Article - Office of College Advancement

Community college chancellor visits Ohlone

By Wes Bowers.

Friday, May 18, 2007—Reprinted from Fremont Bulletin.

Man speaking.Chancellor Mark Drummond speaking at Ohlone. —Photo by Fremont Bulletin.

Ohlone Community College received a rare visit from the man who is in charge of all 109 community colleges in California.

Mark Drummond, California Community College District chancellor, was at Ohlone Wednesday to tour the school's in-progress Newark campus, as well as speak about the Basic Skills Initiative.

Drummond, an instructor at Chabot College in Hayward from 1967 to 1981, has held administrative positions at Eastern Washington University, as well as within the Los Angeles Community College District.

He was named chancellor of California Community College District in 2004.

Drummond said his position as chancellor was not exactly what he expected.

"I didn't realize that the state chancellor job is 100 percent political," he said. "You don't have a faculty or interact with students a lot, but you still have a lot to do with the colleges you oversee."

One of the things Drummond has a lot to do with that affects colleges is the Basic Skills Initiative, a proposal that prepares a systematic approach to investigate how students learn and what teaching methodologies promote this student learning, and what support mechanisms are necessary to sustain learning and achieve success.

According to the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges, about 50 percent of all California community college first-time freshmen will drop out of college within one year.

About 42 percent of dropouts are recent high school graduates.

Drummond said that assessment placements across the state indicate that very few high school seniors are completely prepared for college.

"We have to find ways to get more younger people going to our colleges," Drummond said.

Statistically, Drummond said about 37 percent of all high school graduates go on to a University of California school or a California State University school.

And because the average percentage of high school graduates actually prepared for college is 30, Drummond said the numbers don't look good for community colleges.

Additionally, he said because a large proportion of students will most likely not pass the California High School Exit Exam at the present time, the under-prepared student represents a serious problem for community colleges that is not going away soon.

"We need the whole college community involved in this, from students, to faculty, to staff members, to figure out how this (initiative) needs to be integrated," Ohlone Academic Senate President Ian Walton said.

Walton is traveling the state with Drummond to speak on the Basic Skills Initiative.

The Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges is holding Basic Skills Initiative regional meetings throughout the state to provide training for faculty, staff and administrators at all California community colleges in the area of developmental education.

It is anticipated that regional meetings will give campuses a chance to learn from the experiences of others and teams at the campus can ensure that everyone participates in local planning.

It is expected that faculty, staff, and administrators who attend the grant-sponsored training will share information with others on their campuses regarding the analysis and planning processes.

A regional meeting is scheduled at the college Sept. 21.

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