UC President, Riverside Chancellor Meet with Inland Community College Leaders

President Napolitano and Chancellor Wilcox met with heads of community colleges in San Bernardino and Riverside counties to discuss ways to make the transfer process easier for students

UC President Janet Napolitano and Chancellor Kim Wilcox tour UCR in this 2013 file photo.

By Carolyn McMillan

University of California President Janet Napolitano and UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox met with community college leaders from San Bernardino and Riverside counties on Tuesday, May 5, to discuss ways to make the transfer process simpler and easier for students.

It was the third in a series of meetings that Napolitano has held with community college leaders around the state as part of her initiative to improve the transfer process between UC and California’s 112 community colleges.

The event, hosted by Riverside City College President Wolde-Ab Isaac, included officials form Crafton Hills College, San Bernadino Valley College, Cerro Coso Community College, Norco College, Mt. San Jacinto College, Victor Valley College, Moreno Valley College and the Riverside Community College District.

Napolitano told the assembled leaders that one of her first priorities when she became UC’s president in fall 2013 was to improve the transfer process.

“These students add to UC’s diversity and academic strength,” Napolitano said. “A robust transfer program is good for the California Community Colleges, good for UC and good for California.”

Roughly one in three undergraduates comes to UC by transferring from a California community college, she said. And once they arrive at the university, they tend to do well — graduating at virtually identical rates as students who enroll as freshmen. At UC Riverside, 1,214 students transferred from community colleges in 2014, totaling to 21.8 percent of the 5,572 total new undergraduate population.

But there is more that can be done. For example, although UC enrolls students from every community college in the state, the majority come from a relatively small number of colleges. And financial aid information could be simplified to help students better understand that resources are available to help them pay for college.

Napolitano convened a transfer action team to advise her on ways to further strengthen and streamline the transfer process. The team issued its report a year ago, and since then UC has been working to implement the recommendations, Napolitano said.

Recent activities have included:

  • Sending a letter in January to all new California Community College students encouraging them to consider transferring to UC;
  • Improving UC’s transfer admissions website to better serve prospective transfer students, with a bigger overhaul in the works;
  • Developing a pilot program to streamline transfer admission requirements across the system.

Napolitano noted that in addition to those actions, she had undertaken a series of “presidential conversations” with community college leaders around the state to further strengthen the partnership between the two institutions. She will continue to meet with community college leaders throughout California in 2015.

Discussions have covered a wide range of topics, from collaborating on ways to publicly highlight the value of public higher education to developing new online tools for increasing college access.

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