Clovis now boasts the 113th community college in California

By Valerie Shelton

As of July 1, Clovis Community College is no longer a center of Reedley College, but is it’s own separate entity under the State Center Community College District.

The campus, formerly known as Willow International, was granted initial accreditation by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC).

Clovis Community College president Deborah Ikeda said she is excited about being the campus being named the 113th community college in the state. It’s honor she said is well-deserved in the Clovis community which prides itself on it’s academic institutions and their high standards. Clovis Unified, she said, has strived to be one of the best districts in the nation and it’s only fitting that the city of Clovis has it’s own community college where Clovis Unified graduates can continue their education.

“We were really built to serve the students from the Clovis Unified School District,” Ikeda said. “We’re very happy to be able to do that.”

Prior to even opening its first building at Willow and International in 2007, Ikeda said the Clovis college has been working hand-in-hand with the local school district. The college and the Clovis North complex were constructed simultaneously so both entities worked together to reduce costs, partnering on infrastructure needs such as burying the canal, putting in street lights and widening and paving roads.

Today, Clovis Community still has strong ties with Clovis Unified, allowing high school students to earn college credits free of charge.

“We have a partnership with Clovis North where seniors can come take two classes in the fall and two in the spring for 12 college units and they earn dual credit for high school and college,” Ikeda said. “That’s a pretty good deal because they don’t have to pay for it because we don’t charge high school students.”

This fall, the college is expanding the high school program to Clovis East, which will bus some of its seniors over to take classes as well. Ikeda also said she is discussing the program with Buchanan, Clovis High and Clovis West as well. She would like to offer the program to each campus so all Clovis Unified students get the same opportunity.

Being accredited Ikeda said hasn’t changed the dynamic of the campus, as it was able to provide these types of programs before through Reedley College’s accreditation—just as the Madera Center and Oakhurst Center offered courses as satellite campuses of Reedley College. The difference, she said, is that Clovis Community College is now a stand-alone campus.

Clovis Community College is the third full college under the State Center Community College District after Fresno City College and Reedley College. The district now boasts the newest community college in California and the oldest community college in the state, Fresno City, which was established in 1910.

Just as Reedley has its two satellite centers in Madera and Oakhurst, Clovis Community also already has a small satellite campus on Herndon Avenue. The Herndon campus is more accessible to many in the community, especially those using public transit, but Ikeda said students who can’t make it all the way out to Clovis Community College on their own do have the option of taking a shuttle back and forth between both campuses so all classes are available to them, not just those offered at the Herndon campus.

“If you don’t have transportation you can take public transportation to the Herndon campus and jump on our shuttle to come over here and take all the classes we offer,” Ikeda said. “There is a shuttle very 20 minutes, which is better than most waits. It’s a really nice van too. It has a bike rack also for those who ride their bike to the Herndon campus.”

Along with the accreditation, Clovis Community College is also embracing its name change.

“This is why we changed our name from Willow International,” Ikeda said. “The board decided to do that a long time ago. I’d say in 2005 they decided that when we were accredited as a college, that they would change our name from Willow International to Clovis Community College. Last year, we changed it to Clovis Community College Center in preparation and now we’ve dropped the ‘center.’”

Clovis Community College will celebrate its accreditation at an event on Aug. 20.