The California Community Colleges are in the midst of a major reform effort aimed at significantly increasing the number of students successfully completing their educational and career goals. The Student Success Initiative was launched in 2012 by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the state Chancellor's Office, and is based on a set of 22 recommendations which now serve as guiding policy for the system.
The Success Center for California Community Colleges—launched in 2014 by the Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation for California Community Colleges—acts as a hub of support for projects around the state that improve college completion rates and promote student success. Housed at the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the Center helps to strengthen, coordinate, and amplify the work already being done system-wide. The Center aims to play a pivotal role in promoting a common thread through the student success activities being carried out statewide.
Key activities include:
- Coordinating entities. Providing a venue for collaboration and cohesive planning, coordinating student success events, leveraging resources and activities, and building a community to support faculty innovation.
- Disseminating information. Acting as an open access “clearing house” of information, creating a virtual support center, and gathering and sharing data to better drive college-based decision making.
- Supporting implementation. Supporting robust technical assistance and training to assist college presidents, trustees, faculty, and staff in using data and implementing effective practices.
- Promoting a shared agenda. Facilitating policy analysis, raising the profile of Student Success with funders, leveraging partnerships, and acting as a liaison between California and national initiatives.
The Success Center’s launch is funded through a two-year, $500,000 grant provided by The Kresge Foundation, a private foundation that works to create opportunities for low-income individuals and improve communities nationwide, and in partnership with Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit group that seeks to help Americans succeed in today’s economy. The Center activities are being spearheaded by a collaboration of statewide Community College organizations.
In addition to the Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation, Center partners include the Community College League of California, the Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges, and the Research and Planning Group. The Center is also supported by dedicated group of core programmatic partners, Community College leaders, and a broad base of additional stakeholders. By providing a common venue for student success efforts, the Center helps to coordinate across these entities and create a collective vision of student success.
California’s Success Center joins a nationwide network of Student Success Centers funded by The Kresge Foundation in recent years, with locations in Arkansas, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas. California was one of three new states selected nationally this year through a highly competitive proposal process. Also selected were Connecticut and New Jersey.