It has been a busy spring for the Chancellor’s Office, Board of Governors and at campuses around our system as graduation ceremonies celebrate student success in every corner of the state. At their meeting just last month the Board of Governors approved a pair of regulatory reforms central to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility goals and also took action to improve campus policing practices.

These actions advance the Board’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Integration Plan adopted in 2019 to make campuses safer, more accessible, and more welcoming to students of color and students from underserved populations through strategies that foster inclusive and non-threatening learning and working environments.

One change creates the regulatory framework for colleges to work with their community of local stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, and collective bargaining partners, to incorporate Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility competencies and criteria into performance evaluations and tenure review. Local district leaders will need to support and provide every employee with professional development and ongoing supports to educate the most diverse student population in California. 

A second reform requires community college districts throughout the state to implement changes that include transitioning campus policing from a “warrior” to a “guardian” mindset emphasizing de-escalation and crisis intervention, developing community and evidence-based policing policies and practices, and increasing diversity in hiring to help staffing become more representative of the larger campus community.

Meanwhile, the California Community Colleges continued to make progress toward meeting its Vision for Successgoals, established nearly five years ago to set a path to increase certificate and degree attainment, to improve transfer and to close equity gaps.

Over the past year, the system added momentum in exceeding its goal of increasing the number of students earning credentials each year by at least 20 percent. Since 2016-17, the number of students receiving credentials has increased by 27 percent.

The results are detailed in the annual State of the System report.

Transfer to California State University and the University of California increased by 4 percent from last year, though the increase in the number of transfer-prepared community students continues to outpace growth in the number of students who actually transfer to CSU and UC. The number of students earning an Associate Degree for Transfer increased 7.6 percent over the past year, and the five-year increase stands at 74 percent.

Progress toward the goal of reducing the units students accumulate before receiving their associate degree and the goal of increasing the number of students who get jobs in their field of study continued to show steady but modest improvements.

While there has been improvement in outcomes for all students over the timeframe of the Vision for Success, equity and regional gaps remain and, in some cases, widened over the past year.

While it’s heartening to see progress is so many areas, we must continue to design student-centered policies that address equity gaps and support the development of empowered and agile learners so that they can achieve upward career mobility.