Chancellor's Message

Driving Economic Development: How West Hills Moves the Needle

This academic year had more than its share of new and unique expectations, experiences, emotions and outcomes for our students, faculty, and staff. Student enrollment at our two colleges and educational center was the highest in the 87-year history of the West Hills Community College District and the year ushered in a new era of performance-based funding mechanisms, legislative decrees, and increased mandates from the state.
More than a dozen new programs and services were implemented, colleges were enabled to increase the type and mix of campus-based services, and we successfully hired nearly ten new full-time faculty and numerous staff positions. Our real-time data reports blossomed well beyond just economic measures and great strides were implemented to understand the human side of the student ledger as critical to organizational performance.
We ended the year with a record number of certificate and degree student completers that understand the importance of problem-solving and troubleshooting; both critically-important skills and characteristics vital to employers seeking to thrive in a rapidly-changing, technology-fueled global marketplace. The year included earning high marks with regulatory Accreditation requirements, powered by a spirit of continuous improvement, and of identifying actionable data aimed at bettering the outcomes that matter most for our students enabling us to capitalize on the state’s new funding formula.

As importantly, the work of our distinguished faculty and staff encompassed an ever-growing variety of student segments, increased our market share, removed student entry barriers, altered teaching and learnings to embrace Open Educational Resources and time and cost-cutting innovations such as our credit for prior learning initiative. New tools were developed to assist our management staff in improving approaches and practices to increase our efficiencies in strategic enrollment management and the year featured a significant number of grant partnerships with public and private sector entities to drive economic development in the region and address community challenges affecting classroom performance of our students through our Broadband initiative, unique partnership with Univision and numerous philanthropic ventures championed by our Foundation.

And we have more important work ahead. I look forward to another year of innovation and responsiveness by our colleges to create educational, economic, cultural and social opportunities for the citizens of the region.
Dr. Stuart Van Horn
Chancellor, West Hills Community College District