Presidential search breeds skepticism

By Magali Mercado, Staff Writer

The search for a new president for Contra Costa College is in full effect as the Presidential Search Committee held its first meeting Nov. 3.

The process of finding the right candidate is long as the search and hiring process will continue until March. In the meantime faculty and students have shared their thoughts and curiosity over the search.

Music department Chairperson Wayne Organ said the new president should be able to lead and needs to be an inspirational leader.  “Colleges live or die on leadership abilities and the person who leads has to be inspirational enough to make others follow their vision — to inspire us on what we could do.”

Last year the many students felt  they were shut out of the search. A total of $40,000 was spent to find a president, yet no candidate was chosen.

Anthropology adjunct professor Lisa Schwappach-Shirrif said, “You always like to see success but sometimes saying no (to the candidates) is a good answer too.”

Early childhood development major Jessica Contreras said, “I feel like we aren’t given much information about this search. I didn’t know one was going on until recently. If money is being used to search for a president, then students should be more informed about the process and committees should be sure in who they are going to pick instead of not choosing.”

Art major Raul Barajas said, “I hope this search goes well. I hope the college finds a good compassionate and strong-willed leader. I think the college could use someone who will ultimately be there for the students and looks out for our best interests.”

Barajas said, “I do wonder if it really takes a large amount of money to just find a president. But if it finds the students a good one then it should be worth it. I hope the (search) committee shares more information about how the process is going.”

Schwappach-Shirrif said, “I found that they (search committee) strongly involve the faculty and staff in the process and I believe students are also involved in the process as well. As a faculty member here I’ve always felt very supported and very involved. CCC is one of the most supportive environments. You really feel a part of the community.

“I look for more expansion in our programs, support in the faculty and students. Program development is always a plus and I’ve really seen that here. I’d like to see that trait continue (in a president),” Schwappach-Shirrif said.

Contreras said, “I hope we get someone who focuses on students and the different departments and programs here at the college. I’d like to see them really get involved with our events and interact with students, I think that’s important for them to succeed and be well liked.”

The college currently has Interim President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh at the helm.

“I think she (Mehdizadeh) is fabulous and is one on the best presidents we’ve had. I think she could give us what we need and if she was our permanent president, we would be in good hands,” Organ said.

Students and staff will hear from the college during the spring semester. There will be public forums held for college and community members to attend and get to know the final candidates for CCC president.