Mitchell takes higher ed discussion to the airwaves

Horace Mitchell
Dr. Horace Mitchell, CSUB President

On July 18, while KNZR 1560’s late afternoon talk radio host was on vacation, CSUB’s own president, Dr. Horace Mitchell, filled in on The Ralph Bailey Show. Our office had never heard Dr. Mitchell host a radio show before, nor speak to the public for three hours. So we tuned in, curious as to how this would go.

Perhaps it’s his years as a professor in the classroom, or his training in psychology, or the fact that he, as a college president, is well practiced in the art of communication. In any case, Dr. Mitchell did a stand-up job. Rob Meszaros, CSUB Director of Public Affairs and Communications, even joked with the president afterward that he might have a second career in radio. While many of the callers were related to CSUB (staff, faculty and alumni), the discussion was one for the greater community.

Dr. Mitchell’s topic was educational attainment. As we all know, the college-going rate in our area is quite low. With only 13 percent of adults in South San Joaquin Valley holding a bachelor’s degree or higher (compared to 38 percent statewide), our region lacks the educated workforce needed to bolster the economy and raise the quality of life locally.

Dr. Mitchell asked this question at the beginning of the show: “How can we all — educators, parents, business leaders, community leaders, elected officials, the media, and everyone — work together to make certain that all of our citizens — from pre-schoolers to adults — have the educational opportunities they need to enhance their, and their families’, quality of life?”

More than a few answers came in: Give more internships and jobs to students to keep them from moving out of the region. Increase tutoring and advising in local schools. Offer programs to traditionally underrepresented youth to encourage them to go to college. Offer more vocational training programs for youths as an alternative to college. Improve remedial programs for students who aren’t quite ready for college so that they experience better success rates. Support legislation that streamlines the transfer process from community colleges to four-year universities.

Here are three short clips from the radio show that address some of the main points of discussion: the dire need to raise the college-going rate in Kern County, how CSUB is responding to community needs with new academic programs, and how local businesses can work with CSUB to fill the “brain drain” void.

Dr. Horace Mitchell: We need to foster home-grown talent rather than import our workforce.
Dr. Julio Blanco, dean of the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering: New programs at CSUB address engineering and technology needs.
Dr. Horace Mitchell: Partnering with the business community leads to keeping our brightest graduates employed locally.

– Jennifer Burger, CSUB Public Affairs Coordinator