Candidates boast during VP forums

By Cindy Pantoja, Opinion Editor

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As the search for a new vice president of student services is reaching its end, Contra Costa College held separate forums in Fireside Hall to introduce the five finalists contending for the position.
The five VP finalists met the qualifications required for the position and as different as the candidates are, they have some things in common.
They all have overcome financial hardships and all are the first generation in their families with a college degree.
Most importantly, they all say they want equity and transparency for CCC students.
CCC is an institution that, according to the Student Success Scorecard found on the California community college website, serves students of more than five different ethnicities.
Some of those students feel misrepresented by the current college administration and expect the new VP of student services to be a bridge that unites both sides.
“I feel like we are not where we should be, but we are getting close,” political science major Hector Galvez said.
Joyce Coleman, Dr. LeRodrick Terry, Herbert L. English, Vinicio J. Lopez and Dr. Howard Irvin each had one hour to answer questions from the audience during separate public candidate forums. They all spoke about their lives, accomplishments and their goals as future vice president of student services.
“We are looking for somebody who will collaborate and who cares about students. We want to get to know our students and learn ways to make sure that our students are successful,” CCC President Katrina VanderWoude said.
Dr. Terry has 20 years of experience working as an educator/administrator. He has worked at minority serving institutions including a Hispanic serving institution and a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).
Some of his extensive educational credentials include a Ph.D. and M.Ed. in higher education administration.
“Students deserve institutional practices that facilitate access, success and equity for diverse student groups,” Terry said.
Coleman has served community colleges for the last 28 years as an educator, a program and center director, assistant dean, dean of students, dean of academic affairs, and vice president of student services.
She also worked in enrollment management with urban and rural institutions that served nearly 25,000 students.
Coleman said, “We need to focus on taking women out of poverty. We have to show them that they can be who they are without a man telling them what to do.”
Lopez is the dean of academic affairs of ESL, international education and transitional studies at City College of San Francisco.
He has experience working in community college leadership, with academic affairs and continuing education.
Lopez’s educational accomplishments include earning a doctorate of education in educational leadership and a bachelor’s degree in history.
English is currently the dean of student equity and success at Victor Valley College.
He has experience working at community colleges as the director of EOPS/ CARE and as coordinator of the Valley Bound Commitment Program at San Bernardino Valley College.
“My goal is to learn the variety of cultures at Contra Costa College and work in collaboration with them,” English said.
Irvin, who was a late addition to the list of finalists, is currently the vice president of student services at Los Angeles Southwest College with 20 years in education.
He is also a retired police officer.
Contracosta.edu states the salary of the new VP will start at $10,833 per month with a yearly incremental increase until it reaches $13,201 per month.
The website also specifies that the vice president is expected to serve as a campus assistant chief executive officer, overseeing academic, student affairs and/or support services.