The ultra-modern buildings and facilities that make up Diablo Valley College (DVC) belie the very humble beginnings of this community college located in Pleasant Hill, California. The institution was founded in the fall of 1950 and was then known as the Contra Costa Junior College East Campus, yet the word campus was most certainly inappropriate.
The so-called East Campus was actually an abandoned elementary school and additional classes were held in various other locations including a church, a labor hall and a club house. Today, DVC has two campuses, the main one at Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill and a second campus located in the San Ramon Valley.
DVC has 10 divisions offering certificates and associate degrees covering a diverse range of disciplines. These include the division of Applied and Fine Arts, the Biological and Health Sciences division, the Business Education division and the division of Physical Science. The Applied and Fine Arts Division is further divided into five departments – Art and Photography, Foreign Language, Humanities/Philosophy, Music and Performing arts. Various certificate courses are offered by the performing arts department including a certificate in broadcast communication arts. Aimed at students seeking a career in the broadcast industry, the certificate course teaches students about radio and TV production.
The Biological and Health Sciences division is made up of five departments including Biology (offering programs in horticulture, nutrition and oceanography), three dental departments (dental technology, hygiene and assisting) and the department of health services. One of the many programs offered by the department of health services is a certificate or associate degree in addiction studies. The program is aimed at students who wish to pursue careers in addiction prevention and treatment as well as those hoping to work with DUI programs.
Under the business education division are a host of certificate and associate degree programs covering such diverse areas as accounting, management and leadership, marketing, small business management, wealth management and real estate management. Certificate and associate degrees are also offered in computer science.
DVC also offers certificates in several foreign languages including Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, French, German and Italian.
In total, this college offers over 2,600 courses and provides educational instruction to more people than any other institution in the county of Contra Costa. In addition to offering instructions at its two campuses, DVC has an extensive distance program and some of its courses can be taken entirely online. To serve its vast student population, DVC employs 300 full-time and over 350 part-time faculty.
DVC is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community Colleges and Junior Schools (ACCJC).
Most Popular Fields of Study
Students attending DVC have a variety of different sources of financial aid available. Most students who seek aid are able to get the help they need. There are a total of 7 grants and waivers that students can apply for. The Board of Governor’s Waiver is a grant offered by the State of California and benefits needy students who are residents of the state. Through the waiver, the student’s enrollment fees are waived and to qualify, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has to be satisfied that the applicant is in financial need.
Through the State’s Cal Grants, a student attending DVC could obtain assistance with living and tuition fees for up to $1,550 per academic year. Similar to Cal Grants is the Chafee Grant Program which is aimed at current or former foster youth who desire to go to college. To qualify, the applicant has to be aged between 16 and 18 and must be enrolled at the college.
Nationally available grants include the Federal Pell Grant and beneficiaries could obtain between $400 and $4,300 per academic year depending on the financial need of the student and the course enrolled for. Winners of Pell grants who demonstrate exceptional financial need can benefit from further aid in the form of Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG).
DVC also offers part-time employment to those of its students who qualify for work under the Federal Work-Study program. Most of the employment opportunities are available on the college’s campuses as well as other off-campus locations. Those who obtain such employment are required to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week and they should also be eligible for Pell grants. The State of California also funds the CalWorks Work-Study program.
DVC students pursuing courses that lead to careers in child development could apply for a partial reimbursement of their tuition expenses as there are funds offered for these programs by the Child Development Training Consortium (CDTC).
A host of scholarships are also available for students attending this school. Under the Chicana/Latina Foundation Scholarship Program, 30 Latina students are awarded scholarships of $1,500 per academic year but this scholarship is only open to women of Chicana/Latina heritage. In memory of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Kennedy-King Memorial College Scholarship Fund provides scholarships worth $8,000 each year. These scholarship programs finance the education of students from minority and under-represented groups who attend the state’s four-year colleges after graduating from the community colleges of Contra Costa such as DVC.
Students who fail to obtain a grant, scholarship or work-study financial aid could also apply for federal loans such as the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan and the Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students. While these help lessen the burden of paying tuition while attending college, they should only be taken as a last resort since they have to be repaid.
Student Financial Aid Details
The student population at DVC is a mixture of young and adult learners but the majority of the students are aged between 20 and 24. There is also a sizable number of students aged between 30 and 50 years and more than 50% of registered students are women. Most of the college’s students pursue part-time studies and only one-third are full-timers; however, in recent years the number of full-time students has been increasing steadily. Freshmen account for about 54% of the student population.
Student life at DVC has always been vibrant and many activities are provided to cater for the varying needs of the college’s diverse student population. Extra-curricular needs are taken care of by over 55 clubs and special interest organizations. Some of the clubs were formed at the inception of the college and have developed long traditions.
Issues affecting students are addressed by the student’s government, the Associated Students of Diablo Valley College (ASDVC). Moreover, students can air their views through the college student newspaper, the Inquirer. This newspaper has always been part of the college and was first produced in 1950. Over the years it has changed names – from East Contra Costa Junior College to East Campus, Viking Reporter and then its present name.
For students with disabilities, DVC has developed the Disability Support Services (DSS) program which endeavors to put all of the institution’s facilities within the reach of those battling with various challenges. Under the program, the college has developed DSS Testing Accommodation Services and DSS Note Taking Services. Researchers at DVC have also developed special teaching programs aimed at making faculty more effective in reaching students. Different programs have been developed for Visual/Nonverbal learners and others for Visual/Verbal learners.
Student Enrollment Demographics
At this college, you will find that it has Intercollegiate Athletic teams competing in a wide variety of sports and games including baseball, basketball, cross country, tennis, swimming and diving as well as football, water polo and track and field.
The success of the college’s teams over the years is perhaps best appreciated by looking at some of the athletes who have been inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame. Bayani Flores is one of the most successful water polo players who transferred from DVC to complete studies at UC-Berkeley. This athlete won selection to the All-Conference and All-American water polo teams in 1997 and 1998 and reached the NCAA final in 2002, in addition to, competing in the Olympic trials in both 2000 and 2004.
One of the greatest players that the college’s baseball team has ever-produced is Jake Benz who led DVC’s team to Regional finals in 1991 and 1992. After successfully transferring to Oklahoma State University in 1993, he was the MVP of the NCAA Midwest Region in 1994 and went on to play in the College World Series. In all of his four years at college, he earned selection to the First Team All-Conference.
Another inductee, Hillary Plummer Menna, in addition to being DVC’s MVP in 1995/6, was also a two-time Coast Conference Female Swimmer of the Year. In 1995, she earned All-American status in seven events and she was particularly great in freestyle.
The successes recorded by Hillary Menna seem to have been passed on to DVC’s Women Swim Team which has consistently won the Team Scholar Award. This award is administered by the California Community College Commission on Athletics in conjunction with the National Alliance of Two-Year Colleges and is awarded to one school for each sport. Winners of the Team Scholar Award are students who have not only excelled in sports but have also attained a combined team grade point average of 3.0 or higher. With 4 Team Scholar wins, DVC holds the record for California community colleges.
Carrie Petersen earned her Bachelors of Science in Education and a Masters of School leadership at Northern Illinois University. Carrie likes to travel with her husband and two sons.