California Community Colleges chancellor, Dr. Brice W. Harris, visited Delta College on Wednesday, February 24, for a Chancellor’s Circle meeting. The meeting was organized by the Foundation for California Community Colleges, in partnership with San Joaquin Delta College.Chancellor's Circle meetings are comprised of business leaders and philanthropists, whose support helps advance the goals of California Community Colleges in meaningful ways.
The day’s activities started with a campus tour. First up, a visit to Delta’s MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement) Student Center. Next on the agenda was the Science & Math building’s Physiology Lab, followed by Delta’s new Shima building Heavy Equipment/Diesel Shops. Final stop, the L.H. Horton Gallery, which was putting the final touches on the college’s annual Faculty Art Show
(Feb. 25-Mar 18).
The invitation only Chancellor’s Circle meeting started at noon, with lunch provided by Delta's Culinary Arts students. Dr. Harris reported on the state of the California Community Colleges system, outlining the successes and challenges of new programs and initiatives. Harris pointed to the latest data from the 2015 Student Success Scorecard - State of the System Report. Harris emphasized "the important role that California community colleges play in helping maintain U.S. global competitiveness." Among the keys to these goals are increasing access, improving student success, equity and "expanding workforce development."
Dr. Harris is proud of the 2015 pilot program that allows 15 California community colleges to participate in a program that allows them to offer bachelor's degrees in fields ranging from dental hygiene and respiratory care, to industrial automation and mortuary science. In addition, offering associate degree transfer pathways to both California State University and University of California institutions continues to trend upwards - nearly doubling over the last year.
Harris stressed that one of the advantages of California community colleges is affordability, highlighted by low per unit fees ($46) and the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver program that waives fees for qualified students. The BOG program has allowed more than five million Californians to attend community college since 1985. Harris said the California Community Colleges system has also reinforced its commitment to the 70,000 veterans and active duty military it serves annually.
Dr. Harris is retiring in April 2016, closing a 45-year career in higher education devoted to increasing access and student success. He has served as California Community Colleges chancellor since 2012.
Under Harris’ leadership, the California Community Colleges implemented the Student Success Initiative, which is helping students have an easier time registering for the classes they need. Harris also ushered in online tools that make the California Community Colleges the most transparent system of higher education in the country. Student performance data for each college can be easily found at the Student Success Scorecard; the online Salary Surfer allows students and parents to see the actual earnings of students who complete college programs and enter the workforce.
Dr. Harris finished his presentation by highlighting that one of his goals for the Chancellor’s Circle meetings is to “communicate the great job that community college faculty and staff are doing throughout the state. They make me look good.”
Delta College Superintendent/President Dr. Kathy Hart presents Dr. Harris with a parting gift.