A portrait photo of Dr. Constance Carroll at Mesa College

A Final Message from Chancellor Constance M. Carroll

June 30, 2021 | San Diego Community College District

Dear Board Members, Colleagues, and Friends of the District:

I am writing to you from the Chancellor’s Office on my last day of service, since my retirement is effective tomorrow, July 1. I am reminded of the famous statement by the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus who emphasized that nothing in the world is permanent except change. He used the analogy that you cannot put your foot in the same river twice, since the river is constantly flowing. We have undergone lots of change, especially in the past year, due to state budget shortfalls, the Presidential Election, and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. And more change lies ahead.

I have had a wonderful tenure in the California Community Colleges as a CEO for 43 years, including 17 years in my current position as Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District.  During my 28-year tenure in our District, I have enjoyed working with the Board of Trustees, the College Presidents, the faculty, administrators, classified professionals, and student leaders over the years through volatile budgets, changes in policies, and the inevitable crises, but above all, promoting student success and achievement.  Our District is a stellar example of why community colleges are important.  Community Colleges are the best economic, social mobility, and social justice engines of California and our nation.  We are all privileged to serve this remarkable system of higher education, especially as it incorporates a true commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  I have definitely been privileged to work with our great SDCCD team.  I have also been privileged to work with colleagues throughout the state and nation, and with wonderful organizations in the San Diego Region, especially the boards of the University of San Diego, the San Diego Foundation, San Diego Youth Services, and the San Diego Opera.

The California Budget

Let me share with you some very good news about the state budget, which will have a salutary impact on the San Diego Community College District.  I have attached a summary of the Budget Agreement that has just been reached between the California Assembly, Senate, and Governor, which will go into effect tomorrow, July 1.  The budget is characterized by an increased COLA, more financial support for students, and a host of other improvements. In addition to these much-needed increases in support overall, the budget also includes an important item for which the Large Districts Coalition (which includes the SDCCD) and the statewide faculty unions provided strong advocacy: $100 million for full-time faculty positions. Allocations of federal stimulus dollars and funds from other sources provide additional support. In general, our District and others will be sailing into a much improved financial environment. Our own District efforts to curtail costs have been successful as well, and we will be closing the year with a budget surplus, due to everyone’s willingness to conserve during the past two years. In leaving my position, I am encouraged by knowing that the District is financially secure, although there will still be a need to be careful with all levels of expenditure. I know that Executive Vice Chancellor Bonnie Dowd will have more to say about the budget in the near future. View the summary of the state Budget Agreement.

The California Travel Ban

As you recall, California Assembly Bill 1887 prohibits the use of State funds for travel to states that have discriminatory laws and/or practices of a serious nature that affect protected groups, especially the LGBTQ community. This bill authorizes the California Attorney General to update the list. SDCCD Board Policy 3120  reflects this prohibition regarding the use of District funds for travel to these states, which also derive from the State. The SDCCD Chancellor can make exceptions based upon critical need, such as student competitions, faculty research, etc. 

The updated list of banned states, with Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia being the most recent additions, follows:

1. Alabama
2. Arkansas (effective 7/29/2021)
3. Florida (effective 7/1/2021)
4. Idaho
5. Iowa
6. Kansas
7. Kentucky
8. Mississippi
9. Montana (effective 7/1/2021)
10. North Carolina
11. North Dakota (effective 8/1/2021)
12. Oklahoma
13. South Carolina
14. South Dakota
15. Tennessee
16. Texas
17. West Virginia (effective 7/8/2021)

College Police Review Task Force

The College Police Task Force has completed its primary assignment, with analyses and excellent recommendations. I will share that report separately later today.

Major Leadership Changes

Three members of the SDCCD management staff will be moving into new leadership positions at the CEO level. City College Vice President Denise Whisenhunt will be the new President of Grossmont College; Continuing Education Vice President Star Rivera-Lacey will be the new Superintendent/President of Palomar College; and, as you know, Continuing Education President Carlos Turner Cortez will be the new Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District. All will take office in July. We wish them every success.


The SDCCD has come a long way through the COVID-19 pandemic and is pursuing reopening plans, on an incremental basis, including more in-person classes and operations during the summer and fall, with the Board of Trustees’ resumption of in-person meetings on September 9, and with the goal of total reopening by the spring semester. I know that everyone will be pleased to return to resuming normal operations and practices. You will receive more information about this from Human Resources Vice Chancellor Greg Smith.

Future Plans and a Fond Farewell 

Finally, although I will certainly miss my direct interactions with the District, City, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges, and the College of Continuing Education, I am looking forward to a new career in retirement as President & CEO of the newly-formed California Community College Baccalaureate Association (CCCBA), which you will hear more about after July. We hope to focus on California’s role in the community college baccalaureate movement, through supporting legislation, through a partnership with the national Community College Baccalaureate Association, through working connections with programs in the 25 other states that authorize their community colleges to offer bachelor’s programs in workforce fields, through providing professional and technical assistance for those planning to develop baccalaureate programs, through newsletters and updates, and periodic webinars and conferences. Please note another change, my new email contact information, effective July 1:  ccarroll@cccbac.org. I am grateful that Mesa College President Pam Luster will house the CCCBA website and will permit Mesa College to serve as the association’s mailing address. 

I also look forward to my continuing service on the National Council on the Humanities/National Endowment for the Humanities, College Promise National Advisory Board, the Community College Humanities Association Board, the national Community College Baccalaureate Association Board, and the Board of the United Way of San Diego County.

Do keep me informed about your major achievements, since I will be proud to see how you are all moving forward. Take care. Stay well. Best wishes!

Dr. Constance M. Carroll
San Diego Community College District

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