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Leader of Community College Collaborative Selected


Higher Education Expert Joins UCR Graduate School of Education

John Levin will direct efforts to transform community colleges.

(September 7, 2006)

John S. Levin

John S. Levin

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — www.ucr.edu — Higher education expert John S. Levin arrives this fall at the University of California, Riverside to lead a joint UC-California Community College policy research center based at UCR.

Levin, who also becomes the first UCR Bank of America Professor of Education Leadership, will direct the California Community College Collaborative, or C4, which is based at the Graduate School of Education at UC Riverside.

The heads of the University of California and the California Community College System established C4 in June 2005 to provide data-driven policy research and influential professional programs for community college faculty and administrators. The goal is to help them contribute to the transformation of their own institutions, and to the transformation of higher education in the state.

“Professor Levin brings an exceptional degree of expertise as an experienced community college leader, and an internationally renowned scholar, to C4’s program and to the development of a higher education policy concentration in our doctoral program at UC-Riverside,” said Steven Bossert, Dean of the Graduate School of Education. He led the national search committee that hired Levin.

Since 2003, Levin has held the Joseph D. Moore distinguished professorship in the College of Education at North Carolina State University, Raleigh. His research focuses on community college governance, management and organization as well as the issues surrounding nontraditional and low-income students, and adult learners in higher education.

California’s Community College System comprises the largest system of public higher education in the nation with more than 2.5 million students attending the 112 campuses in the state’s 72 local community college districts, according to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office.

Community colleges serve an economically, racially and age-diverse student body, from recent high school graduates to middle-age workers sharpening their job skills to seniors eager to learn a new language or to navigate cyberspace, according to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

California’s community colleges also face a variety of challenges and pressures, the AACC and scholars say. Community Colleges are charged with bringing under-prepared high school graduates up to college skills in mathematics, science and English. The institutions are trying to improve student retention and success. They must also find room for a flood of new students diverted away from four-year institutions by rising tuitions, while riding the booms and busts of the state’s economy. These institutions are charged with providing both a path to a baccalaureate degree and vocational certification, while tailoring their classes to the needs of a globalized workplace in need of the latest skills.

“Nationally, community colleges are viewed as the route to economic prosperity and social well-being for the country and its citizens,” said Levin. “These institutions are also the economic and social safety net for millions of Americans. In California, both prosperity and social justice are front and center in the state’s history and no doubt these will continue as the major issues in the future. Community colleges are inextricably linked to this future.”

In the past year, UCR and Riverside Community College officials have been collaborating on a number of C4 projects, including a recently announced $3.3 million federal Title V Cooperative Grant that will fund a partnership between Riverside Community College and UC Riverside. Under C4 at UCR this project will strengthen community college instruction and create a pipeline for highly qualified community college instructors. During the next few months, a C4 advisory council will be formed, with six to eight founding members consisting of key constituency groups, including community college leaders, state policymakers, and academic researchers. It will be co-chaired by RCC Chancellor Salvatore Rotella and Professor Levin.

Currently, seven universities have shown an interest in collaborating with UCR on the C4 agenda. They include UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, USC and California, State University, Sacramento. Over the coming year, community colleges in California and nationally will be invited to participate in C4.

Ultimately, C4 research will form the basis for an array of seminars, workshops, and institutes to aid the professional development of leaders and faculty throughout the California Community Colleges.

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.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

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