F A C C C T S | S U M M E R 2 0 1 8 | W W W. F A C C C . O R G 1 5 Today, I dream about empowering the next generation of students to accomplish their full potential. try?” His words were ingrained in me. I stayed in the course, earned the highest grade, and a year later I declared my major in that department. Dr. Roe believed in me. Luck doesn’t get low-income first-generation college students to and through college. It is an intentional set of practices by campuses, statewide policies, and hard work from students, staff, and faculty. I learned this lesson throughout my journey and it was reaffirmed during my time as a lecturer at the University of California Santa Bar- bara (UCSB). I was teaching an upper division methods course in the So- ciology Department, and while the majority of my students were doing well, one was clearly failing. I asked him to come to my office hours and he showed up a week later. I explained that I was concerned because he had just failed the midterm. He agreed that his performance was not adequate, and as I was ready to conclude our meeting he said, “But it’s just . . . never mind.” He got up and started to leave. I stopped him and asked him to finish his sentence. He revealed that he was homeless, lived in a car and had not eaten in three days. He moved in and out of community college and UCSB, was undocumented, and was trying to save money. In that mo- ment, I realized I had amassed privilege that I had neglected to acknowledge, and I had forgotten about the faculty and teachers who met me half way and gave me an opportunity to succeed. I did what I believe any faculty member would do. I fin- ished my office hours and took him to lunch. This moment provided me with clarity and a new direction for my career. I wanted to do and help more than one student at a time. Chancellor Oakley and the Vision for Success guide the reform and opportunities that our students need to beat the odds. I joined the Chancellor’s Office because nearly 48 per- cent of our students fail to succeed at their educational goals, and even after six years, only 34 percent of our students complete transfer level math and English. I want to do more to help colleges and faculty meet students where they are. In the last few months, I have met many inspiring California Community College faculty who are meeting students where they are. From them, I have learned that the Vision for Success gives our system the opportunity to demand more from our statewide leaders and our local elected officials and trustees. As a budget consultant for the California State Assembly, I managed $11.2 billion in state and federal funds during the worst budget crisis our state has ever experienced since the Great Depression. The strongest argument against reduc- tions is showing legislators that education is not a cost, but an investment. Our state will see another financial crisis, perhaps soon, and I believe our system will need to show that we have made progress to prove that we are a priority investment. When our system commits to Guided Pathways, and to providing students with a clear and accessible path to com- pletion and in-demand jobs, we are not only investing in the future of students, but in our state. When we say AB 705 will ensure that our students are not delayed or deterred, we are saying to state legislators that we are an investment that is helping to ensure that students succeed, and deserving of more funds to meet students where they are. I know first-hand the powerful, life-changing role faculty play in the lives of students like me. For many California Community College students, you are the first person that ever believed in them. Thank you for believing in our stu- dents and helping students like me succeed.