By Ashley A. Smith
Colleges, students and faculty members may be unsure of what lies ahead as they brace for another mostly virtual academic term amid a pandemic, but the crisis could force California’s higher education systems to improve.
The state’s colleges and universities could use the current crisis to build better partnerships across the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges and private institutions to increase access and improve graduation rates. That was the message from Lande Ajose, a senior policy advisor for higher education to Gov. Gavin Newsom, and ECMC Foundation President Peter Taylor during a webinar Wednesday hosted by California Competes, a nonprofit focused on improving graduation outcomes. The organization released a new data dashboard that found uneven educational opportunities across the state. For example, Bay Area residents are most likely to have a bachelor’s degree, at 52%, compared to 17% of residents in the San Joaquin Valley.