San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) Chancellor Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D., is the new president of the San Diego & Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association (SDICCCA), a collaboration between six community college districts in a two-county area.
SDICCCA serves more than 200,000 students each year at its 10 community colleges. The organization works closely with San Diego State University, UC San Diego, Cal State San Marcos, and other four-year universities to develop and maintain effective programs that promote student success and transfer. It collaborates with the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the San Diego Workforce Partnership, employers and other regional partners to ensure graduates have up-to-date job skills. SDICCCA also actively promotes legislation that strengthens the mission of California community colleges.
Dr. Cortez, who became SDCCD chancellor in July, is assuming leadership of SDICCCA at an important moment for California community colleges as they struggle with historic enrollment declines and budget challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the region, the stakes are high. Nine out of 10 of SDICCCA graduates transfer to a university or transition into the local labor force. Along with these alumni, SDICCCA institutions contribute more than $8.1 billion dollars annually to California’s economy.
As SDCCD chancellor, Dr. Cortez oversees four colleges within one of the nation’s largest community college districts. In his previous roles as a teacher and administrator, he made equity, diversity, and inclusion a focus. Dr. Cortez has been a staunch advocate for policy and finance reform as a member of various state and federal level legislative task forces, including his current service on the California League of Community College’s Advisory Committee on Legislation and the Noncredit Coalition. His commitment to social justice drives his passion for urban education reform.
“The San Diego & Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association is recognized statewide as a model of collaboration,” said Dr. Cortez. “It is an honor to be named president of an organization committed to providing local students access to high quality, affordable higher education and which is deeply committed to meeting the region’s workforce needs.”
SDICCCA comprises the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District (Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges), Imperial Valley College, MiraCosta College, Palomar College, the San Diego Community College District (San Diego City, Mesa, Miramar, and Continuing Education colleges), and Southwestern College.