W E A R E A L L C O D 1 On behalf of the Board ofTrustees, faculty and staff, I am proud to present this Annual Report for College of the Desert. One of the most rewarding things about working at California’s fastest-growing community college is the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with local education, business and community partners to develop pathways and pipelines to prepare students for jobs, careers and productive lives. Everywhere you look, you see the results of our collective efforts. Our students and alumni are local business owners, nurses, hospitality and childcare workers, architects and designers, teachers and engineers, firefighters and public safety officers, and so much more.They are COD. This past year was one of our strongest yet as continued signs of growth and excitement around increasing student success set the stage for a promising year ahead. In 2017, College of the Desert was named one of 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges. The College was also named one of 10 finalists in two categories for the prestigious Bellwether Award, a national honor that“focuses on cutting-edge, trendsetting programs”and recognizes innovative program planning and processes. Each year, more than 15,000 students enroll at College of the Desert, over 30% more than just five years ago. In May 2017, we celebrated the largest graduating class in our history for the third straight year. To make college even more accessible to prospective students where they live and work, we’ve expanded classrooms in Desert Hot Springs, Indio and Mecca/Thermal, and opened a temporary Palm Springs campus. Thanks to the support of our generous desert community, we proudly launched our tuition-free plEDGE program, benefiting about 1,000 new students who graduated from local high schools and now attend College of the Desert full-time. This program helps remove some of the economic barriers for many of our students entering college for the first time while also providing critical guidance, skills, and support essential to students achieving their educational and career goals. Local support has been so strong that our current plEDGE students will receive a second year and all 2018 high school graduates will be guaranteed two years at COD tuition-free. In January 2018, we begin our 60th Anniversary celebration with a special State of the College featuring a look back on our history and honoring our legacy of service to our students and community. A series of special events and projects highlighting progress and achievement will follow throughout the year. None of these exciting accomplishments would be possible without the support you have shown your community college for six decades and counting.There is so much to celebrate, most especially your continued interest and support. I am.You are.We are all COD. Joel L. Kinnamon, Ed.D. Superintendent/President More Students Have Greater Access to the College Dream Than Ever