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Chancellor's Update

Raul RodriguezDear Colleagues,

There are so many significant things happening all over the district and beyond. Here are just a few that might be of interest to you.

America's College Promise

On Wednesday, I was honored to have the opportunity to meet America's Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden. As one of 23 California community college districts with a College Promise program, I was invited to attend a meeting at Los Angeles City College (LACC) with Dr. Biden and the former Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education, Dr. Martha Kanter, who is now one of the leaders of the College Promise Campaign.

I was pleased to meet Dr. Biden, who is a lifelong educator and full-time faculty member at a community college. As Second Lady, she has worked to highlight the critical role of community colleges in creating the best, most-educated workforce in the world. She is an inspirational standard bearer for community colleges nationwide.

After the meeting with Dr. Biden, a number of us sat on the stage behind her at a rally for the new LA College Promise program. Hundreds of students from LACC and LA Unified were joined by College Promise allies from the community, who all reacted very positively to Dr. Biden's message. She spoke about the importance of America's College Promise to students - those who will benefit from the LA College Promise program as well as those students who can be helped by other such programs statewide, including ours. Everyone present shared excitement about the momentum the College Promise program is gaining in California. And that enthusiasm was especially reflected in the faces of the students in the audience.

ITT Tech Closure

With the recent announcement of the closure of ITT Tech campuses nationwide, I am proud to say that faculty, staff, and administrators at SAC and SCC stepped up and took action quickly. We all feel compassion for the thousands of students who have been left in a lurch midstream in their higher education journey. Of course, we know that our colleges may not be a solution for all the Southern California students who are wondering what their next step is, but we suspect that we can help some of them.

To that end, representatives from both SCC and SAC were on hand to meet with ITT Tech students at a meeting held at Coastline Community College last Thursday. This meeting, one of a number across the state, was arranged by the Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education and Federal Student Aid.

Links have been added to both college websites to connect former ITT Tech students with college resources and each college has named an individual to serve as the point of contact for all interested ITT Tech students who are thinking of enrolling at our campuses. The contact at SCC is Counselor Phillip Crabill and the contact at SAC is Basti Lopez with SAC's Office of School and Community Partnerships. Thank you both for your willingness to serve in this important role.

Adopted Budget

Last week at the Board of Trustees meeting held at the Santa Ana College Orange County Sheriff's Regional Training Academy, the Trustees unanimously approved the 2016-2017 Adopted Budget. Many thanks to Vice Chancellor Peter Hardash, Assistant Vice Chancellor Adam O'Connor and Vice President Michael Collins for their budget presentation at the meeting.

On the plus side, the adopted budget is a balanced budget meaning the projected current year revenues are greater than or equal to projected current year expenditures. This has not always been the case in past years and is a good position to be in.

Our newly Adopted Budget reflects all the latest information enacted by the State Budget. It includes the district and colleges' year-end closing balances. And on another positive note, the district's Budget Stabilization Fund remains at $13.69 million and we are not forecasting the need to spend this fund down during this fiscal year. These funds are important because as we all know state funding of community colleges tends to be cyclical. Some years are very good like last year. This year is not as bright and, from what we hear, next year may be even less positive. As always, the budgeted revenues are distributed according to the RSCCD Budget Allocation Model.

CSULB CEEE Advisory Board

As a part of maintaining good relations with our partners in higher education, I serve on several advisory boards at both CSU Fullerton and CSU Long Beach. Last Friday morning, I attended a meeting of the Advisory Board of the Center for Evaluation & Educational Effectiveness (CEEE). The CEEE is a new enterprise at CSU Long Beach and it has been in existence for about one year. The purpose of the CEEE is to expand the research and evaluation capacity at CSU Long Beach as well as to strengthen their grant development capacity. The CEEE does internal work at CSU Long Beach and also takes on work assignments with external clients. In one year they have already compiled an ambitious list of projects and clients.

The services that CEEE is offering are sorely needed and timely in my estimation. In general, when colleges undertake different projects, whether they are grant funded or funded from other sources, the biggest weakness with those projects derives from the lack of a strong evaluation component. The evaluation component is critical to demonstrate what was actually accomplished with an activity and why it did or didn't work. It is important to ask the right questions and to use the appropriate metrics. Evaluations are difficult to do well and that is one of the reasons that this component is so weak in many projects. It may be worth reaching out to the CEEE staff to review our current projects or to consult with them when we are planning new projects, especially those concerning students, to ensure that we learn what practices are most effective and useful in increasing the success of our students.


As always, I welcome your feedback. Have a great week.

All the best,

Raul Rodriguez signature


The Chancellor's Update is an e-newsletter distributed by the Rancho Santiago Community College District Chancellor's Office to inform district employees. If you have a question, comment or would like to provide feedback, please send us an email.