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Colleagues and students reflect on impact of retiring dean of behavioral and social sciences

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After many years of hard work and dedication to serve the people in and around the campus, a dean has decided to retire. But, her legacy will continue to live in the lives of her colleagues and students.

“I’m the longest serving dean right now but that will come to an end in December,” Gloria Miranda said.

Gloria Miranda is a dean for the department of behavioral and social sciences at EC and will be retiring this semester after serving the campus for over 24 years.

Miranda is retiring because she believes it is time for her to continue a different chapter in life.

“It’s time to transition to something new in life,” Miranda said. “It’s time to find new avenues of myself. I’ll like to return to my scholarship, to write, to publish, and enjoy family as well”

Miranda’s duty as a dean consists of many responsibilities to provide for the department. Her position calls for scheduling classes, planning projects, budgeting, providing services for the committee, interacting with faculty members to support them with developing programs like student equity, making sure the faculties are helping students succeed, creating new courses that are transferable to a four-year university and creating cultural events.

She is also in charge of scheduling online classes for students to utilize as an alternative for those that cannot attend classes at certain times due to their schedules and responsibilities.

“Online offerings continue to evolve and grow,” Miranda said. “More (faculty members) are thinking on teaching online (courses) to accommodate students who have to work.”

Out of several events that occurred on campus, most students have been interested in the celebration of Chicano Culture that takes place every spring semester by Chicano Studies professor Xocoyotzin Herrera. The anthropology department has succeeded with their event on celebrating Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Miranda said.

Miranda enjoys seeing how much the campus has grown over the years through its diversity and how it has enhanced the quality of education.

“I like the sense of community. It is a very diverse community,” Miranda said. “It’s changed when I came here. Our minorities were the majority of the population and now they are the majority of the student body.”

Before becoming a dean, Miranda was a history professor at Los Angeles Valley College teaching Chicano Studies in 1993. Her goal was to make sure her students were grasping the knowledge about their culture and history, but also to focus on what they are learning.

Miranda’s advice for students is to be mindful that instructors are also willing to mentor and assist students with resources when they are facing challenges and to also take courses such as human development that provide all the strategies a student needs to succeed.

“Sometimes there is only one person that makes a difference in your life because they care about you and they can be so motivating to uplift someone when they are down,” Miranda said.

Miranda’s message to her colleagues is don’t give up on their goals and dreams to stay focus and be persistent.

“Always remember why we are here in the educational setting,” Miranda said. “We are here to guide young minds, encourage them on (and) remember that we are here to support others, not ourselves.”

Beverly Knapp, the administrative assistant of Miranda since 2008, said Miranda and her professionalism as a dean will be missed. She impacted the department growth while providing perseverance to others and allowing students to have the best service in classes.

“She’s not replaceable, it is just so hard,” Knapp said. “She encouraged me when I never thought I would end up being an (administrative) assistant.”

Joshua Casper is an adjunct professor of political science. He was a student at EC and is currently a professor on campus and credits Miranda for his success in teaching.

“(Miranda) was the one who gave me first shot and I will not be here today if it wasn’t for her mentorship,” Casper said. “I’m truly grateful that she’s been the one to guide me through my academics all the way up to my professorship.”

Laurie Houske, professor of political science, is also an example how Miranda has provided her an opportunity teach. Houske admires Miranda’s professionalism and dedication.

“(Miranda) is open, kind, thoughtful, and compassionate. I think that’s what makes her such a good dean,” Houske said. “I wouldn’t have been in a profession at all unless she had given me that chance.”

Miranda also created an impact in a professor to have him go back to college and pursue a second masters degree. Jose Arrieta, professor of history, respects Miranda’s accomplishments as a dean with mentoring people and providing new programs such as ethnic studies courses that brought diversity in campus.

“(Miranda) has always been the person that is very inclusive to everybody as a whole,” Arrieta said. “I hope that whoever (takes her position) understands the significant role she played in this department and be that person who is willing to help out students.”

Jason Suarez, professor of history, admires how much commitment Miranda has dedicated to her faculty and students. He credits her empathy as what turned him around to become a better instructor. Suarez lives far but doesn’t mind commuting back and forth because of Miranda.

“It’s hard to imagine to work with somebody else because she is somebody that has been supportive of me. I will sorely miss not only my dean but someone who now I can call after all these years, my friend,” Suarez said.

Sandra Uribe, professor of history, also respects Miranda as her dean and will miss her as well.

“(Miranda) is really an approachable person. It seems like she always has this open-door policy,” Uribe said. “In our last meeting when she got a round of applause I had a knot in my throat just because you can sincerely see people are going to miss her. She left an impression and shaped this department to be what it is today it’s successful.”

Miranda has gained a phenomenal connection and has made an impact in many lives.

“It has been a life of service and that’s what I thought my purpose of life has been to serve others,” Miranda said. “That’s rewarding itself to see the fruits of that when someone succeeds.”

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The student news site of El Camino College
Colleagues and students reflect on impact of retiring dean of behavioral and social sciences