Community College System Takes Giant Step Forward

By Ashley Moss
Staff Writer

It’s official. After 54 years, the seven colleges in the Dallas County Community College District will become one. In a final resolution just approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) in June, the District, currently comprised of Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake, and Richland Colleges will be known simply as Dallas College, pending their accreditation. The individual schools will now be referred to as campuses. District Chancellor Joe May updated the faculty and staff of the impending news in an email: “Many of the barriers to graduation students faced were the result of a structure that allowed for separate processes and administrative systems at each of the seven colleges.” First established in 1965 to provide affordable education, the seven schools in the current community college system enroll a diverse population of more than 80,000 students and offer associate degrees as well as career and technical certificates. The decision to merge the campuses under one unifying school came after a year of reflection and evaluation on how to best address the challenges facing current students. Dr. May noted. “While this structure served the district well for decades, it was beginning to delay students in completing their degrees, especially those students enrolled at more than one college.”

According to Dr. May, the newly-formed Dallas College will also offer a four-year degree. “Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) awarded our institution with a level change, which allows us to offer the Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education & Teaching, the first four-year degree offered by our institution,” he said. Student Steven Silva is encouraged by the news and says he remains committed to the school system even though he’s completed requirements for his associate’s degree. “When it comes to school, I’ll take courses at Dallas College until I can transfer (to a four-year school),” he said.