Starting Spring 2017, Woodland Community College students can for the first time pursue an AA degree in Chicana/o Studies as part of their educational journey. The Ethnic Studies program is excited to announce this new degree, which includes courses like Introduction to Chicana/o Culture, Chicana/o and Latina/o Health Care Issues, Survey of Chicana/o Art, and sociology course electives. These courses directly articulate with the University of California, UC Davis, and one course directly articulates with California State University, CSU Sacramento, which offers only one lower division Chicana/o Studies course. The Chicana/o Studies courses meet WCC, CSU, and UC General Education requirements in Social Science and Humanities, and standards for transfer agreements with the California State University and the University of California educational systems.

“Having a Chicana/o Studies AA degree would mean having an institutional opportunity for students to develop the academic and culturally relevant leadership practices that are needed locally and nationally”, says Superintendent of Yolo County of Schools Jesse Ortiz, a former Woodland Community College Counselor, Chicano Studies course instructor, and former Woodland School Board trustee.

The primary goal for the Chicana/o Studies AA degree is to prepare students for further study in Chicana/o Studies or a social science or humanities course of study leading to BA, MA, and/or Ph.D. degrees in education, counseling, social work, law, health, human ecology, or other areas. Students will be prepared to meet this goal by completing a series of courses that will provide them with the base knowledge needed to be competent to transfer to a university or work an entry-level job in community development. The Chicana/o Studies AA degree supports the College’s mission and curriculum offerings, as well as statewide master planning, in providing quality degrees, transfer education, life-long career skills, and civic leadership preparation for the communities we serve by focusing on curriculum emphasizing personal and social responsibility, global awareness, and critical thinking. The Chicana/o Studies AA degree does not cause undue competition with existing programs at another college in the area because no other community college in the district offers a similar degree. The need for this degree fits with the college’s master plan and it does not require new facilities. The Chicana/o Studies degree will operate out of the Ethnic Studies Program.

“The Ethnic Studies program is glad to foster the study of Chicana/o Studies especially in a designated Hispanic Serving Institution located in a community with a high school district that has already approved the Ethnic Studies requirement,” stated Professor Cireno Rodriguez, who is an Ethnic Studies Adjunct faculty and also a WJUSD Board of Trustee as well as a retired California State University Professor.

 “This degree is such an important access point for all in this community, especially for Chicanas/os of every age and social background. This degree is perhaps the only attainable and affordable education in this local community and region that highlights the history and contributions of Chicanas/os, a native population to the northern hemisphere. Colleges with degrees like this are cultural inviting, not just culturally sensitive. Having this degree can make the college more culturally inviting. This degree will educationally motivate, raise historical and educational awareness among the new generation, as well as increase a sense of belonging in educational institutions,” said UC Davis Chicana/o Studies Faculty, Natalia Deeb-Sossa.

This effort to develop the Chicana/o Studies AA degree came in part because it was part of the full-time Ethnic Studies job description in 2008 and it was also encouraged by Senate Bill SB 1440, which called for a transfer process for community college students. The Chicana/o Studies AA degree is designed to address the educational preparation for local college requirements, transfer preparation, and university articulation requirement course needs. Historically the college is located in a community which is 47% Chicano/Latino, with a 49% Chicano/Latino student population that is not the majority of college graduates each year. With demographic changes and educational challenges, the Daily Democrat noted that in 2006 students and community members mobilized to request that the college offer an AA degree in Chicana/o Studies. Now the campus is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), with still one full time Chicana instructional faculty out of thirty-three full-time instructional faculty. The nearest CSU is a Hispanic Serving Institution and the nearest UC aims to acquire HSI status as well. The local community has identified a need to increase the enrollment, retention, and graduation of students in college. 78% of the students served by existing Ethnic Studies courses are young adults (ages 24 and under), a significant generation setting out to seek educational and various other career opportunities. 66% of the Ethnic Studies course student population is Chicano/Latino compared to 45% in the school. Interestingly, The Ethnic Studies courses serve more Chicanos/Latinos compared to any other ethnic group.

“I congratulate our colleagues at Woodland Community College for this landmark achievement of building a transfer pathway for students in a degree that is community-responsive and relevant for 21st century learners. As a Chicana/o Studies undergraduate myself, I can attest that students from all backgrounds will greatly benefit from being exposed to curriculum and educational experiences that position them to be leaders and change agents in any profession,” stated Francisco Rodriguez, Chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District and former Executive Dean at Woodland Community College.

If you would like more information about the Chicana/o Studies degree see or contact your counselor, the Ethnic Studies Program, and/or join the WCC Ethnic Studies facebook page for updates and announcements.

Save the Date “All People Celebrate Ethnic Studies Today and Tomorrow” Educational Event

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Pioneer High School from 8 am to 3 pm

Keynotes speakers, workshops, art display, and more

Emcee LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez

Sponsored by WCC Ethnic Studies, YCOE, and WJUSD

To RSVP or more information contact Professor Melissa Moreno




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