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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

City College community discusses what they want in their next president
Graphic Illustration made by Neezy Jeffery / [email protected]

The City College President Hiring Committee hosted a virtual town hall with Los Rios Community College District Chancellor Brian King on Wednesday, Jan. 31 to discuss what members of the college community want in their next president. 

City College’s presidency became open last summer, when former President Michael Gutierrez departed in June to become superintendent and president of Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif. Albert Garcia, who previously served as City College’s vice president of instruction, has served as interim president since.

Around 70 people — a collection of instructors, administrators and students — joined via Zoom to answer questions posed by the committee and voice their wishes for the next president.

When asked about what kinds of traits they would like to see in a campus president, attendees emphasized things like being open and kindhearted and having someone who can identify and relate with students, such as being from the Sacramento area or having attended community college. 

As for challenges and opportunities at City College and beyond, concerns were raised over class formats, legislation, staff burnout and more. Martha Goff, a clerk of the Mathematics, Statistics and Engineering Division, mentioned the challenge the college faces in balancing in-person versus remote class and work formats. There is a disconnect, she noted, between the college’s desire for more in-person activities and some students’ and faculty’s desires for continued hybrid and remote options. 

Sandra Guzman, a Counseling and Student Services faculty member, mentioned that upcoming changes in legislation could affect both curriculum and students, with Goff agreeing and adding that Assembly Bill 705 and AB 1705 are of particular concern. AB 705 requires community colleges to maximize a student’s chances of completing transfer-level coursework in English and math within one year, using things like high school transcripts to determine a student’s placement. AB 1705 builds off of AB 705 in that it limits a community college’s ability to offer remedial classes in English and math that cannot be used toward transfer to a 4-year degree. There are concerns that these two bills will largely eliminate remedial classes in English and math at community colleges, thus potentially limiting the success of the students that need them. 

Dawna DeMartini, a faculty member of the English department, raised the issue of staff burnout and low morale, with several others on the call echoing the concern. “A lot of folks are struggling,” added Diana Daniels, an administrative assistant of the Davis Center. She hopes an incoming president will consider staff workloads.

Toward the end of the town hall, Chancellor King thanked everyone for their input and emphasized that comments both spoken and messaged in the chat would be compiled and given to the hiring committee. He also said the town hall would not be the community’s last chance for comment and mentioned that the process is very thorough, with extensive screening and interview processes.

“We’re committed to making a good decision, not a quick decision,” he said.

City College’s search for a president comes at the same time American River College is also searching for its next president. ARC’s former president, Melanie Dixon, departed at the end of the fall 2022 semester citing her desire to be closer to family in the Pacific Northwest as motivation.

It is unusual for two colleges in the district to be searching for presidents at the same time, Chancellor King noted, but said the district is committed to fully investing in both searches.

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