Ferguson fills position at Laney College

Former Contra Costa College dean of student services accepts vice president position at Laney


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Former Dean of Student Services Vikki Ferguson dances during a song being sung to her by attendees of her going away celebration in Aqua Terra Grill.

By Efrain Valdez, Social Media Editor

After working at Contra Costa College for over a decade, Dean of Student Services Vikki Ferguson is leaving to accept the vacant position of Vice President of Student Services at Laney College starting in the 2018 Spring semester.

Ferguson was first hired by CCC in 2003 as an adjunct counselor to teach the 120-college success class. She later became a part-time EOPS (Extended Opportunity Programs and Services) counselor, then became the EOPS manager and was promoted to Dean of Students.

“A year after being a full-time EOPS counselor, I was promoted to manager. Then I became the interim Dean of Students, and then permanent,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson will be joining former CCC college vice president Dr. Tammeil Gilkerson who was sworn in as the president of Laney College in February of this year.

“I would say there is an advantage of being able to work with Dr. Gilkerson because of already having worked with her here and just knowing her and what she is passionate about,” Ferguson said.

CCC President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh said it is always a challenge to have experienced individuals leave their position and/or the college.

“It’s change that we expect as we want individuals to grow and continue on their career paths. Vikki (Ferguson) is the utmost professional and a resident of this community — she has been exemplary. She has a deep understanding of the needs of our community, coupled with the knowledge, skills and abilities to support our students.”

Although Ferguson is slated to leave before the start of the spring semester, the job opening has not been posted to the district website 4cd.edu.

“The college will post the position soon and we will be recruiting to fill the Dean of Student Services opening,” Mehdizadeh said. “In the meanwhile, the VP and Dean of Enrollment Services will take on the responsibilities on a short-term basis.”

Student Life Coordinator Joel Nickelson-Shanks, who is one of Ferguson’s direct subordinates, said that change is always hard, but that Ferguson provided great leadership. “We’re going to miss her energy,” he said.

Nickelson-Shanks said that he does not know when or how a replacement for Ferguson will happen but says that Ferguson has left them prepared to deal with whatever adversity comes their way.

Ferguson said that she has always made it clear to her peers about her ambitions of eventually moving to a higher position.

“This was always my goal, CCC has prepared me for the next level of being the VP of Student Services at Laney. I feel like I have not just grown in my field/career — but as a person.” Ferguson said.

Ferguson mentioned difficult times like when the fiscal budget was cut in 2012.

She saw this as a moment that helped her grow in her profession.

Having to step up and take the lead in trying to find new ways to help students, even with a limited budget, was the most challenging part Ferguson said.

“We lost a lot of funding that time,” she said. “We lost positions in the transfer center, DSPS (Disabled Students Programs and Services) and EOPS were cut 40 percent. It was an opportunity for us to get better and be more efficient,” Ferguson said.

Mehdizadeh said that Ferguson’s background as a counselor has been critical as she addresses difficult situations around student disciplinary matters. “I am extremely happy for Ms. Ferguson as she is taking the next natural progression in her career.  Without a doubt, she will be an excellent VP of Student Services and Laney College is very lucky to have her leadership,” Mehdizadeh said.