Southwestern College has been named an Equity Champion of Higher Education by The Campaign for College Opportunity for “exemplary” work in awarding Associate Degrees for Transfer to Black and Latinx students. Southwestern College is one of only six community colleges in California to receive the “Excellence in Transfer” distinction for both Black and Latinx students.
The designation recognizes the ADT degrees Black and Latinx students received compared to all ADT degrees awarded in the 2019-2020 academic year. The Campaign for College Opportunity said Southwestern College’s success shows the college’s intent to ensure Black and Latinx students earn a degree with a clear pathway and a guaranteed transfer opportunity to a California State University school. The Campaign for College Opportunity called Southwestern College’s success rates “a tremendous achievement and the real work of equity.”
“This designation acknowledges the equity-focused work that Southwestern College has been engaged in at all levels over the years, from dual enrollment-access, comprehensively designed student support programs-services and excellence in teaching and learning in the classroom,” said Superintendent/President Dr. Mark Sanchez.
“This is a moment of tremendous pride for Southwestern College and a reminder that our efforts to deliver high quality, inclusive education for every student is working,” he said. “We will continue to excel in the delivery of our mission so that every student has the opportunity to transform their lives through education. This includes the development of new and innovative programs and services to meet the needs of our community.”
In the Campaign for College Opportunity’s report, “Chutes or Ladders? Strengthening California Community College Transfer So More Students Earn the Degrees They Seek,” the non-profit organization acknowledges the role California Community Colleges and its students play in strengthening the economy and social mobility of California residents. It also acknowledges the severe setback California community college students face when transferring to a four-year school.
The Associate Degree for Transfer was created in 2010 to give California community college students a direct pathway to a California State University with guaranteed admissions to a CSU campus and completion of an associate degree. There are now 2,887 ADT pathways throughout California and 28 ADT pathways at Southwestern College that are fully aligned with bachelor’s degree programs in the California State University system.
In 2019-2020, 48 percent of associate degrees awarded at Southwestern College were Associate Degrees for Transfer. The Campaign for College Opportunity highlights the need to increase the number of ADTs awarded to create seamless pathways to bachelor’s degrees and to help meet California’s workforce demand.
Students earning an ADT complete their degrees with 6.5 fewer credits than students who earn traditional associate degrees, according to the report. The Campaign for College Opportunity estimates that students earning ADTs in 2019-2020 saved more than $10.4 million in community college tuition fees.
Southwestern College will be recognized at the Campaign for College Opportunity’s Champions of Higher Education Virtual Celebration, on Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 10-11:30 a.m. This event will bring together approximately 200-400 attendees representing California’s higher education leadership, elected officials, corporate sponsors and civic and business leaders.
The Campaign for College Opportunity is a California non-profit bipartisan policy and research organization focused on a single mission: to ensure all Californians have an equal opportunity to attend and succeed in college in order to build a vibrant workforce, economy and democracy. For more information, visit https://collegecampaign.org.