2013-2016

Highlights in SBVC History 2013-2016

The Fisher Presidency, 2013-2016

Gloria FisherIn April 2013, Dr. Gloria Fisher was appointed interim president, and in November 2014, she was appointed president of Valley College. Whereas recent presidents were hired from outside institutions, President Fisher had a long career at Valley College. In 1991, she joined the faculty of the Administration of Justice program. She later became department chair and dean of the Criminal Justice Division. Fisher also served as interim vice president of Student Services before being appointed interim president.

During President Fisher’s tenure, the campus continued to be modernized. The 1960s-era Business Building reopened after an $18 million top-to-bottom renovation that included 19 classrooms, 6 computer labs, conference rooms, and faculty offices. The 2,700-foot conference center, which features versatile room and furniture layouts, was planned to be a destination for meetings and conferences for on-campus and community groups.

In September 2014, the auditorium, a 1930s-era theater and reminder of Valley College’s early mission-style architecture, celebrated a second grand reopening. The building survived the 1990s earthquake rebuilding project, and the interior had been significantly modernized in 2005. This time, renovations added ramps and an elevator to make the auditorium ADA compliant. The San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra and Valley’s own Voci Soli singers performed at the grand opening. On the same day, the new athletics complex groundbreaking took place.

Partnerships with local businessesPartnerships with local businesses and organizations continued to benefit students and, subsequently, have a positive impact on the community. The Heavy Duty Diesel Transportation System certificate program received seven diesel trucks from Apex Logics, LLC. The trucks would have been scrapped but found a new purpose in the diesel laboratory to promote hands-on learning. Valley administrators and faculty worked with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department to create a welding program for inmates at the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center. The Water Supply Technology program partnered with the Cucamonga Valley Water District to create a mentorship programs for students enrolled in the program’s Cooperative Work Experience Course, which offers students credit for volunteer and paid work experience. In March 2015, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians awarded the Valley Bound Program with the YAWA’ Award in education for its service to over 700 low-income students. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has provided substantial financial support to the Valley Bound Program every year since its inception.

StemapaloozaOutreach and educational programs brought younger students from the surrounding area to the campus. STEMapalooza, which each year draws hundreds of middle and high school students to campus for workshops, hands-on learning, and fun exhibits, grew to over 700 students from districts as far away as Victorville and Ontario. The event encourages students to pursue educational pathways and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. A partnership between Valley and the Colton Joint Unified School District brought middle school girls to the campus for coding lessons, combining STEM activities with exposure to the college environment. The Outreach Department visited schools and conducted campus tours for high school and middle school students throughout the college’s service area. Presentations provide students with information about a variety of helpful programs and information on how to apply and register for classes at Valley College.

In October 2014, the San Bernardino Community College District and the San Bernardino City Unified School District signed the Enhancing College Preparedness and Student Success memorandum of understanding to better prepare high school students for college. Valley will provide early assessment to high school juniors and academic counseling for those not yet on track for college. Eligible high school students receive priority registration in their first semester at Valley.

MCHSThe positive effect of attending Middle College High School—Valley’s collaboration with the San Bernardino City Unified School District—was supported by data gathered and analyzed by the Office of Research, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness. Data from 2013 and 2015 show that students who attended Middle College High School performed better on college coursework overall, with noted success in math and English, compared to other students.

During President Fisher’s tenure, Valley College students were supported in their educational goals through special programs that offer counseling, financial support, and other types of guidance tailored to Valley’s student population. In Fall 2015, First Year Experience, a specialized counseling program, was launched to help in the transition to college for new students. The program offers a supportive environment and access to services to ensure new students’ success, including guaranteed courses, learning communities, supplemental instruction, tutoring, and service learning projects. In conjunction with the First Year Experience, in April 2015, the Dreamer Resource Center opened to improve student success and the transition into college for “Dreamers” and to provide information and resources for students about AB 540, the Federal and California Dream acts, and the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals laws.

Valley Bound CommittmentThe new student-support programs added to the success of long-standing programs. Since 2008, the Valley-Bound Commitment has provided eligible students with complete financial support and guidance for their first year of college. Overall, Valley-Bound students achieve higher grades and have higher transfer rates to four-year colleges than other students. Since 1993, the STAR (Success Through Achievement and Retention) program has been a supported learning community helping first-generation, low-income, and disabled students achieve associate’s degrees and transfer to four-year institutions.

In April 2016, the success of these and other programs became evident through data showing that over the previous five years, there was a 36% increase in students graduating with degrees and certificates, even with an 8% drop in enrollment. A 3% drop in attrition confirmed the correlation between student engagement and completion. Further, between the 2013-14 and 2015-16 academic years, First Time in College student retention increased dramatically, by 9.6%; these students are enrolled in at least six units over three consecutive semesters, making it more likely for them to complete their academic programs. Valley was nominated in 2016 for the Aspen Prize, naming it among the best 150 community colleges in the country. The prestigious award is given to colleges with the strongest student success outcomes.

DebateValley College students displayed their artistic talents in a number of performances and showcases. In 2013, Communications Studies hosted the inaugural SBVC Debate Tournament. Students from Communication Studies 125 debated the question of whether hate speech should be protected by the first amendment. The Music Appreciation Club hosted another campus first: The Battle of the Bands. The Radio/TV/Film Department and the Inland Empire Media Academy hosted the second annual Student Film Showcase, featuring workshops, guest speakers, and prizes and scholarship to students throughout the region. Students from Theatre Arts won prestigious scholarships and awards, most notably from the Next Steps Auditions competition and the Inland Theatre League.

Before retiring in 2016, President Fisher received the Beyond the Boundaries Award at the 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast by the Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches. Recipients are identified by their work to improving lives, and President Fisher was lauded for her career as an education and administrator. President Fisher was Valley College’s first African American president.

VigilDuring this time, tragedy struck the San Bernardino community: on December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and many others were wounded in a terrorist attack at the Inland Valley Regional Center. A week later, Valley College held a campus-wide vigil to honor the lives of the victims, and all students and staff observed a moment of silence.