Merritt College President's Report - September 28, 2021

Merritt College Planning Summit 2021

On Friday, September 17, Merritt held its annual Fall Planning Summit. Faculty, staff and administrators came together to engage in dialogue regarding the Educational Master Plan and the Accreditation Follow-Up Report. Planning Summit participants had critical conversations around what it means to “put students first,” and how to move beyond platitudes so that we can get to the work of meaningful equity-building. 

Participants also reviewed the district and college safety policies regarding COVID-19, and discussed the logistics of a return to campus. The Planning Summitevaluated Merritt’s goals as a college, acknowledging both the great progress that has been made in some respects and the areas where attention and resources are needed. Finally, there was an update on the exciting changes that continue to take place under Guided Pathways, including areas of interest and pathway maps being beta-tested on the website.

Nursing students practice

Out of the eighty-seven California Community Colleges that offer Associates Degree in Nursing Programs (ADNs), Merritt College was recently ranked sixth in the state, and number two in the entire Bay Area (although we are looking to reclaim our rightful place at the top of the list!). Merritt College is proud to offer such a distinguished program at a time when there is a critical shortage of nurses. The reality is that many of Merritt’s Allied Health Programs were hit hard during the shutdown last year, with the nursing program bearing the brunt of it. Hospitals cancelled placements and clinical rotations, which made it exceedingly difficult for nursing students to obtain the critical direct-patient-care hours needed to complete the program.  And that is why Merritt is so excited to announce the latest clinical partnership with West Oakland Health Council, a community health agency that is dedicated to providing quality healthcare to the diverse patient population in Oakland and throughout Alameda County. West Oakland Health has championed the health of the East Bay African American community for over fifty years, and remains committed to supporting social and racial justice for all communities. Merritt College is honored to partner with an agency whose values are so closely aligned with our own, and is excited for our students to begin their clinical rotations there this fall term.

California Community Colleges logo

Merritt College Receives Award from CA State Chancellor’s Office

At last week’s California Community Colleges Board of Governors meeting, Merritt College received the Dr. John W. Rice Award for Diversity and Equity from the State Chancellor’s Office. Merritt’s improvement in the successful completion of transfer-level English and mathematics among students of color constituted the basis for receiving this honor. Certainly, this prestigious recognition attests to the hard work on the part of our students. But credit must also be given to the faculty members who crafted and delivered curriculum that enabled our students to succeed and persist in significant numbers. Our counseling and support programs (Sankofa, FYE, and Puente) have proven to be transformational as well. Finally, our institutional commitment to putting students first—which really means the psychological and emotional capital that we invest in them every day—accounts for the success we have experienced. Merritt may not always meet the mark, but receiving the Dr. John W. Rice Award underscores that as a college and a district we still get it right more often than not.


This article is taken from the President’s Report, written by Dr. David M. Johnson, Merritt College President, that was presented to the PCCD Board of Trustees during their regular meeting on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. A PDF is available here

Tags: David M. Johnson, Merritt College, Award


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