Fall convocation brings change to campus

Words of hope, resilience and resources come from the leaders of San Diego City College

Ricky Shabazz

City College President Ricky Shabazz addresses the campus at fall 2021 convocation on August 19. YouTube screenshot

Kathryn Gray and Will Mauriz

San Diego City College President Ricky Shabazz highlighted successes and challenges from the past academic year and laid out a plan for the future at the fall 2021 San Diego City College Convocation held on August 19.

A learning culture built on social justice and equity, along with a safe learning environment were two goals Shabazz said he hopes to achieve this fall and beyond.

“All students and employees must show proof of vaccination,” Shabazz said. “The outreach team is contacting students who are in danger of being dropped because they have not done this.”

In addition to highlighting COVID-19 safety protocols, Shabazz emphasized that students may also need increased flexibility and understanding due to trauma faced as a result of the pandemic.

Shabazz said that more departments are attempting to host hybrid courses for the fall 2021 semester and additional staff was approved by the current budget.

Convocation keynote speaker Dr. Cecilia Rios-Aguilar presented findings from her research on equity-oriented approaches to decision making and institutional transformation. A key finding by the professor and Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies is that student enrollment is down at community colleges nationwide and City College is no exception. 

Rios-Aguilar said students are increasingly faced with “high-stake decisions” in regards to enrollment in college.

According to data shared during the event, fall enrollment was down by 2,195 students as of August 15. The pandemic and institutional barriers to education had a significant impact on this decrease.

Rios-Aguilar explained that many students returning to campus this fall may be experiencing depression or anxieties that weren’t present prior to the pandemic.

Mental health resources for students can be found on the Student Health Center page at https://www.sdcity.edu/students/services/student-health-center/index.aspx.