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Earning Respect by Degrees : Course Variety, Low Cost Boost Popularity of 2-Year Colleges


All Orange County community colleges boast about their general education programs, about how well their transfer students perform when they reach universities such as Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine. They emphasize that professors and instructors are there to teach students, not to make a name for themselves as an author or leading research scientist.

Each also has a unique character and a roster of courses or programs offered at few other places.

Orange Coast College has a strong marine biology program supported by several boats, including a 50-foot trawler. Its avionics program, combining training in computers and electronics used in aerospace, is one of only two in the state.

Neighboring Golden West College in Huntington Beach has a police training academy that gives a special emphasis to training ethnic minority recruits. And college President Judith Valles offers staff members Spanish classes during her own lunch hour. Also in demand the nursing program.

Their sister college, Coastline, is a non-traditional college offering maximum flexibility to students with televised courses and classes in more than 80 locations throughout western Orange County.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday October 29, 1991 Orange County Edition Metro Part B Page 2 Column 5 Metro Desk 1 inches; 27 words Type of Material: Correction
Coastline--A story Sunday on community colleges incorrectly identified Coastline Community College student Terry Kelly's field of study. He is a telecommunications management major.

Cypress College in Cypress draws students from across Southern California to its programs in nursing and dental hygiene, among others.

Fullerton College opened a center in downtown Anaheim, where it offers academic and vocational programs at an accelerated pace and an Office of Economic Development to work with local businesses and governments. It offers a hazardous-materials handling program and has contracts with labor and industry, including retraining United Auto Workers members to run computerized machinery.

The Rancho Santiago district headquartered in Santa Ana has a fire technology program that offers certificate and degree options for a variety of firefighting, hazardous-materials handling and other public safety careers. It also offers one of the largest English language programs in the state.

Saddleback College in Mission Viejo has a fully accredited nursing program and recently opened a new science and technology building. This spring, it will offer classes in legal assistance.

Once Saddleback's north campus branch, Irvine Valley College now produces many transfer students from its engineering and computer sciences program. To boost computer engineering and manufacturing programs, IBM has donated $4 million in equipment to the college.

It's a sign that industry values what community colleges produce. So, too, must society and its proxy, government, educators say.

"Education is the most important investment the government can make," said Fullerton College President Philip W. Borst. "If you start people with a good education, they'll be self-respecting, self-supporting citizens."


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