published on April 25, 2013 - 8:23 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Carole Goldsmith, President
West Hills College Coalinga

What we do:
We are committed to interactive education that enhances student learning and improves student success — in and out of the class. We do this by empowering faculty and staff to focus on improving student success, improving customer service and on being learner-centered.  We engage the communities we serve to encourage individuals to access the educational opportunities we provide.

Doctorate of Education from Joint Doctorate Program at California State University, Fresno, and University of California, Davis.
Parents, Doyle and Faye Goldsmith of Visalia; two grown children, Chad (22) living in Fort Sill, Oklahoma and Chelsea (20) in Sausalito, California.

What does it mean for you to be the first woman to serve as president of the college, Carole?

West Hills College Coalinga has a history of advancing the principles of inclusion and access. My appointment to president is just another step in the direction established many years ago. Plus, it’s a sign of the diversity we enjoy in the Central Valley. Women and minorities are succeeding in leadership in business and education. I am honored to be the first woman to serve as president of West Hills College Coalinga.

What do you like about the campus and what goals do you want to accomplish there, Carole?

I like that it’s an older campus, founded in 1932, rich in history and tradition. At the same time, it’s a forward-thinking institution. We’re now planning what the college will look like in the future, finishing capital projects and designing space for the 21st Century.

Going from your role as the district’s vice chancellor of educational services and workforce development, what’s different about your focus on one singular campus, Carole?

My former position equipped me for what I’m doing now. The singular focus is different, more in depth, requiring a more comprehensive approach. I now frame my work on the complete college experience for students. Since educational services and workforce development are at the core of our business, my prior experience served me well.

You started the first nurse education program approved by the state since 1965 at West Hills College Lemoore. What other accomplishments are you proud of, Carole?

Many, but I’d cite the Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative, a $3 million project in which we provided training for over 225 West Side residents who learned marketable skills and received job placement. Probably our biggest accomplishment to date is the $19 million TAACCCT Grant from the Department of Labor, which is impacting job training and educational delivery throughout the region.

Tell me about West Hills Community College District’s role in the C6 Consortium (Central California Community Colleges Committed to Change).
The grant is producing ground-breaking results in educating workers for jobs that would otherwise go unfilled, and doing it expeditiously. This may very well change how we provide education in the years to come. We’re the lead college in the 13-college C6 Consortium.

The district has been coordinating a $19.9-million job-training grant for the C6 Consortium since November 2011. What has that grant allowed you to do so far, Carole?

We examined existing practices, devised new ways to deliver instruction in more meaningful ways to students, broken down barriers in order to allow students to get into training courses right away and finish them rapidly. For example, we have produced and begun new courses to reduce the 18-month job training programs to 12 months, so students can get to work sooner. Faculty and staff have streamlined courses in many ways, including the creation of new textbooks that teach skills that employers tell us they need new workers to possess. Plus, those textbooks are now being offered to students at no or low-cost. That is huge. We are taking a modular approach to education, offering shorter classes that start more often; it’s not just the semester approach anymore. It’s a multi-faceted approach, and it’s working.

What opportunities do you foresee with West Hills College Coalinga’s new Farm of the Future agriculture complex, Carole?

Agriculture is really the heart of the business of the San Joaquin Valley. Many colleges offer ag courses. We’re smaller than most of them, but we have the newest technology in our classes. Our students learn the cutting edge methods used in industry when it comes to soil science, application of water and pest control, ways to improve the bottom line. We’ve been focused on cutting edge technology, and we are now revising our programs to look at where the jobs are at and utilize our $24 million facility to find our niche and expand our offerings.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it, Carole?

I worked for my dad in his plumbing contractor business. I inherited a strong work ethic. I learned the value of a handshake, of having your word mean something. And I can fix a sink!

What are your roots in the San Joaquin Valley, Carole?

My parents and grandparents lived in the Visalia area. We moved from the Bay Area while I was in high school. l am a proud Redwood Ranger. I went to College of the Sequoias before transferring to Fresno State.

What do you do in your spare time, Carole?
I’m an only child, so I love spending time with my parents and my extended family of friends. I cycle and have completed a number of triathlons, which consist of biking, swimming and running. I’m training now for a September event. I’m a foodie. I love dining at Vintage Press in Visalia, one of my favorites.

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