New VP of Student Services Has Big Plans for College

Robert Radich

Ricardo Perez initiated innovated plans almost immediately on assuming his new position of Vice President of Student Services on July 16.

Soon after coming on board and meeitng with several members of staff and faculty in Student Services to get a feel for the institution, its successes and its challenges, he thought of ways to make the campus more student friendly.

“I initiated a campus campaign in encouraging staff and faculty to wear ‘Welcome to Glendale College’ badges,” said Perez. “When the new students are in a new environment, they need guidance, so our staff that is wearing the badge can help them with their needs.”

Perez, 49, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. When Ricardo was a little boy, his father was in America working as a sheet metal worker and during this time, his mother was about to marry another man in Guadalajara. His father was determined to marry the woman he loved, so he made the trip to Mexico to make it official. Following the marriage, Ricardo and his mother came to Los Angeles to re-join with his father and begin a family.

Perez is the oldest of four brothers and has two sisters. Growing up, although he lived in a household of nine, he felt it was comfortable.

“To be honest, it wasn’t difficult because there was nothing to compare it to,” said Perez. “There were no rich people next door, so we lived in our comfort zone. We each had a bed, so it was not so stressful.”

His childhood in America was full of excitement and very active. Growing up, Perez was an altar boy, a boy scout, and when he was in the mood for some baseball, he would cross the 5 freeway to attend Dodger Stadium to catch a game.

Perez has been married for 21 years to Adriana and has two children, Richard, 17, and Sabrina, 13. He has great pride in his children and tries to stay active in their everyday lives. He describes his son as an artistic drawer with a bright future. Perez has hung one of Richard’s drawings on his office wall to remind himself of the creativity his son exhibits.

“Like any parent who cares, he wants me to do well,” said Richard. “Of course, I don’t always agree with the terms involved, but in the end I know I have to do it for myself. He’s taught me at least that much.”

His daughter plays softball and he often encourages her to increase her skills through repetition and hard work. “My father has influenced me in school by telling me that to go far you need to be an intelligent person to make it to a major university to play softball,” said Sabrina. “Also, he tells me no matter what I am doing to always have a great personality.”

Perez graduated from Sylmar High school and received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science at UCLA, master’s in Education Counseling at CSU Dominguez Hills, and his doctorate of education at UCLA.

“In my senior year at UCLA, I had an internship working for Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with schools,” said Perez. “With my first pay check, I bought my mom a color TV”

Perez is a big man with a large sense of humor; but his devotion to his to work runs deep. Once the fall semester was underway, Student Services placed a table called the Add/Drop Information table in on the side of the Plaza Vaquero to encourage students not to drop their classes, to assist students to enroll in classes and help them with their academic needs.

This is one of Perez’s first accomplishments as VP of Student Services and he intends to use the Add/Drop Information table to assist students that struggle with their classes.

Additionally, Perez and his Student Services Cabinet team developed a Special Student Services flyer which is now on the school website. Special Student Services deals with information that students may need, such as, employment, loans, books, etc.

Palin Arapoonian, Administration Assistant for Student Services, describes Perez as a hard worker. “He tries very hard to do his job and when a student or teacher needs to ask him something, he never says no,” said Arapoonian. “It’s like not having a boss, he’s neutral, and so it’s easy to work with him.”

Perez has a list of plans to move GCC to the next level. His short-term plans consist of lobbying the chancellor’s office to assign funds to each community college to develop programs to help increase student success in basic skills classes.

Secondly, categorical programs are EOPS/CARE, Center for Students with Disabilities, Matriculation, Non-credit Matriculation, and Cal Works. These are programs for disadvantaged students.

In mid-November, Perez and his team will be working on self-study on the categorical programs, so once his team sends their report to the chancellor’s office, the chancellor will assign a team and review GCC programs in the spring of 2008.

His third short-term goal will be more visits by the school’s outreach team to encourage an increase of people to make the transition from the Garfield campus to GCC.

His last short-term goal is to gather records on student learning outcomes to assess how students are progressing.

His long-term plans include, meeting with the ad-hoc committee bi-weekly to discuss planning enrollment strategies to reach the enrollment target with the chancellor’s office.

Perez and his team also intend to develop an electronic Student Educational Plan (SEP). With this system, when students want to know which classes they need to take, counselors will fill out electronic SEP forms for them, which will allow for records to be accessed electronically.

His third long-term goal is to complete the accreditation self-study and team visit in 2010. The self-study has four big components and he and his staff will be working on standard II B (student services) and II C.(Library and Resource Center).

Lastly, Perez and his staff will be meeting with architects in planning for the development of the new Student Services building that will be completed by 2012.

When the building is completed “new students matriculating to the college will only have to go to one building to be served via admissions, financial aid, assessment, orientation, counseling, and special services,” said Perez.

When asked about how he felt when he got the call to be VP of Student Services. Perez mentioned, “I was overwhelmed, excited and that extended towards my family, and they were real excited for me.”