California’s Online Community College Still Preparing as Fall Launch Approaches - Higher Education
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California’s Online Community College Still Preparing as Fall Launch Approaches

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Last year, California lawmakers approved the creation of a publicly-funded, online community college to equip adult learners with the job training and skills they need to improve their employment outcomes.

Although state leaders are working to open the online college by an October 1 deadline, they have yet to fill several executive positions to support the operations of the online learning experience, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The time frame to solidify a management team – in addition to college president Heather Hiles’ push for approval of a no-bid contract with an executive recruiter – has left some Board of Trustees members and other critics concerned about the quality of students’ learning experience.

Tom Epstein

Currently, the online college has a technology officer, but leaders are still looking for individuals to serve in finance and marketing roles, a chief learning officer role, a chief of partnerships role, a chief people officer role and a chief success officer role to support adult learners, The Chronicle reported.

And by July 1, the online college is working to develop three online professional certificate programs in medical coding, cybersecurity and information technology; establish a business plan and finalize a seven-year implementation plan; create personnel policies; outline student recruitment efforts and how prior learning will be assessed; detail teaching pedagogies, “instructional support,” “student experience activities” and more, The Chronicle reported.

“It’s an extremely ambitious timeline written into the law,” said California Community Colleges Board of Governors president Tom Epstein. “We want to move fast — but not break things. We have the legislative mandate, and we’re doing our best to meet it.”

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