“There is a wall, and there is writing on it,” Peter Haslund told The Santa Barbara Independent regarding the the state’s eventual defunding of noncredit enrichment continuing education courses. In fact the governor’s original budget proposal for the next fiscal year axed all such funding. His May Revise, however, offers a two-year reprieve, so at Thursday evening’s board meeting, members of the adult ed community made one last attempt to stanch the conversion of their courses to the tuition-based Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL).
“Let’s work together as a whole,” said Sally Saenger, an adult ed fitness instructor, “so that we can maximize the positive effects of our actions and minimize the negative impacts it will have on those who need state-funded, public education the most.” In particular, the group lobbied for parenting, health, and safety courses, the latter two being especially critical to seniors. Claudia Johnson, outgoing president of the Continuing Education Instructor’s Association, handed the board a petition with 86 signatures asking the college to designate 100 FTEs — the amount of money the state gives the college for 100 fulltime students — “to classes meeting critical needs in our community.” She and others said that subsidized courses would provide a gateway to the CLL, growing its student-base.
Meanwhile, the board officially approved new courses for the CLL whose titles college Vice President Jack Friedlander joked, would never garner approval from the chancellor’s office. Those include Self-Hypnosis for True Personal Mastery, Apparitions and the After-Life — A Scientific Exploration, Living with Presence and Passion, Chinese Brush Painting and Meditation, Socially Responsible and Faith-Based Investing, Chocolate Mania, and Social Media for Lifelong Learners of All Ages.
On the credit side of the college, students will directly benefit from the passage of Proposition 30. Course offerings are up 5.9 percent with 430 total sections. Fall sections are up 18 percent with a total of 2,200 course sections being offered. A quarter of them are already filled to capacity as the total number of students is expected to increase by seven percent.
Robert Else — director of the Office of Institutional Assessment, Research and Planning — presented the new Student Success Scorecard required by the state chancellor. It presents easy-to-read statistics on student preparedness and graduation rates among other categories for every California community college. Scorecards can be accessed at scorecard.cccco.edu. SBCC’s six-year graduation rate is 63.2 percent. Around 500 graduates celebrated at Friday’s spring commencement ceremony. About 1,700 total students graduated.
Also graduating, in a sense, was Academic Senate President Dean Nevins whose term is ending. Many participants at the meeting thanked him for his service as well as that of Juan Patino, a 25-year veteran maintenance worker who was named one of five statewide community college employees of the year. Nevins, while choking up, told the board, “I feel the best time to lead is when there are challenges to solve with good people to help you solve them. With that type of metric, this was one of the best times to lead.”