The Petaluma campus of the should not be a replica of the school’s main campus, but instead focus on meeting the needs of the community, said Dr. Frank Chong, SRJC’s new president at a reception held for him Thursday.
Chong, who previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges at the U.S. Department of Education and as president of Laney College in Oakland, said he had big plans for the school, including developing a revenue enhancement plan that would shore up funding, which has been reduced by 20 percent since 2008.
“We’re forming a new history and a new tradition, but we don’t have to be a clone of Santa Rosa,” Chong, a Petaluma resident, said. “We are our own community.”
Santa Rosa Junior College has been hard hit by budget cuts, which has resulted in closing some 200 classes and laying off teachers. Now, the school, which has a student body of around 40,000 (6,000 of who at the Petaluma campus) is considering running athletic and sports camps, offering non-credit classes for a flat fee and expanding the sale of wines produced by students in SRJC's Wine Studies program.
But Chong emphasized that the future of the community college would not be determined by him alone, but with plenty of input from faculty, students and the rest of the community. A “Building Community” breakfast has already been planned for June 7 and other public meetings aimed at collecting input are in the works.
“I’m a big believer in cradle to career education,” Chong said. “And we have to start early, early.”
What would you like to see at the Petaluma campus of the Santa Rosa Junior College?