Commentary

03/30/2015  by Ed Coghlan

California college campuses awarded $50 million in innovation prize competition

Thirteen California college campuses have been named cash winners by the Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education. The Department of Finance made the announcement recently.

The Budget Act of 2014 appropriates $50 million in one-time resources from the General Fund for the Awards for Innovation in Higher Education. The program recognizes California community colleges, California State University (CSU) campuses, and University of California (UC) campuses that change existing policies, practices, or systems to achieve the following priorities:

  • Significantly increase the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded.
  • Allow students to complete bachelor’s degrees within four years after beginning higher education.
  • Ease transfer through the state’s education system by better recognizing learning that occurs across the state’s education segments and elsewhere.

“The awards are important because they are innovative in themselves, spotlighting the kinds of changes needed to revitalize California’s long standing commitment to access to higher education while establishing an equal commitment to completion for all students,” said Jim Mayer, president and CEO of California Forward, which convened the Showcase with several other partners.

Fifty-two colleges submitted innovation ideas to the committee. A showcase highlighting some three dozen of the awards was held recently in Sacramento. Here's a video summary of that event.

The Committee will award $5 million each to:

  • California State University, Monterey Bay
  • California State University, San Bernardino
  • Long Beach City College
  • Santa Ana College
  • Shasta College

The following campuses have been awarded $3 million each:

  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • California State University, Monterey Bay (which submitted two applications)
  • City College of San Francisco
  • Humboldt State University
  • San Francisco State University

And four other campuses will receive $2.5 million each:

  • Butte College
  • California State University San Marcos
  • UCLA
  • West Hills College, Lemoore.

These awards were made based on the extent to which the changes described in the applications addressed the following criteria:

  • Alignment:  The extent to which the changes credibly achieve the state’s priorities at a lower cost than existing policies, practices, and systems, without requiring that students pay increased tuition or fees.
  • Scale:  The extent to which the changes involve broad participation by UC campuses, CSU campuses, community colleges, and local education agencies, including school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools, and can be replicated by other campuses.
  • Commitment:  The extent to which the campuses show commitment to achieving the state’s priorities, as evidenced by changes made on or after January 10, 2014; the likelihood that any planned changes would be implemented; the support of faculty, students, and other individuals and groups involved in or impacted by these changes; and the ability to sustain changes over the long-term.

Editor's Note: CA Fwd will feature the five Group 1 winners in separate blogs during the week of March 30-April 3.

Categories: Community Services, Innovation in Higher Education

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