PRESS RELEASE March 30, 2016

Contact: Paul Feist
Office: 916.327.5353

California Community Colleges Chancellor Praises New UC Davis Center Supporting Community

College Leadership Through Education and Research

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris today praised the launch of a new University of California, Davis School of Education program to support and cultivate current and future community college leaders through professional development and research.

Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research will convene annual cohorts of 20 sitting and aspiring community college presidents and chancellors, bringing them to UC Davis four times a year for institutes featuring intensive professional learning and peer support. The average tenure of a community college leader is only three years – about half that of their counterparts in four-year universities.
Harris noted that California-based leadership resources for CEOs often have to travel out of state for professional development and support. “These leaders are responsible for some of the most important gears in California’s economic engine,” said Harris. “But their average rate of turnover is just too high. We need more ways to support them and prepare their successors for the challenges ahead, and we need to do it here.”
Harris will join the Wheelhouse advisory board upon his retirement on April 1.
UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said UC Davis is dedicated to developing research on community college education
— from student performance and curriculum to leadership.
“UC Davis is taking the lead on collecting data on this important facet of public education, even as we operate the first community college extension to be built on a UC campus at UC Davis West Village,” she said, referring to Sacramento City College’s Davis Center. “We want to build bridges from community colleges to UC Davis, and this new leadership research will help us expand that effort.”
Wheelhouse will also conduct, translate and disseminate rigorous, timely, independent research briefs to inform policy development for college leaders, trustees and state policymakers.
“We want to put actionable research and recommendations in the hands of people who need it, in a timely way and in understandable prose,” said Michal Kurlaender, lead researcher and associate professor for the UC Davis School of Education. “There’s a trove of data to draw from, and we’ll bring the right researchers to the task.”
Wheelhouse is supported by funding from UC Davis and the Hearst Foundations, the Foundation for California Community Colleges, and a U.S. Department of Education Institute for Education Sciences grant to a research team led by Kurlaender.
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, https:l/, or