Santa Barbara City College has been recognized as one of two colleges to receive the California Community Colleges Board of Governors Exemplary Program Award.
SBCC was honored for its Express to Success Program (ESP), which offers accelerated learning communities for students who are assessed at one to two levels below college-level math and English.
The program's goal is to help students complete required math and English classes more quickly, while at the same time preparing them to be successful in courses required for a degree or transfer.
Cecilia V. Estolano, the Board of Governors president, praised SBCC’s ESP program for “helping students navigate a successful community college career while ultimately improving student outcomes.”
This is not the first time ESP has been honored. In 2012 it received the Chancellor’s Award for Best Practices in Student Equity, and in 2014 it was honored by Washington, D.C.-based Excelencia in Education as America’s top program for increasing Latino student success in two-year colleges.
Representing SBCC in Sacramento for the award ceremony on Jan. 16, Kathy Molloy, dean of educational programs,
paid tribute to the entire ESP team, stating “We very much appreciate this recognition of our dedicated ESP instructors, counselors and staff, who work so hard to ensure the success of our students.”
As part of a learning community, ESP students take two or more classes together, work collaboratively in class, and form study groups outside class to support their learning.
Students in ESP also receive full support from ESP counselors as well as peer tutors who have taken the course in a previous semester.
Peer tutors are especially effective in working with students since they have personal knowledge of the class and have been successful in the class themselves, SBCC said.
Beginning with 10 learning communities in Fall 2011 with nearly 300 students, the program grew to 23 learning communities and more than 1,100 students in Fall 2016.
The ESP instructional model, with its counseling and peer tutor components, has proven to be highly effective, SBCC said. Course completion rates and college persistence rates far exceed the college average.
The annual Exemplary Program Award is sponsored by the Foundation for California Community Colleges.
Nominees must show the overall success of their program; a contribution to faculty engagement; demonstrate a response to the needs of students, faculty and the college; collaborate with other programs on campus or within the community; provide evidence that demonstrates how the program supports the community college mission, and can be used as models for other community colleges.
— Luz Reyes-Martin for SBCC.