The 2020 Vision for Student Success

The Community College League of California convened a commission of 33 college leaders to identify policy and practice changes that, if implemented, could increase meaningful completions in community colleges by 2020. The Commission was asked to constrain its recommendations within reasonably available state resources, a particularly difficult task given the magnitude of the current recession and associated decline in state revenues.

This report specifically addresses the need to increase associate degree and certificate completions in California’s community colleges. The Commission recognizes and affirms the role of community colleges in many other areas of service to California’s residents and economy—including citizenship, health and safety, English as a second language and economic development.

The Commission held three sessions during the first six months of 2010. Rather than conduct original research, the Commission used a comprehensive policy matrix prepared by the California Leadership Alliance for Student Success (CLASS) initiative, which was funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation, and led by Byron and Kay McClenney of the University of Texas, Austin. The policy matrix provides a “compilation of recommendations from 24 key reports related to fiscal and academic policy and practice, and state and local accountability for student success.”

The Commission understood early that there were an indeterminate number of strategies that could improve student success, including financial and regulatory barriers, student support strategies, and pedagogical changes. It felt, however, that to try to catalog all of the outstanding work occurring throughout the system would be less productive than an effort to identify the common themes found in promising efforts throughout the state. Therefore, readers of this report are less likely to find specific program plans to implement than common themes that are found in successful strategies both inside and outside of California.

Indeed, throughout California, activities to improve student success are already occurring. Whether funded through institutional priority or with grant support, most policies recommended in this report can be found in a California community college. The greatest challenge is identifying which elements of the successful practices can be replicated across the system at a time when leaders are overwhelmed with the challenge of keeping the doors open.

To learn more about Vision 2020, please explore this website and download the full report.