Chris McCarthy Named President of Napa Valley College

Jennifer Bernardo
El Vaquero Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Chris McCarthy, Executive Vice President of Instructional Services, has been named president of Napa Valley College and will assume that position beginning Jan. 1, 2002.

McCarthy will be replacing Dr. Diane Woodruff, who is retiring.
“It was a very difficult decision,” McCarthy said. “I love GCC. I would have been very happy to stay here if it were not such an excellent opportunity.”

A nationwide search was conducted to replace Woodruff, with a search consultant contacting McCarthy earlier this year to apply for the position. At Napa College, applicants were interviewed by a 17-member campus committee, and five finalists were chosen to be interviewed by the board of trustees. The top two applicants were then selected to present themselves in a forum attended by the students, faculty and members of the community. McCarthy was offered the position on Oct. 30.
“I am very impressed with his (McCarthy) intellect and his knowledge of community college issues,” Woodruff said. The two met last year in an accreditation visit in Maui, Hawaii. “He has such passion for education and learning. Everybody is absolutely excited to have him here.”

McCarthy has been in his current position since 1995. He has developed programs such as digital animation, Project for Adult College Education (PACE), a weekend college, and Tutors Today Teachers Tomorrow (T4) program, all of which he is proud of.

The digital animation program is in its fourth year and arose out of the need for more animators in the country, McCarthy said. PACE is in its fifth year and is designed for working adults who want to continue their education.

The T4 program is designed to aid students through paid tutoring jobs while they attend Cal State L.A. They also receive an education award and are guaranteed a teaching job in the Glendale Unified School District when they finish college. Through the program, students are able to earn their teaching credentials in four years instead of five. The program is two years old.
“The mark of a good college is that you’re constantly growing and developing new ideas,” McCarthy said. He likes the fact that Napa is a small school (there are about 6,000 students) with special offerings, such as a winery program, and a center for the arts. It is also a single college district, therefore he will also be superintendent.

He has a number of goals going into the new position. He said he would like to develop plans for facilities, funding for new buildings, and job development.

One thing McCarthy said he would have liked to have seen through completion at GCC is program review. The three-year project allows for the college to gather feedback from faculty, students and community about the college.

“There is never a good time to leave,” McCarthy said. “Working here has been life-changing for me. It has been a tremendous training; it’s given me skills and tools that I need.”
He credits President John Davitt for his enriching experience. “I learned a lot from working with Dr. Davitt.that you can’t ever forget the human side of what you do. He is absolutely connected to the people and they trust him. Instead of seeing his position as something that separates him from the rest of the people, he sees it as a connection to them.”

“It is a great loss to GCC, but a tremendous benefit to Napa Valley College,” Davitt said of McCarthy’s departure.

Social Science division chair and economics instructor Steven White will serve as interim Vice President of Instructional Services upon McCarthy’s leave [he will not be applying for the permanent position]. “He is an articulate voice in the faculty,” McCarthy said. “I want to make sure and leave everything in good shape for him when he takes over.”

There will be a nationwide search conducted to fill the position. McCarthy said that he expects the position to be filled by fall 2002.

McCarthy, now 48, served as Dean of Academic Affairs at Los Angeles Harbor College from 1992 to 1995, and served as chairman of the College’s Communications Division from 1989 to1992.He was also an English instructor for LAHC from 1984 to1992. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Immaculate Heart College, a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from University of Oregon, a master of arts degree in higher education from the Graduate School of Education at UCLA, and a doctorate in higher education from UCLA.