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Members of the Student Senate for CCCAs the California Community Colleges (CCC) Education Planning Initiative (EPI) develops its products and services, ensuring student involvement and engagement is fundamental. From the beginning, EPI has emphasized listening to students.

This has been accomplished through multiple methods. Students are a vital voice on the different steering committees led by the EPI, adding their thoughts, concerns and guidance. Tools are brought before students to hear their feedback on design elements and user interaction, as was done recently at Santa Rosa Junior College. An important focal point is EPI’s engagement of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges (SSCCC).

Student Advocates For Access & Success

The SSCCC is an organization which provides legislative advocacy for California’s 2.3 million community college students through a state-level governance system. Its mission, according to the SSCCC website is “to pursue policies that will improve student access, promote student success, engage and empower local student leaders, and enrich the collegiate experience for all California community college students.” The SSCCC accomplishes this mission by fulfilling five key responsibilities:

  • Representation: The SSCCC serves as the voice of the students in matters of statewide concern and before the CCC Board of Governors, Consultation Council and all statewide boards, committees and ad hoc groups.

  • Collaboration: The SSCCC fosters relationships with district student boards, local student senates and other statewide agencies or organizations that have a vested interest in student affairs.

  • Accountability: The SSCCC functions as a democratically elected and empowered body remaining accountable to its constituency, expressing the general will of the students and following through with its responsibilities.

  • Communication: The SSCCC provides an ongoing and widespread dissemination of information to enhance awareness on statewide issues and maximize input from students.

  • Advocacy: The SSCCC engages in strategic advocacy efforts outside of the California Community Colleges to bolster both public and legislative support for the community colleges.

As SSCCC Region IX Director Gerald Sirotnak states, “The main purpose of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges is to advocate for improvements in the community college system.”

EPI’s Commitment To Student Success

The EPI also seeks improvements in the community colleges, particularly in the area of student success. To be successful, students need access to information in a streamlined and ordered fashion that is presented in the context of their individual needs and where they are in the matriculation and education processes. One in five students entering community college indicates they are “undecided” on their major course of study. Many more change majors multiple times while in community college.

How choices are presented to the student is important. Through tools such as CCC MyPath and the Starfish Enterprise Success Platform by Hobsons, EPI provides a structured pathway to minimize complexity and will lead students to successful completion of their goals. As goals and plans are documented, they will be available to counseling and other student services professionals, faculty and the student, so everyone is on the same page: where the student is in regards to their plan, what their next steps are, and how long it will take to reach their goal.

EPI & SSCCC Collaboration

The EPI and the SSCCC have enjoyed a close relationship. EPI has conducted breakout sessions at the Bi-Annual Student Assembly. During the 2015 Fall Assembly, the CCC MyPath development team hosted an after-hours development workshop, which allowed students to provide ideas for additional development. In addition, EPI team members, including Program Director David Shippen, have presented at several board of directors meetings as recently as August 2016. This presentation provided attendees with a look at the current status of EPI and an in-depth look at CCC MyPath. The presentation was well received and emphasized, in the words of Director Sirotnak “the high-level respect between both [EPI and SSCCC].”

For More Information

For more information on the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, please visit www.studentsenateccc.org. In addition, please visit the Education Planning Initiative’s website at CCCEdPlan.org to learn more about EPI’s emphasis on student participation.


David Quintanilla is a project team member of
the California Community Colleges Education Planning Initiative