WHAT THE CV-HEC IS HAPPENING BLOG (March 2023): CCC Chancellor-Select Sonya Christian
This month’s “What The CV-HEC Is Happening” guest blog is presented by Dr. Sonya Christian, chancellor of the Kern College Community College District and Central Valley Higher Education Consortium board member who in February was selected to lead the California Community College System. Chancellor-Select Christian reflects on her experiences with higher education in the Central Valley serving on the CVHEC board as well as withihn the KCCD, home to Bakersfield, Cerro Coso and Porterville Colleges (she served as BC president prior to her KCCD chancellorship).
Higher Ed in the Valley
A look at a tenure of accomplishments by KCCD Chancellor chosen to lead the CCC System – Part 1
BY DR. SONYA CHRISTIAN
Chancellor, Kern Community College District
Chancellor-Select, California Community College System (effective July 1, 2023?)
final text/art to come
CVHEC DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE (March 2023): Spring forward!
Spring forward to our CVHEC summit, Math Bridge Kick-off and Kern Mentors!
Welcome to this month’s CVHEC e-Newsletter. As we move into the spring of 2023 with a little more daylight on our hands, we are happy to share some timely items following our last issue.
First, as we in the Central Valley continue to bask in the pride and excitement of our own Dr. Sonya Christian, chancellor of the Kern Community College District, being chosen by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors to lead the California Community College System, we are delighted to feature her in this issue’s “What the CV-HEC Is Happening Blog.”
The Chancellor-select reflects on her time working in the valley with her fellow presidents and chancellors on the CVHEC Board of Directors and the strides we have made as a united voice for higher education in our nine-county region [or Kern Co if that is what the blog focuses on]. Please enjoy her guest blog in this month’s issue and, once again, congratulations Sonya!
Registration for the CVHEC Annual Summit is now open!
Please plan on joining us May 12 for this great event as well as our special CVHEC Welcome Reception the day before at Arte Americas. The summit – always historic in that it brings together the higher education leadership in our nine-county region – provides the opportunity to showcase the great work that is taking place in our Central Valley colleges and universities to provide meaningful pathways for our students seeking a higher education.
In furtherance of our mission to increase access to college for students, we are pleased to announce the Central Valley Math Bridge Kick-off May 18 in downtown Fresno with our partners College Bridge and the Rand Corporation. With this the formal launch, we are excited to shine a light on the great work that can come out of small colleges in the Central Valley that we will share with the rest of the state and eventually nationally as this project creates a model for meaningful dual enrollment math pathways and expansion that can be replicated in other regions of California.
This same spirit carries forth in the South Valley where our Kern Master’s Upskilling Project is now recruiting community college professors to serve as mentors for high school teachers enrolled in the project to earn master’s degrees in math or English. In collaboration with the Kern Regional K-16 Education Collaborative, we are working to improve student progress from high school to postsecondary education and ultimately into the workforce by providing 100 South Valley high school teachers the opportunity to earn a master’s degree that achieves state qualifications for teaching community college dual enrollment English or math courses at local high schools.
We encourage Kern area community college math and English professors to join us in this innovative project.
As you read through this issue, we hope you find inspiration in the many great higher education advancements taking place in the Central Valley. Thanks for being a partner and a friend of CVHEC.
CVHEC IN THE NEWS: College Bridge Dual Enrollment Math Bridge Project
WHAT THE CV-HEC IS HAPPENING GUEST BLOG (February 2023): College Bridge and Dinuba HS
This month’s “What The CV-HEC Is Happening” guest blog is presented by Agustina Sanchez, a counselor at Dinuba High School in Tulare County who has participated in the College Bridge Math Pipeline Readiness Project (M-PReP) since it was implemented in 2013. During the three-year project in concert with CVHEC-member Reedley College, Dinuba students not only acquired the necessary skills to become college-ready, but also passed college-level math classes through M-PReP, all in the span of their senior year. Mrs. Sanchez, who earned a bachelor’s degree at Fresno State in 2001 and master’s and PPS Credential in 2003, has been counseling for 19 years. Here she shares her experience with College Bridge and how its life-changing strategies helped high school students through initiatives such as M-PReP and its new Dual Enrollment Math Bridge Project announced last month.
Hard Pass? No more!
A rural Central Valley high school teams with College Bridge and
a CVHEC member for student math success through dual enrollment
BY AGUSTINA “AUGGIE” SANCHEZ
Dinuba High School – Dinuba CA (Tulare County)
Hard Pass! This was the typical response I received when registering high school juniors for a senior year math experience.
AP Calculus? AP Statistics? Pre-Calculus? No. No Way. Hard Pass!
As a high school counselor, I knew that our college-bound students were going to see math again (and, most likely, again and again). I did everything in my power to get college-bound students to take a math course, and while some took my advice, many did not because they “didn’t want a hard senior year,” or they would “just wait and take their next math in college.”
In fall 2018, I was introduced to a new partnership for Dinuba High School (DHS) with College Bridge. The goal of this partnership was to increase the number of students in a senior math experience, namely Dual Enrollment (DE) Math.
The concept was actually quite simple.
DHS partnered with a local community college to offer Dual Enrollment (DE) math courses to our seniors in areas of statistics, college algebra, college trigonometry and calculus. College Bridge literally created a bridge between DHS and Reedley College to ensure our students’ success in this area. Our senior students enrolled and successfully completed these DE math courses with a C or better, many of them finishing their general education math for their bachelor’s degree while still high school students.
To build a foundation for student success, College Bridge created a system of support in all areas — administrative, instruction, counseling and student learning:
- To train in course curriculums, from statistics to calculus, DHS teachers received professional development in cohort with Reedley College professors.
- Reedley College faculty not only came to mentor our teachers, but they were also released from the college to come and teach weekly at DHS while our teachers observed.
- Reedley College faculty members then observed our teachers in action and guided them throughout the semester until our instructors demonstrated comfort in, and a comprehensive understanding of, curricular content and methodology.
- To engage students, a counseling mentor was provided to help promote, market, entice and enroll students into courses.
- Parent nights were held, classroom presentations were conducted in Math 3 classes, and College Bridge helped interested students complete the necessary steps to apply to Reedley College.
- Our DHS math instructors taught the Reedley College content three days a week, offered tutorials the other two days, and additional after-school assistance was available three times per week.
- Students were monitored and interventions applied early to ensure positive student learning outcomes.
DHS now had a new approach and convincing talking points to encourage students to enroll in a senior math experience:
- Do you want to complete your math for your bachelor’s degree here at DHS?
- This is your chance to complete your first year of calculus at DHS with the support of our teachers.
- Why wait until you get to Reedley College or Fresno State; this is your chance to finish your math here at DHS with your teacher’s support and interventions.
Needless to say, senior math enrollment increased.
In our first year of implementation, DHS just focused on Math 11 (Statistics). College Bridge took things a step further, deeply investing efforts in the “striving math student.” A pre-Statistics course was offered in the fall and then the magical Math 11 (statistics) DE in the spring, thus preparing students for a full semester before enrolling them into the DE course.
Our more advanced students took the Math 11 DE in the fall term, and a Quantitative Reasoning course in the spring (non DE). DHS senior students achieved their goal and entered college “math done” for their degrees. Over the next three years, DHS added algebra, trigonometry and calculus to DE math course offerings.
Now, nine years after the first implementation of College Bridge, dual enrollment math is still strong.
We have two full-time teachers who teach DE courses for a total of 10 sections and are currently registering current 11th graders for next year. Our student math conversations are not difficult; many students have already made a DE math choice, and compelling arguments and evidence — including the pros and cons of dual enrollment math — typically convince those students who are hesitant to choose the path to college credit.
The senior math experience “hard pass” era is no longer viable. Instead, our current students will “hardly pass” up this amazing opportunity to excel.
CVHEC DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE (February 2023): CVHEC Summit 2023
Spotlight on Unique Approaches To
Transfer and Dual Enrollment in Central California
February ushered in what promises to be a very productive and exciting spring and that is well illustrated here in the final week of the month with the historic appointment of our esteemed colleague and CVHEC board member, Dr. Sonya Christian, as the 11th chancellor of the California Community College System.
From all of us at CVHEC: congratulations Chancellor-Select Christian! See our story in this issue.
Also, in this month’s e-newsletter, we are happy to announce a SAVE THE DATE for the annual CVHEC Education Policy and Legislative Summit May 12 in Fresno with our quarterly CVHEC Board of Directors meeting the day before.
The annual summit provides an opportunity to showcase the impactful work being accomplished by our member colleges and universities in the Central Valley to our partners, friends and legislators who serve our region. Please plan on joining us later this spring to learn more about this work, including the unique approaches to transfer and dual enrollment in the valley — just to mention a couple of topics that will be covered. Registration info will be forthcoming in March.
In the South Valley, we are pleased to present the addition to the CVHEC family of two respected Kern County higher education professionals who will serve as faculty mentor coordinators for our Kern Master’s Upskilling Project: Drs. Vikash Likhan and Liz Rozell.
The Kern project, which assists high school teachers earn an MA in math or English qualifying them to teach dual enrollment, includes a mentoring component that joins high school teachers with community college professors. Drs. Likhan and Rozell will work with our project lead, Tom Burke (KCCD chancellor-emeritus), to identify and recruit South Valley community college professors to serve as mentors.
If you are interested in serving our students in this way, or know potential candidates, I invite and encourage you to connect with our team.
There is much more in this month’s edition. Please read on and enjoy.
CVHEC DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE (January 2023): Kicking Off the New Year with Successful Initiatives
We are happy to welcome you to the 2023 spring semester and our first e-newsletter of the year. As you will see in this issue, the new year promises to pick up right where we left off when we went into the winter break.
You will read about the successes of our Central Valley Transfer Project which has developed a unique approach with its Program Pathways Mapper to improve the number of Central Valley community college students transferring to the University of California, Merced, and the valley’s California State Universities.
This entry is timely in light of a recent article announcing the UC system’s effort to expand outreach to 65 California community colleges and the release of the report by a joint task force between UC and the community college system recommending that UC increase the percentage of community college transfers who apply, are admitted to and enroll at UC. The UC also has a systemwide goal to enroll one California community college transfer student for every two California resident freshmen.
The Transfer Project provides a historic collaboration between our three segments of higher education to improve this process for students with first round surveys (studies ?) showing a direct correlation between students using the Program Mapper and important student success metrics.
We are also happy to congratulate our CVHEC partner, College Bridge. Six rural community colleges in California’s Central Valley will partner with 21 high schools to promote equity in mathematics via dual enrollment courses for Black or Latino students thanks to a $4 million US Department of Education grant awarded to College Bridge. This united effort will highlight the good work a group of small rural colleges can do when partnering with their dedicated high school partners.
In this month’s guest blog, Ginny Sandu, a teacher at Sunnyside High School talks about her journey to earn a Master’s degree through our MA Upskilling Program last year, funded by the Fresno-Madera K16 Collaborative. The program increased the number of high school teachers holding Master’s degrees in English and Mathematics in the Fresno-Madera service area qualifying them to teach dual enrollment at their high school campus. Armed with her new post-grad degree, Ginny was able to begin teaching dual enrollment courses last fall — exactly what the project was designed to do.
Enjoy Ginny’s story and the rest of the newsletter. Please take moment to meet our dedicated staff of higher education professionals in this issue’s CVHEC Website renovation presenting our staff page. We are all looking forward to a great 2023!
WHAT THE CV-HEC IS HAPPENING GUEST BLOG (January 2023): Master’s Upskill
This month’s What The CV-HEC Is Happening guest blog is presented by Ginny Sandhu, an English teacher at Sunnyside High School in Fresno who earned a master’s degree in December, 2021 through CVHEC’s Master’s Upskilling Program. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Fresno State in 2008 (credential 2009) and has been teaching for 13 years. Here Ginny shares the value of the upskilling program and how it will benefit not just her personal and professional advancement but also her students through dual enrollment.
Master’s Upskill Program Leads to Dual Enrollment Courses; Student Benefit
BY GINNY SANDHU
Sunnyside High School – Fresno CA
My latest academic journey – obtaining my Master of Arts last summer – officially began at National University in January 2021. But as I reflect on the years past, it really started long before that.
Having taught writing-centered courses like AP Language and Composition and Expository Reading and Writing for many years positioned me perfectly to want to improve my art for a very important reason — my students.
I wanted to pursue a graduate program that helped me become a better writing instructor for students who take high stakes courses like the AP courses I taught. So much of who I was (am) as a professional at the time aligned so well with the courses offered in the program (Master’s of English, specialization in Rhetoric) that once I learned about the opportunity, I happily enrolled immediately.
From the start, the program had many entities that were involved to make the initiative a success for its candidates — the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, Fresno Unified School District, Fresno County Office of Education and National University — all supported this enormous effort to help individuals like me achieve academic goals without any financial burden.
Once the courses began, I was assigned a wonderful mentor from Fresno City College, a tenured professor, who supported me with various facets of the program. Some of the concerns he assisted me with were academic while others were career-related. I was able to get feedback on major essays and projects and, any time I felt like I was reaching a point of burnout, his wisdom, knowledge, and experience guided me accordingly.
In my courses, I learned about ancient and modern rhetoric. In one class, I was able to develop a revision method using various research-based approaches that we studied in class.
In another class, we delved into education and technology and how the world of writing is changing because of all the technology that is conveniently available to a modern-day student. We even took a course on Noir as a genre and learned about Film Noir and Femme Fatales. Romanticism came close to being one of my favorite courses, but History of Rhetoric took the trophy for being one of the most informative and enjoyable courses for me. I appreciated learning more about Emerson who believed in the importance of receptivity as we interact with the world, with nature, and believed in the complete submission to the sublime experience as a way to a spiritual clearing.
But it was the History of Rhetoric course that took us through the most beautiful journey starting first with the Greeks then the Romans, and onwards to more modern rhetoricians. The course allowed us to see how rhetoric has expanded over the centuries to include broader concerns of epistemology, social construction, ideology and the study and use of symbol systems. It also allowed me to see the power of language and the many facets of rhetoric as an art form. I came to understand the hegemonic power of political structures in creating metanarratives through language that strive for homogenization of people—thereby reducing people to a single story. This led me to study Plato, Cicero, Quintilian, Lyotard, Nietzsche, Goddard, Said, Sartre, Hegel, Freud, and numerous other philosophers who have shed light on the power structures that are constructed through language.
The most gratifying moment in the program for me was my Capstone project in which I rhetorically analyzed Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks. While the labor was long and arduous, I felt well-supported by the faculty in charge and the two months allotted to just writing my thesis.
My hope was to understand how language as a power tool operates in our world and Fanon’s psychoanalytic approach to racism and his characterization of psychic violence through his radical stance against established scholarship allowed me to see that it is indeed possible to challenge oppressive systems and language gives you that ability. Personally, this program gave me the tools to deconstruct language around racial conflicts, such as the ones in Punjab, and the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.
Currently, I am teaching Dual Enrollment English 1A at Sunnyside High School in Fresno. Like the master’s program, I was fortunate to have been assigned a mentor again, and lucky for me, I got to work with the same mentor as my MA program: I gladly call Jeff Tannen a friend now.
I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to get a master’s degree with so much support built around me — and all of this without any financial investment of my own and entirely online, allowing me the flexibility I needed to sustain a full-time teaching position and be there for my family.
BOARD NEWS: CVHEC Board Reviews AB928, Eyes Retreat In 2023 and Bids Farewell to One of Its Own (Photo Gallery)
The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Board of Directors held its final quarterly meeting of the year Dec. 8 highlighted by a discussion of Assembly Bill 928 regarding transfer reform and a farewell to a beloved colleague.
Dr. Lori Bennett, outgoing president of Clovis Community College, was presented a retirement gift during her final meeting sitting on the CVHEC board and representing her institution of higher education.
After a presentation by two dear friends and colleagues — Dr. Kristen Clark, CVHEC board chairperson and chancellor of the West Hills Community College District; and Dr. Claudia Lourido-Habib, president of Porterville College — President Bennett expressed her appreciation for her CVHEC colleagues.
“There is nothing that I’ve done in my whole career that has been better than being president at Clovis Community College and part of that is being part of CVHEC,” said President Bennett whose retirement is effective Jan. 3.
“It’s amazing what we have here in this valley, all of you in this room, all of us getting to know each other and meeting up and talking and including all the different colleges,” she told the board. “It is beyond my wildest dreams that I could have been part of something like this. I want to thank all of you for the friendship and the work that we’ve done together over the last several years.”
The hybrid board meeting, only the second in-person session since the pandemic for the presidents and chancellors of CVHEC’s 30 member institutions in the nine-county Central Valley region, was hosted by the California Health Sciences University and board member Florence T. Dunn, CHSU president. Dr. John Graneto, CHSU dean pf the university’s College of Osteopathy Medicine, welcomed the academic CEOs with a presentation about the medical school.
Also presenting at the board meeting was Jessie Ryan, executive vice president of the Campaign for College Opportunity, who joined the meeting via Zoom. Discussing AB928 (Berman), Ryan acknowledged the role CVHEC has played in the transfer reform movement over the years, noting that the Central Valley is ahead of many in the state.
Ryan said the bill sought three things: to create an intersegmental transfer task force to talk about critical issues related to the production of the Associate Degree Transfer and improving the transfer process for students across the state; to create a common lower division general education pathway into the CSU and UC; and to more strategically ensure that the ADT became the preferred pathway for students where an ADT pathway for transfer existed
The board also heard CVHEC Executive Director Benjamín Durán report that the Consortium will be undertaking strategic planning measures in 2023 that include a program evaluation and a CVHEC Board Strategic Retreat next summer.
Several other CVHEC Projects were discussed; including a progress report on the CVHEC Transfer Project/Program Mapper, updates on the four CERF regions K-16 Collaboratives, and a discussion about the Online Educational Resources/Zero Textbook Costs (OER/ZTC). (See full agenda here – view details).
The CVHEC Board of Directors will meet again in spring 2023.