PCC President Endrijonas Speaks at Rotary Club

Erika Endrijonas
Erika Endrijonas

She may be new, but she’s gearing up to usher Pasadena City College into its centennial and beyond.
Erika Endrijonas, the new superintendent and president of PCC, spent much of her introduction to the Rotary Club of San Marino recently outlining her, well, outline for developing the next decade’s institutional master plan and revisiting the facilities master plan, all in preparation of the school’s 100th anniversary in 2024.
“We are focused on our very rich traditions and our history within the community, but it’s also time to think about what we want to be as we enter our second century,” she said. “The story of PCC is basically the story of excellence.”
The accolades and superlatives certainly seem to back that up. The institution — per Endrijonas’ presentation to the club — was tops in the state for awarding transferring associate degrees and also associate of art degrees in general. It was ranked by the Aspen Institute twice in a row recently as a Top 10 community college in the nation. According to OpenStax, PCC also was No. 1 nationwide for use of open-source and free textbooks.
“What that translates into is that, over the last five years, 46,000 of our students have saved more than $4.2 million in textbook costs, and that’s huge,” Endrijonas said.
The surgical technician program at PCC boasts a 100% passage and employment rate, Endrijonas added, and the state also recognized PCC for exceptional outcomes in earnings, with radiography program graduates seeing an income boost of 223% and nursing program graduates earning 178% more.
“That’s significant,” she said. “They came to our college. They learned a skill. They went out into the community and they are making a difference and making a living, and that’s 50% of the mission we do at Pasadena City College.”
The outline of the institutional master plan was straightforward. Endrijonas said she hopes to increase degree and certificate completion within five years. She wants to maintain and improve the school’s excellent transfer rate, including to private institutions. She wants to spread the success of workforce placement around more.
One cultural goal was trimming back on credit accumulation by students, which can be indicative of indecision or wrong program placement by a student.
“It used to be that you went to college and you were going to find yourself, right?,” she told Rotarians. “You were going to take this class and that class and [it was], ‘Well maybe I like this’ and ‘Maybe I don’t.’
“Well, the chancellor’s office is very interested in helping people get through their programs, so what they’ve done is set a goal of reducing the number of units a student takes down to as few as 79,” she continued, explaining that a typical associate’s degree requires 60 units. “That’s a reasonable amount to get to but you have to do more direct counseling and you have to get students focused earlier in their programs.”
The fifth goal also was fairly well-defined: reduce the equity gap by 40% within five years and by 100% in 10 years.
“We’re trying to create a system at our college for any student who walks through the door — and keep in mind we admit the top 100% of all high school graduates,” Endrijonas quipped. “Even if you didn’t graduate, we serve you. Our job with this equity goal is to get every single person across that finish line.”
This part of the master plan, which will consider community input, is expected to be completed no later than January.
A facilities master plan would include all four campuses for PCC and would include addressing the usual scourge of public buildings — deferred maintenance — as well as whether new facilities are needed. In keeping with the times, planners would look to install the big open educational spaces that students now want and plan for high-bandwidth internet access campus-wide. A bond election could be considered next year to achieve this.
Endrijonas said PCC already is planning for reaccreditation in 2021: “My goal is that we will be deemed 100% compliant with all of the accreditation standards, as we were at my last college,” she mentioned. And, generally, on how to enrich the iconic campus and its history to the community.
“Basically, we are awesome and we are getting more awesomer,” Endrijonas declared.

Leave a Reply