The three candidates vying for the vacant president’s seat at PCC addressed the community at open forums held in the Westerbeck Recital Hall this week where the public was able to submit feedback to the Board of Trustees on each candidate.
According to Board President Berlinda Brown, this will help the board make a decision on who will be selected for the position.
“We encourage the public to submit feedback,” Brown told attendees at one of candidate Rajen Vurdien’s open forum on Monday. “This forum is part of the selection process for the board for picking the next president.”
Attendees were able to submit questions before each forum and a moderator presented each question to each candidate. The most prominent question asked in the forums seemed to be about shared governance and how the three candidates would deal with the tension between the faculty, administration and board.
“One of the reasons I was appointed interim president of Sacramento State College is because I was able to work among groups of very divergent opinions and bring them together,” said Patricia Hsieh, president of San Diego Miramar College, on Tuesday.
When similar questions were asked to Vurdien, Fullerton College’s president, he said that he had dealt with similar problems when he first arrived to Fullerton.
“The person who gets this job has to make sure that he or she can work with all the constituent groups to create a climate that will promote student success,” he said. “Through transparency, I was able to improve the climate at Fullerton… I feel that at PCC, I could do the same by being just as transparent.”
Interim President Robert Miller, who was appointed to his position after Mark Rocha retired last August, said that with accreditation pending, it was up to the entire school—himself included—to try and work on the climate.”
“It’s the collective responsibility that we all have to work on this and it’s only if we trust each other and respect each other that we begin to move forward,” Miller said at his open forum on Wednesday afternoon. “It was said that we were the most functional/dysfunctional college the accreditation team had seen… Our issues are significant but very solvable if we just choose to work better with each other.”
According to Brown, the board hopes to make its decision by the end of April.
Hsieh is in her tenth year as school president for Miramar College. She also serves on many local and national boards, including the San Diego Maritime Museum Board, the Community College Baccalaureate Association (CCBA), the National Coalition of Certification Centers, and the National Asian Pacific Islanders Council.
Vurdien has been the president at Fullerton College since 2010 and before that was vice president of instruction at Saddleback College for six years. He also currently sits on the executive board of the California State University Fullerton Doctor in Education Leadership program.
Before being selected as the interim president of PCC, Miller was the senior vice president of Business and College Services. He is also PCC alum, having graduated in 1975 with an AA in telecommunications. Miller will be president of the 2021 Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game.