By Robert Sewell, Director Marketing & Public Information Officer/ASB Advisor/Public Relations/ASB Victor Valley College
Victor Valley College (VVC), now in its 55th year, serves an area encompassing roughly 2,200 square miles and is located on a 253-acre campus at the center of the three major communities of the Victor Valley (Apple Valley, Hesperia and Victorville). VVC serves the cities and communities of the High Desert: Adelanto, Apple Valley, Helendale, Hesperia, Lucerne Valley, Oro Grande, Phelan, Piñon Hills, Silver Lakes, Spring Valley Lake, Victorville and Wrightwood. VVC also features a 13-acre Regional Public Safety Training Center (RPSTC) in Apple Valley. In total, a population base of approximately 400,000 people with over 20 feeder high schools and diploma-granting institutions rely on VVC for their educational needs and opportunities.
Great strides have been made in the past year to complement our academic programs and offerings. In addition to the degrees–Associates in Science and Associate in Arts–offered in 23 different disciplines, the Chancellor’s office approved, beginning Spring 2015, four new Associate Degrees for Transfer. These degrees (Political Science, English, Geography, and Psychology) provide students guaranteed admission with junior standing to the California State University system.
Nursing students have three new opportunities to affordably obtain their Bachelors of Science from Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, and Grand Canyon University. In addition, VVC Students can now take on campus classes with Park University. TheUniversity offers degrees as part of a 2 + 2 program.
For the 2015-2016 academic year, enrollment is approximately 13,000 students with a Full-Time Equivalent Student target of 9,245. A full-time equivalent student is a person taking more than 12 credit units or three part-time students taking a single 4-credit unit class. VVC was able to offer a successful Winter 2016 Intersession, serving 3,054 students who were enrolled in 3,730 classes. Students were/are enrolled in an average of 2.5 classes in both the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 Semesters, 11,860 students taking 30,499 courses in Fall and 11,375 currently enrolled in 28,845 Spring classes. VVC employs over 1,000 full and part time employees.
During the 2014-15 academic year, VVC conferred more than 1,100 Associate Degrees and Certificates and looks to improve on that number during the 2015-2016 academic year.
Programs featured include but are not limited to: Nursing, Liberal Arts, Science and Math, and other Transfer Courses, along with 16 Career Technology Programs such as Computer-Aided Design, Airframe and Power Plant Technology, Fire Technology, Administration of Justice, Digital Animation, Respiratory Technology, Paramedics, and Construction Technologies, etc.
Certificates of Completion were issued in Administration of Justice, Child Medical Assistant, Paralegal Studies, Horticulture, Auto Specialist, Business Administration, Building Inspection, Advanced Business Real Estate, Construction Technology, Firefighter, Public Works, Welding, Restaurant Management, and Pre-School Teacher.
Victor Valley College’s accreditation status was confirmed June 29, 2015, from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) with no sanctions. On March 29, 2016, the ACCJC approved a substantive change which will allow the college to increase access and offer more classes and programs at the Regional Public Safety Training Center (RPSTC) in Apple Valley.
VVC students will have the benefit of a new interactive Student Orientation Video this Fall 2016.
In the first of an ongoing collaboration, the trustees from Barstow Community College and Victor Valley College held two joint meetings in 2015. The meetings helped to highlight existing partnerships and identified new opportunities to leverage resources to benefit students in both Districts.
Victor Valley College was selected as one of nine community college districts and 14 colleges to participate in the Education Planning Initiative (EPI). EPI is an innovative statewide project in the deployment of a new academic advising and planning platform. Community college students throughout California will soon have access to new technology that will help them identify their academic goals, develop structured personalized Ed Plans for success, and make informed course choices about their education.
A Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Machine (NMR) was acquired by Victor Valley College, thanks to the VVC Foundation, Mitsubishi Cement, Cemex, A Family Pharmacy, the Mojave Environmental Education Consortium (MEEC), and Southern California Edison. The NMR is being used for the first time in the 2016 spring semester for students in upper level organic chemistry classes and will make a huge difference for students intending to transfer to the university system like Cal State San Bernardino. Until recently, CSUSB would only accept the theoretical work accomplished and not the practical work. Because of the investment of our industry partners, CSUSB will now accept both, alleviating a bottleneck in their system where hundreds of students are currently sitting on waitlists for Biology and Chemistry classes requiring a lab with the NMR.
The Victor Valley College Math Department this year embarked on several major changes to their program that could significantly increase college completion rates for area residents. Math has been a hurdle for many students who were previously required to take a multi-course sequence of remediation before accessing a degree-applicable course. In Fall 2016 new practices for placement will begin, allowing the majority of students to enter the math sequence within one class of their degree requirements instead of the up to five they previously encountered. Following proven models that have worked at other institutions, including just-in-time remediation and a statistics-based alternative to algebra, VVC expects significantly more students to successfully advance through math. Removing the barriers in math will make graduation a reality for more VVC students.
In 2014 Victor Valley College was awarded a grant to facilitate career pathways pipelines throughout theregion in five key industries: Automotive, Aviation, Energy/Utilities Healthcare and Manufacturing. One goal of what has become known as the RAMP UP project is to maximize the input of employers by establishing advisory councils that include all local schools and Victor Valley College together, rather than the previous practice of multiple independent meetings at individual institutions. This work was initiated in 2015, and today nearly all targeted advisory councils have been identified or are in active development for the local area. This strategy is expected to help streamline curriculum, allowing local students to complete training that more quickly meets employer needs.
Another goal of the RAMP UP project is to link schools and colleges together through technology, allowing them to share classes and learning experiences with one another. In 2016 the installation of these classrooms was completed, system tests successfully conducted, and the first multi-site connection allowed students at eight high schools to participate in a healthcare industry lecture last month. RAMP UP also includes linkages to the Antelope Valley, Barstow and San Bernardino, where similar activities are in development.
Expanding its relationships with local high schools, VVC embarked on a new partnership with Hesperia High School in Fall 2014. In the Fall of 2014, 53 students were enrolled in predominantly General Education classes delivered by VVC’s department of Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (HASS) on the Hesperia High School campus. By the end of that semester, 98% of the students passed all classes with a “C” grade or better, and a total of 414 college credits were earned in courses including English, Sociology, History, and Philosophy.
In the Fall of 2015, the cohorts grew to a total of 84 students enrolled, with the results demonstrated that 95% of the cohort passed all classes with a “C” grade or better, totaling 612 college credits earned.
The Hesperia High study also revealed that the pass rate in the Early College courses surpasses traditional Hesperia High courses by 20% (English) and 10% (History). It should be noted that these classes, where applicable, count toward the high school student’s A-G high school graduation requirements.
Student Athlete Success
In 2015 Coach Dave Hoover guided the Rams Football Team to a 9-1 record as they got the privilege to play in the American Division Championship Bowl Game. The Rams, 19-1 during the past two seasons, had five players named to the All-California First Team and All-American DL Dougladson Subtyl was named Defensive Player of the Year.
Veteran’s Resource Center
In Spring 2015 Victor Valley College opened a much needed Veterans Resource Center (VRC) located in the Student Activities Center. In addition to helping veteran students with certifying VA education benefits, the VRC provides counseling services, tutoring, a computer lab, and community workshops.
This could not have been possible without the dedication of the Veterans Services staff, VA student workers, Veterans Club, VVC Foundation, and Wal-Mart for their generous grant which helped buy computers and furniture.
Victor Valley College Main Campus and the Regional Public Safety Training Center are valuable community resources. The college offers relevant programs and services to help students prepare for transfer and address workforce needs through career technical education and basic skills instruction. Over the last seven years, Measure JJ Bond dollars have touched each of these areas: the Regional Public Safety Training Center in Apple Valley (Spring 2012), Music Building (Fall 2014), and the Dr. Prem Reddy Health and Sciences Building (Fall 2015).
In 2016 another Measure JJ project gets under way as we turn our attention to the remodel and expansion of our Vocational facilities. Groundbreaking takes place May 16, and the new additions will be ready for student use Spring 2017. The project includes a new Automotive/Diesel Mechanics lab space, new Welding Lab, public restrooms and an additional 6,240 ASF for lecture classrooms. Additional Automotive space will provide for a service writer program, machine shop and bay space for car lifts. Welding Technology will be equipped with an entirely new welding facility with state of the art equipment.
In July 2015 the Facilities Master Plan update was approved which identified a need for a new Student Services ‘One Stop’ Building sufficient to provide greater efficiency between related functions in serving our students, thereby freeing current space for reconversion to classrooms and solving the near-term classroom shortage. In addition a study was presented outlining a future Stadium and Conference Center that will seat 3,500 and 3,000, respectively.