Richard Holober represented the College Board when the District developed its strategic plan, which set goals and measured progress in improving student success at Cañada College, College of San Mateo and Skyline College. In the four years since Richard helped craft the plan, significant improvements in course completion, degree attainment and transfer rates have already been achieved.
From 2014 to 2017 (most recent data available):
Transfers from our three colleges to University of California campuses increased by 41%. UC admissions are very selective. This increase in transfers reflects improvement in exceptional student performance at our College District.
The number of students completing Associate of Arts or Associate of Sciences Degrees increased by 19%. The number of entering student enrolling as full-time students increased by nine percent. Data demonstrates that full-time students have greater persistence and higher graduation rates than students enrolling part-time. Our colleges offer enhanced counseling and student financial support to encourage full-time enrollment.
Innovative and Affordable Higher Education
Community colleges are the best bargain in higher education. But they are not free, and even modest cost can deter student attendance. Under Richard’s leadership, our three colleges are now providing free tuition to 1400 first year students, plus up to $750 for textbooks and up to $50 a month for transportation vouchers to our campuses. This First Year Promise Scholarship program includes intensive counseling and requirements to select majors early, because evidence shows that students who have clear graduation goals are more likely to succeed. New student shuttles are making it much easier for students who don’t have cars to reach Skyline and Cañada Colleges.
Under Richard’s leadership the College District became the first in the nation to offer a textbook rental program. Textbooks are the biggest cost many student face. Under this innovative program, the cost of a textbook is reduced by 75%.
Richard also supported establishment of Veterans Resource Centers on all three campuses, to create a welcoming home for students transitioning from military life to college. This spring, 90 military veterans graduated from San Mateo’s community colleges.
Facing a regional shortage of registered nurses, Richard Holober helped lead the College District in increasing nursing enrollments. As an elected Trustee, Richard led in the building of a state of the art Regional Public Safety Training Facility that prepares the police and deputy sheriffs that protect our lives. He has worked to make sure that our Fire Academy provides outstanding training for our county’s firefighters.
Our Community College District just became the first in the state to offer Bachelor’s Degrees in Respiratory Care, a vital health care profession. Other innovative career training programs developed under Richard’s leadership include solar installation, web design and online multimedia design programs. Richard has made sure that our College District’s 90 career training programs innovate to stay ahead of ever-changing workforce needs.
Your Fiscal Watchdog
Richard Holober examines budgets and spending to keep the district’s focus on our classroom and student-support mission. During the Great Recession that followed the 2008 Wall Street collapse, the state slashed funding for community colleges by more than 20%. Facing this crisis head on, Richard led the College Board in scrutinizing programs to make difficult but necessary cuts to under-enrolled courses while ensuring that core academic and vocational courses went unscathed.
During the funding crisis, Richard led the successful effort to win approval with a two-thirds vote of local residents of the first community college parcel tax in California history. As a result of Richard’s efforts, the College District weathered years of state funding cuts with no layoffs, and no pay or benefit cuts.
When state funding to community colleges was restored, Richard kept his promise to voters, and led the District in ending the Parcel Tax. Local newspaper editorials heralded the termination of the parcel tax as an uncommon act by elected officials that kept faith with taxpayers.
Affordable Housing for Faculty and Staff
Under Richard Holober’s leadership, the Community College District tackled the housing affordability crisis, building 110 units of faculty and staff rental housing at Cañada College and College of San Mateo. A third faculty/staff rental housing development in underway at Skyline College. Rents are about one-half of the market rate. The College District passes along its low construction and maintenance costs to our employees, with no rent subsidy. This first of its kind rental housing makes it easier to attract talented professors and staff to work at our colleges.
Green Building Leadership
When the College District embarked on a program to modernize our three campuses, Richard proposed ambitious Green Building goals for new construction. His proposal was adopted, and the College District has won acclaim for its sustainable building practices, its energy and water conservation success and its elimination of toxic building materials. Richard Holober’s Green Building leadership was recognized when he was awarded the Sustainable San Mateo County Award.