COS semester begins

Ernest P. Lopez, student success coordinator at College of the Sequoias' Hanford Education Center, talks with student Krystal Juarez at the Student Success Center on Monday.

HANFORD — Over 13,000 students will attend College of the Sequoias’ three campuses this week for what school officials are expecting to be another successful year of higher education.

At the COS Hanford Education Center, Provost Kristin Robinson said about 1,700 students are expected to set foot on campus for the fall semester.

The campus, which is home to the district’s Public Safety Programs (Fire and Police), also offers an Industrial Maintenance Program, Electrician Training Program, and all of the prerequisites for a the Registered Nursing Program.

“While we offer the a full range of [University of California] and [California State University] transfer courses, we are excited to announce that this fall, the Hanford campus will also offer a portion of Certified Nursing Program on our campus,” Robinson said.

The Certified Nursing Assistant Program is a single course that can lead to certification. Successful students are eligible to sit for the certification exam, and students completing this certificate are expected to acquire the skills, knowledge and abilities to receive a certificate permitting practice as a nursing assistant.

The lecture portion of the class will be offered at the College of the Sequoias’ Hanford campus on Monday. On Fridays, students will complete their practical training at local health care facilities and on Saturdays, students will practice their skills in the nursing skills lab at the Visalia campus.

“The start of a semester, specifically the fall semester, always marks the beginning of more dreams coming true for our students,” Robinson said. “Whether they are embarking on a career technical education degree or taking general education courses to transfer to a four-year university, good things are happening and our communities are becoming stronger.”

While Monday started the first day of the fall 2019 semester, Friday was a time for reflection for faculty, staff and administrators at COS.

During a COS convocation, President Brent Calvin released official numbers that illustrated the district’s growth and success in Kings and Tulare Counties.

Since 2013-14, the district has had a 15% increase in funded enrollment. During that same time span, the district has seen an 87% increase in awards, including a 136% jump in certificate completions and 60% more degrees, college officials said.

These awards, totaling nearly 3,200 for 2018-2019, are an all-time high for COS, according to a media release from the college.

Calvin also announced Friday that the district now offers 31 approved Associate Degree for Transfer (AD-T) Degrees. These degrees, which are approved by the California State University System, assist students with seamless transfer to any of the 23 campuses.

The district’s 31 AD-Ts are the third most at any college within the 114-community college system and the most in the San Joaquin Valley.

“Having this breadth and depth of degrees allows our students to choose a major that is right for them, and then be guaranteed that those units will count when they transfer to a CSU,” Calvin said.

These options have led the Sequoias District to a 79% increase in AD-Ts awarded in the last two years — from 387 to 692. Calvin said the district’s transfers to UC and CSU systems remains strong.

In fact, COS had the third most UC and CSU transfers during the 2017-18 year, behind only the much larger Bakersfield College and Fresno City College.

“While we are waiting for the official transfer numbers for 2018-19, we have every reason to believe that numbers will be even higher, with our record number of degrees awarded last year,” Calvin said.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

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