Continuing Ed makes recommendations to expand noncredit programs at community colleges

December 12, 2018 | Allura Garis - San Diego Continuing Education

Today, San Diego Continuing Education, the largest noncredit adult educational institution in the nation, announced its third annual release of The Past, Present and Future of Noncredit Education in California Community Colleges, an extensive academic report. The findings in the research aim to inform state enhancements in support of noncredit program growth for 113 California Community Colleges.  

Continuing Ed President speaks at a dais

San Diego Continuing Education President Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D., hosted 200 leaders from all over California at a noncredit conference.

“SDCE creates context and data in the report, which has been used for subsequent surveys and reports, along with recommendations for the future of noncredit adult education research and practice,” said SDCE President Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D. “This data can also inform state enhancements in support of noncredit program growth as we look toward supporting the mission of the community college, the most underserved population, and advocating for its future in California.”

San Diego College of Continuing Education is the adult education division of the San Diego Community College District and leads the state in many areas of noncredit, including awarding more certificates of completion than any other noncredit organization in the state, and also leads the state in noncredit career training options available for adult students, many who are among the most diverse in California culturally, ethnically, and educationally.

President Turner Cortez was appointed to lead SDCE in 2015 and immediately made plans to implement the school’s first Office of Planning, Research, and Institutional Effectiveness. The department is led by SDCE’s Dean of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness, Jessica Luedtke.

The Past, Present and Future of Noncredit Education in California Community Colleges is co-authored by President Turner Cortez, SDCE Vice President of Instruction Michelle Fischthal and Luedtke.

SDCE recommends implementing the following findings for future and current noncredit adult education programs in community colleges: lead with an authentic commitment to equity and social justice; modernize noncredit curriculum and instruction; strengthen student services specific to the noncredit population; marry noncredit adult education to workforce development, and provide more support for data systems and noncredit research. 

The California Community College system is the largest in the nation with 2.1 million students attending 113 colleges. Each organization participated in the California Community College Noncredit Offerings Survey [conducted by SDCE in partnership with the California Community College Chancellor's Office Educational Services], which served as the foundation for the The Past, Present and Future of Noncredit Education in California Community Colleges and results are included in a report format.

The equalization of Career Development and College Preparation (CDCP) noncredit program funding in 2015-16 motivated many credit colleges to either begin intensive noncredit program development or expand existing programs.

President Turner Cortez, Fischthal and Luedtke are expected to present their recommendations and findings at the following conferences in spring 2019; American Association of Community Colleges Annual Convention, the Association of Community and Continuing Education Statewide Annual Conference, and The Council for the Study of Community Colleges.

The California Association for Institutional Research (CAIR) recently announced the appointment of five new board members including Jessica Luedtke as the 2019 CAIR Board President.

In 2017, The Past, Present and Future of Noncredit Education in California Community Colleges was honored with the Mertes Award, for Excellence in Community College Research by the Association of California Community College Administrators. In 2018, it was awarded the California Research and Planning (RP) Group Project of the Year.

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