October 22, 2021
Community Colleges Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Partners' President joins a distinguished panel hosted by the Michelson 20MM Foundation at the Association of Community College Trustees' national conference

(Left to right) Phillip Kim, James Preston, James Toscano, Ryan Erickson-Kulas, and Geoffrey Baum at the ACCT Leadership Congress.

Last week, Partners' president Dr. James Toscano had the privilege of serving as the moderator and panelist during a session hosted by the Michelson 20MM Foundation at the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) 2021 Leadership Congress in San Diego, California. The conference – the only national conference dedicated to community college trustees – attracts thousands of community and technical college trustees each year. The theme of this year’s conference was “Community Colleges Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”

The session focused on Partners’ study of West Hills College Lemoore’s “Zero Textbook Cost” (ZTC) initiative – more commonly referred to in higher education as “open educational resources”(OER) – and the role its governing board played in driving implementation of this innovative, cost-saving measure for students.

 The session also included the following panelists:

In 2016, the West Hill Community College District Board of Trustees adopted an audacious initial policy of developing OER for “at a minimum, 80% of all degree-applicable programs in the first year.” This bold policy containing a lofty, measurable goal helped fuel the school’s “OERevolution,” which, at West Hills College Lemoore where the initiative originated, has resulted in $6million of savings for students, $3 million in just the last two years. This fall at West Hills College Lemoore, roughly 50% of courses will be delivered via OER or as low textbook cost courses (defined as less than $40). The program has been so successful that the physical bookstore became obsolete and the location was repurposed to house a career center and support services for military students.

Learn more about innovative strategies being used by governing boards to drive affordability in higher education through Partners’ Governing Board Best Practices on College Affordability Project.