Woodland Community College has come into its own.
The college, 10 miles north of UC Davis, received full accreditation on July 1, making it the 110th community college in California and the second college in the Yuba Community College District.
“The college is now a comprehensive community college and will get an increase of funding from the state, from $1 to $3 million, which will be used for the operation of the college and also be used to increase programs and courses in the colleges and student services,” said WCC spokesperson Art Pimentel.
Since 1981, when WCC was established, it has been an extension of Yuba College. Now that WCC is an independent community college, it can make its own decisions on the curriculum, student services and courses, Pimentel said.
WCC worked to become an accredited college to support the need of the students, said WCC President Angela Fairchilds.
“It was something our board had decided a long time ago because WCC at that time was growing so quickly,” she said.
In the past, all programs and operations of WCC were affiliated with Yuba College. With the accreditation, WCC administrators will finally be able to give out diplomas with their own college seal and will have the authority to create their own transcripts under the Woodland name.
“We have students who have gone through the program with no affinity or identity with Yuba College, and when they receive their diploma, it has Yuba College on their diploma,” Fairchilds said. “It’s truly for the identity and for the students to develop curriculum and articulation without surrounding institutions.”
WCC students are now eligible to seek external funding, such as grants.
“There are a lot of grant programs that could help us expand it to help students who need it most,” Fairchilds said.
The accreditation also opens up the possibility of new educational connections between WCC and UC Davis.
“We’ve had the luxury with the proximity of UC Davis because now we can apply for different grants, which makes us a more attractive partner, providing pathways between the curriculum and programs that can transfer to UC Davis,” Fairchilds said.
Students were responsible for choosing a new school mascot and colors.
“It was really frustrating at times, because we had a lot of bumps in the road,” said ASB president Erik Puleo-Coats. “We had debates on the students’ choices and the mascot. It was worth [picking a new mascot] because it really just shapes the first identity the college has.”
WCC looks forward to the new opportunities and involvement for the following semester, which will include new courses.
“There’s definitely more to come,” Puleo-Coats said. “There will be better classes, more student activities and events, like concerts and local bands. It’ll really help the community get involved.”
Those affiliated with the college see the accreditation as a great accomplishment that has the potential to make a significant difference for Yolo County residents.
“[The accreditation] will allow us to fully serve the needs of the community,” Pimentel said. “It’s right here close by for people in Woodland, in north Yolo County and students in Davis who wish to take courses in WCC.”
JANET HUNG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.