PRESS RELEASE July 19, 2016

Paige Marlatt Dorr
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Dr. John W. Rice Award Presented to California Community Colleges Programs Exemplifying

Diversity and Equity

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The 16th Annual Dr. John W. Rice Diversity & Equity Award ceremony today honored three college programs whose work has fostered student equity, diversity and access in the California Community Colleges. The ceremony was held at the Crocker Art Museum.
The 2016 Dr. John W. Rice Diversity & Equity Award, named for a former member of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, was handed out to Foothill College’s Family Engagement Institute; Saddleback College’s Veterans Education and Transition Services Program; and Santa Monica College’s Science and Research Initiative ‘Chem Boot Camp.’ Foothill College is located in Los Altos Hills, Saddleback College is located in Mission Viejo and Santa Monica College is located in Santa Monica.
Dr. John W. Rice served on the board from 1992 until his death in 2000. While on the board, he displayed a strong commitment to multicultural learning experiences for all students.
“Dr. Rice was steadfast in his commitment to treating all students fairly and equally,” said California Community Colleges Interim Chancellor Erik E. Skinner. “His legacy lives on through the work these programs accomplish each and every day to offer everyone the same opportunity to receive a college degree. It is a great pleasure to celebrate all three winners and the success they’ve had in promoting student diversity.”
The award was established in 2001 to honor community college staff members, districts, colleges or programs that have made the greatest contribution towards faculty, staff and student diversity and equity.
“It is a great honor to support the annual Dr. John W. Rice Awards and recognize the achievements in promoting diversity and equity throughout the California Community Colleges," said Keetha Mills, president and CEO of the Foundation for California Community Colleges. "The California Community Colleges is the most diverse system of higher education in the nation, and the three programs we celebrated today are tremendous examples of the systemwide commitment to promoting access for all."
About the Winners:

Family Engagement Institute – Foothill College

The Family Engagement lnstitute has been making a critical difference in the lives of underserved students and their families since its inception in 2010 as a unique cradle-to-career initiative at Foothill College.
The Family Engagement lnstitute provides educational opportunities to underserved and low income families, while offering professional development to educators and providers to promote school and workforce readiness, family engagement and pathways to postsecondary education. At the core of the Family Engagement lnstitute is a belief that in order to break the cycle of poverty, educational opportunities must begin early for children and continuing education opportunities must be offered to families. With that in mind, the Family Engagement lnstitute provides education materials, toolkits and college faculty to deliver developmentally, culturally and linguistically responsive programs to its partner organizations, where families enroll as community college noncredit students.

Veterans Education and Transition Services Program – Saddleback College

The Saddleback College Veterans Education & Transition Services (VETS) Program has been the pioneer in serving our nation's heroes seeking higher education. The VETS Program aims to bridge the cultural divide between civilians and our military through inclusion; full integration of student veterans in campus life; and staff, faculty and administrative training and engagement. While serving 500-800 student veterans, active duty military and dependents each semester, Saddleback College sets the bar in terms of support services, innovation and honoring the differences of this subculture. In the 2015-16 academic year, this program and its strong team of counselors, staff and student workers has pushed the envelope offering trainings on campus to change dozens of institutions; contributing sage advice to peer colleges and universities through webinars, site visits and conference workshops; sending multiple veterans to top tier institutions and literally saving lives.

Science and Research Initiative ‘Chem Boot Camp’ – Santa Monica College

Santa Monica College’s Science and Research Initiative is an academic support program designed to help traditionally underrepresented students interested in STEM careers successfully complete their studies at Santa Monica College, transfer to a four-year research-oriented baccalaureate program and/or enter the STEM workforce. The Chem Boot Camp is an equity-funded activity that promotes the successful course completion of math and chemistry courses by offering intensive, faculty-led chemistry and algebra workshops as well as intersession peer instruction for African American and Hispanic/Latino students exiting basic skills math. Math and chemistry boot camp interventions were conducted in collaboration with the Santa Monica College Black Collegians and Adelante Programs by targeting sections of Chemistry 10 (Introductory General Chemistry) that are taught within these programs. The boot camps have proved effective in increasing the skill level of African American and Latino students in STEM courses, and giving students a level of self-confidence that many did not have prior to the intervention.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 113 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education in English and math, and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit,, or