The Central Valley’s Madera Community College becomes California’s newest community college - EdSource by Michael Burke

Monday, July 20, 2020

California has its newest college: Madera Community College. 

The college, located in California’s Central Valley north of Fresno, was recognized Monday by the California community college system’s Board of Governors as the 116th college in the system. Previously, the campus was Madera Community College Center and operated as a satellite campus of Reedley College. 

“This accomplishment is something that our community has been waiting for a long time and much needed,” Angel Reyna, president of the college, said in a statement. The new college’s goals include becoming “student and community centered,” and providing “equitable outcomes for each of our students, and to that end we commit towards transforming ourselves into an anti-racist institution while producing the future workforce our community needs,” Reyna added.

As a college rather than an educational center, Madera Community College will receive more state funding that will go toward additional programs and staffing. The college will also be eligible to have athletic programs in the California Community College Athletic Association. The campus enrolls about 5,600 students and opened in 1996. 

The college will now operate independently within the State Center Community College District, the district that also includes Clovis College, Fresno City College and Reedley College. 

Monday’s unanimous vote by the Board of Governors came after the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) voted in June to grant Madera its accreditation. The ACCJC is the commission responsible for accrediting all of California’s community colleges. 

Assemblymember Jose Medina, who is chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, in a statement said that Madera Community College “will help fill a great need in the Central Valley and increase access to quality educational and career opportunities for local students.”

Monday marked the first time the system has recognized a new college since establishing Calbright College, a fully online college, last year. Before Calbright, Compton College became the 114th college in the system in June of last year when it regained its independence after operating for years as a satellite campus of the El Camino Community College District. 

Tom Epstein, president of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, said in a statement that the system is “proud to welcome Madera Community College to the family of California community colleges. We congratulate the dedicated faculty and district leadership for providing this underserved area of the Central Valley with expanded learning opportunities to help more students achieve their educational goals.”