Joe Garcia

President

Colorado Community College System

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Joe Garcia

President

Colorado Community College System

Joe Garcia recently assumed the presidency of the Colorado Community College System. Previously, he was president of WICHE. Garcia left his dual role as Colorado lieutenant governor and executive director of the state’s Department of Higher Education and served as the seventh president of WICHE since its founding 62 years ago.

Before his inauguration as lieutenant governor in 2011 and re-election in 2015, Garcia was president of Colorado State University-Pueblo. During his four-year tenure there, he helped the institution overcome financial difficulties and stagnant enrollment, and enhanced its reputation through aggressive marketing and nontraditional solutions. Previously, he was president of Colorado’s second-largest community college, Pikes Peak Community College, overseeing three campuses serving more than 16,000 students a year.

Garcia, who earned a business degree from the University of Colorado and a jurisdoctorate from Harvard Law School, began his career in 1983 with Holme Roberts & Owen, where he went on to become the first Hispanic partner in the 100-year history of the storied Denver law firm. In 1993, he joined former Gov. Roy Romer’s cabinet as executive director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, a position he held until his appointment in 1999 as the U.S. Department of Housing and Development’s regional director for the Rocky Mountain states.

Throughout his career, Garcia has been actively involved as a board member for numerous civic, educational, and cultural nonprofit organizations, including the YMCAs of Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Denver; Pikes Peak Legal Aid; economic development agencies in Pueblo and Colorado Springs; the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority; Pikes Peak Child Nursery Centers; and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. He served nine years on the WICHE Commission, and was its chair in 2012.

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15 to Finish

Boost the number of students who are on track for on-time graduation by encouraging enrollment in 15 credits each semester (30 credits per year, including summers). Financial aid dollars, as well as institutional process and practice, should support that standard.

Math Pathways

Ensure all students enroll in and complete gateway math in their first year by designing math courses that are aligned with the skills students need for their chosen program of study.

Corequisite Support

Increase gateway course completion within the first year by enrolling entering students into the college-level math and English courses, providing those who need additional help a concurrent course or lab that offers just-in-time academic support.

Momentum Year

Build momentum so students meet first-year benchmarks: informed choice of meta major or major, enrollment in 30 credits with nine in the program of study and completion of gateway courses. Provide early support and guidance for decision making, using interest assessments and labor-market data.

Academic Maps with Proactive Advising

Default students onto highly-structured academic maps that include 15 credits per semester (or 30 per year), indicate milestone and pre-requisite courses, and empower advisors to effectively monitor progress and provide intervention as needed.

A Better Deal for Returning Adults

Increase degree attainment by inviting adult learners back to complete their education, providing a redesigned system that offers accelerated courses, year-round enrollment and predictable schedules. Give credit for prior learning and experience and additional support to help students navigate the system.

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