In 2018, Feather River College will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Opportunities for local college courses have grown significantly over the past 50 years and FRC continues its commitment to providing a first-choice college degree for Plumas County residents and beyond.
The purpose of this article is to inform the public about FRC achievements over the past year, which set the stage for the next 50 years of progress.
Feather River College was one of the first California community colleges permitted to award a technical bachelor’s degree. Almost half of the states now allow community colleges to award limited bachelor’s degrees and the California legislature approved the change in educational offerings in response to a trained workforce shortage.
Currently, only 15 colleges are approved to offer a bachelor’s degree, none of which are allowed to duplicate any degrees from the California State University nor the University of California.
FRC will graduate its first Bachelor of Science student in Equine and Ranch Management at the end of the 2018 spring semester. This watershed moment for all of Plumas County reiterates the commitment to providing trained graduates who enter this important agricultural workforce.
In the future, FRC is hopeful that the pilot program will be expanded to allow additional bachelor’s degrees, which would further benefit our students by taking advantage of our unique location and learning opportunities.
The Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society was restarted three years ago and attracted over 70 students last year. Numerous students graduated with PTK honors, parlaying this recognition into sizeable scholarships and transfer opportunities. For example, one Academic All-American soccer player was given an additional PTK scholarship with his athletic transfer scholarship. Another student was awarded a nationally competitive foundation scholarship from PTK.
It is the goal of FRC to grow this program, potentially evolving the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society into a comprehensive Honors Program that awards scholarships for students to attend FRC.
Earlier this year, FRC had the opportunity to purchase 180 acres of land adjacent to the campus at a significant discount from the appraised value. This land cannot be used for classrooms nor dormitory construction. However, the pastureland is perfect for expanding the bachelor’s degree and co-curricular projects with Agriculture, Environmental Studies and the Rodeo Program.
The Facilities Master Plan is being updated with a portion of the land set aside for a potential partnership with the University of California Cooperative Extension Office. This additional land, projected to be part of a working cattle and agricultural operation to support the bachelor’s degree program, will provide students with hands-on experiences in running a ranch and farm.
The additional land will help ease overcrowding issues with current livestock and provide for monitoring of the ecological area around Spanish Creek, allowing the College to continue to be a steward of this important environmental resource. In short, the expansion will only improve career educational experiences for FRC students.
Need for Housing
Feather River College worked with the Arba Group parent company to receive a donation of the former Quincy Senior Care Center for conversion into college dormitories. Last fall, over 70 individuals were on the waiting list for student housing as the semester started. As a result, these potential students did not enroll at FRC and moved to other colleges.
This lost opportunity for FRC and the businesses that support all of our residents is significant. With the opening of the new, converted dormitory in August 2017, it is the goal of FRC to attract and retain more students to campus and the community.
The FRC Foundation exists to support the students and activities of Feather River College. One of the goals of the Foundation is to explore a tuition waiver scholarship for all Plumas County graduates. This dream of free college for Plumas County has been discussed with the FRC Foundation Board with potential fundraising toward this ideal. In addition, the FRC Foundation owns the Feather River Fitness Center. Foundation mini-grants have become popular with academic departments on campus to support instruction in addition to the numerous student scholarships already awarded through the FRC Foundation.
Unique Academic Programs
Feather River College has several unique programs that exist in only a few places on the west coast such as the fish hatchery, outdoor recreation leadership, and equine studies to name a few. FRC is proud of these destination programs and maintains its future goal of supporting such programs that attract students who otherwise would not attend FRC.
Service to the Community
Feather River College is exploring and implementing dual-enrollment options with the Plumas Unified School District in which high school students have the opportunity to receive college credit while in high school. Instructional partnerships with numerous organizations and agencies benefit local communities such as the Chester Chorus, Sierra Rescue, Lake Almanor Fitness Center, and the U.S. Forest Service internships.
Additionally, FRC is currently working on instructional partnerships with the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office and Plumas County Behavioral Health to provide important and expanded training opportunities.
The above accomplishments list only a portion of the significant achievements at Feather River College as we set the foundation for the next 50 years. FRC is well positioned to keep its place and reputation as a leader in small colleges by providing unique career opportunities and excellent transfer academic programs. I look forward to several official activities as FRC will celebrate its 50th anniversary serving all of Plumas County, northeastern California and the world. I am convinced that the next 50 years will be even better than the past 50 years as FRC continues to grow and provide a high-quality education.