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Merritt College President's Report – June 25, 2024

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Advancing Black Student Success: Merritt College's Partnership with CSU and Plans for a Center for Black Student Success

Following through on Merritt College’s commitment to Black student success in our Educational Master Plan, VPI Lisa Cook and I participated in CSU’s Second Annual Juneteenth Symposium, hosted by Sacramento State on June 13-14. This was an opportunity to connect Merritt with the inspiring work within the CSU system to advance Black student success by centering the African American educational experience.

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As president, I was able to represent Merritt College at a signing ceremony on Thursday, June 13th to memorialize a long-term, guaranteed-enrollment partnership with Sac State’s Black Honors College. This agreement with the Black Honors College is particularly fitting, given that Merritt boasts the third highest percentage of Black-identifying community college students in the state. Considering that fact and the prospect of the state legislature passing SB 1348, which would recognize qualifying community colleges as Black Serving Institutions (BSIs), I look forward to working with the Merritt faculty, staff, and administration to plan and establish a Center for Black Student Success here at the campus. More to come!


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Empowering Tomorrow’s First Responders: Merritt College's Summer Institute Launch

In keeping with Peralta’s commitment to educational enhancement for our local high school students, Merritt College launched our Summer Institute program last week. Featuring our EMT 230 and Cyber Boot Camp classes, the program is designed to increase high school student exposure to Merritt College CE (Career Education) programs, enable students to earn early college credits during the summer, and link summer programming to stackable certificates offered at Merritt College. Notably, EMT 230 attracted over 40 high school learners, with these students receiving basic first responder training (including hands-on activities and an “ambulance day”). Our hope is that this course not only introduces these students to potential careers as emergency medical technicians (EMTs), firefighters, or licensed paramedics but also helps lay the groundwork for the upcoming licensed Paramedic program that Merritt College plans to introduce in the Spring 2025 semester.


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Reflections on Juneteenth: Celebrating Community, History, and Resilience at Merritt College

In closing, I want to acknowledge and thank our Sankofa Coordinator Tauheeda Anderson (and a host of others who supported the effort) for putting together a wonderful Juneteenth Program in the Newton/Seale Lounge last week. The day featured two speakers: Mr. John Jones, III, a third-generation East Oakland resident who shared inspiring words regarding the power of perseverance (Mr. Jones is a passionate advocate for the formerly incarcerated), and the importance of economic self-sufficiency in the Black community (he is also a part of the African American Sports and Entertainment Group, which just purchased a 50% interest in the Oakland Coliseum with goal of reinvigorated the surrounding area by developing new sports, entertainment, and housing projects). We also had the opportunity to hear from Mr. Wilbert McAlister, who is a member of the Oakland Black Cowboys Association. In addition to educating us about the historical role Black cowboys played in the development of the American West, Mr. McAlister also brought a horse and a pony to the campus (I decided not to ride this year!). I also want to thank Jeff Sanceri (PFT President) and the PCCD Board of Trustee Members (Pres. Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, Trustee Louis Quindlen, and Trustee Sheweet Yohannes) for coming to Merritt and supporting the event!

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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, June 25, 2024. To view it as a PDF, click here.

Tags: Merritt College, President's Report


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