Drawing upon my near decade-long experience on UCSB’s Budget Strategy Committee during California’s budget crisis (2003-2013) I would like to help SBCC make the difficult and strategic choices about painful budget cuts in a coronavirus impacted recession based on some best practices from of my background.
Race, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Destructive campus climate issues involving racial intolerance, sexism, and LGBTQ harassment have been a significant concern at college campuses across the nation. SBCC is no exception, leading the College to conduct a Climate Survey recently. I want to help SBCC move beyond diversity and inclusion proclamations and ineffective measures to take concrete action to transform the campus culture around inclusion and equity. I want to use my experience as a Diversity and Inclusion expert to help City College achieve true diversity. As many institution know too well, Diversity costs; you pay either with real concrete changes to racist structures and practices on the front end, or you pay with lawsuits and hits to an institutional reputation on the back end. I can assist with implementing change in campus cultures and environments.
Curriculum Delivery and Reform
Distance learning has long been a controversial means of curriculum delivery since the much-hyped arrival of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) around 2012. Since their diminution around 2017, distance learning is back due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing, online learning is a real if also problematic means of curriculum delivery to colleges and universities, now termed “Remote Teaching.” As a scholar and teacher of film and media studies, I feel equipped to assist the College’s decision making around teaching in both the online environment, as well as the hybrid courses, i.e., online and face to face curricular modes. Because underserved students’ often lack of access to state-of-the-art computers and reliable internet connectivity, equal access to remote learning is an issue that needs to be addressed. As we all deal with the national mood for redressing and addressing systemic racism, curricular reform is needed, including establishing urgently race and ethnic studies requirements across the curriculum and disciplinary divisions.
Housing Needs for SBCC Students
Housing requires looking at the entire spectrum of housing needs of SBCC students especially (but also staff and faculty). But, taking on the student component, for example, it will be crucial to involve SBCC’s community residents, the Coastal Commission, city planners, and all constituencies and stakeholders before any productive decisions or proposals can be embraced. However, in terms of should or can SBCC build student housing, it is a difficult question. Even though community colleges tend to be commuter campuses, the high cost of living in Santa Barbara creates incredible housing insecurities, and even homelessness among some of the students in our area, and at SBCC. And complicating matters further, the COVID pandemic is making community colleges rethink some key assumptions about tackling this issue, which I learned about in a Zoom webinar. The fact that many SBCC students live in Isla Vista means they incur additional expense to get to City College classes.
Non-Academic Programs and Sports
These extracurricular programs are essential. These activities complement the academic and vocational training and programs of any institution of higher learning, including SBCC. Sports in particular are beneficial to underrepresented and underserved minority students who tend to excel in these arenas. Learning to work-well and collaborate with others, learning discipline, learning healthy physical activities and nutrition are all additional social interaction and coping skills that sports, clubs, sororities and some fraternities impart.