BY CHRISTYANNE SAN JUAN
FRONT PAGE EDITOR
Photo courtesy of COD. College of the Desert has garnered much attention for their innovative EDGE program.
College of the Desert’s groundbreaking EDGE program has once again been acknowledged by many educational authorities across the country. The college has been named a finalist in the 2019 Bellwether Legacy Award for its unique approach to fostering student success. This announcement comes less than a week after COD’s EDGE program was awarded the 2018 Chancellor’s Student Success Award.
Though COD has been a previous recipient of a Bellwether Award, the college’s 2019 Bellwether Legacy Award nomination is special. The criteria for the Legacy Award only acknowledges previous Bellwether-winning programs that have illustrated five or more years of successful implementation and replication. College of the Desert is among ten finalists that have been selected by a national panel of expert judges to present their programs at the 2019 Community College Futures Assembly from February 2nd– 5th in San Antonio, TX.
Superintendent-President Joel L. Kinnamon, Ed.D. shared his pride in the achievements made by COD, stating, “The Board of Trustees and I are extremely proud of this recognition and of the efforts of everyone at College of the Desert.” He continued, “To drive change, we instituted a new student success platform and re-imagined counseling and advising structures to help more students than ever achieve their higher educational goals.”
COD also recently received the 2018 Chancellor’s Student Success Award from California Community Colleges Chancellor, Eloy Ortiz Oakley. The award honors college and/or district programs that have demonstrated a commitment as well as significant progress toward achieving success and equity goals for all students. Additionally, the programs must exhibit success rates in the areas of access, retention, course completion, degree and certificate completion and transfer. College of the Desert was one of only two California Community Colleges that was recognized.
EDGE is a College Completion Program at College of the Desert that prepares students for success in college with a fast-paced review of mathematics and/or English, as well as providing the resources needed to be a successful college student. During their time in the EDGE program, students review subject-specific content to strengthen their academic skills and attend student development workshops to prepare them for their first year at College of the Desert.
College of the Desert’s EDGE program first began in 2011, with only forty students enrolled. In 2015, only four years later, over four hundred students were enrolled in the EDGE program. The rising success of the EDGE program was bolstered by the implementation of the plEDGE program in 2017, which promotes clear educational goals and pathways for students, as well as two free years of tuition. In recent years, COD has also overhauled its Student Education Plan program, which places students with a chosen major on a two-year required-course roadmap. Since these programs have been put into practice, College of the Desert has increased degree, credential and certificate completion by 43 percent and has increased transfer to CSU by 41 percent.