Great Things Are Happening! - Mar. 12, 2012
First, there's little to report on the state budget front. We have had great success in the last couple of weeks in explaining the damage of the "February Surprise" is having on our colleges. Unfortunately, the state's overall budget situation makes obtaining a backfill problematic at this time, and any backfill decision will likely be made when the budget is finalized in June. In great news, however, the Assembly's education budget subcommttee rejected the proposed Cal Grant cuts that would disproportionately impact community college students.
Our progress, however, cannot be defined solely by how we are doing in the state budget fight du jour. While we will continue to face cuts and then, hopefully go through a period of reinvestment, we have to be focused on things we can do to continuously improve our community colleges.
I have been fortunate over the last week to participate in three events that give me great hope about our colleges and reflect the amazing work you do, despite the challenging financial times.
Each of the three highlight amazing programs in our colleges focused on leadership development and student success, and all were organically grown from our local colleges.
I'll work backward... On Saturday night, I joined Dr. Pamila Fisher to receive the American Council on Education's State Network Award for the Asilomar Leadership Skills Seminar.
If you aren't familiar with Asilomar, it began in 1984 and is is an intensive four-day experience that focuses on the issues facing women who have made a commitment to community college administration, either in their current position or as a future goal. The League assumed sponsorship and administration of the event in 2004 and, to date, over 2,200 women have completed the seminar! This year's "class" starts tomorrow. Congratulations to Dr. Fisher and to our team, particularly Director of Meetings and Events Cherie Savage, for the award!
Previous to ACE, I was at the African American Male Education Network & Development (A2MEND, pronounced "amend") summit in Los Angeles. I remember the first summit at Coastline Community College in 2008, and can't believe how large the event has become. Hundreds were gathered at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott, and I wish I knew how to build that much passion into League conferences!
The event provides opportunity for all leaders concerned with the success of African American males to discuss best practices and share ideas on how our colleges can improve success for all economically and educationally disadvantaged students. A collateral benefit of the gathering is the opportunity for African American and other leaders of color to build a professional network and statewide leadership opportunities. Congratulations to the entire A2MEND board and, in particular, the great student participants primarily from L.A. Southwest College!
Both Asilomar and A2MEND provide opportunities for our next generation of leaders to gain important leadership opportunities and build the critical success network that our college leaders need today.
Finally, last Wednesday, the League had the pleasure of hosting the Phi Theta Kappa scholarship luncheon. This annual event brings some of California's best and brightest students to Sacramento to recognize their academic and community achievements. I have listed the recognized students below, and heartfelt congratulations go out to the students, their families, and the college faculty and staff that contribute to their success!
Actually, if you have a few minutes, I encourage you to review the great luncheon program featuring the students. In it, you will be amazed by the stories of these sixty-eight students!
2012 All-California Academic Team
Community College League of California