The Peralta Community College District is pleased to announce that Berkeley City College, Laney College, and Merritt College are being recognized for their exemplary educational work in implementing the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) programs by the Campaign for College Opportunity.
The Campaign for College Opportunity is a California non-profit bipartisan policy and research organization focused on ensuring all Californians have an equal opportunity to attend and succeed in college in order to build a vibrant workforce, economy and democracy.
Berkeley City College, Laney College, and Merritt College each received the organization’s inaugural “2020 Equity Champion of Higher Education” designation for their exemplary work in awarding ADTs to Black and Latinx students. Berkeley City College was also cited for having “one of the highest shares of ADT conferrals for the 2018-2019 school year.”
With an ADT — sometimes called a Degree with a Guarantee — students who meet the California State University’s minimum eligibility requirements are guaranteed priority admission to a CSU campus.
An ADT enables students to earn two degrees — an associate degree and a bachelor's degree — with only 120 units if a student transfers into a program at the CSU that’s similar to the one in which they earned an Associate’s at a California Community College.
The Campaign for College Opportunity championed the legislation that created ADTs, envisioning a clearer pathway for students to transfer to earn a bachelor’s degree. Compared to traditional transfer students who enroll in the CSU, ADT transfers earn their bachelor’s degree nearly twice as fast.
“With your leadership, the Associate Degree for Transfer pathway is making college dreams a reality for thousands of Californians,” wrote Michele Siqueiros, president of Campaign for College Opportunity, to Berkeley City College President Dr. Angelica Garcia and Laney President Rudy Besikof in announcing the recognition.
President Garcia commented, “This is very exciting and affirmation that the College’s work to support transfer is incredibly strong.”
Berkeley City, Laney and Merritt colleges are among the first to win the new Equity Index award from the California organization.
Laney’s new permanent President, Dr. Rudy Besikof, expressed his gratitude in response to the recognition.
“It is an honor to be recognized by the Career for College Opportunity as an Equity Champion for Higher Education. Associate Degrees for Transfer have become an important guarantee toward Student Success, and it is great to see that more African American students are earning this award as they work toward their bachelor's degree or other educational goals,” President Besikof said.
The Equity Index identifies campuses that are excelling in awarding ADTs to Latinx and Black students relative to the number of transfer-seeking Black and Latinx students on their campus.
“The Equity Index tells us when campuses are acting with intentionality to ensure Black and Latinx students who have a transfer goal actually earn an ADT,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of Campaign for College Opportunity. “Across all California Community Colleges, your campus ensured that a high proportion of degree or transfer seeking Black and Latinx students received an ADT in the 2018-19 school year. This is a tremendous achievement and the real work of equity,” Ms. Siqueiros wrote to Merritt President Dr. David M. Johnson.
President Johnson responded, “I want to express my appreciation to the Campaign for College Opportunity for this acknowledgement. Merritt College will keep working as diligently as we can to support our students as they work toward their academic and professional goals. In alignment with California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley’s Call to Action, we remain committed to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion, so this award underscores the work that Merritt College, the District Office, and our Board of Trustees are doing toward that end.”
Laney, Merritt and Berkeley City College were honored for their ADT successes at an online event featuring California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Assembly member Marc Berman, student leaders from the California Community College and CSU system, and other honorees. The virtual event brought together more than 300 attendees representing California’s higher education leadership, elected officials, corporate sponsors, and civic and business leaders.
“We are extremely proud of the work of Berkeley City, Laney and Merritt Colleges,” said PCCD Interim Chancellor Carla Walter. “We thank Dr. Garcia, Dr. Johnson, and Dr. Besikof for their tremendous leadership in helping students achieve their education goals through ADTs. This is a wonderful honor for the students, the colleges, and the Peralta Community College District.”