As one of the partnering academic institutions associated with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) Educational Partnerships Program, College of the Canyons has been included among the honorees for the 2013 State Bar of California Education Pipeline Diversity Award.
The State Bar of California Board of Governors established the Education Pipeline Diversity Award in 2008 to recognize outstanding efforts of law-related educational programs that train and support students to become interested in the judicial system and pursue careers in law.
This year’s award recognizes the DFEH’s Educational Partnerships Program, which has partnered with five local academic institutions to help begin training a new generation of civil rights lawyers, investigators and law professionals.
Included among the partner honorees are: California State University, Bakersfield; College of the Canyons; University of California (UC) Irvine School of Law; UC Davis School of Law; Rio Hondo College; and the DFEH’s Equal Rights 101 & Fair Housing 101 youth education campaigns.
The award will be formally presented during the State Bar Annual Meeting Diversity Awards Reception, being held Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, at the Marriott Hotel in San Jose.
“As the first state agency to receive this prestigious award, I am proud of the good work of the Department, our educational partners, program coordinators, attorneys, staff faculty/mentors, fellows and interns,” said Phyllis W. Cheng, Director, Department of Fair Employment and Housing. “Congratulations to all of our partners, and many thanks for their support in making this recognition possible.”
The college’s partnership with the DFEH began in the fall of 2012 with the establishment of the College of the Canyons Civil Rights Clinic, located inside the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center.
As a result, College of the Canyons has been able to provide students with hands-on training in areas related to the investigation and processing of work/housing discrimination claims and other civil rights based legal issues.
Supported by faculty members from both the college’s Social Science & Business and Humanities Divisions, the CRC provides training to approximately10 students each semester, depending on class size and instructor availability.
Participating students are recruited by faculty members to serve as CRC interns at the college’s Valencia campus. Students receive academic credit through the college’s Cooperative Work Experience Education (CWEE) program, while also training and working directly with DFEH staff.
Such internship opportunities have resulted in one former CRC intern receiving a fulltime position with the DFEH.
“College of the Canyons is proud of its partnership and honored to be involved with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH),” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook. “The COC Civil Rights Clinic provides students with the outstanding opportunity to work side-by-side DFEH staff in reviewing discrimination cases while learning investigative skills.
“Our students are experiencing first-hand the actual process of examining claims of discrimination filed within the state,” added Van Hook. “These critical thinking skills will help students succeed in their future studies and careers. Most importantly, they are learning the fundamentals of civil rights and the importance of protecting human dignity.”
In spring 2014, the CRC will also take part in the COC Honors Program’s Student Leadership Conference, which is being focused on issues related to civil rights and the development of student leadership skills.
In future semesters the CRC also hopes to begin providing professional development opportunities for college faculty and staff.
For more information about the College of the Canyons Civil Rights Clinic, contact Patty Robinson at (661) 362-3992.