Program: Palomar College
Dr. Joi Blake, President of Palomar College, is taking Palomar College to a new level, with energy, determination and enthusiasm. Dr. Blake has an impressive resume, with a lot of experience in developing innovative programs. She is a change-agent, who can be flexible and innovative. She attracted a grant from Tesla for $800,000 in her first 8 months as President of the College. Dr. Blake grew up in a military family, and lived in San Diego for 20 years before going to the Bay Area.
Palomar College is celebrating its 70th Anniversary in 2017. The College district covers 2,500 square miles, and serves 12 Unified School Districts which is a large number compared to most Community College Districts. The core mission is summed up as: Access, Affordability, Achievement & Accountability.
North County has a high poverty level, so the College needs to ensure that all individuals can succeed. Dr. Blake went on a Listening Tour, and identified three areas of needed commitments:
- Commitment to engaging with K-12, universities, business and industry partners and community organizations.
- Commitment to Innovation Development and being on the cutting edge of technology.
- Commitment to economic and workforce development, bringing residents out of poverty through skill building and education.
For example, they have STEM Summer Bridging programs offering accelerated programs, the LINK program with UCSD, and community collaboration. They offer a food pantry on campus with San Diego Food Bank to mitigate food insecurity. They have programs for marginalized communities, such as a program with Tribal Schools, down to 6th Grade. They also offer free tuition for students with a 2.5 GPA who are college ready. With the program titled “Palomar Promise” they have opened College to all graduating seniors irrespective of their grades, targeting kids who have not had a solid education, such as foster youths and military youths. The commitment is to give every student access to higher education.
They are partnering with the City of Escondido Mayor Sam Abed to create a fundraising team to build an endowment for these programs. Dr. Blake concluded by inviting us to join with Palomar College in delivering on the promise of higher education for all and trying to mitigate economic disadvantage.
Answering questions, she explained that 30,000 students attend Palomar College and they are opening new campuses at Poway and Fallbrook.
There are no 4-Year / Bachelor’s Programs, but they have partnered with Point Loma Nazarene to offer nursing students the pathway to their degrees. They are prohibited from competing with Cal State University 4 year programs.
They also stress Life-Long Learning opportunities, including in Arts programs which can offer very strong boutique programs. She invited us to tour the campus.