By Mrs. Joanne Montgomery, Member, Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees
As 2012 ends, I am grateful to have served as president of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees. This year, because of the tremendous milestones the college achieved in spite of the challenges presented by the economy, it is with great pride that I share some highlights of these accomplishments.
Citrus College again emerged as a top associate degree producer among the nation’s 1,200 community colleges. For the sixth consecutive year, the college was listed in Community College Week’s annual “Top 100 Producers” issue in key areas such as Associate Degrees Awarded to Hispanic Students, Associate Degrees Awarded to Asian-American Students, and Associate Degrees Awarded to Minority Students. The college also received recognition in The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education’s annual “Top 50 Community Colleges” issue in the Associate Degrees to Hispanic Students, Full-Time Hispanic Students, and Number of Hispanic Faculty categories.
Student achievements have also contributed to the college’s national prominence. In September, a team of six Citrus College students, known as the “Rocket Owls,” was selected to participate in NASA’s University Student Launch Initiative (USLI). In April 2013, they will compete against 35 colleges and universities—among them the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue University and Northwestern University—in launching rockets they designed and built. Citrus College is the only California community college participating, and one of seven community and two-year colleges in the nation to receive this honor.
Student success is a result of the institution’s successful academic programs and student support services. Last June, the college broke its record in the number of associate degrees conferred—1,332. These graduates included the first cohort of California community college students to receive Associate Degrees for Transfer. As evidence of the college’s efforts in preparing its students for transfer, the Campaign for College Opportunity recently commended Citrus College for offering 13 Transfer Model Curricula (TMC), “a uniform framework of courses required for an Associate Degree for Transfer in a specific major.” Citrus College ranks second in the state in offering its students TMCs—an important step towards college completion.
It was the college’s goal of moving its students to associate degree completion, transfer and career opportunities that has inspired a collegewide initiative, “A College of Completion.” This initiative, which the Citrus College chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society project introduced, has received enthusiastic support from faculty and staff, and they are currently applying best practices to ensure student success.
Citrus College has earned an outstanding reputation for its support services to returning veterans. I am pleased to report that, for the third consecutive year, the college received G.I. Jobs magazine’s Military Friendly School designation, placing the institution in the top 15% of U.S. colleges and universities that provide the most support to student veterans.
The efforts that earned the abovementioned accomplishments occur in a physical environment that promotes sustainability and environmentally-sound practices. Earlier this year, Citrus College’s sustainability template resulted in the college receiving the California Community College Board of Governors’ inaugural Energy and Sustainability Leadership Award. The college also received the 2012 Leadership Award in Energy at the Green California Community College Summit in September.
I am proud to share Citrus College’s accomplishments this year, and I am even more enthusiastic about the college’s future. It is a privilege to be a member of the Citrus College community, and I look forward to another year of progress.