“I am coming as a CEO, not a manager. I want to listen and learn from those doing the work. I have no problem giving latitude,” Dr. Beatriz Trevino Espinoza said to a group of Coastal Bend College staff, faculty members and students. She visited CBC at the invitation of the board of trustees seeking to fill position of college president. Dr. Espinoza, Vice Chancellor for Educational Planning and Services at Yuba Community College District in Marysville, Calif., is one of five finalists who spent the day at the college, located in Beeville, Texas, with campuses in Alice, Kingsville and Pleasanton, Texas.
In one of several public forums, Espinoza talked about dual credit, institutional effectiveness and budgets. When asked about innovation, Espinoza related a story about working with a local company to provide GED and ESL training for onsite employees on three shifts. “We had to recreate a structure to fit the company’s needs. We bridged the gap and helped the company honor its culture of hiring within,” she said.
Dr. Espinoza was Vice President for Workforce Learning Services at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz. While there, she helped build a program to develop home grown engineers feeding STEM-heavy students from community college to area universities. The program included early-program paid internships that gave students work experience at Yuma Proving Grounds while building skill sets in the classroom.
Espinoza, who grew up in South Texas where her family still lives, is the youngest of eight siblings. She said, “I never went to college assuming that I was entitled to it. I was a migrant farm worker who got to college on a scholarship.”
She said that absence of entitlement among community college students was familiar and appealing to her. Dr. Espinoza taught at a university in Dallas before moving to a community college. She worked in Dallas, Tempe and Chicago as part of her 25 years in higher education. Espinoza holds a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Psychology and Educational Psychology and a Masters in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg.
As a young college administrator, she was sponsored by Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) for a fellowship on Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI). She is experienced in working with minority student populations and in diverse communities where the cultures, background, and languages are as different as the needs of each community.
Espinoza helped to transition Yuba Community College District from a multi-campus institution to a multi-college institution with separate accreditation. She said the key to managing multiple sites within a district is to “stay engaged with all campuses by getting out there and visiting the communities.”
Espinoza acknowledged that she is one of the two finalists for El Paso Community College president and harkened to the old adage, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”
In response to a question about how long she might stay at CBC, she said, “I think you want to ask ‘Are you going to bounce again?’ No. I want to build and invest in a community. I want to live in it, engage in it and enjoy it.”
Candidates forums held this week give the public opportunities to meet the finalists. Two forums are held each day for staff, faculty, students and the community, including the media, on all campuses.
“Our search for a new president of Coastal Bend College is entering a very exciting phase and the Board of Trustees invites all the members of our college community and the community we serve to play an active role as we move forward, Paul Jaure, CBC Board of Trustees Chair, said prior to the visit by Espinoza. “The Open Public Forums are a very important part of the process.” The daily schedule of forums is as follows:
10-11 a.m.: Gertrude R. Jones Auditorium, CBC Beeville Campus
1-2 p.m.: Video Connections Available
Beeville Campus (E-112)
Alice Campus (A-205)
Kingsville Campus (K-131)
Pleasanton Campus (P-139)
Thursday, March 8, 2012: Dr. Jimmy A. Cargill
Dr. James Cargill serves as the President of Dawson Community College in Dawson, Mont. Previously, Dr. Cargill served as Chief Academic Officer at Ashland Community and Technical College in Ashland, Ky. Dr. Cargill holds an Ed.D. in Music Education from the University of Houston, a Masters in Musicology and a Bachelors in Music Education from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.
Friday, March 9, 2012: Dr. W. David Pelham
Dr. W. David Pelham serves as Director of Higher Colleges of Technology – Fujairah in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. Previously, Dr. Pelham was President of Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Dr. Pelham holds an Ed.D in Education Leadership and Community College Administration from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, a Masters in Communications from Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky., a Bachelors in Individual Directions (Speech, Psychology, and Political Science) from Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn. and an Associate of Arts in General Education from Brevard Community College in Palm Bay, Fla. Scheduled for each candidate:
Dr. Karen Bleeker, who visited on Tuesday, served as the President of the Community College of Denver in Denver, Colo. Previously, Dr. Bleeker was Vice President of Educational Services at Temple College in Temple, Texas. Dr. Bleeker holds an Ed.D. in Educational Administration and Community College Leadership from The University of Texas at Austin, a Masters in Counseling from the University of Texas at San Antonio, a Masters in Adult Education from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, and a Bachelors in Sociology from Trinity University in San Antonio.
Dr. Thomas Rasco, who visited on Monday, served as President of Texarkana College in Texarkana. Previously, Dr. Rasco served as President of South Arkansas Community College in Eldorado, Ark. Dr. Rasco holds an Ed.D. in Educational Administration from Baylor University, Waco, a Masters in Speech Communication and Management and a Bachelors in Behavioral Science from the University of Houston, an Associate of Arts and Sciences in Nursing and an Associate of Arts and Sciences in Respiratory Therapy from Odessa College in Odessa, Texas. Rasco’s interview was on Monday.
Feedback forms will be provided to all who attend the Open Public Forums and will be collected at the end of each Forum. They will be sent under seal to the Board of Trustees for review during the evaluation of the finalist candidates.
To watch coverage of other visits, go to http://www.coastalbend.edu/presidentialsearch/.
Coastal Bend College does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability.