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SBCC named Top 10 school in nation

September 13, 2011

Joan Galvan, Public Information Officer
 (805) 965-0581 ext. 2307 (805) 963-7222

SBCC among 10 Community College Finalists
Nationwide for First-Ever $1 Million Aspen Prize

On September 13, Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) was named as one of the ten finalist community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program.  SBCC now enters the last stage of the competition for the $1 million prize fund that will be awarded in December in Washington, D.C. to the first-ever national winner and up to three runners-up.

SBCC was the only community college in California to be named to the top-10 list.

"This recognition is validation of SBCC's outstanding reputation as a premiere community college, not only in the state but in the nation," said Dr. Jack Friedlander, SBCC Acting Superintendent/President.  "We clearly demonstrated to the Aspen selection committee that our college is both data- and outcomes- driven, and that student success and academic excellence are our top priorities."

According to the Aspen Institute, this is the first national recognition of extraordinary accomplishments at individual community colleges and follows on the April project launch and previous White House Community College Summit that attracted participation and endorsement from President Obama, as well as luminaries in American education, labor, business and civil society.

"Santa Barbara City College keeps its eye on job numbers and transfer rates to nearby UCSB, making sure its programs are both job-relevant and preparing students for the next step in higher education," said Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute's College Excellence Program. "By using data to make decisions and keeping an eye on results, SBCC is delivering for the area and for California."

SBCC has piloted and offers a number of student success programs, many of which have been replicated at other community colleges in California and in the nation.  The programs include Partnership for Student Success, Transfer Achievement Program, Early Alert Academic Counseling Program,MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement), EOPS (Extended Opportunity Programs and Services) Summer Bridge Program, and Express to Success, an accelerated student curriculum funded by the college's first Title V federal grant. In addition, SBCC has won a number of state and national awards, is a leader in the use of technology for faculty and students, and successfully partners or collaborates with selected four-year colleges or universities for student transfer. In April, SBCC was notified that it was selected by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program as one of the top 120 community colleges from almost 1,200 accredited, public community colleges nationwide.  All 120 colleges were invited to submit an application for the final round of competition.

The 10 finalists named from the 120 colleges were selected by a nine-member Finalist Selection Committee, comprised of former community college presidents, respected researchers and policy experts.  They identified institutions that deliver exceptional and improving completion rates, and labor-market and learning outcomes, following a review of new data collected from applications submitted by eligible institutions in June.

After site visits to each of the ten finalists' colleges this fall, the grand prize winner and runners-up will be selected by a "prize jury" co-chaired by John Engler, former Michigan Governor and current President of the Business Roundtable, and Richard Riley, former Secretary of Education and Governor of South Carolina. The winners will be announced in Washington, D.C. in December.


Top 10 Finalists: Lake Area Technical Institute (Watertown, South Dakota); Miami-Dade College (Florida); Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Perkinston, Mississippi); Mott Community College (Flint, Michigan); Northeast Iowa Community College (Calmar, Iowa);  Santa Barbara City College (California); Southwest Texas Junior College (Uvalde, Texas); Valencia College (Orlando, Florida); Walla Walla Community College (Washington), and West Kentucky Community and Technical College (Paducah, Kentucky)
The Aspen Prize is funded by the Joyce Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

The Aspen College Excellence Program aims to identify and replicate campus-wide practices that significantly improve college student outcomes.  Through the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, projects targeting a new generation of college leaders, and other initiatives, the College Excellence Program works to improve colleges' understanding and capacity to teach and graduate students, especially the growing population of low-income and minority students on American campuses.

The Aspen Institute mission is two-fold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideas and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues.  The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young –leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events.  The Institute is based in Washington, D.C.; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  It also has an international network of partners. 


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