El Camino College Union

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Q&A: Top 5 for top spot

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El Camino (EC) will be selecting a new president and with the presidential forums coming up on Oct.5 – Oct.6, each of the candidates were interviewed so students, staff and faculty can get to know them better.

Sandra Mayo- President of Moreno Valley College

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Q: Why is this job interesting to you?

“It’s a incredibly comprehensive institution, a much larger institution, it’s a single college district and it’s helping out a neighboring district. It seems like an incredible opportunity to be able to do more.”

Q: Why El Camino, compared with other schools?

“I’ve heard really great things about EC, so we’re talking about an institution that has over time set standards for the institutions around it. It’s in an interesting area right next to the L.A. district and close to Orange County where I’ve also worked. Once again it’s an opportunity to do even more, you have more programs, more students and more staff. It just seems like a really unique opportunity for me.”

Q: What do you do for fun?

“One of the interesting challenges of having a presidential job, or at least the way I’ve done it, is it sort of becomes 24/7. I made sure that I’ve got involved in community and I am working with organizations that I care about. I was a girl scout growing up, so I had the opportunity to get involved with my same council growing up. We have a couple of dogs and I enjoy spending time with the dogs. We have entertained faculty and staff in our home and students in our home. And have brought the college community in our home. I enjoy entertaining and I enjoy getting to know folks. I enjoy cooking and there are times my husband and I will spend time in the kitchen and cook together. I like people and I like building relationships and I like having family around.”

Q: What’s one program at your current school that you would like to see put in place at El Camino?

“When we offer a program, ‘it’s not about this is a really cool program you should do it too.’ What you see outside of an institution is different than what you learn when you start doing it. Community colleges are intended to meet the needs of the community. So, before one talks about adding or subtracting programs it’s important to take a look at what the community needs. It’s more about getting an understanding of what the needs are by working with both the internal and external EC community to determine whether or not there are programs that would benefit the community.”

Q: Would you be in favor of bringing back winter session?

“You need to take a look at the community. Take a look at what the needs are and determine if that’s a need in the community. The whole point is to serve the students. I am for whatever makes things better for students and improves the success of students. The mission of the community colleges is to serve the community that is around that institution. As we serve the students, as we bring students in the institution, it’s important that we give them the tools to move on in a timely manner. One of the things that concerns me is when students have moved in and taken residence. The goal for me, my personal goal is to get students in, get them what they need, ensure their success and move them on, so students can take their place in the world.”

JoAnna Downey-Schilling- VP of Academic Affairs at Cerritos College JSchilling_cerritos.jpg

Q: Why is this job interesting to you?

“El Camino is a fantastic school. I’m at Cerritos (College) right now and I love (that school) and I am totally committed to our mission there. We do a lot partnerships with EC and I’m just very aware of what an outstanding college it is. That’s what interests me. I would love to be part of that.”

Q: Why El Camino, compared with other schools?

“(EC is) a school I’m familiar with. It’s got a deep history in the community and one of the things that has been a focus for me at Cerritos is developing community relations both with our business partners and our K-12 districts. And the real advantage with EC is that it’s almost 70 years old and it’s got a deep history with the surrounding community and that creates unique opportunity with students.”

Q: What do you do for fun?

“My background is in the arts, so many years ago I was an actress and singer in New York. I’m still very involved in the community. Something that is silly but I am proud of is, we have a music group at Cerritos which is made up of faculty and staff and we perform for college events and Christmas parties. It’s fun because it gets us out of our roles at the college and lets the students know we are just like them.”

Q: What’s one program at your current school that you would like to see put in place at El Camino?

“Every school is different. I would be careful to say that I would take something I’m already doing at Cerritos and bring it forward. One thing that I’m really excited about, we are about to implement a completion dashboard, so that means it would tell you how many classes you have completed in your major and how many classes you have completed in your general eds. It’s kind of a way for you to monitor your classes and show you how far away you are for your degree.”

Q: Would you be in favor of bringing back winter session?

“Winter session is just like an additional summer session. I’m in support of a winter session as long as we’re offering the classes that student’s need, that they can’t get normally. To me what a winter session is to make sure that you’re offering completion courses, courses that lead to a degree and also high demand courses. I’m in support of a winter session but I think it’s how you do it that’s the most important.”

Kathleen Burke- President at Los Angeles Pierce College

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Q: Why is this job interesting to you?

“It’s a single college district, I have 20 years of experience in a single college district, and I think it provides an opportunity to have a more direct impact for policy making.”

Q: Why El Camino, compared with other schools?

“(EC is) a college with a great reputation and a great program. Solid governing board great faculty and staff. It just has a great reputation.”

Q: What do you do for fun?

“I love going to the movies, so that’s one of them. And just other kinds of craft activity; sewing, knitting when I have time for that.”

Q: What’s one program at your current school that you would like to see put in place at El Camino?

“EC has most programs that we have except the agriculture program and that’s pretty unique to this college, so it’s not something I would necessarily take to EC. EC has an extensive ASL program, we have that program but EC also has it.”

Q: Would you be in favor of bringing back winter session?

“I would certainly look at that as a factor and I would look at that neighboring colleges and see what they were doing, in terms of winter session.”

Ron Taylor- Superintendent/President of Merced College

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Q: Why is this job interesting to you?

“EC is a big place that does a lot of good. That’s my primary motivation is I’m interested in having a bigger impact in my career and this is a great opportunity for that. Also, I’m a fanatic about the diversity of California and EC has a really diverse student population and its a chance for me to get to know that part of California. Where I am it’s a little bit different kind of diversity. So, I want to make a bigger impact and I just really love the diversity.”

Q: Why El Camino, compared with other schools?

“In terms of comparing to other colleges, EC is in good shape. I’m sure there are people that don’t feel that in a given week but when you look at the history of the school it’s a very solid place. It had fewer problems than other community colleges in the state.”

Q: What do you do for fun?

“Reading, walking, hiking, those are the big ones and occasionally I get into a bit of amateur carpentry.”

Q: What’s one program at your current school that you would like to see put in place at El Camino?

“I think EC is already doing this but I want to be sure. At Merced College we have a student success lab and support system right in the heart of campus and I think EC has something like that and I just want to take a look and make sure it’s in really good shape. I started a couple of professional development programs for employees and one has to do with developing leaders. I want to make sure that we have something for developing leadership at the school.”

Q: Would you be in favor of bringing back winter session?

“It’s something to consider. Almost all colleges in the state are in something of a slump, EC’s situation is not that unusual. I think the economy has changed and I think people’s reasons for going to college has changed because they have more options than they did 10 years ago. Bringing winter session back is something to consider, I’m sure it was dropped because there was an expense involved, I don’t know the details but I’m sure that was a factor. There is growth and money available from the state and anything we can do to go after those funds is a good idea. Then I want to look at online courses and how are we doing there. I think EC is doing OK but I need to take a good look comparatively and at the history.”

Dena Maloney, Superintendent/President of Taft College

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Q: Why is this job interesting to you?

I’m interested in the position because number one I am very familiar with EC, I’ve worked with EC before. I think EC has a great diversity of students, programs and the community it serves and to me that’s very excited because it truly is a community college that is responsive to the community.”

Q: Why El Camino, compared with other schools?

“I think EC is a college that has a wonderful legacy and tradition that is exciting and it also has a future, a future will filled exciting possibilities and new things it can do and a fantastic well and experience from its faculty and staff and it would be very exciting to be a part of that.”

Q: What do you do for fun?

“I am golfer, so I love to play golf and travel. I enjoy reading and my family and i enjoy spending time with my family.”

Q: What’s one program at your current school that you would like to see put in place at El Camino?

“Rather than a specific program what I would like to see is what more or new programs we can offer in response to the needs of the community. We have a very strong student government at taft and a strong ASB and It’s exciting for me to work with students. I would love see if there are similar things going on at EC.”

Q: Would you be in favor of bringing back winter session?

“I can’t comment on winter session because I don’t know all the factors that went into that decision and that can be really inappropriate to comment on that.”

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About the Writer
Sydnie Mills, Editor-in-Chief

This is Sydnie's third semester with "The Union." She is the editor-in-chief of "The Union" and Warrior Life Magazine. She is a journalism major and plans...

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Q&A: Top 5 for top spot