Ethnic studies requirement, policy approved by Community Colleges Governing Board

July 13, 2021 | California Community Colleges

SACRAMENTO — California community college students seeking an associate degree will need to complete a course in ethnic studies under a new regulation adopted this week by the Community Colleges Board of Governors, which also approved requirements for college districts to strengthen equal employment opportunity plans.

“As the largest and most diverse system of higher education in the country, we have an opportunity to break down barriers to equity,” Board of Governors President Pamela Haynes said. “By building a faculty and staff that look like the students and communities we serve and by putting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and anti-racism at the heart of our work, we can help create a system that truly works for all our students.”

Community college students who plan to earn an associate degree will need to take a three-unit semester or four-unit quarter class in ethnic studies.

A task force of California community college stakeholders lead by the Chancellor’s Office in coordination with the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, and the California Community Colleges Ethnic Studies Faculty Council, will help determine the timing for implementation of the ethnic studies requirement as well as the definition of courses that will satisfy the requirement.

Under the policy developed with the input and support of student and faculty groups, students may use the required ethnic studies course to meet a general education requirement for the associate degree. The California Community Colleges will work with California State University and University of California with the goal of ensuring these courses are accepted for their transfer admissions requirements.

Students pursuing a certificate at a community college would not be subject to the new policy.

The governing board also voted to require community college districts to adopt a policy statement setting forth the district’s commitment to an equal employment opportunity plan that is grounded in the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

District plans will be submitted to the state Chancellor’s Office for input every three years, be discussed publicly at local board of trustees’ meetings and assess progress in meeting goals contained in the plans.

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