Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Santa Barbara City College Named #1 Community College in America by Value Colleges

Santa Barbara City College, my first alma mater and a school that I've publicly stated changed my life, has been named the number one community college in the nation for 2018 by Value Colleges, an organization that provides prospective students with a practical guide to the most financially sound investments in higher education.

There are more than 1,700 community colleges in the U.S. offering associates’ degrees, certificates and diplomas. SBCC received its impressive number one ranking after Value Colleges collected data from a number of sources, including U.S. News & World Report and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

“Santa Barbara City College continues to excel in the educational programs we provide to our community. We are proud to be recognized for the work our faculty and staff do every day to support the academic success of our students,” said Dr. Anthony E. Beebe, the school’s Superintendent and President. 

In their analysis of SBCC, Value Colleges concluded that the school is dedicated to building the region’s workforce in services, technology, education and government. 
After an analysis of the data, SBCC emerged at the top of Value Colleges' list for quality, affordability and reputation.

Santa Barbara City College is in fact a shining symbol of what a school can mean to a community. SBCC is Santa Barbara's gem. As fine a school as nearby University of California Santa Barbara is, Santa Barbara City College is a source of great pride to the locals.

Just read some of the coverage of Santa Barbara's recent wildfires and mudslides. Santa Barbara City College transformed from a college to a community center, temporary school, animal shelter, and much more. It became  a real focal point, a central gathering center, a safe zone during this crisis.

It's amazing what we can do with our lives with two simple tools: information and hope. That's what SBCC gave me. Every school matters. But this school is special. The unrivaled natural beauty of its seaside campus, which makes you want to learn and literally makes you want to spend all your time on campus, is exceeded only by the dedication and compassion of its teachers. The best educators I've ever had were at SBCC. Ask anyone who attended. They'll tell you the same thing.

They not only taught me, they inspired me. They showed me I was capable of doing and being just about anything in this life that I wanted to do and be. They also taught me the bitterest pill I ever swallowed: You have to study and work in a class even if the subject matter doesn't interest you. 

In truth, only a few classes didn't interest me, but I excelled in those, too. Because I discovered that life really is about working hard and doing your best even if you're not always fired up about what you are learning. It may sound trite, a cliche', but it still has to be learned. I took that another step, though, and forced myself to find something interesting in every lecture, in every class. I even dug deep to find something of interest in my micro-economics class! Who knew!

I recently signed a contract with the SBCC Foundation to write a book about the school, with a focus on the students, teachers and faculty who have made it great. We're looking far and wide for alumni. If you are reading this and went to Santa Barbara City College, or know anyone who has, please email me at jreno@san.rr.com, or call me at 858-397-4950. I would love to hear your story. 

My days at SBCC: Rebel With A Cause?
When I enrolled at SBCC in the early 1980's, I had ambition, but no real direction. I had goals, but no real plans. The professors recognized my potential, and my frustration. If anything, my problem was that I had too many interests and thus could not focus. 
Everyone who attended, taught at, worked at SBCC is a part of a large family. And I'm especially proud of the school's national reputation for the demonstrably positive impact it has had on minority and low-income students.

SBCC gives students from disadvantaged communities the opportunity to move forward in careers as diverse as music, medicine, and engineering. In recent years, SBCC has expanded its online programs significantly, as well, developing more than two dozen fully online degree and certificate programs in areas ranging from business and marketing to information management and medical coding. 

Value Colleges went through an evidently exhaustive study of America's community colleges before giving Santa Barbara City College the nod. But they didn't have to go to all that trouble. If they'd asked me, I could've told them without hesitation that SBCC is #1. If you think I am biased, well, then you didn't go to school there.