January 21, 2020

Christina Jimenez


T 916.322.4004

SACRAMENTO, Calif. A Coastline College cybersecurity program training the next generation of computer networking sleuths and a College of the Redwoods initiative providing prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison with opportunities have earned the California Community Colleges Board of Governors’ 2019-20 Exemplary Program Awards.

“As the leading provider of higher education and workforce training in the nation, the California Community Colleges value innovation and opportunity. The programs offered by Coastline and College of the Redwoods demonstrate leadership and commitment to our mission,” said Board of Governors President Tom Epstein.

The Board of Governors established the Exemplary Program Award in 1991 to recognize outstanding community college programs. The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges selects annual themes and this year focused on student support services.

Coastline College’s Cybersecurity Program was held out as a model not only for focusing on career specializations in the field of cybersecurity and computer networking, but also for providing flexibility for working parents and physically disabled students by using Netlab to provide remote access to course material and without having to go to a bricks-and-mortar campus at a specific time. In addition, the program features recruitment events targeting female students in a career where women are woefully under-represented and offers monthly competitions and trainings for middle-and high-school students, which build a pathway to a cybersecurity education. Coastline College also was lauded for its leadership in the Southern California Cybersecurity Community College Consortium.

College of the Redwood’s Pelican Bay Scholars Program, established in January of 2016, serves incarcerated students at Pelican Bay State prison, a maximum-security facility near the Oregon border. This program that incorporates ample student support services underscores the state Legislature’s commitment to educating and rehabilitating the incarcerated, as evidenced by Senate Bill 1391, which became law in 2014. More than 95 percent of those in jail and prison will be released and the incarcerated who are receiving an education while behind bars have 43 percent lower odds of recidivism after being set free. The Pelican Bay Scholars Program is managed by College of the Redwoods, which is committed to making this a model to serve the more than 100,000 Californians behind prison walls.

“The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges is pleased to showcase the great work of our faculty and colleges to meet the needs of our students, as exemplified by this year's theme for the Exemplary Program Award - Student Support Services,” Senate President John Stanskas said. “We congratulate the winners of this year's award at Coastline College and College of the Redwoods, as well as college programs receiving honorable mentions.” 

Also recognized with Honorable Mention awards were Mendocino College’s Pomo Pathway Program that aims to ease the transition to college for Native-American students; Reedley College’s Math Study Center that fosters a sense of community among students, tutors and faculty; Riverside City College’s Career Closet Program that offers free attire necessary to access professional, academic and personal opportunities in an equitable, stigma-free manner; and the Santa Barbara City College Faculty Mentor Program offered through the college’s Faculty Resource Center and led by the pilot cohort of faculty mentors.

The Academic Senate selected this year’s winners based on factors that include how a program responds to the needs of students, faculty and the college; how a program supports the college mission; how a program serves as a model for other community colleges; and how a program contributes to faculty engagement.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 115 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.