Presidential candidate Stephanie R. Bulger shares plans to focus on equity, inclusion

Presidential candidate for El Camino College Stephanie R. Bulger plans to prioritize equity, diversity and inclusion at the college, as well as develop workforce experience for students in the community.

During the presidential candidate forum held via Zoom on Thursday, April 29, Lisa Sugimoto, vice president of PPL inc., asked questions that were most commonly submitted to the forum and covered a wide range of topics.

Having worked in community colleges both in Michigan and California for more than 18 years, Bulger expressed the importance of students having the ability to experience all that community colleges have to offer, as well as receive job opportunities afterward.

The Union compiled three of the questions and answers from the forum.

Q. What would be your top two priorities for the first year as superintendent and president?

Bulger: “I want to start with the first 100 days because I think that’s such a critical time in a new leader’s time at an institution.

“In the first 30 days, what I would be doing is walking around the campus, and also talking to a lot of people… because I would be interested in understanding the college.

“I would be using it as framework for any questions that I might ask, and not to be critical at all, but just to really understand and be asking questions about the priorities of El Camino College, [which] I’d be using as frameworks to plan some of the plans that El Camino College has.

“The second 30 days I would be assessing the materials that I’ve seen. I would also be using as part of the assessment, the conversations that I’ve been in, and I would write up a draft kind of report essentially, a fairly brief kind of report, but it would be laying out the priorities and a working vision.

“This working vision would not supplant the vision at the institution, what it would do would be a working vision with a small v, and that would be laying out (…) the priorities that I see for the institution.

“The last 30 days would be spent refining the document, asking a lot of input in that document as well. What I find is going to be on the website, so that not only the college community can see that, but also the broader community as well.

“One of the things I anticipate being a priority…is equity, diversity and inclusion and really bringing equity, diversity and inclusion into the center of the organization. How to do that is what I would be learning in those first 100 days.

“But certainly equity, diversity, inclusion is what El Camino College wants, because El Camino College wants to be the college for equity and innovation.

“The second real priority that I see so far is related to innovation, and it’s about developing those relevant experiences for students in the community, students who are currently being served, but also students who have been affected by the pandemic and who are not currently being served.

“Additional people who are in the communities that are served by El Camino College, but for whatever reason, have not found their way to the excellent education that El Camino College provides.

“Those students might be veterans and they may be other kind of individuals in the community.”

Q: How will you identify, secure, nurture and grow the best industry partnerships to advance employment opportunities for our students?

Bulger: “There are a number of ways that I’ve certainly had experience in and one is to work with employers. As a new leader of El Camino College, that would be based on introductions to some of those communities where there are regional agencies that are nonprofit.

“I know here in San Diego we have the Workforce Investment Board, the Regional Economic Development Corporation and [other] groups that can help a new leader of the El Camino College, community college, gain access to some of the connections that you need to make it.

“I’m a big believer and very good at developing relationships, particularly in the workforce development community because I understand it.

“And so some of the examples that I would give you is working with the largest cyber security employer here in San Diego and we created a model. What they did was to hire students directly into their company, students who are just graduating, they were hired and then the organization is going to invest in their education as time goes on.”

Q: You’ve already discussed what your intention would be for the first year as superintendent and president, what about within the next five years?

Bulger: “The priorities that are identified within those first 100 days would help to set the priorities for the next five years.

“I want to address the question by saying what I would like to see is outcomes within five years because it will take five years for us to work together and to be able to really identify where the gaps are in student achievement, how to address those gaps in instruction and services, how to attract more students and different kinds of students to the institution.

“Taking a look outside of the institution with respect to fundraising and development and how all of that works.

“After the five years, I think what we’ll be is very, very proud of where we are. I think we will be the leading college of equity and innovation.

“I think that we will have thought leadership around those two topics. The thought leadership will be of course disseminated in our area, in our region, but also statewide and nationally.”