Chancellor Constance Carroll talks back-to-school changes for SDCCD Colleges

San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) Chancellor Constance Carroll visited the studio Monday morning to share the exciting new changes students can expect to see at Mesa, City, and Miramar colleges this school year.

From an expanded San Diego Promise to new buildings at Mesa College, a new fire academy at Miramar College, and new support for student veterans at City College, students in the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) will find some big changes when classes begin August 20.

In addition, 2019 will be a historic year as City College celebrates its 105th anniversary, Mesa its 55th anniversary, and Miramar its 50th.

The SDCCD is expanding its groundbreaking San Diego Promise to include two tuition-free years of college. Launched as a pilot program in 2016 with 186 students, the San Diego Promise included 661 students at City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges during the just-completed 2017-18 academic year. The expanded program, in which all first-time, full-time students can apply, will cost an estimated $1.86 million in 2018-2019. Participating students’ first year will be funded through a special allocation in the state budget, and students’ second year will be underwritten through an SDCCD-led fundraising campaign.

At Mesa College, a new $32.2-million Center for Business & Technology funded by voter-approved Proposition N is set to be completed this fall. The Center for Business & Technology will provide nearly 58,000 square feet of space for Mesa’s business, computer, and fashion design programs. In addition, a $14.8-million project funded through Proposition N is transforming the former I-300 Building into a modern Fine Arts & Dramatic Arts Building. That project, which includes 26,500 square feet of space, also is expected to be completed this fall.

Miramar College is breaking down barriers for working adults looking for firefighting careers through its new Entry Level Firefighter Degree program. The curriculum can be completed within a year, and all 10 courses can be taken in the morning, afternoon, evening, or weekend so students can continue working while training for a new career as a first responder. Rather than a traditional fire academy, where recruits are usually sponsored by a local fire department planning to hire them, students at the Entry Level Firefighter Degree Program pay their own way and are placed on a statewide eligibility list for hiring once they finish. Tuition is less than $1,400 and scholarships, financial aid, and GI Bill funding are available.

Responding to student demand, the district is introducing several new programs and courses. Among them: City College is introducing 26 new courses, along with new associate degree programs in economics; agriculture plant science; global development studies; and film, television, and electronic media. Mesa College is offering more than three dozen new courses ranging from fashion to web design. Miramar College is adding 31 new courses, including additional classes in accounting, astronomy, communication, and psychology. A new, 360-hour ESL program at Continuing Education, meanwhile, will focus on intermediate and advanced conversational English.

At City College, all incoming military veterans will benefit from additional academic support. Student vets will be immersed in the “learning culture” that is a signature of the college’s Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program. MESA has helped thousands of students from traditionally underrepresented communities become engineers, scientists, and other mathematics-based professionals through an array of support services and a systematic way of preparing for class, taking notes, reviewing material, and studying for exams. A workshop for veterans introducing them to the program is set for August 14 at 10 a.m. at City College in Room 140 of the Mathematics and Social Sciences Building.

The San Diego Community College District serves approximately 100,000 students annually through three two-year colleges and San Diego Continuing Education. The three colleges, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College, offer associate degrees and certificates in occupational programs that prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and entry-level jobs. Mesa College also offers a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management. Continuing Education offers noncredit adult education at seven campuses throughout San Diego.

Related: San Diego Promise offers free college tuition to high school graduates

Categories: Good Morning San Diego