Cypress College’s Caring Campus Promotes an Atmosphere of Welcoming, Improves Student Completion Rates
For Immediate Release
November 29, 2022
Contact: Marc Posner
College can be an intimidating place full of countless offices, departments, and jargon that can feel overwhelming for a brand-new student.
Cypress College (Cypress) is determined to break down those barriers, following the implementation of a campus-wide commitment to ensure all students feel welcome and can access the information and resources they need.
The Institute for Evidenced-Based Change (IEBC), awarded a Caring Campus grant to Cypress in 2020 and the college’s dedicated classified staff embraced the concept in support of students. As indicated by its name, the program seeks to make college a little less scary for students. It also empowers staff members by providing the tools to assist anyone on campus, even if a student’s question is unrelated to the staff members’ area of expertise. At its heart, the program developed by our Caring Campus team codifies how to interact with others on campus by creating a shared resource guide so that all Cypress employees can help a student or community member in need, no matter what the challenge.
Caring Campus co-leader Cari Jorgensen said she experienced the Caring Campus effect first-hand when she came to interview for her position as Web Content Specialist.
“Cypress College has always been a campus where everyone is approachable — a student can turn to anyone with their question, as can employees,” she said. “When I interviewed for my position, an employee stopped to wish me luck and tell me I’d do a good job. Caring Campus, to me, helps retain that atmosphere of care and support, whether we’re helping students or one another from on campus or off.”
IEBC claims Caring Campus assists with overall enrollment, retention, and equity efforts across institutions.
“Students come where they are welcome and stay where they feel cared about. Caring Campus is based on decades of research documenting that students who feel connected to their college are more likely to complete and succeed in their courses, persist from semester to semester, and achieve their educational goals.”
The program also seeks to fundamentally break down so-called “silos” or different departments’ inability to work cross-functionally. Professional classified staff members were instrumental in leading the implementation at Cypress and were selected by college leadership to represent their respective departments in this effort.
Since its integration into Cypress College, President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D. said Caring Campus has had a tremendous effect on many areas of the institution.
“Cypress College excels at caring for our students, and our classified staff has always been an integral part of what connects our students to our campus,” Schilling said of the effort. “The Caring Campus initiative has allowed our classified professionals to take an active role in how we serve students and to impact our students’ lives in positive ways.”
Schilling noted that this initiative, in particular, has positively impacted overall completion rates and student success.
“This initiative has been a transformative part of our Guided Pathways work by empowering our staff to actively support student success at Cypress College.”
Caring Campus was funded by the Institute for Evidence Based Change and supported by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. Learn more about the program in action at Cypress College at www.cypresscollege.edu/caring-campus/.
About Cypress College:
Cypress College offers students a pathway to their future in an environment in which employees commit to joining students on their educational journey. The college’s half-million-plus alumni include actors, athletes, doctors, executives, mechanics, nurses, and teachers. For some, Cypress College is the ticket into their university of choice, and for others, it provides essential training for a prosperous career. Just one Cypress College class is often all it takes to provide cutting-edge skills that lead to a promotion or a new job.
Cypress College’s 16,000 students and the highly qualified teaching faculty are proud of the many excellent academic and vocational programs. Cypress College provides a pathway for each of our students, offering 56 university-transfer majors, 174 career-certificate programs, and degrees in 98 areas of study. The college’s traditional semesters begin in January and August, while short-term courses start throughout the year. A Cypress College education costs $46 per unit — $138 for a typical, full-credit class — California’s lowest tuition. Eligible first-time students qualify for free tuition through Cypress College’s Charger Experience promise program. Financial aid and scholarships are also available to qualifying students.
Cypress College is one of three campuses in the North Orange County Community College District and a member of the 116-campus California Community College system. The college primarily serves the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Stanton.
Located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, the college is easily accessible from several Southern California freeways, including the 5, 91, 605, 22, and 405. The campus is just a stone’s-throw from Downtown Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm.
In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Cypress College’s instruction and services are offered primarily in a remote format. Students can access support services online at cypresscollege.edu/coronavirus.