School:Foothill College

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Campus Overview Wiki Page: Foothill College

Foothill College, Los Altos, California

Foothill College is a public community college founded in 1957. Located in Los Altos, California, Foothill is part of the De-Anza Community District along with De-Anza Community College. The college’s mission is to innovatively equip individuals with quality education and leverage their work as active civilians of a democratic society. The core values that anchor the institution and its members are: compassion, commitment, communication, agency, integrity, collaboration, cultural competency, and accountability. Serving a highly diverse community, Foothill College’s vision is to empower the underserved and underrepresented populations by embracing the student voices and initiatives. Although certificates and Associate's degrees are quite strong, Foothill most heavily prepares its students to transfer to 4-year Universities.

Foothill College has been distinguished from a plethora of other colleges as the best public transfer community college in California. This is a ranking that the college has earned, from providing elite resources, encouraging equity education, and unlocking students’ potential through innovative initiatives over the years. At its nature, it encompasses a healthy community environment, where the student body feels inspired to better their educational experience. Some of the ways they get involved and take action include: Courses/certificates exposing students to the innovation and entrepreneurship world, Clubs/organizations giving student the opportunity to innovate, create, and learn from one another, the student government, the Foothill-Deanza board of trustees, and informational sessions spreading the word about what there is on campus and what new opportunities might exist in the future, hands-on innovation challenges, symposiums, and competitions where students share projects, deepen their understanding, gain exposure, and acquire new skills from learning experiences, internship program and job opportunities on campus to promote exposure and mastering of skills, as well as the Krause Center for Innovation located on campus giving the opportunity to students to broaden and strengthen their educational experience through the makerspace. KCI’s goal is to innovate, educate, and empower faculty and students inside and outside the Foothill campus and is uniquely positioned to address many of the critical issues facing education and workforce development.

Foothill College aims to serve the constantly evolving learning needs of the new generations and keep up with challenges regarding student equity, technology, and accreditation. For that reason, professors at the college are equally supported and exposed to innovation and entrepreneurship. Currently, a recurring Professional Development program is available and highly accessible to professors, and vouches for innovation, achievement, and success. The program includes workshops, funds for conference travel and participation, online training, and multiple events that develop knowledge and skills for the Foothill campus community. In Addition to the program offerings, there is a Weekly Professional Development Newsletter, dedicated to inspiring educators with “food for thought,” practices, techniques, ideas, webinars etc. Educators have the freedom, and are in fact encouraged, to mentor students in their innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives such as clubs, challenges, projects etc. Apart from this program, the Krause Center for Innovation is a physical space that cultivates transformation in the educational career of Foothill college faculty. Although Krause majorly offers learning opportunities for students, it has designed and dedicated an entire program to educators. MERIT, Making Education Relevant through Innovative Teaching, is designed to help teachers bolster their curriculum with new teaching methodologies. Accessible to all members of the faculty team, the Krause Center for Innovation makes sure to respond to the needs of all its equally important stakeholders.

Located in the southern part of the Bay Area, the college’s location undoubtedly helps it blossom in terms of its innovative inclination. Students’ access to neighboring companies, startups, organizations, and spaces can serve as a way for opportunity seeking, whether that’s in the form of jobs, partnerships, or collaboration, and as a way for outer world factors to positively impact the college environment and help it gain traction. Furthermore, co-working spaces and/or incubators, like GSV Labs, and non credit bootcamps and classes run by the Foothill Community Education program provide additional resources to the student body. General funds and grant resources are also available for students through the Foothill/De Anza College Foundation and academic-focused grants like in English or Math. Lastly, the Foothill/DeAnza Board of Trustees is responsible for updating the Standards Policy that establishes the software and hardware standards and other logistical details concerning Foothill’s policies in relation to student resources.

One of the most significant spaces within Foothill College is the Krause Center for Innovation (KCI), which is not only used by the different cohorts of the college, but also extends to the outer community. The range of stakeholders is that much wider, as the programs offered at KCI invite educators to get Design Thinking training and elevate their teaching methods, and even high school students doing concurrent enrollment who can pursue a project of their choice. The Makerspace at the bottom floor of KCI is highly accessible to all students, who have training on how to use the machines of the space at their disposal. The machines range from 3D printers, laser cutters, desktop and format cutters, all the way to compact mills and textile printers, all of which are readily available for student use with a simple “space reservation.”

When it comes to the engagement of Foothill College with regional and local economic development efforts, there are some solid options one can choose from when seeking sources of capital. More specifically, the Inter Club Funds (ICC) are used more purposefully for funding clubs that exist on campus. Each year ICC funds all club events, such as guest panelists, workshops, & competitions. All clubs have access to a maximum of $1700 per academic year to fund its club activities and events. In addition, in order for innovative programs to roll out every so often, proposals are sent to the Bay Area Community College Consortium (BACC), which approves of them and seeks funding opportunities. BACC is a consortium specific to an exclusive number of community colleges, Foothill being one of them. Overall, Foothill College’s engagement with economic development efforts are sufficient to support the students’ innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives.