PALM DESERT — College of the Desert’s innovative student success approach continues to garner both state and national attention, according to Marion Champion, the school’s public information officer.

Just days after being awarded the 2018 Chancellor’s Student Success Award, the College has also been named a finalist for the prestigious 2019 Bellwether Legacy Award.

“The Board of Trustees and I are extremely proud of this recognition and of the efforts of everyone at College of the Desert,” Superintendent/President Joel L. Kinnamon said in a prepared statement. “In an effort to drive change, we instituted a new student success platform and re-imagined counseling and advising structures to help more students than ever achieve their higher educational goals.”

Bellwether Legacy Award

The annual Bellwether Awards are part of the Community College Futures Assembly, established in 1995 and sponsored by the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Florida. The awards focus on innovative programs that other colleges might consider replicating.

The special 25th Anniversary Legacy Award acknowledges outstanding Bellwether winning programs that have illustrated five or more years of successful implementation and replication. Selected through a national panel of expert judges, College of the Desert is one of just 10 finalists from around the country that have been asked to present an overview of its program at the 2019 Community College Futures Assembly taking place February 2–5, 2019.

Chancellor’s Student Success Award

College of the Desert was awarded a 2018 Chancellor’s Student Success Award by California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. Presented to programs that succeed in supporting students as they achieve their higher education goals, College of the Desert was one of only two California Community Colleges that were recognized.


The College launched the plEDGE program in 2017, which promotes clear educational goals/pathways and includes two free years of tuition. The college also overhauled its Student Education Plan program, which puts students who have a selected a major, on a two-year required-course roadmap. By implementing these programs, College of the Desert has increased degree, credential and certificate completion by 43 percent and has increased transfer to CSU by 41 percent.

The College’s EDGE program won both the Chancellor’s Office Student Success award in 2016 and the national Bellwether Award in 2018. Additionally, it helped the College earn recognition as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute.

Established in 1958, College of the Desert, located in Palm Desert, is an accredited community college serving eastern Riverside County, California. The College leads the region in providing higher education, technical training, and lifelong learning opportunities, in response to the dynamic needs of our diverse community. For more information, click here.