LMC meets vice president finalists

Open forum allows for public comment

Lilly Montero, @lilly_montero3

Students, staff and faculty had the opportunity to meet and hear from the four finalists for the Vice President of Student Services position this week. The forums are the third step in a four step process which included first level interviews with a hiring committee, final interviews, an open forum and finally selection.

In a two-day event, each candidate had an hour to introduce themselves, answer questions and of course, provide their vision and goals for LMC.  

The four finalists included LMC’s own Dean of Student Success Dave Belman, Contra Costa College’s Dennis Franco, as well as Dr. Char Perlas from Cañada College and Dr. Tanisha Maxwell of the Maricopa Community College District. Each emphasized their experiences in leadership positions, ranging from counselors to Vice President.

Belman drew upon his own experience here at LMC, emphasizing specific projects he’s had a hand in as well as how he would address Guided Pathways, a state initiative to help streamline student success.

“The role of counseling in [Guided Pathways], what that specifically looks like for LMC is something I think we collectively need to build,” said Belman. “We are being asked to change, we are being asked to reinvent ourselves.”

Belman suggested the exploring technological solutions to help further connect counselors to students.

“I think we’re in this time of really immense change,” said Belman.

CCC’s Dennis Franco emphasized his diverse background as a benefit to the position. Franco has worked at all three colleges in the Contra Costa Community College district — as an adjunct counselor at LMC, as Transfer Services Coordinator and Counseling Department chair at DVC, and now as Dean of Students at CCC.

“I have a unique perspective that I can bring that I don’t know that other candidates can bring,” said Franco. “I know what it’s like to be in those different roles.”

In terms of new solutions he suggested developing “success teams” that could guide students from high school to college and eventually to counselors for their specific majors.

Innovative solutions, tackling big state initiatives like Guided Pathways and increasing accessibility to students were big sticking points for all candidates.

Dr. Perlas was particularly focused on the logistics of projects being pushed by the state. She had a distinct focus on how to best tackle these initiatives and meet all of the requirements laid out, while still tailoring the execution to what is best for LMC.

On the other hand Dr. Maxwell was especially focused on students. As licensed psychologist and former administrator, she emphasized the importance of being not only accessible, but also equitable to students and faculty.

“I am very passionate about equity and transforming students’ lives,” said Maxwell.

She also emphasized the importance of mental health and ensuring that students are cared for.

While counselors and other faculty and staff members were present, students and members of LMCAS were excited to be a part of the process.

“Having such a big position open and have it for anyone to come and sit down and ask questions is extremely important if we want to get the right people in the right positions for our campus to grow,” said LMCAS Christian Ortiz.

LMCAS president Prescilla Tatmon hopes that whatever candidate is chosen will emphasize the importance of collaboration and communication.

“In order to run as an LMC community we need to listen to voices that aren’t usually heard,” said Tatmon.

Choosing the right candidate is a big decision for LMC president Bob Kratochvil. A decision will be made after the public comments collected at the open forum are examined. Recruitment for the Vice President of Business and Administration is already underway, but will not include an open forum. The Vice President of Instruction position will include an open forum, most likely in the fall.

“It really has to do with not just the present situation, but the future of the college,” said Kratochvil.