I was mentioning to one of my colleagues recently that time seems to go by faster as I get older. This fall semester was no exception.
As our fall semester ends and the holiday break starts, I want to share my excitement for College of the Redwoods (CR) with the community. I could not be more proud of the significant accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and students. This message would be too large if I were to list all of our accomplishments. It is important to know that CR’s achievements this fall semester could not have been possible if not for the strong commitment of our faculty to teaching and the unwavering support of our Board of Trustees for student learning and success.
Last month I reported to the Trustees that between 2012-13 and 2016-17, the student success rate for both instructional modalities rose. The success rate for students enrolled in online courses rose significantly from 62% in 2012-13 to 70% in 2016-17.
Student retention in online courses also improved relative to face-to-face courses. In 2012-13, online courses had an 80% retention rate compared to an 88% retention in face-to-face courses. In 2016-17, online courses retained 85% of their students while face-to-face courses maintained 88% retention. These improvements were due to improved student support services for online student and significant work and dedication on the part of the faculty.
This has been a semester of many firsts. Our Computer Networking Program was the only program listed in the North Far North region for providing a guided pathway to the IT Technician career under the Doing What Matters Program initiative from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. Several current and former CR digital media students worked with local videographer Barbara Domanchuk and UC Berkeley Ph.D. student Keith Bouma-Gregson on a series of short educational videos on stream ecology and the origins of Cyanobacteria. The series was filmed and edited by current CR digital media students Cicely Suhayda and Ryan Shannon under the supervision of Digital Media graduate Mitch Stevens.
The Biological and Environmental Science department developed a new Biology transfer degree and collaborated with the University of California to offer a California Naturalist certification. The department also offered the first Biology course at Pelican Bay State Prison. The Mathematics department continued to work with basic skills students through an accelerated mathematics course, Math 102 Pathway to Statistics, and created and taught a new course, Math 150, to provide an algebra and trigonometry review for students entering calculus.
We are extremely proud that the number of active students declaring Kinesiology as a major grew from 206 in June of 2016 to 498 as of November 2017. The Kinesiology faculty started initial discussions with Humboldt State University and other potential transfer institutions to develop additional transfer pathways.
Our Community education Department collaborated with three local auto body shops—Myrtletown Auto Body, Fred’s Auto Body, and Quality Auto Body—to develop the Auto Body Collision Repair program. The shop owners worked with our Director of Community Education Prudence Ratliff and Dr. Richard Burroughs of Mastermind Alliance. Seven shops participated in the externships: Myrtletown, Fred’s, Quality, Rosewood, Arcata, Kreations and Rainbow. Special thanks go to paint manufacturer Axalta for providing the curriculum and to Tracy Rice, owner of Myrtletown, for teaching the courses.
The Community Education Department also collaborated with the Klamath Tribe to offer a Yurok community language course. The course, taught by Barbara McQuillen, was an introductory course designed to provide students with opportunities to communicate on a basic level, to appreciate and learn about the local Yurok culture, and to assist with the language revitalization efforts of the Yurok Tribe.
I also want to share a few stories of our students and staff who continue to excel. Staff member Jesse Wiedel's artwork was included in a Kunsthalle Sclieren exhibition in Zurich, Switzerland from September 30 to October 22, 2017. It was exciting to have his work displayed next to international artists such as Mike Kelley, John Baldessari, and Zoe Leonard. The National Political Director for the College Democrats of America appointed Zachary Awe, President of the Associated Students of College of the Redwoods, to be the Chair of the Progressive Caucus.
The end of any semester is a good time to look back at our accomplishments with appreciation. However, it is also a good time to remember that we will keep looking forward.