No fewer than 14 CEOs—some of whom have been in California Community College (CCC) leadership roles for more than two decades—plan to retire in 2021, and we may experience more departures before year's end. While leadership change offers significant opportunities for districts and colleges to reenvision their strategic priorities and approach to their mission, this collective loss of institutional memory and experience will affect districts and arguably our entire sector for years to come.
#RealCollegeCalifornia was launched in 2019 when the Chief Executive Officers of the California Community Colleges’ Affordability, Food & Housing Access Taskforce sought support from the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. Their shared vision: To learn from the latest scientific evidence to advance the institutional effectiveness of basic needs accessibility work. By mid-2019, the #RealCollegeCalifornia Coalition was born. While the current pandemic was not on the horizon, there has been a clear and present basic needs crisis affecting students for some time now. Beginning to address that crisis helped leaders prepare for the additional challenges they were soon to face with COVID-19.
The equity mission of California’s community colleges necessitates liberating the 72 districts and 114 colleges to decide locally whether or not to offer baccalaureate degrees. California’s public community colleges are the most ethnically and socioeconomically diverse higher education institutions in the state, and their geographic reach—almost 90 percent of Californians live within 10 miles of a community college—is unparalleled.