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C4 at UCR


New Program Provides Research and Professional Development to Aid Community Colleges

UC, Community College systems create partnership to support professional development, leadership training and research

(June 24, 2005)

Steve Bossert, dean of the Graduate School of Education at UCREnlarge

Steve Bossert, dean of the Graduate School of Education at UCR

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- The University of California and the California Community Colleges are forming a new collaborative program that will provide professional development, leadership training and policy research for the community college system.

California Community Colleges Chancellor Marshall (Mark) Drummond and UC President Robert C. Dynes signed a Memorandum of Understanding on June 23 creating the “California Community College Collaborative at the University of California, Riverside,” dubbed “C4 at UCR.” The new policy center, based in Riverside, will also involve collaborations with faculty and administrators at Riverside Community College, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, USC and California State University, Sacramento.

California’s community colleges face major challenges in serving a growing and increasingly diverse student population, and preparing it for a knowledge-based economy, in an era of funding challenges and often-changing expectations. The goal of C4 at UCR is to improve the quality of student learning in the community colleges through data-driven policy research and professional development for faculty and administrators in the community college system.

“Working in partnership, we are going to bring our research capabilities to bear on the challenges and opportunities facing the community colleges,” President Dynes said. “We at the University of California are very interested in seeing a strong community college system. It is important for the state’s economic growth, for college opportunity for many students, and for the continued strength of the Master Plan for Higher Education that has been so successful for California.”

Chancellor Drummond noted the agreement will foster an invaluable relationship between both higher educational systems. “Historically, community colleges relied on the UC to research our successes and our shortcomings,” Chancellor Drummond said. “We also relied on UC to provide professional development and prepared graduates to staff our colleges. I salute President Dynes and Chancellor Córdova in providing leadership and stepping forward to see that we can return to our former relationship."

The largest system of higher education in the nation, the California Community Colleges provided educational, vocational as well as transfer programs to more than 2.5 million students during academic year 2003-2004. UC’s 10 campuses serve as the state’s principal research arm and also have a mission of providing undergraduate and graduate education through the doctoral degree.

The new collaborative builds on a history of cooperation between the two systems. In 1998, the California Community Colleges and UC signed an agreement that has led to substantial increases in the number of students transferring from the community colleges to pursue a bachelor’s degree at UC, ensuring multiple paths to a four-year degree in California.

The new initiative also is an example of the strengths of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the state’s higher education framework that gives each segment of public higher education in California a distinct mission while also encouraging collaborations between institutions.

"We have advocated for this type of center for many years," said Salvatore G. Rotella, chancellor of Riverside Community College District. "Community colleges educate nearly 75 percent of college students in California. Our faculty is our greatest resource. This collaborative will provide many new opportunities for community college faculty, including access to doctoral education, advanced teaching and leadership skills development, and expanded access to advanced research."

“This collaboration brings the community colleges and the UC campuses together on research and policy that will accelerate the development of the educated workforce that California needs to remain competitive,” said France Córdova, UCR's chancellor and key driver of the collaborative effort between UCR and the California Community Colleges.

Among other things, the policy center, working in collaboration with the California Community Colleges system office, will create a databank on the fiscal, academic, organizational, and demographic conditions of California’s community colleges and the communities they serve. Policy research will be conducted on educational, management, and cultural issues within the community colleges. In addition, an array of seminars, workshops, and institutes will be developed to aid the professional development of leaders and faculty throughout the California Community College system.

The collaborative will be governed by an advisory council of six to eight members consisting of key constituency groups, including community college leaders, state policymakers, and academic researchers, and chaired by Chancellor Rotella. In addition, five advisory boards composed of members from a variety of constituent groups will provide special substantive expertise and advice to the lead faculty and projects in each program area of the collaborative.

The interim director of the collaborative for its initial year of operation will be Steven Bossert, dean of the Graduate School of Education at UC Riverside. The leadership and formal structure of the collaborative are likely to evolve as its agenda develops.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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