This is an especially wonderful moment as I reflect on our situation nearly two years ago when SBCC Continuing Education was faced with factors that could have meant the end of our robust non-credit program, which has been a critical part of our community for decades. Continuing Education, also informally called Adult Ed, has provided thousands of adults with a wide range of offerings that have promoted intellectual stimulation, physical and mental health, social enrichment and civic engagement.
I am proud to report we have kept our commitment to continue offering quality, lifelong learning to our community. In its first term, the CLL is offering more than 500 classes and programs — 50 of which are new — all designed and fine-tuned to meet the needs of our diverse community of adults of every age in Santa Barbara. These range from college students seeking affordable enrichment activities, to new moms and dads seeking the parenting skills to successfully raise a family, to busy professionals exploring a personal passion, to our community of retired seniors seeking healthy, creative ways to keep stretching their bodies and minds.
We now invite the community to celebrate and enjoy the fruits of that labor in our first official term as the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning.
Changing State Priorities
Four years ago, the California Legislature and the California Community Colleges’ Board of Governors urged community colleges to focus their state funding on courses and programs that were in line with their enrollment priorities. Classes primarily for personal enrichment were to be the lowest priority for state funding after those that meet the educational needs of students attending college to acquire basic skills, skills required to enter or advance in employment, complete a certificate program, earn an associate degree, and/or prepare to transfer to a four-year college or university.
Moreover, the state was imposing a growing number of regulations that were restricting the colleges' ability to offer the range of learning experiences that align with the lifelong learning interests of the community.
At that time, SBCC made a promise to the community to stand by its six-plus-decade commitment of offering lifelong learning education in Santa Barbara. To achieve this, the college worked side-by-side with community stakeholders to explore and create such a strategy.
Continuing Education Reorganized
As a result of reorganization to place all of its instructional and student support programs into one unit, the programs that were offered by the Continuing Education Division have been integrated into the college’s Educational Programs Division. The reorganization concluded with the launch of two distinct non-credit programs: the Center for Lifelong Learning and Continuing Education.
Continuing Education now refers to SBCC’s state-supported non-credit courses and programs. Under this name, the college will continue to offer and expand state-supported noncredit programs in Adult High School/GED, English as a Second Language and Short-Term Vocational as we honor our commitment to serve the community’s ability to achieve educational and career objectives.
Center for Lifelong Learning Launches
I am proud to report that the vision of the Center for Lifelong Learning has surpassed our original expectations. As the CLL will be self-supporting, the college is no longer subject to a number of limitations that were restricting our ability to serve the community’s changing needs. The CLL now can truly be a reflection of what the community wants to have offered to meet its lifelong learning interests and is willing to support from enrollment fees and/or donations.
The Center for Lifelong Learning fall term begins next Monday, Sept. 9. Classes are offered on weekdays, evenings and weekends, and range from one session workshops, two- to four-session series and up to 14-week programs. Classes will now start and end throughout the fall term, through Dec. 14.
We thank and celebrate all those have supported the transition. Special thanks go to the 50-plus community volunteers who have been meeting on a weekly basis for 18 months to help us fulfill the vision of establishing the CLL as an intellectual, cultural and social hub for the community.
As the No. 1 community college in the nation as designated by the Aspen Institute, SBCC looks forward to seeing the CLL become a leading light in lifelong learning throughout the state and eventually the country. We invite the community to help us achieve this ambitious goal by suggesting ideas for classes you are interested in taking and/or teaching and enrolling in CLL offerings.
We hope you will take advantage of the CLL’s rich array of learning opportunities. Stop by our Wake or Schott campuses or visit our website by clicking here to view our class schedules and people to contact to suggest ideas for classes you are interested in taking and/or teaching.
— Dr. Jack Friedlander is SBCC’s executive vice president of educational programs.