President Eibeck Announces New Education, Business and Community Programs to Help Address Critical Needs in Stockton
University of the Pacific President Pamela A. Eibeck announced today a new education initiative aimed at boosting the number of local high school graduates and increasing the number of students who go on to college.
The initiative, The Tomorrow Project, will involve summer, weekend and after-school programs aimed at local students in sixth through twelfth grades. The project is one of a number of new and enhanced University programs the President launched this morning during her "Celebrate Our Shared Future" presentation with Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston before more than 400 local community leaders and Pacific students, professors and staff.
The event was the culmination of Eibeck's listening campaign from the first year of her presidency. The campaign involved a series of community forums titled "Beyond Our Gates...Into the Community" that addressed some of the most critical issues facing the Stockton community. During the presentation, Eibeck outlined plans for the University to continue a partnership with community leaders, improve community engagement programs and install policies that will help support local businesses.
"The futures of Stockton and Pacific are intertwined," said Eibeck. "Stockton's successes help the University, and Pacific's strengths benefit the community."
Pacific's new education initiative will offer intensive summer, weekend and after-school programs designed to supplement local students' regular school curriculum. It will launch in summer 2011 with two pilot programs. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-field academy will be designed to improve students' skills in those fields. For the program, Pacific will partner with Pacific Regent and graduate Jose Hernandez's '85 Reaching for the Stars Foundation. Pacific will also start a music academy with the Stockton Symphony modeled after Venezuela's renowned national "El Sistema" music program.
The advisory board for the education initiative will include Carl Toliver, superintendent of the Stockton Unified School District, and Gary Dei Rossi, deputy superintendent of the San Joaquin County Office of Education. The board will work closely with University professors and staff members on the details of the program.
Eibeck acknowledged that only one out of four students in the county complete the necessary coursework to be eligible for a California public university. In Stockton Unified School District, she noted, only 11 to 13 percent of the students are eligible for state four-year colleges.
"With today's initiatives, we begin our journey toward a shared tomorrow," Eibeck said. "Working together, we can be powerful agents for change."
In addition to the academies, the University will boost scholarship aid for first-generation college students from Stockton. This fall, the Community Involvement Program (CIP) had its largest incoming class ever in its more than 40-year history.
Economic Impact Report
Eibeck also unveiled a new University report by Pacific's Business Forecasting Center at the Eberhardt School of Business that showed the economic impact the University has on Stockton and throughout northern California. Pacific has a law school in Sacramento and a dental school in San Francisco.
The report noted:
• In 2008, Pacific's Stockton campus produced $257 million in local sales
• Pacific's Stockton campus provides nearly 2,000 jobs
• One out of four Pacific undergraduates are from San Joaquin County
• Two-thirds of Pacific's undergraduates are from Northern California
• More than 100,000 people attend Pacific events each year
In her speech, Eibeck highlighted some of the existing Pacific programs that serve the community and the professors and students who run those programs, such as health clinics, reading mentor programs, arts events, business services, environmental studies, and college access programs for underprivileged students.
Eibeck said she will form a Presidential Community Advisory Council made up of area business, government, education and religious leaders that will meet quarterly to advise Pacific on how to improve its current and future community engagement efforts.
"I know you're all familiar with the stereotype of a university as an ivory tower isolated from real life," Eibeck said. "Really, Pacific's people are also Stockton's people. And we are absolutely committed to serving this region."
In addition to providing services and programs to the Stockton community, the University also will contribute to the area financially in a variety of ways:
• Pacific will develop purchasing policies that favor local businesses
• 36 percent reduction in cost of professional and continuing education courses
• Pacific has established an $80,000 fund to reduce the rental cost of University facilities for nonprofit partners
Beyond Our Gates
Since becoming president on July 1, 2009, Eibeck has made community engagement one of her top priorities. In the first year of her presidency at Pacific, she met with residents, business owners, local organizations, local government leaders and regional and national experts during her Beyond Our Gates community forum series.
The six community forums, which were held from January to May 2010, featured comments by leaders in healthcare, education, the economy, diversity, energy and the environment, and arts and culture. After the forums, steering committees made recommendations for new ways Pacific can partner with community organizations to address each area. Over the summer, the recommendations were reviewed and consolidated into the recommendations that Eibeck presented today.
Eibeck pledged during her speech to continue the University's dialogue with community leaders. Twice a year, she will convene Beyond Our Gates community forums that will bring local leaders and experts together to discuss possible solutions to some of the region's critical issues.
"I was listening carefully in our six Beyond Our Gates forums, and I heard you," Eibeck said. "I heard that you believe in Stockton, you are ready for an exciting future, and you need us at Pacific to roll up our sleeves and help you as we take Stockton toward that future."