November deadline looms


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Interim Chancellor Eugene Huff (right) and Former Chancellor Fred Wood (left) discuss the formation of an interim presidential hiring committee at a Fireside Hall meeting with CCC staff on Aug. 15, 2019 during a public forum.

By Cindy Pantoja, Editor-in-Chief

After Dr. Katrina VanderWoude’s resignation as president sparked questions of equality, Contra Costa College is finally reaching some measure of stability and has begun the process to hire a interim president.

Expectations are for the interim hiring process to be completed by mid-November.

Currently, district Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology Mojdeh Mehdizadeh is serving as acting president in the absence of Business Director Mariles Magalong, who is on an extended vacation after serving in that position during the summer.

The Academic Senate Council (ASC) and the United Faculty (UF) association are working together to form a hiring committee.

However, in a Sept. 26 email addressed to he campus community, district Chancellor Fred Wood outlined the expansion of the hiring committee from seven to a robust 14 members.

Mehdizadeh said there are processes in place for hiring presidents, chancellors, vice-chancellors and those that are what are considered contract employees, however, there is not a prescribed process in place to hire an interim.

“The hiring process for interim president has varied. In some instances we use a smaller committee and in other instances we use a large committee structure. Other times the chancellor has made an appointment,” Mehdizadeh said. “For example, the very first time I came to Contra Costa College as an interim president, I was appointed by then chancellor Helen Benjamin.”

During the district Governing Board meeting held Sept. 12 in Martinez, Wood announced that the district would move forward with the hiring of an interim president by proceeding based on Board Policy 2057.

According to Board Policy 2057, the Screening and Interview Committee for the position of President shall be comprised of the following members from the college undergoing the search: two representatives proposed by management, one representative proposed by the United Faculty and three representatives proposed by the Academic Senate.

The policy also requires one representative proposed by Local One, two representatives proposed by the Classified Senate, one representative proposed by the Associated Student Body president and one alternate.

There will also be one community representatives selected by the Governing Board, two management representatives, including a sister college president appointed by the chancellor and one representative proposed by the college Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee (non-voting unless one of the appointees above is appointed).

The chancellor or designee shall give final approval for the Screening and Interview committee composition.

On Sept 6, during a campuswide meeting in Fireside Hall, over 30 faculty, administrators and classified staff discussed the qualifications and desirable qualities they are looking for in the interim president.

Tutoring Program Coordinator Brandy Gibson said the successful hiring of the college’s interim president depends upon ensuring all members of the campus community have a genuine opportunity to share thoughts about what qualities and qualifications they want in that person.

“Our primary concern is to bring stability to the campus, but we also want to give a voice to the students and staff,” Gibson said.

Another important aspect that was discussed in the meeting is the need to have a stable campus leadership in order to successfully retain accreditation status.

During the meeting they also talked about the two significant principles that must be considered in the hiring process. First they want a large body of people to be involved in the committee and the second is that this process should not be rushed.

Academic Senate President Katherine Krolikowski said, “The point of that is to make sure there’s time to hear everybody’s voices who are going to be on the committee. Also, to make sure that we reach out to the best possible candidates.”

The senate has sent an invitation to each constituency group to form the committee.

Krolikowski said each member in the hiring committee will fill out a form explaining why they want to be on the committee, and what group they would be representing.

“In the past, it has been just one person who decides who gets appointed. This time we want a very balanced committee that represents as many people as possible,” she said.