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MARCH 2021 •  No. 7 
Innovative, dedicated Central Valley academic
leaders help overcome a year of the pandemic

We are delighted to invite you to this issue of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC) e-newsletter. 

As we hopefully begin to emerge from the year-long pandemic and welcome the spring flowers to the valley, we share some of CVHEC’s highlights since our last issue including a glimpse at how our academic leaders and community collaborate to lead our students forward.

First, we want to re-welcome our newest member, the University of the Pacific (UOP) located in Stockton. We are happy to invite our north valley colleagues back into the Consortium after some time away.  Founded in 1851 in Santa Clara, UOP is our most senior institution and has been serving the northern valley since 1923 when the campus was moved to Stockton.

Another of our independent members, Brandman University is also featured in this issue.  We take pleasure in sharing with you a heartwarming story of the university assisting students impacted by the pandemic.  The innovative use of CVHEC Mini-Grant funds by Brandman leadership to bring some relief to students suffering financially during the COVID19 shutdown is highlighted.  We think you will agree that these sorts of uplifting stories are what we need in times like these.

Benjamin T. Duran, Ed.D
CVHEC Executive Director

You will also read about the work that Central Valley colleges are doing around the equity, race and social justice agendas our institutions are pursuing. 

In particular, we extend our gratitude to the professionals who make up our CVHEC Equity, Race and Social Justice Taskforce announced in this issue. The expertise, talent and experience these dedicated scholars from our member institutions contribute to this valley-wide undertaking is a tribute in itself to our higher education community here in Central California.

Again, thank you for joining us in enjoying this issue.

Read Dr. Duran's message online
CVHEC Equity, Race and Social Justice Taskforce established
The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium has launched its Equity, Race, and Social Justice Taskforce which includes a three-pronged strategy to assess and recommend action for its member institutions – 29 colleges in a nine-county region.  

Findings and recommendations will be presented as part of the CVHEC Higher Education Fall 2021 Summit Series that is now being planned, said Dr. Benjamin T.  Duran, CVHEC executive director, in announcing the roster and the need.
Meet our Equity, Race & Social Justice Taskforce
Mini-Grant Success Stories:
Brandman University’s Textbook Award Program 

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 will highlight how members’ innovative uses for the grants are positively impacting students. We begin telling this story with Brandman University using its funds to create the Textbook Award Program.      

CVHEC Mini-Grants support Brandman students in pandemic era

In an innovative use of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Mini-Grants Program, CVHEC member Brandman University funded the Textbook Award Program, reaching out to its students at three Central Valley campuses for immediate relief to about 50 participants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CVHEC Mini-Grants, in various amounts up to $7,500 each funded by partner College Futures Foundation (CFF), are intended to support activities providing assistance and professional learning associated with Guided Pathways, Math Pathways, implementation Corequisite English and math course development (implementation of AB 705 and EO 1110), and advancement of Pathways for Associate Degrees for Transfer.
Read more about Brandman students and our Mini-Grants

CVHEC eyes state equity taskforce recommendations
Post-secondary systems seeking to emerge from the pandemic stronger and better able to help all learners thrive can look to a new report by California’s Recovery with Equity Taskforce that provides recommendations that the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium will use in developing its upcoming Higher Education Fall 2021 Summit Series.

Recovery with Equity: A Roadmap for Higher Education After the Pandemic, submitted recently to Governor Gavin Newsom and the Governor’s Council for Post-Secondary Education, includes a series of interconnected, interdependent recommendations developed by the Recovery with Equity Taskforce to help post-secondary systems. It concludes with actions that leaders in California can pursue to support California’s post-secondary institutions recover from the pandemic more equitable and resilient than before, and more aligned with the economic needs of the state.  
See the full story and state equity task force recommendations
Fresno City College Law Pathway recognized for closing diversity gap
The Fresno City College Pathway to Law School program was the recipient of two awards recently recognizing the program's efforts to close the diversity gap in the law profession. 

Reedley College earns  Agricultural Education Program accolades
Reedley College won the Outstanding Post-Secondary Agricultural Education Program Award (Large Community College Division) from the California Agricultural Teachers Association for the second time in the past three years: 2018 and 2020.

Sunbirds headed to NCAA Postseason for first time
The Fresno Pacific University Men’s basketball qualified for its first trip to the NCAA DII Tournament beginning March 12. The Sunbirds finished the unique season as the only PacWest Conference team to go undefeated in pod play

Virtual commencement celebrations planned 

• Fresno State Interim President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval announced that Class of 2021 Commencement ceremonies will be virtual pending additional campus feedback. 
• Fresno City College President Carole Goldsmith announced that the 2021 Commencement Ceremony will be virtual as the campus anticipates breaking last year’s record of 2,106 degrees awarded.
• Stanislaus State reports that in-person, on-campus Commencement Ceremonies will not be held in May, based on current data for Stanislaus County and projections for the next few months, but will continue to monitor conditions daily through the spring to evaluate if and to what extent in-person ceremonies may be possible.
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