UC Santa Cruz, community colleges seek to strengthen ties

Higher education leaders
Chancellor Debbie Budd with the San José-Evergreen Community College District talks with Chancellor Patrick Schmitt with the West Valley-Mission Community College District. (Photo by Thuy Thi Nguyen)
resident Thuy Thi Nguyen with Foothill College, left, and UC Regent Lark Park.
President Thuy Thi Nguyen with Foothill College, left, and UC Regent Lark Park. (Photo by Thuy Thi Nguyen)

In an effort to bring 1,500 new California transfer students to UC Santa Cruz by 2020 and to support the California Community Colleges in increasing their transfers to the UC and CSU by 35 percent by 2022, higher education leaders met Friday to identify a variety of action items to strengthen ties.

The 90-minute discussion at the UC Santa Cruz Scotts Valley Center included Chancellor George Blumenthal, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Tromp, twelve regional California Community College leaders, California Community College Deputy Chancellor Erik Skinner, and UC Regent Lark Park.

“We are going to explore and prioritize several of the ideas shared by the group that will be sustainable and have long-term impacts,” Chancellor George Blumenthal said. “It was a stimulating discussion that focused on the opportunities and challenges in building a strong pipeline from our community colleges to our campus.”

Shared ideas items include:

  • De-mystify the University of California and the research university experience with a key message that “you belong here.”
    Increase intersegmental faculty-to-faculty collaboration between UCs and community colleges.
  • Seek additional input from students on how UC Santa Cruz can best help them understand all that the campus offers, if we can help them achieve their goals, and how to ensure they are prepared.
  • Launch more focused cohort programs with a particular focus on underrepresented and first-generation students e.g. a leadership program.
  • Customize and personalize recruitment with increased involvement of successful transfer students from the community colleges.
    Expose students to UC Santa Cruz courses with online and cross-campus enrollment and courses delivered on the community college campus.
  • Review and enhance systemwide transfer pathways and consider broader transfer admission guarantees.
  • Ensure clear and timely course articulation information for students and counselors
  • Develop long-range enrollment plans across the various systems that includes funding commitments to balance access, quality, and affordability.

California Community College Deputy Chancellor Skinner observed that success will be found through strengthening the partnerships between UC Santa Cruz and community colleges in a variety of ways.

“This conversation is about how can we take this further—how can we both increase the transfer rate and increase the success for students?” Skinner said. “At the end of the day, the real magic is in the local partnership and the local conversation.”

Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Marlene Tromp noted that 46 percent of UC transfer students live within 50 miles of their home. UC Santa Cruz, in a less-dense region with many students who find it economically challenging to leave their family and work, is below this average. Commuting is not an accessible option for many students.

UC Santa Cruz expects to enroll 1,275 new California transfer students for the 2017-18 academic year, moving closer to meeting the state’s 2-to-1 goal—to have one new California transfer for every two new first-year students from California. The campus ratio is 2.7-to-1. The plan is to increase California transfer enrollments by 18 percent by 2020 in order to achieve this agreed upon level of first-year students to transfers.

UC Santa Cruz is proud to continue offering a transfer admission guarantee (TAG). A UC Santa Cruz TAG is a written agreement guaranteeing fall admission to California community college students who meet specific criteria.