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City College belongs to us: Three faculty perspectives

November 1, 2012

 

Educating San Franciscans for over 75 years, City College of San Francisco needs your support

by Kathleen White

As the largest community college in California, City College of San Francisco (CCSF) serves almost 100,000 students annually and is our own local resource and treasure. As a native San Franciscan and CCSF faculty member, I have witnessed the daily transformations that have taken place at the college.

City College student William Walker speaks at a rally Aug. 15. He is a candidate for College Board endorsed by the Bay View. – Photo: Megan Farmer, SF Chronicle
Some of the transformations have been, in fact, miracles: a former foster youth who becomes the valedictorian speaker at graduation, a former prison inmate who transfers from CCSF to UC Davis seeking a law degree, a wounded veteran who leaves CCSF with a dream of a medical degree and a 4.0 GPA, a disconnected high school student who transfers from CCSF to SFSU with the goal of becoming a teacher in his own neighborhood elementary school. The stories and the miracles go on and on.

CCSF is a place where dreams are realized. It is likely that your neighbor, your daughter, your uncle or your co-worker has enrolled in our classes. It is probable that the police officer, the firefighter, the teacher, the nurse, the corporate executive, the chef, the gardener and the bank teller at your local financial institution found their career at CCSF.

Our doors have remained open to serve San Franciscans. We teach new immigrants English. We breathe deeply and smile wisely when the new crop of high school graduates from SFUSD and other local high schools arrive each year and remind us of what we don’t know – we help career changers develop new skills and we daily open our doors to students who simply want to learn.

As the largest community college in California, City College of San Francisco (CCSF) serves almost 100,000 students annually and is our own local resource and treasure.

We are also in the midst of a fiscal and organizational crisis. We have tried to continue to serve our community in the face of crippling budget cuts and reductions. We have tried to continue to serve San Francisco with fewer resources.

We have made some mistakes and some flawed administrative decisions. But we have a long history in San Francisco and we know we have many supporters. We know that we have transformed lives and empowered individuals. We know that we have leveled the field and have been part of social justice in action.

Come to City College and sign up for spring semester classes. – Photo: SF Examiner
And now we need your help. We have been there for you and now we need you. Help us. Vote for Prop A on the local ballot and Prop 30 on the statewide ballot this November.

Vote for Prop A on the local ballot and Prop 30 on the statewide ballot this November.

Come and take a class with us in the spring semester. Send your high school graduate to us. If we helped you or played a role in your educational journey, tell your story. If you work in San Francisco, ask your employer to support training and education for your co-workers. Help us to regain our strength. Help us to continue to serve San Francisco for another 75 years.

We are not glamorous, we are not selective and we are not exclusive. We belong to you and we are a college for the community, your community. We are San Francisco’s community college and we know we can depend on you.

Kathleen White is department chair of Child Development and Family Studies at City College of San Francisco.

One in 10 San Franciscans has been a City College student

by Cynthia Dewar

City College makes dreams a reality. We support, shape and educate you, your family, your friends, your neighbors and your co-workers. We educate everyone.

No matter what, it’s not surprising that one in 10 San Franciscans have sat in a City College classroom. But that could change dramatically. We need your help now. Support San Francisco ballot measure A. On Nov. 6, vote YES on A. Keep City College alive.

Stephanie Oh and William Walker dance at the Aug. 15 rally for City College. – Photo: Megan Farmer, SF Chronicle
San Francisco is alive with our former students – nurses, firefighters, police officers, chefs, reporters, broadcasters, teachers, actors, artists, politicians, musicians, scientists, chemists, college professors, computer programmers, doctors, lawyers, therapists, radiologists and social workers. We could go on and on. But you get it.

We support, shape and educate you, your family, your friends, your neighbors and your co-workers.

The City is full of our former students. We touched their lives, and chances are a day doesn’t go by without a City College graduate touching yours.

City College was and still is there for you. And now we simply ask for you to be there for us on Nov. 6. Help us shape future dreams. Vote yes on A.

Cynthia Dewar chairs the Educational Technology Department at City College of San Francisco.

Support City College by becoming a student

by Ellen Wall

People wearing “I am CCSF” buttons are being asked important questions. Why is City College of San Francisco threatened with losing its accreditation?

The college problems are primarily the result of loss of funding from the state. Over the past few years, the college has not received $53 million in scheduled revenue from the state, including nearly $20 million last spring. To balance the budget, the shortfall was covered by college reserves, not replacing retiring faculty and staff, and by reductions in employee pay. Propositions A and 30 would give the college the reserves required by law to continue current operations.

City College Southeast Campus at 1800 Oakdale is a beloved landmark in Bayview Hunters Point.
If CCSF loses its accreditation, will student course work transfer to other colleges? Yes. CCSF is fully accredited and all transferable classes will be honored at other colleges, even in the unlikely case that CCSF closes.

What can people in San Francisco do to help CCSF remain open? The greatest contribution students can make to CCSF is to register for spring semester classes that begin in January. To maintain state funding, the college needs to fill all its existing classes. The best thing voters can do is approve Proposition A on the San Francisco ballot and Proposition 30 on the state ballot.

Why does CCSF have several locations? Is that expensive? While other cities have created small colleges to serve their students, San Franciscans decided to have one community college at several major sites. That allows a wide selection of classes with outstanding instructors, using only a small number of administrators. Faculty members coordinate their department’s course offerings throughout the city.

With the recent completion of several new buildings, using bond money that cannot be used for other purposes, the college will finally finish moving students from inadequate, rented rooms to useful, basic classrooms, saving money and improving educational opportunities.

The best thing voters can do is approve Proposition A on the San Francisco ballot and Proposition 30 on the state ballot.

Why does CCSF offer so many different kinds of classes to people of all ages? San Franciscans have from the first, 75 years ago, thought of CCSF as their community college. They wanted UC Berkeley-equivalent education for students, regardless of their ages, who could then transfer to universities.

Anyone willing to study could attend. Older adults were welcomed to take courses to enrich their lives and the lives of their families and their fellow students.

San Franciscans also wanted great vocational education and, in response, the college has created notable programs, such as nursing, culinary arts, computer technology, bio-tech. Students from these and many other award-winning programs make up the very fabric of San Francisco’s economy and culture.

Ellen Wall is a faculty member in the English Department at City College of San Francisco.

 

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