April 19, 2023

San Diego Mesa College Baccalaureate Project Receives 2023 Honorable Mention Award from the RP Group

By Office of Communications

RP Group

San Mateo, CA – On April 12, 2023, a Project entitled Benefits and Opportunities: California’s Community College Baccalaureate Programs, led by Hai Hoang, Acting Dean of Institutional Effectiveness at San Diego Mesa College, was awarded as a 2023 Honorable Mention Project.


In April 2023, the RP Group recognized Hai Hoang at San Diego Mesa College for his leadership in the statewide evaluation for the Bachelor’s Degree Program since 2019 leading to AB 927. Hai also collaborated with UCLA to publish a research brief titled "Benefits and Opportunities: California's Community College Baccalaureate Programs" through Wheelhouse at UC Davis, which provided compelling evidence that the Bachelor's Degree Program has increased access and success for special populations, helped them secure good-paying jobs, and is benefiting the California economy.


“This is an opportunity to help students become more fully aware of the potential of the Bachelor's Degree Program for increasing success and access because the program is very new and is only offered at a few colleges in the state,” stated Hai Hoang, Acting Dean of Institutional Effectiveness at San Diego Mesa College. “It has proven to be effective in helping students graduate, find employment, and contribute to the California economy.  For example, with over 70% of our students belonging to at least one special population group, 67% graduating within 2 years (78% in 3 years), and a 37% increase in salary (around $18,400 more) upon program completion, we have successfully provided greater access and success to our students.”


The Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges (The RP Group) a non-profit, non-partisan team with a shared and resolute goal: to increase the success of California Community Colleges and beyond. Each year, the RP Group acknowledges exceptional contributions made by individuals and organizations in advancing student and institutional success through community college research, planning, and institutional effectiveness efforts every year.


Project Title: Benefits and Opportunities: California’s Community College Baccalaureate Programs


Led by Project Team Members:

Hai Hoang, Lead Researcher, CCC Bachelor’s Degree Program; Acting Dean, Institutional Effectiveness, San Diego Mesa College
Davis Vo, PhD Student, School of Education & Information Studies, UCLA
Cecilia Rios-Aguilar, Professor, School of Education & Information Studies; Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, UCLA


Project Description:

Behind this publication is a lesser-known story about the research supporting SB 850, SB 77, and AB 927. In 2014, SB 850 was enacted to allow 15 community colleges in California to launch a pilot Bachelor's Degree Program (BDP), with an evaluation by the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) due by July 2022. This evaluation was critical in determining the future of the statewide program. However, in July 2019, SB 77 moved the final evaluation date up by 17 months. As there was no established research infrastructure or organizational structure, the 15 colleges immediately held an in-person meeting. At this point, Hai Hoang, Research and Planning Analyst at San Diego Mesa College, volunteered to lead the statewide data collection process to produce the results that could be used by the LAO. Given the tight timeline, Hai opted to create a survey centered on the absent data elements mandated by SB 850, such as employment metrics and loan information, in addition to data regarding program efficacy and underrepresented populations. During the next four months, Hai coordinated the data request from the LAO, developed the Employment Outcomes Survey in collaboration with various stakeholders statewide, managed the survey collection process , analyzed the data, and submitted the results to the LAO in November 2019. Unfortunately, not all the rich data collected from this effort were included in the LAO report, which featured other dimensions of the BDP.


Due to COVID-19, the California legislature postponed the BDP discussion until 2021, which provided more time to collect data. Two years were spent developing a more comprehensive plan, including an entry survey, an exit survey, and an employment outcomes survey, and the collection and analysis of additional data, such as cohort and demographic information. These findings were shared with key leaders to advocate for the program in the state legislature.


In 2021, a research partnership with UCLA was established to further advocate for and improve the BDP. This began with a research brief on the program focusing on employment and graduation information. In October 2021, AB 927 was signed into law, making the BDP permanent and allowing for the establishment of more programs annually. This was truly a historical milestone for California’s higher education system. In 2022, the research brief was published by UC Davis Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research, providing a reputable source of public documentation on the BDP's outcomes. Based on institutional records, Management Information System (MIS), a comparable dashboard from the California State University system, and three years of survey data (above 82% response rate), the research brief demonstrated many favorable outcomes of the program.


For instance, half of the survey participants stated that they would not have pursued a bachelor’s degree without the program, over 70% identified as belonging to at least one special population group, 67% of students who began upper-division courses earned a bachelor’s degree within two years (and 78% within three years), and graduates reported a 37% increase in salary (equivalent to $18,400 more) upon program completion. This initial data showed that the Bachelor's Degree Program has significant potential to advance equity and opportunity in a new higher education pathway.


This new pathway requires education researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to evolve their understanding of the ways in which students interact with the community college system. The partnership with UCLA represents an important step toward conducting a new wave of research that will closely examine the program implementation, with the ultimate goal of strengthening racial equity in all aspects of the program. It is imperative that the state and other entities allocate additional resources to support the ongoing efforts and establish a sustainable research infrastructure to advance our understanding of and to enhance BDP.


Mesa College Health Information Management (HIM) Bachelor’s program video and photo albums:

Video: San Diego Mesa College Health Information Management (HIM) Program Benefits


2022 HIM Capstone Project Presentations

2022 HIM Graduates group photo

2019 HIM Completion Ceremony


About the Mesa College Health Information Management (HIM) Bachelor’s degree program:

The Bachelor of Science degree in Health Information Management (HIM) at Mesa College program provides accessible, high-quality industry-approved instruction designed to prepare students to work at a management level in a variety of healthcare settings including acute and subacute hospitals, outpatient clinics, government health agencies, and electronic health records industry vendors. The first two years of the HIM program consist of the Health Information Technology two-year associate degree program, which prepares students to apply for Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification. The third and fourth years of the program consists of upper-division coursework that culminates in a B.S. in Health Information Management. After completion of the degree, students are prepared to apply for Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification. Learn more at


About San Diego Mesa College

San Diego Mesa College is a fully accredited, comprehensive college committed to equity and excellence. We honor our diverse community of students, faculty, professional staff, and administrators who collaborate to foster scholarship, leadership, access, and innovation in an inclusive learning environment. By promoting student learning and achievement that leads to degrees and certificates, transfer, workforce training, and lifelong learning, we empower our students to reach their educational goals and shape their future. Among the largest community colleges in California, Mesa serves 25,000 students per year, 25% of whom are full-time. Mesa offers nearly 200 associate degree and certificate programs and is one of 15 California community colleges offering a four-year baccalaureate degree. Mesa ranks as San Diego’s top transfer institution, is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), and a Military Friendly School, serving nearly 2,500 veterans and their families.


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