ECC to initiate hiring of a new President as President Maloney has announced retirement

After five and a half years at El Camino College, President Dena P. Maloney will retire at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.

Through her career as President and Superintendent, Maloney has helped implement many student support programs such as the Guided Pathways Initiative. She has also contributed to the expansion of programs like South Bay Promise— the program went from accommodating a minimal number of students to over 800 last year and an expected 1000 this year.

“When [Maloney] came here, our promise programs were just beginning then. And she asked about our South Bay Promise program, and we had like 12 students in it. It was just with Inglewood and Centinela Valley. And so she said, ‘Oh, no, no, that’s not going to do.'” Jean Shankweiler, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said.

Maloney has also worked on a Public Safety Training program that allows community members to train in areas such as firefighting, administration of justice and emergency medical services.

“We’ve been working, for quite some time, on a partnership with the city of Torrance and the Torrance Fire Department and other public agencies in the South Bay, to establish a training center for first responders, firefighters,” Maloney said. “And I think it’s going to make a big difference for our public safety agencies and for our students because they’ll be able to get quality training and work alongside other agencies and be able to collaborate.”

When Maloney made the decision to retire, faculty and staff at ECC were abuzz with surprise, Shankweiler said.

“They were very surprised; saddened, I think for the most part. I think people felt like she’s very collaborative, and they enjoy working with her. She’s always picking up the students and putting that first and [asking] ‘what can we do to make El Camino better?’ I think people [are] still soaking it in,” Shankweiler said.

Although faculty and staff members are saddened by Maloney’s retirement, a new president still must be hired by June 12.

On Sept. 8, the Board of Trustees set formal deadlines for the seven tasks associated with hiring a new president. Among them are hiring a search firm and going through multi-step processes for gathering a hiring committee. The deadline for the first task is Oct. 19.

In searching for a new president, there is involvement from students, faculty, and community members to ensure that the candidates are assessed on matters that impact the people who work for, attend, and are involved with the college. Faculty is prioritizing that the new president be supportive of the El Camino College Federation of Teachers (ECCFT).

“We’re definitely looking for someone that wants to work with faculty and the union, specifically, as far as building stronger communication, transparency, you know. The main function of our union is to ensure that workers rights are protected, and especially during a time of COVID,” ECC Faculty Representative and member of the El Camino College Foundation Board of Directors Kelsey Iino said.

Until she retires from ECC, President Maloney wants her legacy to be a contribution to the message that El Camino is truly “where students belong, and where students succeed,” she said.

“I hope that’s my legacy,” Maloney said. “[That] we’re ready to help our students, we’re ready to help our community that we feel a part of, that we are engaged in the surrounding area in nonprofits, business organizations and community groups. And that we are truly part of the pipeline for students to develop means to grow and then to move from us into their next step, whether it’s transferring or going into the workforce.” Maloney said.