Vision and Mission of the Alamo Colleges
Vision: The Alamo Colleges will be the best in the nation.
Mission: Empowering our diverse communities for success.
Palo Alto College Purpose Statement
Mission Statement: As a public comprehensive community college, Palo Alto College provides exemplary, accessible education and training to a diverse and aspiring community. The College educates, nurtures, and inspires students through a dynamic and supportive learning environment, which promotes the intellectual, cultural, economic and social life of the community.
Core Values: Quality Instruction, Student Success, Commitment to Community, and Appreciation of Diversity.
Major Functions: Palo Alto College fulfills its mission by offering the following:
General, transfer, and technical education;
Basic skills development and comprehensive literacy programs;
Continuing education and community outreach;
Student success and support programs;
Instructional technologies and distance education;
Library information resources; and
Institutional research, planning, development and evaluation.
Palo Alto College: A Place of Educational Innovation
Palo Alto College was founded March 19, 1983. Classes began in September 1985 with an attendance of 231 students dispersed in high schools and military installations. The administrative offices were located at Billy Mitchell Village, outside Kelly Air Force Base. Palo Alto’s priority has always been the students, never its buildings. Palo Alto’s educational outreach extends beyond the campus with many courses offered in off-campus locations, such as high schools and local military installations in surrounding areas. In 1993, Palo Alto College stated clearly its commitment to the community by establishing “the heart of the community” as its official slogan.
Following Palo Alto’s humble beginning, Bexar County voters — through a bond issue — made possible the construction of a $13 million campus for 2,500 students. The original complex consisted of 26 classrooms in 11 buildings, including a 15,000-square-foot learning resources center. The mission-style campus opened its doors in January 1987 in southern Bexar County. Its physical outline is inspired by 18th century mission’s architecture, principally by Mission San José’s cupola, façade, and its granary’s distinctive cylindrical shape. Adorned tiles embedded in buildings throughout campus convey and reaffirm the spirit of Spanish Colonial architecture. In 1989, the college achieved full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Founded on the belief that education is the central element of improving lives, Palo Alto College continues to be an institution of high academic standards. It serves a growing student body with an increasingly diverse curriculum that features two-year course plans in the arts and sciences as well as many technical occupational and workforce programs. Through Palo Alto, students can earn certificates or complete the first two years of a four-year degree plan for transfer to a university. The college is continually receiving accolades from four-year universities commenting on the high caliber of preparation the students who transfer have attained.
Growth is daily reflected in the construction of new facilities for classrooms, sports and recreation. Today, the college encompasses more than 300,000 square feet on 126 acres. The General Education Building opened in January 1991, doubling the original classroom space on campus. An 88,000 square-foot Natatorium/Gymnasium Complex opened in January 1992 in partnership with the City of San Antonio. The George Ozuna Jr. Learning Resources & Academic Computing Center opened in August 1997, adding one-third to the existing square footage of the college.
In October 2001 the Ray Ellison Family Center opened, offering childcare to students and the community at large, and in 2005 the Applied Science and Technology Center, funded in part by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, opened.
A new chapter in the College’s history began in the Fall 2005, when it opened a high school on campus. The Gateway to College Program, a national model developed by Portland Community College opened its doors in August 2005 to 36 students. Youth who left school without earning a high school diploma will have the opportunity to gain a high school diploma while earning college credit at Palo Alto College free of charge.
With Bexar County’s passage of the November 2005 ACCD Capital Improvement Bond, Palo Alto College has experienced unparalleled physical growth. In January 2008, the college held a Grand Opening for its $5.2 million, 15,188 square-feet Veterinary Technology Building. A $14.7 million Perfomring Arts Center Building that exceeds 46,000 square-feet opened in August 2009, providing a cultural venue for the Southside. The building houses a 400-seat theater, speech and drama classrooms, dance and recording studios, recital hall, and a scene shop.
Other construction projects included a $13.9 million Science, Social Sciences and Workforce Building that houses biology, physics, geology, government and history classrooms; computer labs; Allied Health and EMT classrooms. The 53,180 square-feet facility opened during the Fall 2009 semester.
Today, Palo Alto College strives to take into account cultural differences as well as contemporary academic needs. As it approaches its 25th Anniversary, Palo Alto College continues to make a difference, always moving forward and always sharing its campus and its resources to improve San Antonio’s growing community.
Accreditations and Affiliations
Palo Alto College, one of the Alamo Colleges, is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4501 for questions about the accreditation of Palo Alto College. Palo Alto College’s Veterinary Technology Program is accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Its programs are approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Palo Alto College is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the Texas Community Colleges Teachers Association, and the National Council of Marketing and Public Relations.
In support of the mission of the Alamo Colleges, Palo Alto College offers instructional services, student services, learning resources, technology resources, extended services and community outreach.
Palo Alto College offers instructional programs in general education, occupational-technical education, developmental education, and continuing education. The general education program focuses on the development of competencies that are designed to assist individuals in leading productive and meaningful lives in a dynamic environment of social, technological, and cultural changes. Courses are designed to satisfy the requirements of the first two years of a bachelor’s degree, as well as the general education core of an occupational-technical program.
Developmental education at Palo Alto College is designed to provide the opportunity for the academic success of every student by preparing the student for college-level courses and for the successful fulfillment of the Texas Success Initiative.
Occupational and technical programs provide a strong general education core with emphasis on entry-level competencies for business and industry or for transfer to senior institutions. Advisory committees in each program area provide the expertise for the direction and development of topical course content. Through the advisory committees, linkage is provided to the secondary schools, business and industry.
Corporate and Community Education offers adult literacy education, workforce development courses, personal development courses, and courses for community service. Students gain or improve skills for employment and enhance their personal and professional lives. These courses support the College’s credit instructional programs to ensure quality and relevance of course content.
Student Services at Palo Alto College provides assistance toward accomplishing each student’s unique academic career goals and ultimate leadership potential. Because the institution encompasses a student population of diverse ages, economic and cultural backgrounds, and abilities, Palo Alto College provides services through the following departments:
Early Alert/Early Intervention Programs
International Student Services
PASSkey Program (TRIO grant)
Recreational Activities & Sports
Records & Registration
|Special Populations (Disability Support Services)
Student Financial Services
Upward Bound Program
Welcome Enrollment Center
These services are provided with respect and dignity while recognizing each student’s unique strengths, abilities and individual potential. Continuous assessment by the college community ensures that programs and services meet student needs.
Learning Resources Center
The Learning Resources Center (LRC) at Palo Alto College – housed in the George Ozuna Jr. Learning Resources and Academic Computing Center – is structured to provide on-site library materials, information technologies, and instructional services necessary to support and supplement the teaching-learning programs at all levels. The library’s collection includes print volumes, current magazines and journals, electronic indexes with full text databases, computer software, audiovisual materials, and domestic and foreign newspapers. Through cooperative agreements and computer database searching, the Learning Resources Center has access to the holdings of local, state, and national libraries. Memberships in the Council of Research and Academic Libraries (CORAL), AMIGOS, and online search capability through the Online Catalog and LRC web pages also greatly enhance the faculty’s and students’ ability to quickly access vast bibliographic resources at member institutions.
Within the LRC library, special purpose areas are designated for electronic research, bibliographic instruction, periodical reading, study areas, a children’s library, and an integrated print and non-print collection. Student seating and informal study areas are spread throughout the library. Microform reading/printing and copy machines are available. All bookshelves are open for students and other library users.
The library faculty have the same credentials and support the college in all the same areas as do the faculty in the academic departments. They are responsible for the bibliographic instruction program and subject/course integrated instruction, which are coordinated with faculty in the disciplines. Individual assistance in the use of resources and formal bibliographic instruction are offered by the library faculty and professional information staff. The Library and Information Studies faculty librarians also help develop database searches and verify requests for inter-library loans.
Additionally, the library faculty offer the Library Technology degree and certificate program for those wishing to become paraprofessionals in libraries or to upgrade their skills and credentials. The degree is fully transferable.
The Learning Resources Center of Palo Alto College reinforces the concept of life-long learning through electronic, personal one-on-one professional assistance, and conventional library services and instruction, and through artistic, cultural and educational programs.
The Adult Education Office provides low-cost instruction in General Educational Development (GED) and non-credit English as a Second Language (ESL) classes on campus and in the community. For more information on literacy services, call (210) 486-3405.
Community Development and Partnerships
The Office of Community Development and Partnerships provides support services to students, staff and faculty. The Office is comprised of Distance Education, off-campus sites, the Instructional Innovation Center, the Recruitment Center and the Center for Academic Transitions. Pre-College initiatives and transitional programs – to include dual credit, the Senior Summer program, transfer programs, alumni programs and job placement – assist students in the transition from high school to college. Transfer to four-year institutions and employment are also supported by Community Development and Partnerships.
Distance Education courses are a convenient way for students who work or have other commitments to continue their education. Palo Alto College began its distance education program more than ten years ago and currently offers courses via the Internet, Interactive Video Conferencing and Telecourses (Videotapes/Broadcast). Palo Alto College currently offers 221 online courses that can be applied toward an Associate degree or Certificate. Students may also choose to enroll in one of Palo Alto College’s seven online degrees: AAS in Computer Information Systems Network, AA in Criminal Justice, AA in Government, AA in History, AA in Liberal Studies, AS in Health and an AS in Kinesiology. The online distance education orientation will assist students in navigating through PALS and Blackboard Vista. Students interested in attending Palo Alto College, seeking internships/employment or enrolling in distance education courses should contact the Recruitment Office at (210) 486-3300.
The Instructional Innovation Center provides support in graphic design, video editing, signage and photography for faculty and staff at Palo Alto College. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend training sessions on Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Web design, Blackboard Vista and many more courses that are offered by the center to enhance their skills. There is also a workroom for faculty who need to utilize computers or need Internet access for their courses. An audiovisual equipment depository provides equipment distribution to classrooms throughout the campus. The Instructional Innovation Center is located in the Ozuna Learning Resources Center, Room 104. Staff can be contacted at (210) 486-3030.
The Recruitment and Community Outreach Center provides support for area high schools, businesses and community organizations. The staff provides support in testing, enrollment, academic advising and financial aid/scholarship information. This office also maintains the dual-credit program and serves over 1,200 students in 21 independent school districts. Students interested in attending Palo Alto College or participating in the dual-credit program should contact the Recruitment Office at (210) 486-3300.
Additional information about this office and programs can be viewed online at www.alamo.edu/pac or by calling the Office of Distance, Extended Education and Community Outreach at (210) 486-3964.
Gateway to College
The Gateway to College Program is designed to serve 16- to 20-year-old students who have left high school to return to education and gain a diploma while concurrently earning college credit toward a certificate or degree program at Palo Alto College. Gateway to College students learn how to succeed in an educational setting under the guidance of a caring team of faculty and student support specialists. In their first term, students enroll in a cohort and take a Developmental English, Math and Reading course together. The cohort learning community provides Gateway students with a strong support system that strengthens their academic and personal skills. Gateway students will also work with tutors and mentors, and receive other support services throughout their enrollment that facilitates a successful transition to college, work, the community and beyond.
Students must be enrolled in one of the ten participating school districts: East Central ISD, Edgewood ISD, Floresville ISD, Harlandale ISD, Lytle ISD, Poteet ISD, San Antonio ISD, Somerset ISD, South San Antonio ISD, and Southside ISD and are referred by their respective high school counselors.
To obtain more information, please call (210) 486-3170 or stop by the Gateway Office in Portable Building 3, Room 101A.
Upward Bound Program
The Upward Bound Program (TRIO), funded by the U.S. Department of Education, provides support to students from participating high schools. The program serves low-income, first-generation college students in rural communities by developing and promoting educational and cultural opportunities and by providing support in the form of supplemental instruction, mentoring and leadership in order to create long-term student success.
Career and Technical Education Programs
Palo Alto College offers and continues to add a variety of Career and Technical Education Programs. These are identified as Associate of Applied Science Degrees (AAS), Marketable Skills Certificates, and Certificates leading toward AAS degrees. These competency-based career and technical education programs consist of a coherent sequence of courses designed to prepare students for immediate employment in the designated career field. Career and technical education programs are developed in close cooperation with business and industry to satisfy a need for timely and effective career and technical education. Additionally, many career and technical programs at Palo Alto College are articulated with four-year college programs to provide students the opportunity for transfer and further their education.
External Learning Experiences at Palo Alto College are designed to provide opportunities for students to combine practical work experience with academic work.
Students work in commercial, governmental, educational, and other business or service organizations. These competency-based work experiences are related to the student’s course of study, individual interest and level of development. The experiences are planned and supervised by the College and employers to allow the student to utilize skills learned in the classroom and to acquire new knowledge, skills, and attitudes for successful career planning and future employment.
The external learning experience allows the student to have practical hands-on training and to apply learned concepts and theories in a workplace setting. There are five types of external learning experiences: clinical experiences, internships, practica, co-operative education, and apprenticeships.
Applied Science Building – Located near the two-story General Education Building among the main cluster of buildings, this building was designed for the occupational-technical programs, but they have expanded beyond this building. You will find classrooms, large laboratories and some faculty offices here. It is being renovated.
Applied Technology Building – Located next to the Ray Ellison Family Center on the main route into campus, the AT Building opened in Spring 2005. Labs support Industrial Automation programs and a variety of Engineering programs.
Business Building – Business and management classes are held in the Business Building, which has lecture-style classrooms, some computer labs, and adjunct faculty offices. It is located on the northwest corner of the main cluster of buildings. It is being renovated.
Counseling & Support Services Center – Counselors provide academic advising in this building, which is across from the Palomino Center, our one-stop student enrollment center.
Executive Offices - This building houses key administrative offices, including the President, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Vice President of College Services, Public Relations, Corporate & Continuing Education, Employee Development, Institutional Advancement, and Institutional Effectiveness & Research.
Faculty Office Building – This building, located near the entrance to the two-story General Education Building, is dedicated to faculty offices, mainly for English, Foreign Languages and Mathematics.
Fine Arts Building (formerly Performing Arts Building) – Located on the far southeast corner of the campus, this building has a lecture hall with theater-style seating; photography studio and darkroom; drawing, painting, design and digital studios; and high-tech classrooms and faculty offices.
Gallery and Sculpture Building (formerly Fine Arts Building) – Located on the southern half of the main campus and next to the Fine Arts Building (formerly Performing Arts Building), the Gallery and Sculpture Building houses faculty offices and high-tech classrooms. Art studios for producing ceramics and metal projects are located in this building. The “Gallery 100” also exhibits student, faculty and professional art work.
General Education Building – This two-story building doubled the number of classrooms when it opened in 1991 as the first additional building to the original campus. It houses department offices for the Sciences, Aviation Technology, Protective Services, and Behavioral Sciences. A variety of disciplines hold classes here, and science labs are housed here.
Green House – Horticulture and Landscape students use the Green House for laboratory work. The current structure is located on the far southeast corner of the campus beside the Fine Arts Building. A new Green House is being constructed beside the Natatorium on the southwest corner of the campus.
Gymnasium/Natatorium – Opened in 1992 as a joint venture with the City of San Antonio, this is a world-class facility designed to meet national championship standards. The Olympic-size stretch pool is open to the community for swim sessions and lessons; youngsters from area elementary schools take swimming lessons during the school year. It has hosted such major events as the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1993, NJCAA swimming championships, and U.S. Open swimming and diving events. The Gymnasium is used for physical education classes, large campus events, and recreational activities such as basketball and volleyball for students. The building houses the Kinesiology and Health Department and has a weight room and multi-purpose room for dancing and aerobic classes.
Learning Laboratories – This building is located near the entrance to the General Education Building and offers several Learning Centers, which provide tutoring in English, math, reading and science.
Math & Science Building – Located on the far northeast corner of the campus, this building has lecture classrooms and science labs. Agriculture and other technical faculty maintain offices here. It is being renovated.
Ozuna Learning & Academic Center – This two-story building houses the library, is located in the center of the 100-acre campus and is accessible from Villaret Blvd. In the library section, Internet access and a variety of print resources and other research technologies are available to students and the general public. The lower floor of the east side of the building has computer classrooms, offices for instructional computer faculty, and a hub for computer technicians.
Palomino Center – Located along Villaret Boulevard, the building is a one-stop center for students. Students receive guidance to ease the registration process. It houses the Vice President of Student Affairs, Welcome Enrollment Center, Student Financial Services, Records & Registration, the Testing Center, and other student services offices. Class schedules and other printed material for students are distributed here.
Performing Arts Center – The 46,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center provides a much-needed cultural venue for the Southside. Located with easy access to Loop 410, it is home to the music, dance, drama and speech programs. It features a 400-seat theater available for community use, high-tech speech classrooms, dance studio, recording studio, recital hall, computer lab, theater “Black Box,” costume shop, scene shop and faculty offices.
Portable Classroom Buildings – Located along Villaret Boulevard in front of the Ozuna LRC and on the west side of the Ozuna Center, these are portable classroom buildings being used during construction.
Ray Ellison Family Center – Located between the main campus and the Ozuna Learning Resources Center, this building opened in 2001. It is named for the late homebuilder, who provided partial funding for the child care center. Services are available for children of students, employees and the public.
Student Center – Located strategically along the main driving entrance to the campus and centrally among the main cluster of original buildings, the Student Center houses the Cafeteria, Bookstore, Student Activities and organization offices, Center for Academic Transitions, the Alumni y Amigos Office, Bursar, DPS, and the Health Center.
Science, Social Sciences & Workforce Center – This building, which opened in Fall 2009, is designed to increase the available space for teaching workforce programs that are critical to the success of future generations. Positioned next to the Applied Technology Building, where many training programs already are taught, the building provides space for Biology, Physics, Geology, Government and History classrooms; computer labs; and dedicated areas for Healthcare Training, Emergency Medical Technician, and Hazwoper instruction.
Social Sciences – Located between the Student Center and the Business Building, this facility houses classrooms, computer labs, and offices for faculty who teach Government, History and Economics. It is under renovation.
Tennis Courts – Located next to the Natatorium/Gymnasium on the west side of the campus along Highway 16, these tennis courts are used primarily for kinesiology classes.
Veterinary Technology Building – Opened in 2008, the Vet Tech Building is home to the only Vet Tech program in the region. It is on the west side between the Library and the portable buildings and has classrooms including a fully equipped computer lab, an anatomy/physiology lab, a clinical pathology lab, a parasitology lab, an equine lab, a surgery room, surgery prep and technique/restraint areas, X-ray room, kennels, and an outdoor large animal facility.