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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 1:07 pm | Fair 61º


Jack Friedlander: SBCC’s Center for Lifelong Learning Completes First Year of Operation

Santa Barbara City College’s Center for Lifelong Learning recently completed its first year of operation, reporting positive results and response from the community.

Dr. Jack Friedlander
Dr. Jack Friedlander

Launched last fall, CLL was developed by SBCC, along with input from a community task force, in response to the State of California de-emphasizing support for personal enrichment classes.

SBCC has a long and proud 60-year history of offering such courses to the community through its Continuing Education Division, using the names Adult Education and more recently prior to 2013-14, Continuing Education.

During the “Great Recession,” the state directed California community colleges to make personal enrichment noncredit classes the lowest priority in allocating their funds to support course enrollments. The state reminded community colleges that their primary mission is to offer credit and noncredit courses and programs to support transfer, certificate and degree completion, career technology education, and basic skills.

Moreover, during this time period, the state was imposing increased curricular restrictions on the types of noncredit classes that could be offered for state support. These included how the classes could be offered, the minimum number of hours the classes had to be offered, and the accreditation requirement to specify measurable student learning outcomes for noncredit classes and to document student attainment of the learning outcomes.

Given the importance of personal enrichment courses to the community, the college proceeded with the creation of a new self-sustaining entity, the Center for Lifelong Learning that is not tied to state funding regulations.

Two years in development, the CLL was established in 2013 with classes primarily offered at the SBCC Schott Campus and SBCC Wake Campus. In its first year, 2013-14, the CLL reported an enrollment of 7,680 unduplicated (individual) students with total class enrollments of 22,879 for the year. During the year, 1,164 classes ran successfully, of which 115 were new offerings. Operating independent of state support and its regulations regarding curriculum, the CLL was able to offer a significant number of classes that would not have been approved by the Chancellor’s Office for the California Community Colleges because they would not have met its curricular requirements.

The CLL reported a balanced budget with the average tuition fee calculated at $5 an hour. The average class size was 20 students and the five top programs by enrollment were: Dance, Fitness, Recreation & Personal; Arts; Psychology & Spirituality; Crafts (Ceramics); and Crafts: Hobbies (General).

Measure S and the CLL

In order to offer the most effective teaching and learning environment, both the Schott Campus and Wake Campus are included on the list of facilities projects that would be undertaken if Measure S is approved by the voters on Nov. 4.

Built in 1935, the Schott Campus would be renovated keeping the building’s historical character intact and on-site portables would be replaced with a permanent building. Built in 1956, the Wake Campus would be replaced with a modern teaching and learning facility and the 11 portables removed with the space replaced and integrated into the reconstructed facility. During construction, displaced CLL classes would be offered in temporary alternative classrooms and remodeling of both campuses would not take place at the same time.

Renovating and modernizing its aging facilities that are in need of major repairs will enable the college to continue its tradition of offering affordable lifelong learning classes and programs to the community on its campuses.

Achieving the Vision for the CLL

In creating the Center for Lifelong Learning, we envisioned it to be the community’s resource for affordable lifelong learning. The types of courses and programs offered by the CLL would only be limited by the interests and creativity of those who propose classes to teach and what the community is willing to support through very modest enrollment fees. Based on the success it has had in its first year full year in operation, the vision we had in creating the CLL has materialized.

In addition to CLL’s current classes, we are interested in expanding the range of courses offered by more fully capitalizing on the deep reservoir of knowledge, talents, and experiences of individuals who reside in our community.

If you are interested in teaching and/or taking courses on topics the CLL is not offering, you can discuss your interests by contacting Andy Harper, CLL executive director, at [email protected] or Ken Harris, CLL associate director, at [email protected] or by calling the CLL at 805.683.8148 or 805.898.8137. Click here for more information regarding the Center for Lifelong Learning.

— Dr. Jack Friedlander is SBCC’s executive vice president of educational programs. The opinions expressed are his own.

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