An Evening with Carole Goldsmith — Fresno City College President


Photo by: Ram Reyes

Fresno City College President Carole Goldsmith talks about her plans for the college on Aug. 28, 2018.

Two years into her presidency, Carole Goldsmith works tirelessly to lead Fresno City College into the future through innovative programs such as Bolt to College and FCC Everywhere, while overseeing several Measure C projects.

Goldsmith says running the largest institution in the Valley isn’t a responsibility she takes lightly.

“Knowing that over 36,0000 students come here for some hope that their life will be better — that’s a tremendous responsibility,” she said.

Goldsmith says her job is one of balance. Key to her success — meditation, praying, clean eating, and not taking herself too seriously.

“I have the best job in California,” Goldsmith said. “I get to influence the direction of a lot of people’s lives, and it’s a beautiful thing.”

Leading FCC into the Future
She says FCC is redefining the face of education in the Central Valley.

The Measure C funded construction of the West Fresno campus, the Math, Science, and Engineering building, the Child Care Center, and the Police and Fire Center in southeast Fresno are critical in not only the expansion of FCC, but investing in historically underprivileged neighborhoods, Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith says the article “Fresno’s Mason-Dixie Line,” published in the Atlantic, has opened a great dialogue about Fresno’s history in creating the poverty divide. The success of the West Fresno and south east Fresno campuses are critical in ensuring higher education is accessible for all residents.

“FCC has an opportunity to once again play a pivotal part in history by doing what is ethically and morally right,” Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith’s administration recently launched FCC Everywhere, a partnership with Fresno Unified School District that offers evening college classes at Sunnyside and Edison High, as well as Fresno Pacific University.

Goldsmith says the program is a way to offer the community educational services while the construction of the West Fresno Campus and South East campus is underway.

“It is to start sowing seeds of hope in the anticipation that we will be building in southwest and southeast,” she said, adding that her administration has taken the lead in ensuring students graduate in a timely manner.

The College’s 15 to Finish initiative, the Finish Faster partnership with the CSU system, and the dual enrollment program with Design Science High School are efforts to get students through college more quickly.

Goldsmith says she’s been working with faculty and instructional deans to facilitate the dissemination of information regarding the timely graduation and transfer for students.

“Being able to provide that information in a clear and concise manner to our students is really important,” Goldsmith said. “I hope that one of the things I’ll be remembered for is not only as a community advocate — who helps the community through our educational goals — but also as one who helps eliminate silos and increase transparency.”

Biggest Issues facing Fresno City

“Ask anybody, it’s parking,” Goldsmith said.

Among the initiatives to alleviate the parking congestion at FCC are — The Q, the Bolt to College initiative, and the free bus fare partnership with the Associated Student Government. Goldsmith says these initiatives are a way of reducing the city’s carbon footprint. She wants community members to start thinking of Fresno as a large metropolitan city.

Before moving forward on building more parking spots, Goldsmith says they are assessing the efficiency of all the programs in order to determine the actual need for students.

The college is conducting a study on the parking situation to obtain recent data on the congestion. The most recent is eight years old.

The Bolt to College ridesharing program will also be taken into account. Goldsmith says the college will look at the data in about a year to determine the efficiency of the program, and see if it is worth replicating.

Goldsmith’s administration is also in the planning stages with the city of Fresno, transit providers, and Christine Mikatarian, SCCCD’s vice chancellor of operations systems, in determining how to issue permits and offer transportation from the newly acquired downtown parking structure in SCCCD’s new office.

“I hope to have something announced for that for the spring semester,” Goldsmith said. “We’ll do a pilot test on that.”

Goals for the Future
Goldsmith says her top priorities are growth, leadership, and success for the institution.

The college serves more than 36,000 students, with an estimated 18,000 full time equivalent students. Goldsmith wants to increase that number to 20,000 FTES in order to receive an additional $700,000 in state funding and faculty.

She also wants to increase the number of guided pathway programs and access to FCC, as well as build partnerships with Central Unified School District and Kerman.

“A lot of our students are from Central,” she said. “So we want to make sure we have clear bridges from Central Unified to Fresno City College.”

Goldsmith is also working on raising the next generation of leaders. She has taken on two mentees and is working with FUSD to take a few high school students under her wing.

She also addressed the issues concerning not having enough American Sign Language interpreters on campus. Goldsmith said her inability to find an interpreter during her open forum on Aug. 22, plus the ensuing technical difficulties, were shocking.

“It was a great learning moment for me because it allowed me the opportunity to experience the frustration that my deaf students must feel,” Goldsmith said. “That’s something that is also going to be on my list about how do we have better services for our deaf students and deaf faculty.”

Advice for first time students

Goldsmith’s advice for first time students is to be present.

“This is your once in a lifetime shot of really making something amazing out of your life,” she says.

She says it’s easy to hit the snooze on life, and just coast, but that the biggest gift you can give yourself is to be fully present.

“You can’t change the past all you can take care of is right here right now,” Goldsmith said. “So just show up, do your best, and the rest will follow.”