The Exemplary Program Award was established by the Board of Governors in 1991 to recognize outstanding community college programs. As many as two California Community College programs receive cash awards of $4,000 and up to four programs receive honorable mention plaques. The awards are sponsored by the Foundation for California Community Colleges and provide an excellent opportunity to showcase exceptional programs.
The Academic Senate selects annual themes related to the award’s traditions and statewide trends. The California Community Colleges system is the largest public higher education system in the country, enrolling over 2.4 million students. California community colleges have had to adapt to a changing landscape, including fire, pandemic, social injustice, and civil unrest, in order to best serve their students. In light of the work that colleges and faculty have done to maintain the focus on student success, the Academic Senate selected the theme of “Addressing Inequity in a Time of Crisis” for this year’s 2021-22 Exemplary Program Award. Excellence in this area can be demonstrated in programs by faculty and for faculty to aid in transitioning to and from virtual environments, engaging in transformative curriculum design, supporting colleagues through professional development, mental health support, and other services, and promoting efforts to advance social justice and establish equity-driven practices.
This year, the Academic Senate selected two Exemplary Program Award winners and two honorable mentions.
The awards recognize programs that do the following:
- show evidence of the overall success of the program;
- contribute to faculty engagement;
- demonstrate a response to the needs of students, faculty, and the college;
- collaborate with other programs on campus or within the community;
- provide evidence that demonstrates how the program supports the community college mission; and
- can be used as models for other community colleges.
2021-22 Award Winner
Mt. San Antonio College – Adults with Disabilities (AWD) IMPACT Program
Mt. San Antonio College, School of Continuing Education (SCE), is committed to supporting all students, including students with disabilities. SCE offers specialized courses designed to promote the development of self-determination, college and career readiness, and independent living skills among Adults with Disabilities (AWDs). IMPACT program reflects curriculum topics in the following areas: Independent living skills, Mobility training, Physical health and safety, Advocacy for self, College career and job readiness skills, and Technology training. Since the implementation of the program, there has been substantial growth in enrolled students (2014 – 70 students, 2019-600 students), courses offered (2014 two courses per week, 2019 twenty-two courses per week), number of faculty (2014- one adjunct faculty, 2021- one full-time and eight adjunct faculty), and community locations offering courses (2014- one community site, 2019- six sites). Additionally, IMPACT addresses the equity gap experienced by students with disabilities and offers a college experience to students who otherwise might not have access to post-secondary education. IMPACT is part of the SCE noncredit department, which enables the program to generate FTES for the college, and then the college allocates a budget from their general fund. An Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG) initially funded $20,000.00 for a technical expert who researched curriculum, evidence-based practices, and built community connections. Those connections have been maintained and expanded by IMPACT faculty and staff. Currently, FTES and CAEP fund the IMPACT budget, which has grown to $270,000 for 2021-2022. The growth of the program has resulted in the implementation of evidence-based curriculum, an increase in classes being offered, program expansion to multiple community locations, increased staff, and the number of students served. IMPACT participates in several SCE processes that help to ensure program effectiveness.
De Anza College – De Anza College Guided Pathways Initiative
De Anza’s Guided Pathways Initiative has made significant strides the last four years, not only in making pathways clearer for students, but for engaging faculty, as a whole (including classified professionals and administrators), and their community partners (including local businesses and intersegmental partners). De Anza College is known for its students’ high transfer rates to four-year institutions, and the Guided Pathways initiative has made the process even clearer with its extensive work on mapping all 157 of our programs and going beyond by mapping 55 common transfer patterns to UCs and CSUs as well. These efforts will be of value to all their students, particularly those who are first-generation-to-college, to help navigate their academic journeys; each map also encourages students to meet with a counselor, to provide additional support to students as well as fostering self-efficacy. The Guided Pathways team has also focused deeply and thoughtfully on keeping students on the pathway to success by engaging the campus around the concept of Villages, which are communities based on the six meta-majors that were created. Currently, over 15,000 students are part of a Village related to their major or academic area of interest, and the Villages allow students to feel a sense of community with faculty and campus staff as well as with each other. Through the Villages, they are able to scale up many of the effective practices of learning communities such as community, proactive support services, and equity-mindedness. Not only has the impact of Guided Pathways been substantial, but so has its effect on their employees. De Anza College has had over 300 employees from 120 different areas of the campus involved with some aspect of Guided Pathways, thereby showing the widespread impact of the initiative. Guided Pathways at De Anza College has moved beyond being an initiative and has already been significantly woven into the fabric of the college. De Anza College’s Guided Pathways’s work has not only helped students with its program mapping and creation of meta-majors but has gone far beyond with its innovative creation of Villages and engagement of the campus and local communities.
2021-22 Honorable MENTIONS
Rio Hondo College – The Division of Arts and Cultural Programs
Rio Hondo College’s Arts and Cultural Programs and the college are committed to promoting equity and social justice. The original mandate of the Arts and Cultural Program was formed in 1992 to address cultural diversity through the arts. The themes selected in the visual and performing arts events often underscore the importance of equity and social justice. An exhibit in the RHC art gallery this spring will focus on the theme of displaced refugees as they struggle to escape political unrest, economic disruption, and the devastation caused by climate change. Student and faculty performances, gallery exhibitions and talks, and the cultural events series that are presented by Arts and Cultural Programs are a long-standing tradition in their communities. The Arts and Cultural Programs provides the campus and surrounding communities with a full schedule of music and theater performances, guest lectures, professional workshops, and curated gallery exhibitions throughout the year. Besides serving the public, these events support student learning as co-curricular activities for their visual and performing arts classes
Reedley College – Coffee, Tea, and GP
Coffee, Tea, and GP is a professional development opportunity that has been key to Reedley College’s Guided Pathways implementation and campus conversations around racial equity. It has also been a key factor in keeping faculty and staff connected while instruction shifted to an online learning format. The Coffee, Tea and GP (C, T, & GP) professional development web series was created in March 2020 as a way to continue the Guided Pathways work and to achieve multiple outcomes including: Supporting professional development and social emotional needs during the COVID-19Pandemic; Continuing the momentum of Guided Pathways work remotely; and Creating opportunities to prioritize discussion of racial equity. The web series enjoyed widespread engagement and impact. Over 163 individuals attended at least one webinar, and many attended multiple sessions. When surveyed about the effectiveness of the sessions 92% of attendees thought that the webinars were effective and 90% of attendees stated that the webinars were relevant to their position. C, T, & GP provided the college community a place and space to be together, work towards racial equity, and advance Guided Pathways, while separated due to the pandemic. While the mission of Reedley College is focused on their students, the Coffee Tea and GP program “motivates and inspires” faculty members to support their students through innovation and collaboration. By creating guided pathways and equity driven professional development accessible to the college community during the pandemic, faculty members were able to work together to support the college mission and help students meet their “academic and work force goals.” Providing this targeted support created a shared space for faculty and classified professionals to work together to support each other and students during a time of crisis.