Vicario named special assistant to president for ‘Vision for Success’

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California’s often-fragmented system of 114 community colleges took a step closer to a common set of goals when the government board voted to enroll Southwestern College in the  “Vision for Success.” The program is an attempt to reduce growing achievement gaps and increase falling transfer rates.

SWC’s Academic Senate voted to join the Vision for Success last semester and set goals to reduce achievement gaps by 40 percent and increase transfer rates by 35 percent within five years.

SWC’s transfer rate is currently thought to be less than 20 percent. It was as low as 8 percent during the superintendency of R.K. Chopra seven years ago.

Dr. Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor for the California Community College system, said the purpose of the project to improve the quality of education in community colleges.

“My hope is that the document will serve as a guide for me and our board of governors over the next several years,” he said.

Marie Vicario-Fisher was hired to be the acting special assistant to President Murillo, and reports directly to her. Fisher claims she is responsible for overseeing, leading and facilitating the Guided Pathways framework that will be developed by the college constituencies with input from our students.

“My hope is that through increased collaboration between faculty, staff and administrators, we will redesign our processes in a manner that gives students a greater ability to achieve their educational and career goals,” said Vicario.

Each community college in California has different systems of teaching and learning. Vision for Success integrates the goals of all community colleges, Oakley said, in hopes of better securing the state.

SWC President Dr. Kindred Murillo said the project is an attempt to help students to be more successful in less time.

“We want students to feel supported,” she said. “We want them to stay here so they can get their degrees in two to three years maximum, so they can move on or go get a job. It’s the right vision. It’s well focused and it aligns to everything the community college system is doing.”

Murillo said community college students need better guidance so that they take classes that help them to reach their goals.

“Vision for Success” contains seven commitments:

  • Focus relentlessly on students’ end goals.
  • Design and decide with the student in mind.
  • Pair high expectations with high support.
  • Foster the use of data, inquiry, and evidence.
  • Take ownership of goals and performance.
  • Enable action and thoughtful innovation.
  • Lead the work of partnering across systems.

SWC Student Trustee Rudolph Villegas said he expects great things from Vision for Success.

“I think of this document as a call for action in hopes that they better accommodate both systems into one.”

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