when I speak with studio executives at Warner Bros and Sony in my professional life and explain that my program has revolving door of adjuncts when they have two long-term industry professionals available to them.
I strongly recommend both and for the current opening based I my experience with both of them. Both have worked and maintained professional ties to the industry and companies that students will be seeking jobs in and both have made a point of
§Email to Erika Endrijonas
by Anonymous
2_1_1.png
using their professional connections to arrange trips and introduce students to the people they will one day work for.

They are the ONLY teachers I have had in the program who have gone to this extent to provide their students with these experiences and provide them with an edge in the professional field they will soon be working. I recommend Valley College consider their applications after how much they have given over other candidates that may submit themselves.

Please take everything I have said into consideration during the selection and interview process.

As with my recommendation for , please feel free to contact me any time for a reference for regarding this or any other job may have submit for at the college.

Best Regards,
§Email from Arantxa Rodriguez and Eric Swelstad
by Anonymous
sm_4_1_1.jpg
From:
Sent: Monda , April 18, 2016 7:09:07 PM UTC To:
Subject: Fwd: and MA104

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: A Rodriguez Date: Sun, Apr 17, 2016 at 2:36 PM
Subject: Re: Professor Penton and MA104
To: "Christine D. Beatty" Cc: "Rodriguez, Arantxa"

Hello

Hope all is well.

I am surprised by your email. I think you might be hearing a rumor, but it is unfounded. As Prof. Swelstad said, no one is trying to replace .
Thank you for your nice comments about our program and department, and for caring about our feature.

Take care,

--Prof. Rodriguez

§Email from Arantxa Rodriguez and Eric Swelstad
by Anonymous
sm_3_1_1.jpg
On Sat, Apr 16, 2016 at 3:25 PM, Swelstad, Eric J. wrote:

Hi --

Thank you to yourself and others inquiring about MA 104 -- I can assure you no one is 'replacing' REDACTED as the instructor, but we are hiring a new full-time faculty member this Spring, and MA 104 will be part of their teaching load. This is standard whenever a new professor is hired.

is ranked in Media Arts and if there are enough classes in Media Arts, can assure you, no one is replacing

Best,

ES ________________________________________ From:
Sent: Saturday, April 16, 2016 1:31 PM
To: A Rodriguez; Swelstad, Eric J.
Subject: and MA104
Dear Professors,

I have just heard that

created. I cannot believe that the Media Arts would take Photoshop away from .

is an especially dedicated teacher who has been known to take calls at *home* from students struggling in class. often goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist students. background from Cal Arts and her encyclopedic knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite is *exactly* the kind of background that MA 103 and MA 104 need.

I was privileged to have for MA104 and MA 103, and I cannot stress enough what an effective and caring teacher is. I had been working in Photoshop for years, but after a few MA 104 classes increased my knowledge and skills tenfold. It saddens me not only that future students would be denied the experience and knowledge she brings to the classroom, that her years of service to the Media Arts department would be so brusquely written off.

Unless *requested* to be taken off the schedule, this is an outrage that does a huge disservice to the students and well as . Please tell me there is a logical, defensible reason for this action. Please tell me it is not the Media Arts department's intention to cast aside a teacher who has given so much to her students and the school.

Most of all, please reconsider the decision. There are many, many other students who feel the same way about as well as the future of the Media Arts department that has given all of us such a fine education. We want the best for the department and its future students, as well as the respect and gratitude to that has more than earned.

Sincerely,

future award-winning LAVC alumnus
§LAVC Academic Senate Minutes 2016
by Anonymous
sm_3_1_1_1.jpg
Motion to separate Broadcasting from the Media Arts Department M/S/P Rosow/Murray

J. Miller will not vote on this motion.

Jason Beaton explained that Broadcasting would be more appropriately paired with Speech Communications, citing a letter from a former student. He further stated that Broadcasting has met with limited on-air success because partly there is no involvement with the Speech department.

Eric Swelstad, the department chair of Media Arts, stated that we need to reaffirm the strength of our department with Broadcasting as part of it. The disciplines share some courses, and he has come to the senate to reaffirm the existing department.

J. Miller stated that he feels neutral about the issue of whether Broadcasting fits better with Communications or Media Arts, but feels that more objectively, if a department does not wish to be aligned with another, they have the right to decide to secede from that department. The curriculum does not change, but the reassigned time does change. He expressed concern about Eric Swelstad’s Broadcasting classes.

If approved by the Senate, the motion will be brought to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, and then to the President for approval. Karen would interview everyone to address all concerns before voting.

FTES would be unaffected.

Motion passes unanimously. Consultation will occur next week.


§Valley College Curriculum Committee Minutes 2017
by Anonymous
sm_5_1_1.jpg
Discussion regarding the new Broadcasting courses. Guests from the
Media Arts department attended VCCC to discuss concerns about some of these classes. In particular B 49 and 8 51 overlap in topic with media classes offered under a different subject at Pierce College. Media Arts faculty have participated in district discipline group discussions and agreed to try and avoid overlap in topics between the three valley campuses. E. Swelstad, A. Rodriguez, and C. Sustin expressed concern that these two courses would hurt the collegial agreement between Pierce, Mission, and Valley to stay to their areas of focus. J. Beaton and B. Ballew felt that with the new MAC building and TV studio being built at LAVC, it was important to offer these classes so that students would have the opportunity to
create a variety of content to be aired on the LAVC TV station.
§Arantxa Rodriguez
by Anonymous
sm_12304342_10156300609475243_1348662559465174032_o.jpg
A search of Transparent California under the name Arantzanzu Rodriguez shows Rodriguez collected a six-figure annual salary during her time at Los Angeles Valley College.
Add Your Comments
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!

Donate

$40.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.

Publish

Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network