Miller gets new position as dean



As a result of technological advances education is but a mouse click away and the Contra Costa Community College District is responding to the call for increasing opportunities in online education for students.

According to Hans Johnson, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and highlighted on the website of the State’s Online Education Initiative, “the California Community Colleges are at the forefront of online education in California, more than any other segment of higher education in the state.”      

 The district’s Strategic Plan includes steps to to maintain the momentum Johnson spoke of with its vision to be a beacon of excellence in learning and equitable student success. The plan’s mission is to transform lives by providing outstanding learning opportunities, and nurturing and empowering all students to achieve their educational goals.

One goal of the strategic plan is to hire a dean of Distance Education to oversee the plan’s implementation and Joanna Miller of Moorpark College has been brought on board to fulfill that role. The competition for the position was intense according to Gregory Stoup, Interim Vice Chancellor of Educational Services.

In addition to her primary role as a Journalism faculty professor and media adviser, Miller also served, as the distance education coordinator responsible for supporting instructional needs in distance education and facilitating the college’s in state online initiatives. Miller also served on the district wide Distance Education Committee and districtwide IT Advisory Committee, chairing the Distance Education and Education Technology Advisory Committee advising the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

She also served as the lead course reviewer for the state Online Education Initiative (OEI, which is a collaborative effort among the California Community Colleges that ensures more students being able to complete their educational goals by increasing both access to and success in high-quality online courses funded by the state chancellor’s office.

Miller’s position with OEI included assessing online courses submitted for inclusion in the OEI Course Exchange.

These experiences prepared Miller for the new venture in the Contra Costa Community College District that was seemingly a customized fit for her.

Stoup said he had the opportunity to see Miller’s work with OEI and that skill set made her the ideal candidate for the new district position.

Maintaining adherence to federal regulating guidelines is one of the crucial areas that Miller will oversee according to Stoup.

LMC Spanish Professor Laurie Huffman who worked with Miller at OEI, described her as “one of the most capable and well-organized leaders of their OEI group.”

She added that Miller’s attention to detail and breadth of knowledge will be crucial as the district begins to implement the DE Strategic Plan.

Miller’s primary focus and bottom line is the students and equipping them to succeed in the world that awaits them on whatever level in life they are at.

“Online education reaches so many more students,” Miller said. “Students today have so many varying circumstances from working full or part-time, and full-time parenting, which is why online distant education is the goal of the district.”

Each district campus has it unique and specific needs that will be addressed individually and collectively Miller said.

It is also the goal of the district to make sure they successfully integrate strategies for embedding equity and culturally responsive teaching a part of these services. This is a goal, which has seen an increase in student retention and success, above the state average according to online statistics.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to work with committed faculty and staff to make our student’s online experience even better,” Miller said.