Friday, May 22, 2009

CM PRESS # 702


May 22--The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Denise Whittaker as Interim President of Orange Coast College. Whittaker will begin as Interim President on July 1, 2009.

“Ms. Whittaker has a great deal of experience in a multi-college district both as an administrator and a faculty member,” said Board President Jim Moreno. “She brings with her an excellent reputation and proven success as a leader and we are confident that as the Interim President she will be a great asset to Orange Coast College and to our District.”

“I am grateful to the Board of Trustees for giving me this opportunity,” Whittaker said. “Having worked in the southern California community college arena for nearly 30 years, and having friends and colleagues at all three of the District’s colleges, I am very much aware of OCC’s reputation for providing outstanding academic and technical education to the communities they serve. Every person I spoke to over the weekend had a connection to OCC and spoke highly of the faculty and their educational experience. I am honored to have been selected for this position and look forward to working with Dr. Currie and the OCC faculty, staff, managers, and students in this transition period.”

Whittaker will serve as Interim President at Orange Coast College while a national search is conducted for a permanent replacement. The Board of Trustees, Acting Chancellor Currie and Whittaker will work together to lead Orange Coast College during a time of District-wide transition and an unprecedented budget crisis.

“Our District is facing many challenges,” Moreno stated. “We know that Ms. Whittaker’s extensive experience will bring stability in leadership to the college as we conduct a search for a permanent president in the coming months.”

Whittaker retired as president of San Bernardino Valley College in San Bernardino in 2007. Under her leadership, the college successfully provided transfer and degree programs to over 12,000 students each semester. Additionally, Whittaker has a great deal of experience in student support services, budget planning and human resources having served as Vice President at both Oxnard College in Oxnard, Cal. and at El Camino College in Torrance, Cal. Whittaker has a Master’s degree in Counseling from California State University, Los Angeles.

Whittaker is known nationally as a progressive leader and has served as an advisory board member to the National Center for Community and Educational Partnerships and currently works as an educational consultant to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Fairmont State University.

“I am appreciative that Denise is willing to bring her leadership skills and experience to Orange Coast College,” said Dr. Ding-Jo Currie, Acting Chancellor. “The college and the District will be well served by her leadership during the six-month transition period. I look forward to working with Denise closely as we confront our fiscal challenges ahead.”

The Coast Community College District is headquartered in Costa Mesa and is the ninth largest district in the country. The District’s three colleges - Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley, Golden West College in Huntington Beach and Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa -serve over 60,000 students each year providing traditional degree and transfer opportunities, career and technical training and community programs.

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