SEPTEMBER 2021 • No. 11 

Navigating Strange Turns and Twists of the Times

Greetings colleagues and friends of CVHEC!

We hope you are well as we all find ourselves in the fall semester in the midst of the pandemic that continues to take strange turns and twists.

Among those twists for us due to the uncertainty of the pandemic and the new variants is that the our board of directors has decided to postpone our annual CVHEC Policy and Legislative Summit (originally scheduled for December 2-3, 2021) until the spring of 2022.  We thank you for your patience and understanding.

Yet even in these uncertain times, we are delighted to say that CVHEC member institutions are proceeding with educating our students and serving our Central Valley communities. 

We at CVHEC are happy to continue to work with our colleges and universities in the region as well and moreso to share this month’s newsletter with our friends and colleagues. 

In this issue, you will read about the innovative and unique Central Valley Transfer Project that is designed to create a valley-wide transfer pathway from Central Valley community colleges to the University of California, Merced and our three California State Universities: Bakersfield, Fresno and Stanislaus.  Nowhere else in the state is this type of collaboration amongst the three segments of public higher education systems taking place. 

You will also meet Nataly Frias, a student from Turlock, California who attended Merced 

Community College before transferring to Fresno State.  Nataly was a dual enrollment student who benefited by taking college courses while she was still in high school.  She is the first subject in a series of students from our Central Valley region we will highlight in this newsletter in the months to follow. 

And in this issue, you will see how one of our members, Reedley College, used mini-grants graciously funded by the College Futures Foundation to produce motivational posters with an equity theme demonstrating to students the possibilities of pursuing non-traditional paths for targeted populations including creating campus spaces that are equitable inclusive and diverse.

Lastly, we introduce our new CVHEC blog, featuring members of our team or board of directors occasionally presenting insights into the world of higher education.  We will call it "What the CV-HEC is Happening."

Please enjoy the newsletter and share it with colleagues you believe would enjoy it as well.  

And we are eager to welcome all of our friends and partners to our rescheduled summit next year. Stay tuned and stay safe.

Pilot CVHEC/UC Merced Transfer Project improves process for students  

A pilot program developed between the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium and three member institutions -- UC Merced, Merced College and Bakersfield College -- is showing promise for outstanding results that can enhance a community college student’s transfer experience including a new web-based software application, Program Mapper.

This new initiative, the CVHEC/UC Merced Transfer Project, was presented to the CVHEC Board of Directors, made up the presidents and chancellors of CVHEC’s 29-member institutions, at its quarterly meeting Sept. 3.  
Tom Burke, chancellor-emeritus of the Kern Community College District, has been recruited to serve as the Transfer Project coordinator, Dr. Ben Duran, CVHEC executive director, also announced to the board.   

The specific aim of the initial pilot project is to increase the number of successful and timely transfers from the Central Valley member community colleges in CVHEC’s nine-county region to UCM, reports Stan Carrizosa, southern regional coordinator for the consortium.
See CVHEC Transfer Project
Mini-Grant Success Stories – Reedley College

Motivational Poster Project seeks
equitable, inclusive spaces on campus

NOTE: For the past three years, CVHEC Mini-Grants have been awarded to member institutions in support of CVHEC’s mission to increase degree attainment rates. We are highlighting how our member institutions’ innovative uses for the grants are positively impacting students.  
More than 70 motivational posters profiling a diverse range of student success stories were produced by the Reedley College Academic Senate thanks to funding from the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Mini-Grant project. 
Currently funded by the College Futures Foundation, the Mini-Grants Project provides awards up to $10,000 each which faculty from member institutions have creatively used for individual projects that help achieve the consortium strategy of increasing degree attainment rates. 

The 2021 funding cycle also sought to additionally incentivize basic needs and equity, race and social justice work.  

At Reedley College, Rebecca Al Haider in the Communication and Languages Department undertook the Motivational Poster Project as part of the college’s Academic Senate’s anti-racism action plan “to create campus spaces that are equitable inclusive and diverse” by producing 70 posters that were printed in various languages, framed and displayed on campus. 
The posters contained messages in English, Spanish, Arabic and Punjabi representing 33 students and 12 faculty, staff and administrators from various ethnicities/races, genders, sexual orientations, ages, religions, abilities, educational achievements and goals.  
See Reedley College's Mini-Grant

Dual Enrollment Success Story: Nataly Frias of Turlock
Reducing disparities in student persistence and completion rates

The Covid-19 pandemic of the past 18 months cast a shadow over joyous occasions like graduation events for Class of 2020 and 2021 high school and college students everywhere, but one narrative emerged repeatedly in the Central Valley that provided a spark of optimism for our region’s college attainment rates: dual enrollment success stories.
One of those stories is 18-year-old Nataly Frias, who, during her pandemic senior year at Turlock High School (2020-21), had taken enough Merced College courses online to earn two associate degrees in May, even before receiving her THS diploma in June.  
Like other students around the country over the years, California students such as Nataly have taken college-level courses while still completing their high school degree thanks to various options such as concurrent or dual enrollment. 
See Nataly Frias
New CVHEC Blog:  What the CV-HEC is Happening

With the fall semester in full swing on college campuses across the nation, we take a look at the past 18 months since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the world -- and as we crawl back to some sense of normalcy -- through the “blog eyes” of our CVHEC southern regional coordinator, Stan A. Carrizosa Sr., retired College of the Sequoias superintendent/president. Stan reflects on the ups and downs, lessons learned and the opportunities to be had from this era.
Making Our Mark on History:
Looking Back on a Pandemic Year in Valley Higher Education

By Stan A. Carrizosa Sr. - Retired Superintendent/President, College of the Sequoias
CVHEC Southern Regional Coordinator


2020 was a year like no other! 
Like so many during the pandemic lockdown I found myself in a heightened state of introspection, securing my health and safety, adapting to new forms of communication, trying to recreate routines for the simplest of things like sleeping, eating and exercising … and of course binging on classic movies. An all-time favorite that popped up one day is “Apollo 13” which is the historical account of the infamous mission to the moon that went terribly wrong!
See CVHEC Blog

Due to the uncertainly of the pandemic and the new variants, the CVHEC Board of Directors has decided to postpone our annual Policy and Legislative Summit (originally scheduled for December 2-3, 2021) until spring 2022.  We are eager to welcome all of our friends and partners next year. Stay tuned and stay safe. Thank you.
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