State Center Community College District Takes the Initiative

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SCCCD selected to participate in three state-funded technology pilot projects.

“We feel that our students deserve the best and we are committed to providing them with the technology that will help engage them and make their college experience a success.”

Technology in support of student success is a priority at State Center Community College District (SCCCD), which serves more than 44,000 students across California’s Central Valley. The largest higher education institution in the region, with a geographic reach spanning four counties and 13,000 square miles, SCCCD’s campuses include Fresno City College, Reedley College, Clovis Community College, and Madera and Oakhurst Centers.

Recognizing the opportunities to improve the student experience through cutting-edge technology, SCCCD applied and was selected to participate in three state-funded technology programs sponsored by the California Community Colleges (CCC) Chancellor’s Office as part of its statewide Student Success Initiative. These programs, known as the Education Planning Initiative, Common Assessment Initiative and Online Education Initiative, are aimed at boosting community college completion rates through a centralized offering of student support services and tools, online courses and degree programs.

The three initiatives have a common entry point in CCCApply, an online community college application used system wide, and are linked together through a federated identity, or single sign-on technology. These components are managed by the CCC Technology Center, an established program of the Chancellor’s Office’s Telecommunications and Technology Unit.

Pedro Avila, District Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management, discussed why SCCCD signed up to be in the pilot test groups for technology developed by the statewide initiatives.

“We decided to apply to all of the pilot projects because they aligned with our mission and goals of improving student access and success,” Avila said. “We feel that our students deserve the best and we are committed to providing them with the technology that will help engage them and make their college experience a success.”

“We expect to assist the state in developing custom systems that will cater to the unique needs of our students,” he continued. “Our students, technical staff, counselors, instructors and other key staff are working directly with initiative representatives, programmers, designers and other experts to ensure these systems are designed to our specifications.”

The three initiatives have an estimated cost above $1 million but as a pilot district SCCCD will receive these systems at no cost for all of its colleges, students and staff. Next year, aside from the state pilot projects, the district is scheduled to invest $3 million in new technology projects.

When asked how this would benefit the district, Avila said: “Aside from the large cost savings, it will place our district as a leader in technology across the state and the nation.”

Currently all three initiatives are scheduled for the 2015-16 year.

Information about the statewide technology initiatives can be found at cccedplan.org (Education Planning Initiative), cccassess.org (Common Assessment Initiative), ccconlineed.org (Online Education Initiative) and CCCApply.org.

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Robert Burnie