About This Episode

Season 1. Episode 7.

Over 24-percent of Inland empire adults have gone to college and dropped/stopped out, sometimes shortly before graduation. In this episode we speak with two people in the Inland Empire leading the charge to get those adults with some college back to finish. And, we hear from a determined mother who shares her journey of returning to complete her education for a very special reason.


Featured Guests

Dr. Emma Diaz

Director, California Adult Education Program, Inland Adult Education Consortium, San Bernardino Community College District


Emma Diaz has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of healthcare and education. She is currently the Director for the Inland Adult Education Consortium at San Bernardino Valley College, where she manages the implementation of the California Adult Education Program (CAEP) legislation. As Director she has played a leadership role in creating and expanding educational programs across the region for underserved, often marginalized populations in adult education.

Emma participates regularly on state level advisory groups, presents at regional, state and national conferences, and is an international lecturer. She strategically positioned the Inland Adult Education Consortium as the professional development center for the Inland Empire, partnering with both state and national organizations. Most recently hosting the 2nd Annual Google Summit for Adult Education.

In addition to her current role as Consortium Director, she teaches for both credit and noncredit programs at multiple community colleges. She is currently a Board Member of the Association of Continuing and Community Education and is on the Basic Skills and Noncredit Committee for the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. She earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California, holds a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration and a bachelor’s in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge.

Annette Webb, M.Ed.

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, University of California-Riverside


Annette Webb, M.Ed., is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of California Riverside, University Extension. In her role, Annette upholds University Extension’s preeminent status in the professional, online, and continuing studies realm by evaluating and successfully responding to the educational needs of non-traditional learners, both domestic and international. She provides leadership in curricular and instructional areas, strategic planning, partnership engagement, student success, academic quality, and financial management.

Annette is a product of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, beginning her educational journey at Crafton Hills Community College then transferring to California State University, San Bernardino to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She went on to complete a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis on Higher Education Leadership and Policy from UC Riverside.

She is a member of Growing Inland Achievement’s Returning Adult Action Network Team and she is the inaugural Co-Chair and Staff Representative for the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women at UCR. Annette is a proponent for life-long learning and is a higher education professional who represents excellence, accountability, integrity, and respect.

Interview Highlights

3:35 – Emma Diaz describes the California Adult Education Consortium and how it supports adult education in the Inland Region.

13:29 – Emma shares some of the top reasons students drop out of college.

18:45 – Emma explains how Inland Empire colleges and universities are doing at accommodating the education goals and learning styles of returning adult students.

24:29 – Emma tells students where they should begin if they are interested in going back to school.

27:48 – Annette describes what the UCR Extension program is and how it supports adult education.

31:27 – Annette shares what degrees have been the most desirable among the returning adult learners.

36:48– Annette explains how the process of previous college credits and courses works for students returning to school 10+ years later.

39:22 – Annette gives listeners tips on how to deal with the fear and anxiety about going back to school.

40:46 – Annette tells students where they should begin if they are interested in going back to school.

42:31 – Special Guest Feature: The Success Story of Linda Awad


View our podcast page for more stories like this: https://inlandempiregia.org/gia-podcasts/

Education Insight tells the story of education in the Inland Empire through the diverse voices of those in and around the regional education community. The show is produced by Growing Inland Achievement, a collective impact organization in the Inland Empire with a mission to increase economic prosperity in the region by increasing educational attainment. Hosted by 30-year broadcast veteran Lacey Kendall, monthly shows explore topics ranging from education challenges and shortcomings to innovations and groundbreaking ideas that are driving student success.

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