This story appeared in the latest print edition of City Times.
The San Diego Community College District is one of the largest districts in California. Chancellor Constance Carroll has been at the helm for 17 years but she is preparing to retire on June 30.
“My biggest takeaway is people,” said Carroll, in an interview with City Times Media. “There are wonderful people who comprise the San Diego Community College District.”
In a SDCCD student census, there were approximately 41,517 students enrolled in the district for spring 2020. Carroll said diversity, equity and inclusion is a top priority for everyone that works at SDCCD.
“This particular activity begins with learning about the groups themselves,” Carroll said. “If you begin by saying that I want to learn more about people. I want to learn more about their experiences, then you can move into areas of legislation and activism, social justice for them.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented several challenges for both the district and students of SDCCD, which includes having to adjust to remote learning. Carroll said they are very proud of the students and will do anything and everything to support them in their endeavors.
“I want to urge you not to give up hope but always to pursue your dream no matter what the obstacles are,” Carroll said. “If you are persistent and believe in yourself and believe in what you do, you will succeed.”
In 2014, Carroll co-chaired a successful advocacy campaign that established the state’s Baccalaureate Pilot Program, allowing 15 colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in specific workforce fields.
The tuition-free San Diego Promise was also created under direct leadership from Carroll. It has served more than 6,600 students and has expanded to cover a student’s first two years at City, Mesa, or Miramar College, according to the SDCCD website.
“Few people have done more for education, equity and inclusion than Dr. Constance Carroll,” wrote Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation in a message of appreciation. “San Diego is truly a better place because of her work.”
Carroll plans on pursuing her work as president and CEO of the California Community College Baccalaureate Association, which is a nonprofit organization supporting the development and expansion of four-year, workforce-oriented programs at California’s 116 community colleges.
“Above all (CCCBA) is focused,” Carroll said. “Someone needs to have a focus on this development and that’s what we will be doing.”