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General Information

History of the College

Taft Junior College was established August 30, 1922, as part of the Taft Union High School District. Classes were held on the high school campus. The school title officially became Taft College on July 1, 1954, and in September of 1956, a separate campus opened on Emmons Park Drive adjacent to the high school. In 2013, the street was renamed Cougar Court.

The West Kern Junior College District was formed in an election on June 19, 1962, and became operative on July 1, 1963. Two years later, the Maricopa Unified District was annexed to the West Kern Junior College District, and on July 1, 1971, the district’s name was changed to the West Kern Community College District. Taft College is a single-college district under the guidance of a five-member Board of Trustees. The Chief Administrative Officer is the Superintendent/President of the district.

Taft College is located in the City of Taft in the southwestern corner of the San Joaquin Valley. The district contains 735 square miles and is composed of the elementary schools districts of Taft City, Midway, McKittrick, Elk Hills and the Maricopa Unified District. The service area of Taft College has a population base of about 27,000 people.

In March, 2004 residents of the West Kern Community College District approved a $39.8 million bond for the construction and renovation of Taft College facilities.

Taft College embarked on an ambitious modernization and construction project that has completely transformed the campus. Virtually every existing campus building has been affected. Some buildings have been demolished to make way for new buildings; others have been remodeled to make them more efficient and attractive. This major facelift is near completion and used local and state bond revenue. The current construction project is a new student center.

The campus includes several facilities and programs that are unique in California Community Colleges. The first is a residence hall complex that houses nearly 200 students. Another unique program is the Dental Hygiene Program which serves the community and is one of the best in the state. A third facility is the Children’s Center, one of the largest single-site child care facilities in the California Community College system and in the entire county. A fourth program is our Transition to Independent Living Program (TIL). TIL is a two-year residential program that teaches individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live independently. It has received national attention as a unique program. Taft College provides a variety of degrees and certificates in an effort to meet the educational needs of the community.

Institutional Student Learning Outcomes (ISLO’s)

Taft College identified four Institutional Learning Outcomes, referred to as ISLOs, to include; Communication, Critical and Creative Thinking, Computation, and Community/Global Consciousness and Responsibility. We believe students completing a field of study at Taft College should have competency in each of the four institutional set outcomes. Students are assessed throughout their tenure at Taft College on each ISLO and the sub-levels by rubrics that were modified from the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ LEAP Project.

Taft College
ISLO Categories Representative Outcomes – Students achieving these outcomes will be able to:
1. Communication
a. Deliver focused and coherent presentations: demonstrate active, discerning listening and speaking skills in lectures and discussions; demonstrate active reading skills and thorough comprehension; and write clearly and effectively.
b. Deliver focused and coherent presentations.
c. Demonstrate active reading skills and thorough comprehension.
d. Demonstrate speaking skills.
e. Demonstrate competence in both active and emphatic listening.
f. Write clearly and effectively at an associate degree (Freshman English) level upon graduation.
2. Community/Global Consciousness and Responsibility
a. Demonstrate social and cultural awareness, ethical behavior, effective and sensitive communication, and a commitment to learning.
b. Analyze from various perspectives, the implications of events, past or present, on a diverse population groups external to the U.S.
c. Apply relevant facts and assumptions related to an ethical dilemma.
d. Apply theoretical models for cross-cultural comparisons.
e. Assess how the world has been and continues to be shaped by natural, social, and cultural processes and evaluate how their own lives are impacted by these processes.
f. Compare and contrast essential cultural and social similarities and differences between two cultures.
g. Demonstrate professional and ethical behavior.
h. Identify key issues facing the contemporary world in terms of outcomes.
i. Practice ethical behavior in dealing with people, problems, and situations.
j. Take responsibility for their own actions and well-being, make ethical decisions in complex situations, and participate actively in a diverse society.
3. Quantitative Reasoning
a. Solve problems involving data gathering and analysis, apply mathematical concepts, and use technology in these processes.
b. Apply mathematical concepts to a variety of everyday life situations.
c. Solve problems involving data gathering and analysis.
4. Critical Thinking
a. Analyze, interpret, explain and evaluate texts, ideas, works of art, and scientific and mathematical problems.
b. Analyze, discriminate, organize, and scrutinize assumptions in an attempt to identify evidence for a conclusion.
c. Judge or evaluate information based upon standards and criteria, values and opinions.
d. Remember or recognize information or specifics as communicated with little assimilation.
e. Grasp the meaning behind the information and interprets, translates, or comprehends the information.
f. Demonstrate an ability to combine existing elements in an innovative way to create a new purpose or result.
g. Think innovatively, extending a novel or unique idea, question, format, or product to create new knowledge or knowledge that crosses boundaries.

Academic Freedom and the Faculty (BP 4030)

Reference: Title 5, Section 51023; Accreditation Standard II.B.2.(a). Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual instructor or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition. In order to assure the academic integrity of the teaching-learning process, faculty will distinguish between personal conviction and professionally accepted views in a discipline. They present data and information fairly and objectively.

  1. The instructor is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of his/her other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.
  2. The instructor is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his/her subject, but he/she should be careful not to introduce into his/her teaching controversial matter that has no relation to his/her subject. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.
  3. The college or university instructor is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of an educational institution. When he/she speaks or writes as a citizen, he/she should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his/her special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a person of learning and an educational officer, he/she should remember that the public may judge his/her profession and his/her institution as his/her utterances. Hence he/she should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should respect other’s opinions, and should make every effort to indicate that he/she is not an institutional spokesperson.

Academic Freedom and Students

  1. By accepting an academic course of study within the College system, students accept the principle they will study in an environment which is designed to present the fullest range of academic insight in the subjects they are enrolled in, including contemporary and historical perspectives, and open, thoughtful examination of differing points of view in pursuit of knowledge within general and specific fields of study.
  2. Academic freedom allows students to take reasoned exception to the concepts and conclusions presented in any course of study. Students are, however, responsible for learning the content of any course in which they are enrolled, and can expect to be tested on their knowledge of such information.

Semester System

The College operates on a semester system. Each semester is 17 weeks, including a week for final exams. The fall semester begins in mid-August and ends in mid-December, and the spring semester begins in mid-January and ends in mid-May with annual commencement exercises in May.

  • Summer Session

    The college conducts a summer session following the spring semester. Classes are a mixture of general education, transfer courses, and vocational, skill development courses for occupational training. Additionally, summer bridge classes provide assistance for a smooth transition from high school to college.

Community Use of Campus Facilities

Off campus groups are encouraged to use campus facilities by making arrangements with the Vice President of Student Services.

Advisory Committees

Advisory committees composed of representatives from business, industry and professions in the district work with the college administration and instructors to develop technical-vocational curricula. They provide advice on the need or desirability of particular educational programs or courses, current employment standards and requirements, and trends in the job market. This information is vital to the college in meeting the needs of students who want to acquire employment skills in two years or less.

Marketing and Public Relations

Photographic or video images intended for promotional use by the college may be used in printed publications, displays, videotapes, on Taft College’s website, and in other formats. Releases should be obtained for subjects who will be recognized and who are not employees of Taft College. By filling out a release form, subjects authorize Taft College to publish their likeness in Taft College materials. Releases are not required when photographing people in a public place, such as walking across campus or attending a Taft College graduation ceremony. If subjects are prominent in an image that is shot at a public space or event and it is anticipated the photographs will be used in a highly conspicuous way, then it is courteous to obtain a signed release from the subject(s) when possible.