December 5, 2008

City & Mesa Colleges Succeeding In “Breaking the Chain of Failure”

San Diego City College and San Diego Mesa College have achieved above average transfer rates for underrepresented students from low-performing high schools, according to the UCLA Civil Rights Project.

The UCLA study indicates that City College transfers high numbers of African-American students to colleges and universities, while Mesa College does similarly for Latino students.

“We congratulate City College and Mesa College in San Diego on this achievement,” UCLA project director Patricia Gandara stated.

Because of the success of both San Diego Community College District colleges, City and Mesa administrators have been asked to participate in the second phase of UCLA research, which is expected to take place in December and January.

Only three other California community colleges have been selected for the second phase of the statewide study. The research is being conducted to foster a better understanding of factors and policies that enhance the odds of transfer for underrepresented students with generally low transfer rates, the UCLA researcher reported. The study is entitled, “Breaking the Chain of Failure: Moving from Weak High Schools to Strong Community Colleges for Students of Color.”

Mesa College President Rita Cepeda stated, “The fact that the UCLA Civil Rights Project has identified Mesa College as one of five community colleges in California with a sustained record of success is quite a reaffirmation.  We look forward to working with the team of UCLA Researchers so that they may identify those promising practices and programs currently in place at our college that contribute to this level of success. I am sure that this work will help in our efforts to continue to improve the way in which we serve our students and community.”

City College President Terrence Burgess said, “I am extremely gratified that our concerted efforts to recruit and retain the most at-risk college students are paying dividends.  San Diego City College is committed to the success of each and every student.  We all keep students first in our day-to-day work.”

The mission of the UCLA Civil Rights Project is “to help renew the civil rights movement by bridging the worlds of ideas and action, to be a preeminent source of intellectual capital within that movement, and to deepen the understanding of the issues that must be resolved to achieve racial and ethnic equity as society moves through the great transformation of the 21st century,” the project’s website states.

In 2007-08, nine percent of the City College students that transferred were African Americans, SDCCD reported. This percentage equates to 447 students. Five years ago, only 235 African Americans transferred.

At Mesa College, 14 percent of the 2007-08 students that transferred were Latino, according to SDCCD. This percentage represents 978 Latino students, which is 208 more than five years ago. City transferred 28 percent of the Latinos enrolled, which totals 1,343.  This is an increase of 151 percent from five years ago.

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