Demystifying the Narrative of Noncredit Education: San Diego College of Continuing Education Student Stories

Every adult student can benefit from noncredit education. Free education does not mean low quality, and it certainly does not mean one size fits all. San Diego College of Continuing Education (SDCCE) offers a model for successful, comprehensive noncredit education.

How the Pandemic Impacted Noncredit Students

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted nearly all people to rethink their livelihood as the economy was rapidly redeveloping. The pandemic caused many people to lose their income, their businesses, their education, and their homes. In October 2020, 176,000 workers were unemployed due to COVID-19 impacts in the San Diego region (Saunders, 2020). Many people desired to go back to school to advance their careers or to learn a new skill for a pandemic-proof job.

Addressing the Stigmatization of Academic Probation

The term “probation” in American society is linked to criminality. By using this term to indicate students’ academic status, colleges may be creating trauma, telling students that they are doing something wrong, and causing feelings of anxiety, fear, discouragement, embarrassment, and depression. This connection is particularly acute for Black and Brown students who face racial bias, microaggressions, and macroaggressions.

“When Did We Decide That?”: Delineation of the 10+1 in Local Governance Documents

As part of standards published by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, institutions need to demonstrate that “The institution regularly reviews institutional policies, procedures, and publications to assure integrity in all representations of its mission, programs, and services” (ACCJC Standard I.C.5). Many California community college districts have set various calendars and processes for how a local senate and faculty participate in this review.

The Driving Principles of the Ethnic Studies Disciplines

The founding of ethnic studies is attributed to the 1968 and 1969 student strikes at San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley, led primarily by the Third World Liberation Front. As part of their demands, the students called for the establishment of four departments: American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Black Studies, and La Raza Studies, all to be housed under a School of Ethnic Studies (Delgado, 2016).

Work Experience Regulation Changes: Expanded Opportunities for Experiential Learning

In July 2022, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors passed the first substantive Title 5 updates to work experience in over 50 years. These regulations expand opportunities for students to take hands-on or experiential learning courses in credit and noncredit, define new accounting models and registration opportunities, and make processes more efficient. [1] To revise these 50-year-old regulations, it took nearly 10 years of collaboration through the California Community Colleges Curriculum Committee (5C).

Supporting Faculty with Equitable Student Placement

Assembly Bills 705 (Irwin, 2017) and 1705 (Irwin, 2021) have reduced or removed student access to foundational courses that may significantly strengthen their overall college success, raising important questions as to whether all community college students enter their courses with the same resources and educational privilege. These assembly bills have challenged and will continue to challenge faculty to continue their work toward supporting student success. The California community colleges educate a large and diverse student population.

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