West Hills Kicks off New Semester with State of the District, Professional Development Day

West Hills Community College District kicked off the Spring 2018 semester with an annual Professional Development Day and a State of the District address from Chancellor Dr. Stuart Van Horn on January 11.

Van Horn addressed several topics in his annual address, including upcoming building projects throughout the district, pending and ongoing initiatives and the success experience by West Hills in terms of enrollment and employment over the last semester.

“We’re continuing our mission of moving students from the margins to the mainstream,” Van Horn said. “We serve students who could change the world, who have always known they had the potential to do more. We’re incubators of opportunity and will continue to be so.”

Van Horn highlighted the growth of the West Hills Community College District over the past semester, including in terms of employment.

Between July 1 and December 15, 2017, human resources received 2,559 applications for employment and in a span of 121 days, 920 positions were filled.

“West Hills is becoming a destination,” Van Horn said. “Our innovative spirit means we’ve seen an uptick in applications. West Hills is becoming an off ramp, instead of an on ramp.”

Van Horn also discussed upcoming building projects, including a new North District Center in Firebaugh—which is in the process of being designed and is slated for completion by the Fall of 2021—and a new District office building in Coalinga. Construction on the new district building is slated for March of this year, with a 12 month building timeline.

Other issues highlighted were the importance of crafting and offering guided degree and certificate pathways to students, increasing professional development opportunities for West Hills staff and the importance of forming relationships in communities the district serves.

A continuing West Hills initiative, Prior Learning Assessment, was also discussed. The initiative, which aims to connect students with ways to earn credit for job and life experience, has been a primary focus this past year.

The Spring 2018 semester at West Hills began on January 12.