Higher education leaders and legislators will convene in Fresno October 18 to address Central Valley degree attainment efforts

Media Release

Fresno, CA – A key feature of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium’s (CVHEC) Higher Education Legislative and Policy Summit is a discussion on strategy solutions to increase the Central Valley’s degree attainment rates. Higher education leaders, including all of the Central Valley Presidents and Chancellors of 25 colleges and universities from Stockton to Bakersfield, will convene in Fresno on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Fresno for the summit.

“The strength of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium has always been the ability of the member colleges and universities to act collectively on issues and challenges facing Central Valley students,” said Dr. Joseph I. Castro, Fresno State President and CVHEC Board Chair. “We are laser focused on enhancing student success across the region through bold and innovative programs.”

The October 18 summit will feature conversations with higher education leaders, philanthropy partners, higher education researchers and advocates. A Keynote Conversation with California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Charles A. Dana Center University of Texas, Executive Director Dr. Uri Treisman and Kristen Soares, President of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities will be facilitated by Fresno State President and CVHEC Board Chair Dr. Joseph Castro. A higher education legislation panel will feature Assembly members Dr. Joaquin Arambula (District 31) and Devon Mathis (District 26). The lunch address will feature a DACA Conversation between Congressman Jim Costa (District 16) and Fresno City College President Carole Goldsmith. Addressing higher education policy reforms to increase graduation rates are CVHEC member Presidents from Reedley College, Dr. Sandra Caldwell, Modesto Junior College, Dr. Jill Board, and Merced College, Mr. Chris Vitelli. They will give a report on current success strategies that are expected to trend graduation rates in the right direction.

“Jointly, CVHEC member institutions serve over 250,000 students in the Central Valley. Unfortunately, Central Valley degree attainment rates are low, much like the rest of California,” said Dr. Benjamin T. Duran, CVHEC executive director. “On average a student will complete community college in four to six years and an undergraduate degree in six to eight years. These rates are lackluster. At our October 2016 Policy and Legislative Summit, the CVHEC Board of Directors committed to ambitious, but achievable, objectives for its two- and four-year member institutions to establish a regional exemplar to reverse the current trend on graduation rates. This summit is a report card on that commitment.”

Since October 2016, CVHEC member institutions have supported higher education legislation such as AB 705 (Irwin) which was just signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Friday, October 13. This bill legislates multiple measures, a process of placing students into college credit math and English through multiple measures and bypassing assessment tests and remediation courses at the community college. Remediation has been proven to be a culprit of student success. The summit will feature research and discussion on how reform measures such as multiple measures and implementation of co-requisite remediation improve college success for all students, especially students of color.

Through funding from the College Futures Foundation, CVHEC has established a Central Valley Math Pathways Task Force co-chaired by a community college and CSU professors. This task force will put systems in place to address low-completion rates of college-level math. It will also establish a co-requisite response to the CSU Chancellor’s Executive Order 1110 which calls for the reform of remediation at all CSU campuses by 2018.

Further, a cornerstone of reversing the downward trend is the implementation of Guided Pathways – a student centered system that will dramatically change how community colleges operate. Chancellor Oakley and CVHEC member colleges working on implementation will address how this system change will enhance student’s college experience and success.

A testament to these efforts is the Fresno designation as one of 17-nationally recognized Talent Hubs. In September 2017, Lumina Foundation announced a grant award to CVHEC in collaboration with Fresno Compact to support and recognize current efforts to increase degree attainment rates, especially among Hispanic, African American and low-income students.

The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium’s Higher Education Legislative and Policy Summit will begin at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and will convene at 1:15 p.m. About 100 higher education leaders from throughout the Central Valley will attend. National leaders and policy partners from throughout California will also be in attendance.

To schedule interviews with Dr. Duran, Dr. Castro or other presenters, please contact CVHEC Communications Manager Angel Ramirez at (559) 292-0576 or angelr@csufresno.edu.

About Central Valley Higher Education Consortium

Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC) is a 501(c)3 incorporated non-profit organization comprised of accredited public and private colleges, universities, and community college district members. CVHEC was founded in 2000 by then Fresno State President John D. Welty along with 18 college and university leaders. Today, it is a 25-member strong consortium. Jointly, the consortium serves over 250,000 students in California’s Central Valley, a nine-county region. Its focus is to increase the region’s higher education attainment rate.


Media Contacts:

Virginia Madrid-Salazar
CVHEC Strategies Lead
(559) 974-7400 or vmadridsalazar@csufresno.edu

Angel Ramirez
CVHEC Communications Manager
(559) 292-0576 or angelr@csufresno.edu