ARC President Melanie Dixon meets with staff to discuss the student experience

The first week of school, how to improve enrollment and First Year Experience and Homebase were topics of discussion


American River College President Melanie Dixon met with staff via Zoom on Aug. 26 to discuss the student experience and how to improve enrollment. (Photo via the ARC website)

Melanie Dixon, president of American River College, met with employees via Zoom on Aug. 26 to discuss the students’ experience and how to improve the outreach of enrollment.

Dixon wanted to acknowledge what is going well, but also wanted to recognize and discuss problems that are happening within ARC, like low enrollment and moving students through the program. Not only did Dixon want to talk about them, she wanted action to be taken. Part of this discussion revolved around First Year Experience and Homebase.

“We will be integrating Homebase and FYE,” Dixon said.

Dixon says Homebase and FYE are a way to help students move through ARC.

“Students are being integrated,” said Shelvina Singh, student services and FYE coach.

There was a discussion among the faculty of the need to integrate the two systems. 

“We need to continue to evolve Homebase,” Dixon said. 

The conversation moved to enrollment and outreach of new students. Dixon shared that enrollment is down. 

According to Dixon, the reasons for enrollment being down are because of the structure being predominantly online, affordability, language barriers and housing insecurities.

According to Inside Higher Ed, Gavin Newsom, governor of California, has committed $115 million to community colleges. The California community college chancellor’s office will send funds to 116 community colleges to create open education resource classes.

“Governor Newsom has funded $10 million for building outreach at ARC,” Dixon said. “There is no timing on when the money must be spent.”

Dixon and the staff then had a mutual conversation on how they would like to see the money spent. They would like to see more media outreach to inform the community about ARC and the different programs available. 

“There are two commercials being run right now,” Dixon said. 

Dixon shared with the staff some of the ways that she would like to spend the money. She would like to focus on second-year students, create community advisors who reach out to the low income, those with housing insecurities and hire people who can communicate in different languages. 

“Once a month an update will be released to staff whether there is something to report or not,” Dixon said.

The staff and Dixon agreed that more steps need to be taken to help students access ARC for an education.