GCC superintendent accentuates the positive

Amid news of deep budget cuts and faculty salary concessions, Glendale Community College Supt./President Dawn Lindsay delivered a largely upbeat State of the College address on Thursday, highlighting student success rates and community collaborations.

The speech drew a standing-room-only crowd — including prominent civic leaders, such as Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes, Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa and Glendale Unified school board President Joylene Wagner — to the college auditorium.

The State of the College address started in 2010 as part of a larger effort to keep the community up to date on campus news.

Citing data collected between the 2003-04 and 2008-09 academic years, Lindsay said 61% of students who entered the college achieved their educational goals. In addition, 81.7% of students who wanted to earn at least 30 credits did so, and 78% of vocational education students successfully completed their vocational training.

The college also delivers when it comes to basic skills and English as a second language classes, Lindsay said, with 60.5% and 71.5% success rates, respectively. All the Glendale Community College statistics exceed statewide averages, she said.

“We are known in the state as one of the most stellar transfer institutions in California,” Lindsay said. “Our faculty have been very, very successful in obtaining grants. We have got faculty that are doing very prestigious internships.”

She also provided an update on the college’s accreditation process, noting that staff has made strides in addressing recommendations set by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges last year.

The commission placed Glendale Community College on warning status after it failed to meet certain standards.

Previously, the college began to seriously prepare for accreditation — which takes place every six years — only about one year in advance, Lindsay said.

“We have made a commitment to accreditation on an annual basis,” Lindsay said. “We are going to make this an institutional commitment. I think that is a real statement on the part of the college.”

Glendale Community College continues to benefit from collaborative relationships with community institutions and organizations, including Glendale Unified and the Glendale police, Lindsay added. And new partnerships — such as one recently forged with the nonprofit Glendale Arts, which operates the Alex Theatre — are popping up.

“This partnership that we hadn’t had before is benefiting our students because they offered to give our students a 30% discount on tickets,” Lindsay said. “This is the community saying, ‘Look, we are going to help you build … for the arts as well as the high-level academics.’”

Lindsay acknowledged that ongoing cuts to public education could change the scope of educational opportunities the college can provide, but said college employees were passionate and dedicated to students.

“It is not easy, but it helps to know you have got people who are supporting you,” Lindsay said.

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