Notes from the Summit
Clark hosts webcast of first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges.
"Community colleges are the unsung heroes of higher education."
That was a key message as President Obama convened the first White House Summit on Community Colleges on Tuesday, October 5. The event was led by Dr. Jill Biden, who has been a community college professor for 17 years.
Among the highlights:
- The administration has announced a new partnership called "Skills for America's Future." It's designed to change the way business and labor leaders connect to community colleges.
- President Obama has set a goal for America to once again lead the world in producing college graduates by 2020. That includes an additional 5 million community college degrees and certificates in the next 10 years.
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is launching the "Completion by Design" program. Investing $35 million over five years, the program hopes to dramatically improve graduation rates at community colleges.
- In addition, a partnership among the Aspen Institute, the Joyce Foundation, the Lumina Foundation and the charitable foundations of JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America has established a program to recognize and reward outstanding outcomes at community colleges nationwide. That program will provide $1 million annually.
Additional information-including fact sheets and a tool kit-is available now at http://www.whitehouse.gov/communitycollege.
In a phrase that has special meaning at Clark College, two of the speakers - Dr. Jill Biden and Melinda Gates - spoke of this summit and actions resulting from it as the "next step" for America's community colleges. President Obama praised community colleges, saying "they may not get the credit they deserve, they may not get the same resources as other schools, but they provide a gateway to millions of Americans to good jobs and a better life."
As the President also stated, America's community colleges "are places where anyone with a desire to learn and to grow can take a chance on a brighter future for themselves and their families."
Smiles All Around
Dental Hygiene celebrates the big four-oh.
The first Clark College Dental Hygiene graduating class set a very high standard for the future: Every student passed the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE) on their first attempt.
That tradition of excellence-dating back to 1970-has continued to this day. It set the stage for a memorable celebration as the program hosted a 40th anniversary reunion on Saturday, October 2. Approximately 75 alumni attended continuing education sessions during the day, toured the dental hygiene clinic, and enjoyed an evening reception, where they were greeted by Clark President Robert K. Knight, Vice President of Instruction Dr. Rassoul Dastmozd, Dean of Health Sciences Blake Bowers and, representing the Clark College Foundation, Vice President of Development Ara Serjoie and Director of Major and Planned Gifts Daniel Lee.
"Clark College's Dental Hygiene is a long-standing program in the United States that can attest to a 100 percent pass rate for the NBDHE for its entire history," noted President Knight. "That's an amazing accomplishment-one that brings pride to our dental hygiene program, our college and our community."
"More than 800 students have graduated from our program," said Director of Dental Hygiene Donna Wittmayer. "It's exciting to know that several hundred of them live and work in our region. It was a joy to welcome so many of them back to Clark for our 40th anniversary celebration."
A scrapbook developed by students who graduated in 1970 was shared that evening, along with a slide show of photos taken throughout the history of the program. The classes of 1982, 1983, 1985, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2009 all donated baskets for a silent auction. The proceeds went to the Clark College Foundation and will be used to support the dental hygiene program.
A Voice from History
David Hilliard discusses the Black Panther Party's past and present.
On Wednesday, October 13, a standing-room-only crowd gathered in the Gaiser Student Center to hear former Black Panther Party Chief of Staff David Hilliard speak on race relations in America.
Early Childhood Education Professor Kathy Bobula introduced Hilliard and the opening speaker, photographer Eve Crane. Bobula serves on the college's Cultural Pluralism Committee and noted that Hilliard's presentation was an example of how "Clark College supports and values diversity initiatives."
Crane, who lives in Beaverton, gave a short presentation that mostly focused on showing photographs she had taken of the Black Panthers in the 1960s and 1970s.This African-American organization espoused revolution and armed self-defense, and was widely viewed as the more radical edge of the Black Power movement of the 1960s, with its leaders-including Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, and Huey Newton-often shown wearing their trademark black leather jackets and dark sunglasses, and carrying guns.
Much of Hilliard's speech focused on contradicting that view, pointing out the party's work providing food, education, and medical screenings in the communities where it was based. "The things you remember most about the Black Panther Party was our militancy," he said. "We don't apologize for our posture of self-defense. But that's only one element of our self-defense....Our focus was always very much on those basic needs: education, jobs, health care, hunger."
Hilliard also pointed out that education played a critical role in the formation of the party. "The idea that the Black Panthers started on the street corners is a myth," he said. "Huey Newton and Bobby Seale met on a college campus just like this one."
Hilliard's appearance was made possible by a partnership between the Office of Student Life and Multicultural Affairs and Portland Community College, where Hilliard also appeared.