January 23, 2024
Contact: Melissa Villarin
Office: 916-327-5365
Office E-mail: MVillarin@CCCCO.edu

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Chabot College, Glendale College, MiraCosta College and San Diego Mesa College have been honored by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors with 2023-24 Exemplary Program Awards for their outstanding efforts in promoting and advancing ethnic studies programs.

The Exemplary Program Award was established by the Board of Governors in 1991 to recognize exceptional community college programs. Awards are sponsored by the Foundation for California Community Programs and are aimed at showcasing exceptional programs. The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges selects annual themes, and this year chose Excellence in Promotion and Advancement of Ethnic Studies.

“Congratulations to Chabot College, Glendale College, Mira Costa College and San Diego Mesa College for receiving the prestigious Exemplary Program Award which serves as an example to be emulated throughout the system,” said California Community College Chancellor Sonya Christian. “The programs being recognized are strengthened by faculty diversity, professional development, strong administrative support, fostering a culture of caring for students, outreach to K-12 students and so much more.”

“The faculty and ethnic studies programs being honored have worked as trailblazers and advocates, extending the impact beyond their classroom to enrich and empower communities across California,” said Cheryl Aschenbach, president of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. “The understanding of the diverse people comprising today's multi-ethnic society and their histories, cultures and values gained through ethnic studies is a necessity for all.”

Awards were presented at the Jan. 22 Board of Governors meeting in Sacramento. Following are a summaries of the awardees’ ethnic studies excellence.

Chabot College

The Ethnic Studies program at Chabot College has taken a collaborative approach in working diligently to develop relevant courses supporting academic achievement at a campus where 82% of students are Black, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islander or multiracial. The program includes an annual Ethnic Studies Summit that hosts more than 200 students from Chabot and local high schools who attend workshops and learn from inspiring keynote speakers. Chabot's Ethnic Studies program offers an associate degree, three certificates of achievement and three social justice associate degrees for transfer and is currently in the process of developing six new courses.

Glendale College

Glendale College was among the early adopters of an ethnic studies program and its efforts are only getting even better. With a diverse faculty, ample professional training and a supportive administration fostering a culture of care for students and faculty, the Ethnic Studies Department, shortly after its founding, was offering numerous new courses such as the Latino/a Experience, the Asian American Experience, the African American Experience, the Native American Experience and the Armenian Diaspora, the latter of which is especially pertinent in a city where 40% of the population is of Armenian ancestry.

MiraCosta College

MiraCosta College’s successfully meticulous approach involved establishing a work group comprising faculty and students that led to a new Ethnic Studies Department in fall of 2022 and the hiring of the college’s first full-time, ethnic studies faculty member, Dr. Olivia Quintanilla, who designed and taught several sections of Introduction to Ethnic Studies. She also proposed several new courses – Introduction to Native American and Indigenous Studies, Introduction to Chicana/o Studies, Introduction to Black Studies and Introduction to Pacific Islander and Oceania Studies – to be offered this coming fall. This past fall, six of seven existing classes were filled with waitlists.

San Diego Mesa College

The San Diego Mesa College Ethnic Studies Faculty Council serves as an invaluable resource in establishing ethnic studies programs not only at Mesa College, but also across the San Diego Community College District and state by working with local and statewide curriculum committees, taskforces and organizations to meet community college and California State University ethnic studies requirements. The council is a model for how institutional stakeholders can work collaboratively to advance ethnic studies and has created an opportunity for ethnic studies discipline experts to work more directly with campus and district administrators.

All California community colleges must implement an ethnic studies requirement by the fall of 2024,” said Board of Governors President Amy Costa. “The colleges honored this year are setting the pace, and their recognition through this year’s Exemplary Program Award are well deserved and serve as a template for excellence.”

Honorable Mentions went to Sierra College and Fullerton College for ethnic studies departments. Fullerton College was lauded for introducing the first Ethnic Studies for Educators certificate program in the California Community Colleges. Sierra College was honored for its successful efforts at continually growing its Ethnic Studies program.

Exemplary Program Award group photo
ASCCC Vice President Manuel Vélez, ASCCC President Cheryl Aschenbach, Chancellor Sonya Christian, winner of Glendale College Ethnic Studies, winner of San Diego Mesa College Ethnic Studies Faculty Council, winner of Sierra College Ethnic Studies, winner of MiraCosta College Ethnic Studies Program, President Amy M. Costa, Vice President Hildegarde B. Aguinaldo.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 116 colleges serving 1.9 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; and degree and certificate pathways. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision 2030, a strategic plan designed to improve student success, our communities and our planet. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.