Interim Chancellor Daisy Gonzales, PhD
Community colleges are experiencing an upswing in enrollment statewide after recent declines, and the month of April is dedicated to continuing that momentum with student engagement and retention activities planned in communities up and down the state.
The Board of Governors declared April as California Community Colleges month and called on colleges and their partners to ramp up activities and strategies that are showing to have a positive impact responding to student needs. Here’s just a sampling of what many colleges have planned:
- South Orange Community College District plans to visit the 12 city councils within its service area during their meetings to declare Community Colleges Month and to reinforce the value of our colleges and commitment to students.
- College of the Desert planned a series of high school visit days and a transgender pride event.
- Feather River College is planning a “Day in the Mountains” event for the community to explore the campus and participate in events.
Community Colleges Month, which encompasses Black Student Success Week and joint advocacy efforts, is meant to amplify our student-centered approach, reinforce why community colleges matter and why public support for our colleges is more important than ever.
And we are seeing more students taking these messages to heart. Enrollment for the fall 2022 semester, the most recent term for which data is available, is up 2.4% across the California Community Colleges compared to the fall of 2021. Seventy-one of our colleges saw growth in enrollment. Of those 71, 45 colleges saw growth of 5% or greater and, of that group, 18 experienced growth of 10% or more. These accomplishments need to be celebrated!
Statewide activities planned as part of California Community Colleges Month in April 2023 include:
- The California Community Colleges Board of Governors legislative advocacy day on April 13th. Board members, Chancellor’s Office staff, and members of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges will meet with state Legislators to lift up student voices and clearly communicate system priorities.
- Black Student Success Week, April 24-28. This year's theme is “Vision to Action: Building Systems and Structures for Black Student Success." The week will focus on successful approaches to ensure Black and African American students succeed. Please save the date if you have not already; registration will open the first week of April.
- The LGBTQ+ summit April 19-20 is a space for students, faculty, classified professionals and administrators where we will focus on this year’s theme: “Fiercer Together - Uplifting Queer & Trans Students on Our Campuses.”
- The I Can Go to College campaign will increase paid statewide advertising and outreach activities as part of this holistic effort. The campaign will launch its first advertising campaign at airports throughout California to reach influencers and students. It also secured spots on Major League Baseball TV broadcasts, and special outreach publications will reach K-12 counselors and district superintendents in April.
Please join us in celebrating all 116 California community colleges throughout the month of April!