July 16, 2019

Christina Jimenez
T 916.322.4004 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The 19th annual Dr. John W. Rice Award ceremony today recognized two college programs for their outstanding efforts to improve student equity, diversity and student success on campus.

Named after former California Community Colleges Board of Governors member Dr. John W. Rice, the awards honor Santa Barbara City College’s Leaders in Equity, Antiracism and Reparations Now (LEARN) program for Diversity and Equity, and Bakersfield College’s Completion Coaching Communities program for Student Success.

“We are delighted to celebrate Dr. Rice’s legacy today by honoring two colleges that are providing students from diverse backgrounds the support they need to succeed,” said California Community Colleges Board of Governors President Tom Epstein.

Dr. John W. Rice, one of the most influential Board of Governors members across the years, served on the Board of Governors from 1992 to 2000. He was strong advocate for all students and believed higher education was the greatest equalizer. The Dr. John W. Rice Awards were established in 2001, and annually recognize community college staff members, faculty, districts, colleges or programs leading the way in progressing student diversity and equity.

About the Winners:

2019 Award Winner for Diversity & Equity: Santa Barbara City College - LEARN

Leaders for Equity, Antiracism and Reparations Now (LEARN) is a grassroots committee comprised of stakeholders across Santa Barbara City College, who are invested in dismantling systems of oppression through in-depth antiracism training, community building and continuous institutional evaluation and improvement. Like many institutions of higher education, Santa Barbara City College has suffered from insufficient diversity, equity and inclusion training for faculty, staff and administrators. Training often focused on an appreciation for diversity but failed to delve deeply into the systems and structures that uphold inequity on our campus and in our society. LEARN's mission is to empower those who are at the front lines of communication with students to develop a comprehensive understanding of systemic racism so they can more effectively serve as advocates, allies and collaborators for the success of our most marginalized students.

Through independently funded grants not tied to existing allocation structures on campus, LEARN organizes and offers high-impact, meaningful anti-racism training for cohorts of 40-45 people at a time, ultimately inviting cohort graduates to join the Santa Barbara City College Antiracism Community where they can immediately plug into a community of people committed to working for an equitable campus.

2019 Award Winner for Student Success: Bakersfield College – Completion Coaching Communities

Bakersfield College has seen growth and improvement across virtually every metric at the college since beginning its Guided Pathways implementation several years ago. The success is due in large part to a campuswide redesign of existing structures in order to advance equitable access and completion.

To get more students to complete and/or transfer – on time and without excess units – Bakersfield College has implemented 10 Completion Coaching Communities, organized by meta-major, and each with a designated data coach. The organization ensures each student is guided to pursue the most direct path to his or her educational goal, while identifying and breaking down barriers that might stand in their way.

This structure has led to great success over the past two years, notably in closing the equity gap. Using the Guided Pathways framework, Bakersfield College has:

  • Closed transfer-level English completion gap for African American students from 14% to 44%.
  • Closed Latinx gap in Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) attainment from 61.6% to 67.4%.
  • Improved completion rates for Latinx students from 26.8% to 38.6%.
  • Improved completion rates for African American students from 32% to 39.8%.

Bakersfield College also credits establishing and maintaining momentum, being resilient in times of difficulty and committing to transparency and trust building while implementing Guided Pathways on the road to closing equity and achievement gaps.

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.