One of These Finalists Will Be GCC’s New College President

alison-geller
el-vaquero-staff-writer/" class="creditline">ALISON GELLER
El Vaquero Staff Writer

The college community will be able to meet the four finalists in the yearlong search for a replacement for President John Davitt at a public forum that will be held on Wednesday in the GCC Auditorium at 1:30 p.m.

Each finalist will have 45 minutes to talk to the audience and answer questions.

The candidates are Dr. Audre Levy, Dr. Sharon Kaye Dyer, Dr. Willard Clark Lewallen and Dr. Bonita Jacobs, one of whom will assume the post Davitt has filled for 21 years, in July. The announcement of which candidate will be the new school president will be made in May.

“I am so pleased and grateful to the Board of Directors Advisory Hiring Committee,” said Anita Gabrielian, President of the Board of Trustees. “They have done a lot of fine work and I know that their time spent on this is a great investment in?our community. The Board of Directors will now do their due diligence in the next step which includes thorough background checks, site visits, interviews, etc.”

Each of these finalists has distinguished themselves in the academic community and elsewhere. For purpose of comparison, some biographical and professional information is listed for each candidate, including demographic statistics for the campus communities they serve. For the fall 2005 semester GCC’s demographics, according to Edward Karpp, of the Institutional Research Department at GCC, included 15,407 registered students of whom approximately 33 percent were Armenian, 24 percent Latino/Hispanic, 16 percent Anglo, 11 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 5 percent Filipino, 3 percent Black/African American and 6 percent were categorized as “Other.”

Dr. Audre Levy

Levy is the President of Los Angeles Southwest College and has a doctorate in institutional management from Pepperdine University. She received her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and has three master’s degrees: one from the University of Michigan, one from Cal State Long Beach and one from Cal Sate Dominguez Hills.

Dr. Levy could not be reached for comment.

According to Dan Walden, Director of Institutional Planning and Research at Southwest College, There were 6,912 students enrolled for Fall 2005 of whom 66 percent are African American, 28.7 percent are Hispanic, 1.4 percent are Asian, .7 percent are Caucasian, .6 percent are “Other,” .2 percent are Pacific Islander, and Native Americans make up .2 percent of the student body.

Dr. Sharon Kaye Dyer

Dyer has been the president at Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest, Calif., since 2002 and has a doctorate in educational leadership from Gonzaga University. She received an associate degree from Clark Community College in Vancouver, Wash., a bachelor’s degree in speech and a master’s degree in speech/theater/community college teaching from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash.

Dyer has also helped her school grow. She helped pass a Measure G bond that allowed the college to install a seven-acre solar field to offset energy costs, plan a new science center, a new art building, a new nursing facility and remodeled the entire main classroom building. The college has also applied for matching funds for a new media center and a new performing arts building.

Dyer is a supporter of online students. According to her biography, “Dr. Dyer has a strong commitment to distance education to reach time bound and place bound rural citizens.” They have all student services that are available on campus available online.

Demographic information for Cerro Coso College was not available by press time.

Dyer is married to a fifth grade teacher. She has one daughter, two grandchildren and a Harley Davidson.

Dr. Bonita C. Jacobs

Jacobs has been the Vice President for Student Development and Assistant Professor of Counseling, Development and Higher Education at the University of North Texas, since 1998 and has a doctorate in educational administration with an emphasis in higher education from Texas A&M University. She received her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and history as well as her master’s degree in counseling from Stephan F. Austin State University with additional studies in Morelia and Monterrey, Mexico.

With Jacobs at the helm, there has been a vast amount of construction at the campus of North Texas. It has built a Student Recreation Center, a Health and Career Center, five sorority houses, an outdoor pavilion, a tennis complex and five intramural fields.

She has also overseen the NT-DC Project, a program that helps students obtain internships in Washington with congressional offices and governmental agencies.

Jacobs is the founder and a fellow with the Institute for the Study of Transfer Students.

According to her biography, she regularly entertains student groups in her home for dinners or pool parties because she understands the importance of connecting with students.

According to Leslie Odom, the Senior Research Analyst of the Office of Institutional Research and Accreditation from the University of North Texas, the demographics for the Fall 2005 semester were 32,047 registered students and approximately 67 percent were Caucasian, 11 percent African American, 10 percent Hispanic and 11 percent were categorized as “Other.”

Jacobs is married and has three grown children.

Dr. Willard Clark Lewallen

Lewallen is the vice president of student services at Victor Valley College and has a doctorate in education from UCLA. He received a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Polytechnic University at Pomona and two master’s degrees from Purdue University, one in exercise physiology and the other in counseling.

His biography makes frequent reference to his commitment to physical fitness. He has also completed the Los Angeles Marathon.

Although Lewallen’s biography makes no mention of campus construction projects, he was involved in the information technology service training for faculty members.

He has made two presentations this year, both regarding a compressed calendar. One was at the 2006 annual conference of the Association of California Community College Administrators entitled “Best Practices for Implementing and Managing a Compressed Calendar.” The other was at a member panel at Citrus College entitled “Compressed Calendar Symposium.”

According to Mark Clair, the Institutional Research Coordinator from Victor Valley College, the demographics for the Fall 2005 semester were 11,237 credited students and approximately 50.5 percent were Caucasian, 27.5 percent Hispanic, 12.2 percent African American, 2 percent Asian, 1.6 percent Filipino, 1.1 percent American Indian/Alaskan Native, 0.5 percent Pacific Islander, 1 percent were categorized as “Other Non-White” and 3.7 percent were either uncollected or declined to state.

Lewallen is married and has three children.