Clark College Reports on Achievements, Challenges and Strategic Initiatives at the 2024 State of the College Address

For Immediate Release
February 16, 2024

Dr Karin Edwards giving her talk from the podium.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Clark College President Dr. Karin Edwards delivered the annual State of the College address on February 14 in Gaiser Student Center. Emma Sturm, president of the Associated Students of Clark College (ASCC) kicked off the event and gave a report on increased student participation in college clubs, and ASCC's efforts to increase student engagement in on campus activities.

Student and veteran Ray Jackson also shared his experience of navigating college studies and parenthood with the help of several Clark College student support services, including the Veterans Center of Excellence, Disability Support Services, Advising Services, and Child and Family services.

During her speech, President Edwards announced that the college's equity-centered strategic plan was approved by the college's board of trustees last fall and provides a framework for all the college does. The new strategic plan is centered on students—to educate, empower, and elevate them to achieve their personal and professional goals. It also underscores a commitment to student success, empowerment, and equity.

Dr Edwards with Student Speaker Ray Jackson.

Community partnerships and philanthropy are essential for supporting student and college needs. President Edwards expressed gratitude for the ongoing support of Clark College Foundation and the community. Notably, a $1 million gift from the Cowlitz Indian Tribe will launch the Clark College Innovation Fund that will address pressing needs and drive innovation. Clark College Foundation has awarded more than $85 million over the past 50 years. This year alone, the foundation has awarded $2 million that directly assists more than 550 students.

In addition, Clark has disbursed $24.5 million in financial aid from other funding sources, including state and federal grants and loans as well as community scholarships. Recently, the college was awarded a $2.2 million Title III Strengthening Institutions grant from the U.S. Department of Education primarily for increasing student completion rates.

The college budget and its financial sources focus on supporting Clark College's commitment to provide affordable education. Clark currently offers more than 100 degrees and certificates in over 70 programs including 5 bachelor of applied science degrees. The annual tuition is $4,907 for 45 credits (during 3 terms). And 70% of Clark students transfer to four-year universities

Dr Edwards with Clark Board of Trustees.

Enrollment has increased by more than 10% this academic year compared to the 2022-23 academic year. Approximately 8,683 students enrolled during the Fall and Winter terms, translating to 5,932 full-time equivalent students. Increased enrollment is expected to impact the budget positively, reducing the need to use the fund balance as the college had to do in previous years during and immediately following the pandemic.

New programs, degrees, and expansion of academic offerings are driven by community needs and workforce demands. The college is seeking to add a Civil Engineering Technology and Construction Management program, Food Service Operations certificate and Civil Engineering Technology and Construction Management program, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree that was recently approved on February 1.

The programs under development include:

The Advanced Manufacturing Center, currently under construction at the college's Ridgefield location at Boschma Farms, is on track to open in fall 2025. This center will host some of the new programs, and it can serve up to 1,200 students per term.

Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives remain top priorities at Clark College. Achievements include increased diversity in hiring and ongoing professional development initiatives. In addition, the college organizes The Northwest Regional Equity Conference, now in its fifth year. The conference plays a pivotal role in promoting equitable experiences for historically underrepresented students and employees.

Looking ahead, reflecting on the college's achievements, President Edwards expressed gratitude for the collaborative efforts of faculty, staff, and the community. As Clark College looks toward the future, she said it remains committed to student success, expanding program offerings, and strengthening community partnerships. Clark College continues to be a beacon of opportunity and excellence in the region.

About Clark College

Founded in 1933 and celebrating its 90th year, Clark College provides residents of Southwest Washington with affordable, high-quality academic and technical education. It is a public community college offering more than 100 degree and certificate programs, including bachelor's and associate degrees; professional certificates; high school diplomas and GED preparation; and non-credit community and continuing education. Clark serves a wide range of students including high school students, displaced workers, veterans, parents, non-native English speakers, and mature learners. Approximately three-quarters of its students are in the first generation of their families to attend college.


For additional information (for media inquiries & photo requests):
Maureen Chan-Hefflin, Clark College Communications & Marketing
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