Jack Ullom

Perspective of Jack Ullom,
Santa Barbara City College 1969- 2009

Jack R. Ullom, 1969-2010
Professor of Music (33.5 years) and
Dean of Fine Arts, English, and Social Science (6.5 years)

Jack Ullom

My first visit to the campus of Santa Barbara City College was as a performer in the student string quartet from San Jose State College (now University) in 1966. We performed for a California Music Educators Association conference organized by Harold Dunn and held in the Campus Center. Harold was the Music Department Chairman and a man that I would meet once again in the summer of 1967 after completing my master’s degree work in music at Stanford University.

Hillsdale High School, San Mateo

After finishing the degree I applied for and was hired for my first full-time teaching position at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, CA. While attending a summer music program for junior and senior high school senior high school students before beginning my new position as choir and orchestra director at the high school, I met Harold Dunn (music professor at SBCC 1963 – 1991), and former choir director at San Mateo High School), Phyllis Magnuson (experienced string instructor at Garfield Junior High School in Berkeley, and Harold’s future bride, and SBCC adjunct music professor), and Robert Davis (former junior high teacher in San Mateo and recently hired as a professor at SBCC). Along with these  experienced teachers and the camp director, Anthony J. Campagna, the man who hired me for the job

at Hillsdale High School, and my colleague for the next two years, I received a terrific introduction to fulltime music education through the example and tutoring of these outstanding teachers in secondary and college education. I was in a first rate high school district in San Mateo which nurtured new faculty with encouragement, resources and excellent mentoring. As it would turn out I was only at this first job for two years, but remained in my next job for 40 years. The principal, Ray Allee, and faculty at Hillsdale High School were excellent, and the priorities of the high school district were to have a faculty that was well educated, as well as student and globally oriented. In fact, the most important activity for a teacher’s sabbatical was travel! There was nothing provincial about their philosophies of what made an effective teacher. The students were very receptive and my first two years of teaching at Hillsdale High School were memorable.

Four of SBCC’s faculty came from the San Mateo district each recruited by a successor. Robert Casier, Political Science Professor recruited Harold Dunn and Harold Dunn recruited Robert Davis and me. I remember flying into Santa Barbara on a Wednesday in March 1969 on a perfectly picturesque day feeling like I was landing in a city as beautiful as those on the French Riviera. I met the music faculty and had a 15 minute meeting with Pat Huglin, Dean of Instruction, where he asked me if I thought I could handle the teaching responsibilities at the college level. I said I welcomed the opportunity to teach at this level and that I felt I could do the job developing a college symphony and teaching the other offerings during my first year. He said the job was mine and the reality of it all struck me pretty quickly. I was going to basic training for the Army on May 23, 1969, and would need to be done with training in time for school in the fall at SBCC, and would have to resign my position at an excellent high school. In retrospect, I now realize that I was taking quite a chance on such a quick change of venues. The beauty of Santa Barbara and living so close to the ocean (right across from the college in the Cliff apartments) made the decision so much easier.

SBCC and Army Reserve Duty

I arrived back in Santa Barbara at 9 p.m. on the evening before the first day of classes in September 1969. I was given a quick orientation by Mahlon Balderston and Robert Davis and went off to my first day of classes in the small building on the hill by the Sports Pavilion, located under the current bridge to the West Campus. The class was at 8 a.m., a music appreciation class. I asked the students to hold up their texts “so that I could see how many were really prepared on the first day.” That was my first knowledge of which text book I was using, but was delighted to see it was the Enjoyment of Music, a text with which I was familiar and after many different texts over the years, the text I would return to using in the 1980’s. In the front row of the appreciate class that first day was Timothy Bottoms. Timothy eventually dropped out of his classes that semester to pursue his acting career. I had missed the normal orientation of new faculty since I was still officially in the active Army on a 72 hour liberty pass so that I could teach the first four days of that week and officially be released from active duty on that Friday. I definitely did not have any time for preparation for the first day and since I was teaching five different preparations (the life of a community college instructor in the 1960’s), it was all I could do to keep ahead of the students that first year.

SBCC Choir and Chamber Singers

It was a busy and wonderful year since Harold Dunn had left me an enthusiastic 80 voice College Choir and very talented Chamber Singers to conduct, while he spent a sabbatical year in England. I also recruited the first official college orchestra and taught music history to the music majors. The choir sang the Beethoven 9th Symphony with the Santa Barbara Symphony in the spring of 1970 (I was beginning my career with the symphony that semester as well – this fall will be my 42nd year in the violin section). Little did I know at the time that my quick study of German would be the foundation for my doctoral language training. I fondly remember the wonderful group of Chamber Singers, especially Lance and Judy Boyd, who years later would return to singing with the Quire of Voices. I remember singing with them at Christmas in local department stores on State Street and the wonderful spring show we did in the Campus Center singing songs from Hair and the Missa Creolis. When I asked the students about decorating the Campus Center, they told me not to worry about it; they would take care of it. I learned after the fact that they “borrowed” the flowers from the Santa Barbara Cemetery. I dare to speak of this now since the statute of limitations is probably up on that one.

Lectures in music history were prepared up until the hour of the class, members of the new orchestra class were recruited every day for weeks, and performances of the Chamber Singers began very early in the semester. This left little time for meeting new faculty members outside of my department. The first orchestra performance was in the Library where the acoustics and environment were well suited to our mostly Baroque program. I also remember attending the football games and enjoying the fine teams recruited and coached by Bob Dinaberg. I also remember meeting Diane Handloser, a new art instructor. Diane was the colleague who would eventually be the inspiration for my daughter becoming an Art History major. This first year was made possible by the nurturing and coaching from my colleague Mahlon Balderston.

First SBCC Orchestra

I did not realize the college had not yet created a new music position for the orchestra director, but the Superintendent- President, Dr. Julio Bortolazzo, after hearing me play a violin recital during that first semester, and reviewing evaluations of my first year teaching performance with Dean Huglin and my colleagues, convinced the Board of Trustees that they should allow him to fund this new position. Luckily for me they concurred and I still had a fulltime job in Fall1970 when Harold Dunn rejoined his colleagues after his sabbatical. As busy as that first year was it remains etched in my memory to this day. When everything is so new it keeps one ever alert and engaged. As the years would go by I would wonder at the events that brought me to this great teaching institution. In fact, since I was in the Army Reserves I joined the 425th Civil Affairs Company, and soon met John Kay, also an SBCC colleague, professor of political science. I still remember the first lecture on Southeast Asia that Dr. Kay gave to the company as the Captain of Area Studies. His lecture was a dynamic and effective presentation that definitely felt like an excellent college lecture. My boss in the training section was Tyson Wilson, principal of Carpinteria Junior High School. He was a great colleague and very effective administrator at his day job as I would see later when we took our choir to the school to perform. Thanks to Tyson and Commanders William Gordon and Sam Cathcart my 5 years in the Army Reserves were informative, productive, and enjoyable. I passed on re-enlistment because of my many musical activities and heavy teaching schedule, but felt fortunate to have done my Army Reserve duty with the 425th.

Professional Standards and Teaching Committee

My first committee assignment at SBCC was the Professional Standards and Teaching Committee, the group responsible for recommending faculty for sabbatical leaves and insuring proper teaching standards were being met. I remember well my first impression of the young history professor, Dr. Curtis Solberg, whose questioning mind and creative form of oral expression were captivating and inspirational to me as we attempted to develop an objective/ subjective method of evaluating sabbatical requests by fellow faculty members. This was to be the first of my many college committee assignments, such as the Curriculum Committee, Academic Senate, Division Council, Instructional Technology Committee, and Honors Committee. Committee work was definitely one of the better ways to meet faculty from all of the other disciplines and to be engaged in the self-governance of the college. It is through this collegiate involvement that faculty serve the institution as well as their students. Observing the various actions and processes of the Academic Senate and their dedicated leaders over the years has been an excellent example of how a democratically run society or institution should be run.

These examples of college governance and the Instructor’s Association were what inspired me in the 1980’s to become more active in the college as a representative on the Instructor’s Association Board. There was great concern by older faculty at this time that the meet- and- confer method of resolving salary, benefits, and working condition issues was not serving the faculty as well as they wished. I well remember the meetings called by Ray O’Connor and Mike Rice where antacid tablets were passed out as we discussed various issues. Our older faculty, Henry Bagish, Robert Casier, John Kay, Ray O’Connor, and Elwood Shapansky had all worked tirelessly, meeting with administrators to resolve salary and benefit issues over the years, but in 1986, four years after Dr. Peter MacDougall had become the Superintendent-President, and the negotiations had come to a dead end for a new contract with faculty, the faculty contacted the Public Employee Relations Board to inquire about taking a vote to certify the Instructor’s Association to become the sole bargaining agent for the full time and adjunct faculty over salary, benefits, and working conditions. That vote was taken on December 5, 1986, and 85% of the faculty voted to certify the Instructor’s Association as their collective bargaining unit.

The newly elected Instructor’s Association Board was Tom Garey, Dennis Ringer, Greg Cain, Janice Hamilton, Bunny Jennings, Gary Carroll, and Jack Ullom. This group of faculty worked tirelessly over the next few months drafting a new constitution and preparing for the negotiations for the first contract negotiated under collective bargaining. The administration at this time did not feel that unionization was the right way to go, but the faculty did, and exerted their democratic right to organize. Jack Ullom was elected President, and the first negotiating committee was chaired by Barbara Lindemann (History), Ron Adler (Communications), Dr. Jack Ullom (Music), and Bunny Jennings (Art History). Next, the faculty had to decide whether to be affiliated with the California Teachers’ Association (mostly oriented toward primary and secondary educators and the organization many of the faculty belonged to at the time of the certification), the American Federation of Teachers (more oriented toward college teachers), or the California Community College Independents (a group of 13 colleges that has become one of the consulting groups for the California Board of Governors of Community Colleges in matters pertaining to salaries, benefits, and working conditions).

CCCI and the “thin” Contract

After having faculty representatives from Foothill-De Anza College District (Cy Gulasa) and Santa Monica College speak with our faculty about the resources and advantages of belonging to the independent association, CCCI, and many meetings by faculty to clarify their wishes, it was decided to affiliate with CCCI because the SBCC faculty felt that they would be better served through this affiliation. The new Board of Directors of Instructors Association decided to pursue a new model of collective bargaining in which the Academic Senate would continue to make all decisions of college governance that did not pertain to salaries, benefits, and working conditions of faculty. The attorney who represented many CCCI units, Robert Bezemeck, helped the Instructor’s Association design a “thin” contract that only negotiated salaries, benefits, and working conditions under collective bargaining. This was made possible by the Instructor’s Association requesting language in the first contract that stated if the college District did not maintain the current process of shared governance in which the Academic Senate made all decision dealing with other faculty matters with the full consultation of the District, the District would be in violation of the collective bargaining agreement with the Instructor’s Association and the association could legally file an unfair labor practice against the SBCC District.

I feel that his clause of our original agreement with the District has served the District and the faculty’s best interest over time. There were a few minor issues that were resolved properly once the District understood how this unique relationship between the District, Academic Senate, and Instructor’s Association was meant to function. The end analysis has been that the SBCC Instructor’s Association was able to negotiate the largest increase of salaries and benefits over a 25 year period than most other campuses in California, while still maintaining a very collegial association with the Administration and District in matters of shared governance.

I believe that the key to this was the decision early on to involve the Vice-President of Instruction as a member of the Academic Senate, attending all meetings and giving input where appropriate. It goes without saying that in spite of early concerns this has worked extremely well because of the individuals, John Romo, and Dr. Jack Friedlander, who served as outstanding Administrative Representatives to the Academic Senate from 1987 – 2011. Both would later go onto serve as the Superintendent- President of the college.

As the President of the Instructor’s Association for 14 years, since 1985, I can testify that there were many trying negotiations each time that the contract needed to be renewed, but the faculty never had to take any job action (though very close at one point) during the time of the more difficult negotiations. The unique contract that faculty have with the college has succeeded in continuing excellent shared decisions on governance issues, and serious and fruitful negotiations on salary and benefit issues. An important part of the process was the periodic Newsletter and meetings that the Instructor’s Association has maintained as well as the dedicated leadership of the association’s Board of Directors. When email became the main form of communication on our campus, the dialogues involving faculty issues from both the Academic Senate and Instructor’s Association became even more engaging and informative. The public nature of email can invite a bit too much vitriol at times, as faculty tend to let leach other know exactly how they feel, but the medium has allowed for more faculty to dialogue and reflect on important issues. I am hopeful that my colleague, Dr. John Kay, who also served many dedicated years as the President of the Instructor’s Association, can speak from his perspective as to the years after 1999 about the effectiveness of this organization.

SBCC Music Department

During the years 1970 – 77 the Music Department was relocated to the Administration Building, housed down the hallway from the Nursing and Communications Department. We made do with one large rehearsal/ teaching classroom, a room with soundproof practice rooms, and a piano laboratory plus shared faculty offices. By this time we had six full-time faculty:  Dr. Harold Dunn, Mahlon Balderston, Robert Davis, Jack Ullom, Barbara Harlow, and Edwin Bowman. In the fall of 1975, I went off to the University of Oregon on my only sabbatical in 40 years of teaching to do my doctoral residency. Upon returning the Music and Theatre Departments moved into their wonderful new facility on the West Campus, The Garvin Theatre complex. The opening of the Garvin Theatre was celebrated in the Fall 1977 with the joint production of the musical Cabaret. The SBCC Symphony was in the pit and the wonderful cast of student and community actors was onstage for this memorial theatrical event inaugurating this wonderful college space that houses many musical and theatrical events as well as college-wide convocations such as faculty in-services, speaker series, yearly Faculty Lectures, media productions and other campus events. The first Concert Choir performance was led by Barbara Harlow and her 87 member choir, and a 38-member orchestra with the new organ and harpsichord performing Vivaldi’s Gloria. In 1970 I played a recital in the current A210 which was the college theater. Future faculty chamber concerts have been held in the Garvin Theatre complex and the Leni Fe Bland Forum. The renovation of the Garvin Theatre and teaching spaces were completed in 2012. The Music and Theatre Arts Department’s expansion over a 30-year period has made this renovation important to the futures of both departments. This is a credit to the faculty’s development of their curriculum, and the past support of these programs by fellow colleagues, community members, and the Administration.

Garvin Theatre

During the early Garvin years of 1977- 2000, the Music Department saw the continued growth of the SBCC Symphony (Jack Ullom), SBCC Concert and Jazz Bands (Robert Davis, Edwin Bowman, Harry Bulow, Charles Wood, James Mooy, and Eric Heidner), Concert Choir and Chamber Singers (Harold Dunn, Barbara Harlow, Curtis Dickson and Nathan Kreitzer), Community Choir (Harold Dunn), Quire of Voyces  (Nathan Kreitzer), Songwriting Classes (John Clark), World Music and online classes (Margaret Hontos), Piano Program (Josephine Brummel), Electronic Music (Barbara Hirsch, Peter Raschke, and James Mooy), and a state of the art electronic piano laboratory (Jack Ullom). The curriculum expanded to include electronic music instruction, guitar, jazz improvisation, world music, vocal jazz and song writing classes, many online classes, as well as a laboratory teaching assistant to handle the expanding music library, music listening laboratory, musical instrument inventory, and music office.


On January 1, 2000, I became the Dean of Fine Arts, English, and Social Science, and fulfilled a prophecy of a well-known psychic who predicted in my senior of college at San Jose State University that she saw me becoming an administrator after a long career teaching music. It was an extremely difficult decision for me to leave the classroom to serve the faculty as well as the students, but I relished the challenge of building some new programs at the college. While a dean I worked with over 300 faculty each year in areas of the humanities and fine arts, which have always interested me. As a history minor in college I enjoyed learning much about colonial and Latin American history as well as Western Civilization. Being able to visit history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, political science, ethnic studies, anthropology, English Skills, English, ESL, art, music, and theatre arts classes was a joy because I felt like an undergraduate once again.

It was a privilege to observe the talented and dedicated teachers in each of these disciplines and serve with them on hiring committees to recruit and select outstanding teachers for the future of their departments. In the seven years that I was Dean, I think I read about 20,000 applications from faculty wishing to teach at SBCC. My memories of the interviews are still vividly etched in my mind as are the memories of the phone calls telling finalists that they were not chosen for the position, or that they were the successful candidate. Because the interview process was so challenging for everyone involved and so important for the future of each department, this process was really a labor of love by the faculty, their Dean, Executive Vice-President of Instruction, and the Superintendent-President.

Even before I became a Dean, I had witnessed the insightful questioning by Dr. Peter MacDougall while doing final interviews with candidates for a teaching position. He was noted for thoroughly reviewing the application beforehand, pointing out the strengths of each candidate and asking important questions pertaining to what unique qualities they would bring to the college if they were chosen. Superintendent-President John Romo employed a different approach in which he invited the Department Chairperson, Dean, and Executive Vice-President to each ask questions of the prospective candidates in addition to his questions. Both approaches have served the college very well.

Gateway to Success Program

With the great support and guidance of Dr. Jack Friedlander, Executive Vice-President of Instruction, I and colleagues Keith McLellan and Jerry Pike were able to secure a grant to fund the Gateway to Success Program, a program that would put peer tutors in the classroom with faculty to work in a structured way tutoring students across all curriculums at the college. The program maintained an 82% success rate with the students who took advantage of the Gateway tutors and went on to receive state and national recognition for giving students the support they needed to excel in the classroom. The Gateway faculty who inaugurated the program were from the English, English Skills, Mathematics, and Social Science Divisions, and soon classes across the curriculum began offering tutorial assistance in their classrooms. Students in the large lecture sections of the social sciences found their tutorial sessions to be very beneficial because of the one on one support they had from an experienced peer tutor.

Another special project as Dean was to write a grant for a faculty orientation seminar for new faculty. At the same time that I applied for state funding to develop an online website for all faculty, especially for new faculty, a federal grant was awarded to Riverside College to develop a similar website for training faculty. Not only did we participate in the federal grant project, but SBCC received a state grant and developed its own website and a face-to-face training seminar meeting every two weeks during the first year. Over 50 faculty and administrators worked on this project, available at www.4SBCCfaculty.org.

I enjoyed developing a seminar to orient new faculty, especially remembering that I had not orientation at all before I began teaching at the college and I did not want new faculty to have an abbreviated seminar of only two days maximum. The new faculty not only had a fine website of online resource materials supporting various seminar topics, but they had a two hour face-to face seminar twice a month during their first year where they met with new faculty in all different departments and met experienced faculty who led various seminar topics. These faculty bonded during the first year and came to feel like a learning community within the college community. It was clear to those of us who developed this seminar and extended orientation that the new faculty benefited greatly from this experience as expressed in their evaluation of the faculty seminar at the end of the year. During the time that I administered this seminar it was gratifying to see almost every faculty member taking the seminar present four years later when they were welcomed as tenured faculty at a special reception held by the Executive Vice-President of Instruction.

Cyber Café

Not every teacher who becomes an administrator finds this new position as rewarding as their work in the classroom, but I did because I worked daily on projects that improved the support for faculty in the classroom and their relationship with their peer teachers in all disciplines. Like many jobs, it is important to pay great attention to the everyday issues confronting faculty and their departments and divisions as well a support their special programs such as the Honors Program, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Global Studies, Student Voices publications for English and English Skills students, the Gateway Program, the Library and Learning Resource Center, CPE conferences, Art Exhibitions, Music Programs and Theatre Arts Productions. The last project I planned during 2006 was the construction of a Cyber Café and expanded computer stations in the Luria Library. This included a fine coffee bar and furniture for studying and eating in a wireless environment. This was welcomed by Library staff and quadrupled the Library’s attendance within one month. Two years after I retired the Library was given a national award because of their excellent staff and the learning environment that they created in the college’s library.

After retiring from the college in 2006 I had the opportunity to return in 2008-09 to teach music classes for a faculty member on sabbatical leave. I was delighted to once again teach the music history class for music majors as well as an online music appreciation class that I had developed and was scheduled to begin teaching the semester that I became Dean. It was a very interesting class with students in New York City to Honolulu and all parts of California. One of the finest students that I ever had in the music appreciation classes over a span of 31 years was a young woman from Stockton, California, in the online music appreciation class. Though I enjoyed this particular class, after teaching 3 online classes I found that I preferred the face-to-face classes to online classes.

I conducted the Symphony Orchestra for the final time in the spring of 2006 and was very pleased to see that the orchestra I founded in 1969, and developed into a very fine community orchestra of student and community musicians, was now under the excellent leadership of the second conductor of this orchestra, James Mooy. Not only is Jim a wonderful jazz and classical trumpet performer but an outstanding teacher who has continued to grow the size and quality of this fine performing ensemble. He has chosen very challenging repertoire and continued to produce excellent programs. What more could I hope for, that my student in 1986 would come back to work at the college and become the conductor of the SBCC Symphony where he performed as a young student at one time.

Retirement since 2006 has been wonderful, days of playing golf, working at a gold course, reading as many books as I wish, traveling all over the U.S. and abroad, while continuing to perform with the Santa Barbara Symphony (42 years and still going)!  Teaching at SBCD definitely was a once in a lifetime experience that lasted 40 years.