(VENTURA, Calif.) Jan. 9, 2017 –
(L-R) VCCCD Chancellor Bernard Luskin, College Promise Campaign Deputy Director James Schuelke, Moorpark College President Luis Sanchez,
Oxnard College President Cynthia Azari, Board Chair Bernardo Perez and Ventura College President Greg Gillespie.
The Ventura County Community College District held its first Chancellor's Cabinet meeting of the New Year on Tuesday, January 3. It also marked the first meeting of his term for newly-elected Board Chair Bernardo Perez. Perez used the opportunity to share his vision for working with administration and staff to increase efficiencies across the District - leading to more and improved services for students. One of the top priorities is the collaboration between each of the three colleges in the District to form and support a District-wide College Promise program. In alignment with this goal, Moorpark, Oxnard and Ventura Colleges will work together on the Ventura County Community College District application for the California College Promise Innovation Grant released by the state Chancellor's Office "to support the improvement in successful student transition from high school to college."
Leading the initiative for the VCCCD is Vice Chancellor Rick Post and for the colleges, Ventura College President Greg Gillespie with the support of Moorpark College President Luis Sanchez and Oxnard College President Cynthia Azari.
Ventura College is home to one of the oldest College Promise programs in the nation and is the first program established in California (2006), following the Kalamazoo, Michigan, Promise launched in 2005. Since the inception of the Ventura College Promise, 22 College Promise programs have followed suit in the state of California (13 of which were just announced in 2016). Throughout the nation, there are more than 150 College Promise programs across 37 states (College Promise Campaign 2015-16 Annual Report).
James Schuelke, deputy director of the College Promise Campaign (CPC), a national, non-partisan initiative to build broad support for funding the first two years of higher education for students, joined the Chancellor’s Cabinet meeting to discuss the resources that CPC may provide to assist the District with its long-term planning for a District-wide College Promise. CPC is an initiative of Civic Nation, a charitable and educational 501(c)3 organization founded in 2015 (College Promise Campaign, 2016).
"In its 11th year of operation, the Ventura College Promise is a flagship program that has provided substantial opportunities to deserving students with important goals and tremendous potential to better our communities," remarked Board Chair Bernardo Perez. "Part of our mission at the VCCCD is to promote access to educational opportunities which makes implementing College Promise programs a natural fit to the functioning of the District," said Chancellor Bernard Luskin. "We’re excited to expand the Promise footprint to open more doors for students," added Luskin.
The Ventura College Promise is supported and operated by the Ventura College Foundation; it was initially started to serve students whose families made less than $50,000 per year. In January 2007, the VC Promise expanded to all students who graduated from high schools or received GEDs in the Ventura College service area (i.e., Camarillo, Fillmore, Ojai, Piru, Santa Paula and Ventura). "The College Promise in California: A Collection of Program Profiles" reported that a three-year longitudinal study conducted in 2009-12 found that on a proportional basis, Ventura College Promise students were awarded 58 percent more degrees and certificates than their non-Promise counterparts.
The Oxnard College Foundation is slated to roll out the Oxnard College Pathway Promise program this month followed by Moorpark College. "In the long term, it is the vision of the VCCCD to have a comprehensive College Promise program covering all three colleges augmented by the Ventura County Community College District support," Luskin explained.
The Ventura County Community College District is a member of the 113-campus California Community College system, and serves more than 50,000 students annually. The District’s three colleges- Moorpark, Oxnard, and Ventura- offer programs in general education for degrees and certificates, transfer to four-year colleges and universities, career technical education, and provide opportunities to engage in co-curricular campus activities. Trustees are Bernardo Perez, Chair, Arturo Hernandez, Vice Chair, and Stephen Blum, Larry Kennedy and Dianne McKay.