US Community College leader to headline CCA Conference this month

An American community college leader headlines the Community Colleges Australia (CCA) Conference in Sydney, speaking on November 14 and 15.

Dr Ricky Shabazz (pictured), President of San Diego City College, California, will give a keynote address on “Achieving student success for disadvantaged college students”. He will draw from his experiences in San Diego, as well as San Bernardino Valley and Compton Colleges, where he has directed student services programs.

“There are a lot of colleges that say they’re committed to equity and social justice, but there’s very few like City Colleges that carries out that commitment in their practices and faculty. It really aligns with my life’s work,” says Dr Shabazz, who will also be participating in a CCA Conference panel discussion on what works in student support and engagement.

More than seven million students – one-third of US post-secondary students – are enrolled in accredited community college programs, with an additional five million in non-degree programs. A large number come from minority groups, and one of three students come from families with an annual income below US$20,000.

“There is a great deal for Australia to learn from the success of the US community colleges. We have common interests in providing post-secondary education to vulnerable and disadvantaged students. The US and Australian community colleges both place a high priority on social justice, which is reflected in a focus on student programs and outreach,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CEO of Community Colleges Australia.

“The visit of Dr Shabazz gives Australian educators and policy-makers a unique opportunity to gain insights into the extraordinary role that American community colleges play in the USA. The California colleges constitute the largest workforce training provider in the USA,” said Dr Perlgut.

About Dr Ricky Shabazz

As the President of San Diego City College (SDCC), Dr Ricky Shabazz provides executive leadership at one of the most innovative and socially active community colleges in the USA. SDCC has more than 17,000 students and hosts the first sustainable urban agriculture program of its kind in the region, and specialises in child development, community health, youth development, peace studies, and mental health programs.

Dr Shabazz is a student-centered leader with more than 18 years of executive experience advancing academic achievement, educational equity, diversity, and improving access to higher education. Prior to his position with San Diego City College, Dr Shabazz served as Vice Present of Student Services at San Bernardino Valley College, Dean of Student Services at El Camino College Compton, Associate Director of Admissions at Harvey Mudd College, and Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of California, Davis (UCD).

As the first person in his family to attend college, Dr Shabazz describes himself as a “passionate lifelong learner who is absolutely committed to the mission of community colleges to educate a diverse community of learners.” Dr Shabazz earned an Ed.D. in educational leadership and a master’s degree in educational administration from California State University, San Bernardino, and a bachelor’s degree from UCD. He is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges’ Equity Commission and numerous California and national educational advisory organisations.

(Photo below, from left to right: Dr Don Perlgut, Community Colleges Australia; Dr Ricky Shabazz, President, San Diego City College; and Alante, a science student at San Diego City College.)

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