Chancellor, California Community Colleges
Brice W. Harris’ has distinguished himself for his commitment to student access and success,
and for his devotion to the community college mission. His leadership skills and keen
understanding of educational policy have benefited thousands of community college students.
In November 2012, Harris was appointed chancellor of the California Community Colleges, a
system of 113 colleges that serve more than 2 million students. At the time, the state’s colleges
faced dramatic funding cuts and declining enrollment. Under his leadership, not only has
enrollment increased, but completion rates have skyrocketed, as well.
Harris successfully advocated for key policy initiatives that enhanced student success and
completion, including supports to improve transfer and career pathways for community college
graduates. The highly-popular Associate Degree for Transfer program was established with
California State University, and, in 2014, Harris helped secure legislation to create California’s
Community College Baccalaureate Pilot Program.
In terms of funding, Harris’ work with the legislature and governor resulted in Fiscal Year
2015–16 seeing the largest budget increase for community colleges in the state’s history. Special
legislation also was passed that authorized an appropriation of hundreds of millions of dollars for
community colleges to adopt the systems and practices necessary to support student success,
diversity and equity. This had the power to transform California’s community colleges, leading to
a jump in persistence, retention and success.
Prior to serving as chancellor of the system, Harris was chancellor of the Los Rios Community
College District for 16 years. While there, he pushed for improved student outcomes,
established a fourth college, and developed five additional educational centers in
underserved areas of the region.
In his 45-year career in community college education, Harris also has been a teacher and
a mentor. He’s active in his community, serving on several boards, including the California
Chamber of Commerce and the PRIDE Foundation, which is the largest employer of people
with disabilities in the United States. He has served on the board of directors of the American
Association of Community Colleges and is a former commissioner of the Accrediting Commission
of Community and Junior Colleges. He’s received several awards and, in 2012, was named the
Pacific Region CEO of the Year by the Association of Community College Trustees.
Harris holds a B.A. in communications and theatre from Southwestern Oklahoma State
University, an M.A. from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and an E.D. in higher education
administration form Nova Southeastern University.