WHAT THE CV-HEC IS HAPPENING BLOG (March 2023): CCC Chancellor-Select Sonya Christian
The role of higher education in the Central Valley is increasingly recognized by our state’s elected officials and the public at large. So it carries a particular significance that on Feb. 23, the California Community College Board of Governors appointed Dr. Sonya Christian, chancellor of the Kern Community College District, as the incoming chancellor of the state’s community college system. Dr. Christian is a proven champion of the under-represented populations served by the community colleges in the San Joaquin Valley. For this month’s “What The CV-HEC Is Happening” blog, CVHEC’s Executive Director Benjamin Duran connected with Dr. Christian to capture her thoughts about her work in the Central Valley, and the California Community College system as a whole, before she formally steps into her new role this June.
Higher Ed in the Central Valley
A look at a tenure of accomplishments by KCCD Chancellor chosen to lead the CCC System – Part 1
Benjamin Duran: Thank you, Sonya, for taking the time to speak with us here at CVHEC, and congratulations again on your appointment to the state Chancellor’s office. We are elated to have an administrator from the Central Valley representing higher education in such an important office. What are your thoughts on the work being done in the valley, and how that ongoing work will inform your work statewide?
Sonya Christian: Thank you for inviting me, Ben. My focus will be to continue to advance student success and student access with equity … without distractions. This has been my work as president of Bakersfield College (BC), as chancellor of the Kern Community College District (Kern CCD), and it will continue to be my focus as the statewide chancellor.
The critical challenges we face in the Central Valley are emblematic of the challenges and opportunities we face in California – e.g. the enrollment decline during the pandemic and the basic needs of our students. The challenges are magnified in the Central Valley’s populations with higher levels of poverty, lower educational attainment levels, larger proportions of first-generation college students… and I believe the work we have been doing and will continue to do in the Central Valley should serve as a model for advancing student success with equity in the rest of the state.
Let me take a moment to brag about the innovation that has happened in the Central Valley, and acknowledge the leadership role that CVHEC has had in this work.
Dual Enrollment and Early College
I see Dual Enrollment and Early College as being essential. High school students need to know that they are on the path to college and can succeed on that path. This is all the more important for our first-gen students.
I believe that all our work should be supported by the data. Let me share with you some of the data for the Dual Enrollment/Early College sections in the Central Valley.
- Total special admit enrollments increased by 25% in 2021-2022; from 74,629 enrollments in 2020-2021 to 93,248 enrollments 2021-2022 (CA state growth was 5%)
- 21% (93,248 out of 441,691) of all special admit enrollments in California in 2021-2022 were from the Central Valley Region
- 5 out of the 9 high schools that received the CDE’s California Dual Enrollment Exemplary Award were from the Central Valley Region
- Arvin High School- Bakersfield College
- Delano High School- Bakersfield College & Cerro Coso Community College
- Robert F. Kennedy High School- Bakersfield College & Cerro Coso Community College
- McFarland High School- Bakersfield College
- Avenal High School- West Hills College, Coalinga
The Central Valley has done remarkable work supporting the detailed institutional clarification and creation of transfer pathways, including the implementation of Program Pathways Mapper. E.g., about two years after UC Merced, Merced College and Bakersfield College began collaborating on clarifying transfer pathways as part of a Learning Lab grant, enrolling transfer students took a big jump relative to the overall UC system. In fall 2021 they enrolled 19% more transfers, and in fall 2022 it was 14% more.
In all, UC Merced has published 27 vetted transfer pathways with Merced College and another 29 with Bakersfield College. UC Merced has also been engaging all Central Valley community colleges in linking their program maps to UC Merced to establish a network of transfer pathways for the region.
CSU Bakersfield has also been a leader in transfer pathways mapping with 39 transfer program maps currently linked to Bakersfield College programs.
And CSU Stanislaus has just begun onboarding onto the Program Pathways Mapper, adding more transfer momentum to the region’s guided pathways efforts.
The 15 colleges in the Central Valley/Mother Lode (CVML) Regional Consortium have been advancing equity and access for students in many areas:
- Increased the number of students who earned a degree, certificate, or apprenticeship by 5%
- Decreased the average number of units accumulated by First-Time Associate Degree Earners by 4%
- Developed over 120 programs in high-priority industry sectors to address skills gaps in the workforce
Here are some examples of great work from our colleges:
- Fresno City College and its sister institutions, Clovis, Madera, and Reedley, are pioneering an apprenticeship program called the California Tribal Environmental and Cultural Equitable Vocational Training to close equity gaps for indigenous residents in two programs: Environmental Science and Protection Technician and Cultural Protection Technician/Monitor. This project is a collaboration with the California Tribal Emergency Response and Relief Agency (CTUAC) and the California Tribal Unilateral Apprenticeship Committee (CTUAC). The purpose of the project is to recruit 25 apprentices from tribal communities.
- Bakersfield College hosted the first CVML Apprenticeship Forum in December 2022 to provide best practice strategies in meeting Governor Newsom’s equity goal of having 500,000 apprenticeships by 2029. Additionally, it received the California Apprenticeship Initiative: New & Innovative grant to develop apprenticeship programs in Information and Communication Technology as well as Perioperative Nursing for underrepresented students.
- West Hills College Lemoore is leading a regional project called Jumpstart for rising seniors to learn about Industrial Automation and gain work experience in an accelerated summer bridge program with Reedley College, College of the Sequoias, and Porterville College.
- Recently, 9 of the CVML colleges (Columbia, Fresno, Bakersfield, Cerro Coso, West Hills College Lemoore, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin Delta, Modesto, College of the Sequoias, Porterville, and Taft) received the second largest award for the Regional Equity and Recovery Partnership (RERP) grant, a partnership among the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA), the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB), and the California Community College Regional Consortia via the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. These colleges are coordinating a regional effort to improve job quality and access for women and underrepresented populations to help meet economic, social, and environmental needs of the community.
- Bakersfield College, Fresno City College, Merced College, Modesto College, San Joaquin Delta College and West Hills College Coalinga are part of the Rising Scholars Network, a CCCCO DEI initiative, that serves justice-involved and formerly involved students earn certificates and degrees to either transfer or to attain a mid- to high-wage job.
- Fresno City College and Modesto Junior College are two of 14 California community colleges participating in the 3-year College Homeless Housing Insecure Pilot Program to address the 19% of unhoused students.
These selected initiatives make visible the scope of committed work in the Central Valley to support access with equity, and success with equity.
Ben: Whoa, that is a lot of data! I guess that is what you get when you have a conversation with a former math faculty. Now, Early College and Dual Enrollment has a lot of potential in the Central Valley, and Kern CCD has been one of the leaders in that space for several years. How has your work in this area as President of Bakersfield College and Chancellor of Kern CCD prepared you for this new role?
Sonya: It has been the greatest pleasure of my career to be able to give back to the district where I started in higher education as a math instructor. I came to USC as a foreign graduate student and was first hired as a math faculty at BC. The President at that time, Rick Wright, and the Chancellor Jim Young, sponsored me for my green card. And now I am a citizen of this amazing country.
The 25,000 sq miles of Kern’s Service area includes rural communities with lower economic and educational attainment levels, and includes a range of strong industries like agriculture, energy, defense and aerospace, healthcare and logistics. The work done by the three colleges in the Kern district – Porterville College, Cerro Coso College, and Bakersfield College – has focused on advancing equity in access to a college education, equity in completing a degree or certificate, and equity in placement in good jobs. Various initiatives that were started as innovative projects have been institutionalized and are now a part of how we do our work.
The Early College efforts started with our rural communities of McFarland, Delano, Wasco, Shafter and Arvin/Lamont. Kern has also see
n rapid growth in our health care programs and we are working closely with industry and community-based organizations to move our energy-
With the Governor’s ambitious climate agenda, I see community colleges as providing the necessary infrastructure and engagement for all of our communities, offering educational attainment with equity, and creating economic mobility with equity. Kern has established a satellite presence of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory called the California Renewable Energy Laboratory (CREL).
And I have to mention the deep work that Kern has done using the Guided Pathways framework, work that has resulted in significant improvements in student success outcomes with equity.
This work was done to meet the needs of students of the colleges of the Kern Community College District (KernCCD)and the Central Valley. But of course the fundamental needs are in common to students at colleges across the state. In that regard meeting the needs of the populations we serve at the Kern CCD and the Central Valley has prepared me well for the work ahead.
Ben: Throughout your career as an administrator, you’ve demonstrated a forward-thinking, outside-the-box approach. What are some of your other big priorities as you step into your new role as state chancellor this June?
Sonya: At the February 23rd, Board of Governors meeting where I was appointed, I made the following comment:
The Board of Governors is tasking the 11th Chancellor of the California Community Colleges to be both implementer and visionary, all at once, to further advance the next frontier of student success with equity. Our work then is twofold: (1) Implement the Vision for Success with equity, fidelity, at scale, using the identified metrics, and (2) expand the canopy of community college learners , to accelerate the socio-economic mobility for our most marginalized communities through partnerships that will reach working adults, disconnected youth and others left behind.
Let me call out a few specific pieces of work:
One of my first priorities will be to work alongside the Cal State and UC systems to improve intersegmental transfer from the community colleges into four-year institutions. We’ve talked previously about implementing the Vision for Success and the Governor’s Roadmap with equity and at scale, and that includes the community college transfer students moving to a four-year university and completing their bachelor’s degree.
Workforce Development has been on the top of my mind the last few years. Systematically providing opportunities for working adults, disconnected youth and other learners who previously have been bypassed, is the next wave of our Guided Pathways work. Our work today is creating the future of learning where there are many more flexible onramps to educational pathways that lead to quality jobs.
The Governor’s Roadmap calls out four priority sectors – healthcare, climate action, education and early education. Community colleges – together with our partners – must lead the way to meet these goals.
At Kern, I have been working on the Climate Action agenda specifically in the areas of Carbon Capture and Sequestration, Clean Transportation, and Grid Resilience. I believe that Community Colleges are essential in advancing the state and federal goals for decarbonization and climate action, and it will be especially important to support the clean energy transition in the Central Valley.
Last and certainly not least, supporting our students with their basic needs by providing customized support for the diverse students we serve. This includes the work we have started with mental health support, affordable student housing and the Cal Grant Reform.
Ben: Sonya, I am glad you mentioned transfer. You know that CVHEC has identified this as a priority and has done great work on transfer pathways. How do you see this playing out at the state level?
Sonya: Increasing baccalaureate attainment has always been a priority for me, ever since I started as President of BC. Many of the underserved rural communities in Kern’s service have low educational attainment levels – this is why we launched, with urgency, the Rural Initiative as an equity imperative to advance educational attainment levels with the goal of advancing the socio-economic standing of these communities. In this work, we specifically focused on: (i) increasing baccalaureate completion by creating transfer pathways from high schools through the community college to a four-year university as well as (ii) bringing bachelor’s degrees closer to home by developing local Community College Baccalaureate programs that lead to high-wage jobs.
The transfer legislation SB 1440 and the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) helped Kern increase completion rates of the transfer degree. The graph shows the number of ADTs awarded at Kern increased from just over 1,000 five years ago in 2017-2018 to just over 2,500 in 2021-22; that is an increase of 146%.
And for California Community Colleges as a whole, the five-year increase from 36,101 ADTs conferred in 2016-17 to 62,934 in 2020-21 represents a 74% increase.
As more and more students complete the ADT, we need to ensure that the number of applications to our transfer institutions is increasing, as well. This will be a priority for me as I transition to my new role.
The Community College Baccalaureate is important to me. I remember the excitement that rippled through California’s Community Colleges in 2015 when SB 805 passed that launched the 15-college baccalaureate pilot program. And later in 2021 with AB 927 institutionalizing the pilot. In the Central Valley, Bakersfield College is providing high-wage, workforce-focused baccalaureate degrees and has two baccalaureate degree programs: Industrial Automation and Research Laboratory Technician. Also, Modesto Junior College offers a Respiratory Care B.S. degree, and other Central Valley colleges are developing baccalaureate degree programs. The Community College Baccalaureate will be a priority as I transition to my new role.
Ben: As always, it looks like you have an ambitious agenda, and I’m excited to see how the community colleges evolve to support students with equity under your leadership. The Central Valley stands ready to support you in your new role. Thank you again for speaking with us. I know you’ll continue to make the Central Valley proud!
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.
And finally, as we close out March next week, let us acknowledge Women’s History Month by expressing our appreciation to the incredible women leaders who serve on the CVHEC Board of Directors as the presidents or chancellors of the colleges and universities in our region, led by board chairwoman Dr. Kristin Clark, chancellor the West Hills Community College District.
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!
CVHEC DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE (December 2022): Happy Holidays!
A Season to Celebrate our Triumphs
Holiday Greetings to All,
We, the team at the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, wish you a joyous and peaceful holiday season as we come to the end of a historic fall semester at all our partner institutions and prepare to usher in a new year.
The 2021-22 academic year saw our Central Valley colleges and universities emerge from the post-pandemic blues and welcome our students and staff back to our campuses. It was a long two years. Congratulations to each and every one of you who dedicate your professional career to relentlessly serving our students regardless of the challenges we face.
This is truly a season to celebrate our triumphs!
In this final issue of 2022 – our Silver Edition – you will see highlights of the good work that took place in the region, in spite of the constraints imposed by COVID. Enjoy reviewing this glimpse back at the last 12 months as well as a recap of the winter CVHEC Board of Directors meeting held earlier this month.
One of the highlights of our board meeting was a collective farewell to friend and colleague Dr. Lori Bennet who is retiring as Clovis Community College president Jan. 3 after a long and successful career serving community college students. Congratulations Dr. Bennett, we wish you a long and well-deserved retirement.
To all, please enjoy the holidays and plan on joining us again in January for our first newsletter of 2023.
WHAT THE CV-HEC IS HAPPENING BLOG (December 2022): Year-In-Review/Silver Edition
Celebrating Our 25th Edition with a Look Back at 2022 E-Newsletter Stories
The December “What the CV-HEC is Happening” Blog is presented by Tom Uribes, CVHEC’s communications/media coordinator who joined CVHEC in 2020 after serving as a California State University public affairs specialist for two Fresno State offices in a 30-year career from 1988-2017: the University Outreach Services and University Communications offices, where he also served as the University’s public information officer for two decades of that career. Among his current projects is editor of the CVHEC e-newsletter which presents its 25th edition with this issue. His blog looks back at some of the newsletter stories published in 2022.
By Tom Uribes
CVHEC Communications/Media Coordinator
With the close of 2022 – and near resumption of post-pandemic “normal life” – we present our now annual review of top stories featured in the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium e-newsletter for this December issue: our 25th edition!
This Silver Edition of the CVHEC e-newsletter crowns a venture that started when I signed on with the Consortium in March, 2020 just as the pandemic broke — sending me back home after just one day in CVHEC’s office in Fresno to work out of a hastily revived bedroom office.
Under the direction of my new CVHEC boss at the time, Virginia Madrid-Salazar (who I had hired as one of my first news interns when she was a Fresno State student in the late 80s), we published our first issue in June 2020 and when Virginia left us in August 2021 to play lawyer, Ángel Ramírez assumed this CVHEC communications partnership as my lead. His able and competent guidance and leadership has continued the solid foundation started by Virginia for the growth of this e-newsletter into this, its 25th edition.
We hope you enjoy this milestone issue — a compressed journey through the past 12 months of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium. Topics range from our Dual Enrollment Convening and Legislative and Policy Summit in in the spring, the historic CVHEC Board of Directors quarterly meetings, the appointments of new campus leaders, the growth of our “What the CV-HEC is Happening” Blog first introduced in 2021 and more.
We strive to tell the CVHEC story: bringing together 30 Central Valley institutions of higher education through its board of directors made up the presidents and chancellors in the nine-county region who make history every time they meet to deliberate, act and speak as one voice on higher education issues and policies affecting our region — a feat not seen too often throughout the academia CEO world.
We presented our first year-in-review looking back at 2021 in January with Dr. Benjamín Durán, CVHEC executive director, ushering in the New Year in his monthly director’s message:
“We at CVHEC wish you a dynamic start to the spring 2022 semester with hopes of reaching some sort of a new normal that will lead us to working, meeting our students and convening in-person in the near future,” Dr. Duran messaged that month. “While the pandemic has put the squeeze on all of us the past two years, we are more determined than ever to conquer that challenge as we have so many others.”
CV-HEC BLOG: Dual Enrollment – An Equity Change-Maker
Our first CV-HEC Guest Blog of the year in February featured a guest writer who was instrumental in planting seeds for our “What the CV-HEC is Happening” Blog, the aforementioned Virginia Madrid-Salazar, Esq., former CVHEC strategies lead turned private law practice dependency attorney. Virginia shared some observations on dual enrollment from her unique dual perspective stemming from when she worked with CVHEC setting up the CVDEEP and its convening and as a mom of a dual enrollment student.
“As the strategies lead for the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, it was an honor to work alongside area educators to affect transformational changes that have occurred in the region’s higher education sphere during that period,” said Virginia who wrote CVHEC’s white paper in 2020: CVDEEP White Paper: “Dual Enrollment in the Central Valley, Working Toward a Unified Approach for Equity and Prosperity.”
Dual Enrollment Convening: Face-To-Face Space for K-12 and Higher Ed and new DE Video
More than 135 secondary and postsecondary educators assembled for the “Establishing Dual Enrollment Pathways in the Central Valley” Convening March 17 in Fresno to address challenges and barriers to dual enrollment success. Presented by CVHEC’s Central Valley Dual Enrollment for Equity and Prosperity (CVDEEP) Task Force, the five-hour convening was opened by Dr. Mayra A. Lara, associate director of Educator Engagement for The Education Trust-West, discussing her organization’s report, “Jumpstart California: A Roadmap for Equitable Dual Enrollment Policy & Practice.”
The event also featured the premiere of CVHEC’s latest education video, “Blurring the Lines Between High School and College: Dual Enrollment in the Central Valley.” The video depicts three student success stories as well as three area educators advocating for dual enrollment including CVHEC board members Dr. Kristin Clark, chancellor of the West Hills Community College District, and Dr. Chris Vitelli, president of Merced College. Convening participants also heard four valley students – including three from the video — share their success stories. Two completed associate degrees before their high school graduation. See press release.
CVHEC Founder Welty To Return for Summit and 20th Anniversary
This year for our 20th anniversary, the Consortium reunited with President-Emeritus John D. Welty, CVHEC’s founding president at our Higher Education Policy And Legislative Summit May 6, where the founding president witnessed a 30th member added to the board (see May).
SUMMIT NEWS: Attendees Hear the Voice of Student Experiences
A special feature of the 2022 CHEVC Summit was the student experiences panel including students who were featured in two Central Valley Higher Education Consortium videos in the past year.
CVHEC’s Higher Education Policy and Legislative Summit (Photo Gallery)
Nearly 300 intersegmental educators, legislators and partner representatives from throughout the Central Valley and the state joined us for our Higher Education Policy and Legislative Summit May 5-6 to examine such issues as equity, dual enrollment, transfer pathways and broadband disparity and access under the theme, “Post Pandemic World: Recovering with Equity and Inclusion in the Central Valley.” The event marked CVHEC’s 20th anniversary featuring the return of founding board of directors president Dr. John D. Welty, president-emeritus of Fresno State, who joined fellow founding board members Dr. Frank Gornick, West Hills Community College District chancellor-emeritus, and Dr. Benjamin Duran, Merced College president-emeritus and current CVHEC executive director, on a summit panel recalling the early days of the consortium. A special feature of the 2022 CHEVC Summit was the student experiences panel including students who were featured in two Central Valley Higher Education Consortium videos in the past year. The night before (May 5), CVHEC presented its Cinco de Mayo Reception providing the occasion to reconnect in-person with colleagues, new and old, after a two-year pandemic-forced hiatus from in-person convenings. The reception featured Las Hermanas Medinas from Hanford, two college grads and a current student (two of the three attended CVHEC member institution Fresno State and the third is a UC Santa Cruz alumna). See summit agenda.
BOARD NEWS: UCSF-Fresno Becomes CVHEC’s 30th Institution of Higher Education Member
At its quarterly meeting May 5, the CVHEC Board of Directors formally accepted the membership application from the University of California San Francisco – Fresno Campus and welcomed the 30th institution of higher education to join the Consortium. Michael W. Peterson, MD/MACP, associate dean for Undergraduate Medical Education and Research at the UCSF-Fresno Campus, was seated on the Consortium board joining the presidents and chancellors of 29 colleges and universities in the nine-county region from San Joaquin to Kern counties.
CVHEC Teacher Upskilling for Master’s Degrees Supports Dual Enrollment in South Valley Via Kern K-16 Collaborative
CVHEC’s Dual Enrollment Teacher Upskilling Program for English and Mathematics pilot program first launched in Fresno by CVHEC in 2021 was funded in June for the South Valley. In partnership with the Kern Regional K-16 Education Collaborative, the program will provide 100 South Valley high school teachers with the opportunity to earn a master’s degree that achieves state qualifications for teaching community college dual enrollment English and math courses on local high school campuses.
Dr. Krista Herrera was named executive director of the newly formed Kern Regional K-16 Education Collaborative, a partnership between Kern County Superintendent Of Schools, institutes of higher education including the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium and Kern business partners to significantly expand Kern County’s workforce development efforts (reported in our July issue).
CVHEC BLOG: UC Enrollment Push Supported by CVHEC/UC Merced Transfer Project and new Mapper Software
The June “What The CV-HEC Is Happening” Blog featured guest contributor Dr. James Zimmerman, senior associate vice provost and dean for Undergraduate Education at the University of California-Merced where he is also director of the Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning and a physics professor. He serves on the CVHEC/UC Merced Transfer Project committee and for this blog he connects the committee’s work the past year to a recent article on UC enrollment expansion.
Pathway for Community College Students to the Medical Field: California Medicine Scholars Program-SJV: a collab of UCSF Fresno and CVHEC members
A valley wide collaborative by CVHEC partners and Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) led to a major accomplishment for the Central Valley with the launch this summer of the California Medicine Scholars Program and the designation of the University of California, San Francisco – Fresno as one of four Regional Hubs of Healthcare Opportunity (RHHOs) in the state. Sen. Hurtado cited a healthcare provider shortage in the Central Valley and credited CVHEC for rallying leaders of the Consortium from Stockton to Bakersfield to support UCSF-Fresno as one of the state’s four hubs authorized by the legislation.
Zero-Textbook-Cost/OER Movement picks up steam with $115m state grant West Hills College Lemoore among leaders; CVHEC plans regional task force
The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC) is creating a regional task force to support its member institutions interested in reducing the overall cost of education for students and decreasing the time to complete degree and certificate programs by using alternative instructional materials and methodologies, including open educational resources (OER).
CV-HEC BLOG: The ZTC/OER Movement
The September blog is the first by a CVHEC Board of Directors member: West Hills College-Lemoore President James Preston who writes about the Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Program and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office supporting the system with $115 million to do the work in the “OERevolution” (Open Educational Resources).
CVHEC NEWS: Elaine Cash Is Grants & Program Coordinator as Consortium Grows
Educator Elaine C. Cash, retired superintendent of Riverdale Joint Unified School District and a K-12 liaison for the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium since 2017, was named to a full-time position as CVHEC’s Grants & Programs coordinator. In her new capacity effective Oct. 1, Elaine is responsible for grant writing, management and reporting of grants and sponsored programs, announced CVHEC Executive Director Dr. Benjamín Durán. “This new position for CVHEC will help support the growth and sustainability of the consortium and our work,” Durán said.
MINI GRANT SUCCESS STORY: AOA Journal Features CHSU ‘Pre-Med Bootcamp’ for Promoting Cultural Competency, Osteopathic Medicine Awareness
The Pre-Med Bootcamp Program of the California Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine was recognized nationally for its success in promoting cultural competency and osteopathic medicine awareness and assisting students in applying for the medical school. The bootcamp, held in 2019 and the first of five held since then, was supported by a Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Mini-Grant.
North Valley, East Sierra CVHEC Members Partner for K-16 Collaboratives State Planning Grants Could Lead to Expansion of CVHEC’s Dual Enrollment Initiatives
Two more Central Valley regions – North San Joaquin and Eastern Sierra – were each awarded one-year $250,000 state planning grants for the establishment of Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Programs as part of the statewide drive to strengthen the K-16 education-to-career pipeline. Both collaborative efforts are headed by Central Valley Higher Education Consortium member institutions.
In the Northern San Joaquin Region, the University of California, Merced is the lead agency for the newly formed North Valley Tri-County Workforce and Education (WE Will!) Regional Collaborative that includes four other fellow CVHEC-members: Merced College, Modesto Junior College, San Joaquin Delta College and California State University, Stanislaus. For the Eastern Sierra Region, CVHEC-member Columbia College is heading up the K-16 collaborative planning along with several school districts, colleges and employer groups. These allocations amount to a total of four such collaboratives involving CVHEC members that will help bolster dual enrollment initiatives like the consortium’s successful Master’s Upskilling Program that has already been implemented in the mid valley region through the Fresno-Madera K-16 Collaborative and will be getting underway in 2023 in the south valley area through the Kern K-16 Collaborative.
- DECEMBER (Silver Edition)
CVHEC Board Winter Meets (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 who delivered her final State-of-the-College at the CCC President’s Breakfast Oct. 25. See the board photo gallery.
CV-HEC BLOG: Year in Review-2022
The December “What the CV-HEC is Happening” Blog takes a look back at some of the newsletter stories published in 2022.
WHAT THE CV-HEC IS HAPPENING BLOG (November 2022): The Master’s Upskilling Program
Master’s Upskilling Experience
Was a Game-Changer
This month’s guest blog is presented by Chet Frantzich, an English teacher at Buchanan High School in Clovis who earned a master’s degree in June through CVHEC’s Master’s Upskilling Program. Chet earned his bachelor’s degree at Fresno State in 2010 (credential 2012) and has taught at BHS since 2018. He shares the value of the upskilling program and how it will benefit not just his personal and professional advancement but also his students through dual enrollment courses he plans to teach in the near future.
By Chet Frantzich
Buchanan High School
The Master’s Upskilling experience afforded me courtesy of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, National University and the Clovis Unified School District was a career altering one.
Not only did achieving my master’s in rhetoric open up pathways for me to teach dual enrollment courses and even courses at my local junior college, but it also impacted the way I teach. Graduating from the program has instilled in me a better sense of what my students need when it comes to functioning in college, yes, but also in life. The program was a revelation regarding what truly matters in education and regarding how to teach the whole student.
I knew going into the program that it would be demanding — not just the workload each class would require that would make it so, but also balancing teaching and extracurricular responsibilities. However, each class was so organized and each instructor so available and professional that it took hardly any time at all to fall into a kind of groove regarding the work. Before I knew it, the class was over, and hence, the program itself successfully completed.
Each class had a curriculum that was engaging and impactful, relevant to my cohort’s subject area, even to the point where I would read about a strategy or an idea on a Wednesday and apply that idea or enforce that strategy the very next week. It dawned on me early in the program that I was not just earning a postbaccalaureate degree; I was improving as a teacher day-by-day, week-by-week.
Here is an example of what made the program so navigable: from the outset of each class, we (each cohort member) knew exactly what the end goal was we were striving for. From week one on, we would engage with texts and perform activities and interact with one another and building ideas – one upon the other, never in isolation of each other – so that, come the final week of the class, a lot of the work we would have to do for our month’s final project has been completed.
Not only did this help me manage my time and make me feel like my work was consequential, but it also illuminated an idea: why don’t I do this with my students?
And so I did, almost right away. Not long after joining the cohort and being confronted with this realization, my students read a novel where I could show them the result we would be striving for before actually starting the book. This was not something foreign to me. What was new though, was the importance of revealing to people what they are doing, what the end result is, that way how they go about getting to that end destination is of the best quality possible.
The program elevated my teaching abilities in numerous ways, but understanding what my students needed to excel in their next stage of life was the chief way I improved. It is not that I did not know what they needed, but more so that I came to better understand how to get what they needed to them.
My mentor, Jeff Burdick, was a key piece in helping me understand how to help my students. His wisdom and experience in the college classroom revealed some things and affirmed others: that students need to be given a space to be creative, that they need to be shown tough love, that understanding how basic language works is essential to being a great communicator, that writing is the best way to teach people how to think.
Without the program, I think my grasp on those ideas would be decent, vague; graduating from the program, my grasp on those ideas is iron-like.
I cannot wait for the opportunity to teach dual enrollment classes. I have not been granted the chance to teach them yet, but when I do, I know I will be ready, and the Master’s program is a big reason why.
I do not think there is a topic or issue in the English classroom I cannot tackle, so expansive was the breadth of my experience earning my master’s. Going through the program is an experience I will never forget, and it is one I will forever be grateful for. There is no question that the program has made me a better, more well-rounded teacher, and it has inspired me to keep learning about my craft, that way my students get the best version of me year-to-year, month-to-month, week-to-week, day-to-day.
More specifically, I am confident they will find inspiration in the taking dual enrollment courses I hope to soon teach that will lay a foundation for a successful and meaningful higher education experience.
See Mr. Frantzich communicating with his student’s parents for Back to School Night 2021.