President Goldsmith: One Year Later


Photo by: Ram Reyes

Fresno City College president Carole Goldsmith

Story By: Seth Casey, Reporter

Carole Goldsmith became president of Fresno City College in August 2016. Now just over a year into her tenure, she has begun to make her own mark on both the operations and the culture of the school.

“Our vision is to transform lives through education,” Goldsmith said. “We need to create an environment that reflects the grandeur and the educational excellence that is offered through Fresno City College.”

Goldsmith said that the moment she set foot on the FCC campus, it was evident to her that the school embodied and reflected a culture of tolerance, acceptance and respect. She saw it everywhere she looked, leading her to her goal of leading the college community beyond cultural sensitivity to a “culturally competent” and “culturally humble” institution.

She said when she came to campus to interview for her position last year, she observed students lined up at the Ram Pantry — an example of the desire for social justice and equality by students and faculty.

Now, Goldsmith is working to expand the Ram Pantry program, which offers free food for students. She is in negotiations with local produce suppliers to provide fresh produce for students. She is developing partnerships with other organizations to begin offering hygiene necessities free of charge at the Ram Pantry.

In her young residency at FCC, Goldsmith’s administration has undertaken a number of projects on and off campus, from the development of a new FCC campus in west Fresno, to a complete restructuring of the college’s website.

She says that in all these projects, her focus is to meet the needs of the student body and the Fresno community, by first listening and understanding in order to formulate and expand programs and initiatives that can better meet and fulfill those needs.

“It’s not always about ‘my way or the highway’,” she said. “It’s about how do we work together to get to a common goal.” Goldsmith said she devotes a great deal of time listening “passionately and deeply to the community” so that decisions truly reflect what is in everyone’s best interest.  

Although Goldsmith saw many accomplishments in her first year, it was not without its challenges.

Not all of Goldsmith’s proposed projects have been met with unanimous approval, for example, the proposed west Fresno campus was met with some resistance. However, through open forum meetings with the community she learned that the disagreement arose from a concern over a lack of housing included in the proposal. Goldsmith says these disagreements lead to productive discourse and then more comprehensive and valuable administrative decisions.

“That’s been one of the biggest challenges— trying to continually change the narrative of ‘well, we have always done it this way’,” Goldsmith said. “I think the misunderstandings that may have happened along the way have been able to be resolved through honest and upfront, transparent communication.”

Goldsmith’s dedication to inclusiveness, fairness and respect have been exhibited in her administrative actions and demonstrated by her hands-on involvement such as her presence at community action events.

“I saw her at the ‘Rally Against Hate’ in the Tower District in August,” said Thomas Martin, executive vice president of the Associated Student Government. “She cares about people and is willing to literally stand in solidarity with those striving for a better world, not just talk about it.”

Goldsmith’s administrative policies have also shown her dedication to education, and she works to expand the accessibility and availability of educational programs throughout Fresno.

Her goal is to further this accessibility by expanding programs such as FCC’s partnership with local high schools like Sunnyside, which offer night classes to adults on their campus, and extending the college’s community with the addition of a west Fresno campus.

During her time, Goldsmith has worked to fill interim positions in the administration. She says she seeks to not just fill the vacancies, but to find top candidates who will further the college’s culture of acceptance and equality.

FCC’s online course offerings have doubled during her first year, according to Goldsmith.  She says she is also proud of the dual-enrollment program which allows high school students to take classes for college credits at FCC, which has doubled in size during her tenure.

Goldsmith’s career in the educational field spans more than 25 years, including several years as vice-principal of Cesar Chavez Adult School. She was president for three and a half years at the Coalinga campus of the West Hills Community College District prior to her current role at FCC.

Goldsmith told the Rampage in August 2016 that she has lived in the FCC neighborhood for most of her adult life, and that working at the college was something she had always wanted to do.

“We are a learning institution, so it is not just about learning for our students, it is about learning for all of us,” Goldsmith said. “It’s about evolution, and sometimes revolution.”