We feel compelled to clarify some misperceptions articulated in the October 4 Latino Democrats’ letter to the editor regarding SBCC’s reorganization of its Continuing Education division.
Courses in GED, ESL, adult high school, and short-term vocational are currently offered through the college’s Continuing Education program as noncredit courses (that is, non-credit bearing, state-supported, no-fee courses). With the reorganization, these noncredit courses will continue to be offered free of charge to the students. One of the two changes associated with the reorganization is that the administrative and instructional management of these courses will be integrated into the college’s Educational Programs division. This will streamline our administrative structure and reduce duplicative positions – all essential and necessary steps to take in this era of fiscal austerity.
The second change resulting from this reorganization is that there will be a clear pathway for students entering the college in its noncredit courses to acquire the skills they need to continue their education in the credit program and/or enter or advance in the workforce and to do so as quickly as possible. Among the many advantages of this reorganization is that the curriculum will be designed to integrate the learning of language and basic skills into the workforce preparation, career technical education, and basic skills noncredit and credit classes. This will enable the students to achieve their educational objectives in a more timely manner than in the current organizational structure. What is important to emphasize is that these courses will remain accessible and free. And in fact, we will grow our course offerings in noncredit – particularly in the area of short-term vocational.
The Latino Democrats are correct in declaring that the state is prioritizing these college and career preparation noncredit courses over community service classes. And SBCC is honoring this prioritization and making no changes to course offerings in GED, ESL, adult high school, and short-term vocational. A primary reason for integrating these noncredit courses into the Educational Programs division of the college is to increase the number of our educationally disadvantaged, second language learner, and first generation college-going students who acquire the competencies they need in a timely manner to enter the work force and/or to continue their education and achieve their certificate, degree, transfer, and educational and career objectives.
Lori Gaskin, Ph.D.
Jack Friedlander, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President
Lori Gaskin is president and Jack Friedlander is vice-president of Santa Barbara City College.