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May 15, 2007 
Vol. 80, No.33

College to Interview Two Candidates for Superintendent President

The college's Presidential Search Committee successfully completed its task this past week and recommended that two candidates be moved forward in the search process. The candidates are Sunita Cooke from Texas and Robert Silverman from Oregon . A campus forum, designed to introduce the candidates to students, faculty, staff, and the public, is scheduled for Wednesday, May 16 in the Student Activities Center . The forum will feature the first candidate at 10 a.m. and the second candidate at 11:15 a.m. Board interviews will closely follow the forums.

Introducing Dr. Sunita V. Cooke Associate Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development North Harris Montgomery Community College District

Dr. Sunita V. Cooke - photo

Dr. Sunny Cooke currently serves as Associate Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development in the North Harris Montgomery Community College District (NHMCCD) located in suburban Houston , Texas . In this role, she has had the opportunity to lay a foundation for data-driven decision making, research and planning to identify, expand and fund the workforce development offerings within the five college district. The district currently serves some 45,000 credit students and an additional 15,000 continuing education students.

Dr. Cooke has worked at Montgomery College (one of the five NHMCCD colleges) since 1995 following her postdoctoral training at MD Anderson Cancer Center where she explored the role that cell recognition and adhesion play in cancer cell metastasis. She taught biology, microbiology and biotechnology at Universities and Community Colleges for over 13 years. In her role as a faculty member, she founded the Montgomery College Honors Program and was awarded a Teaching Excellence Award in 1999. She has been asked to pioneer new organizational structures and departments within the college and has successfully blurred the lines between credit, continuing education and corporate training, academic and workforce offerings to dynamically meet community needs. She has served as a director, dean and is currently in a vice-president level position at the system office.

Dr. Cooke has been instrumental in engaging business and industry, public education, higher education, economic development and government agencies in community development efforts. These partnerships have resulted in unique laboratory science degree programs within the area, enhanced resources and facilities to expand educational opportunities for students, successful grant efforts and have contributed to the economic prosperity within the region. Most recently she successfully spearheaded an effort to obtain a $1.6 million grant from the Texas Workforce Commission to support 12 local businesses with skill upgrades for 850 employees within the manufacturing industry and to create 650 new jobs within the area.

Dr. Cooke has had the opportunity to serve on a variety of boards at the local, regional, state and national levels. Her service has benefited local schools, career academies, chambers, professional societies, leadership academies and the Global Corporate College . She was recently named to serve a three year term on the International Chair Academy 's Practitioner's Board. Over the years, she has served as a mentor to emerging higher education leaders, taught in community development institutes and graduate programs as well as served on the professional development organization within her college.

Dr. Cooke believes that access without support does not equal opportunity and has directly overseen student support services ranging from career exploration and commitment to early intervention, supplemental instruction, facilitated study groups and use of current technologies. She also realizes that a talented and energized faculty and staff committed to the success of students are essential.

Dr Cooke is passionate about the impact that community colleges make in the lives of individuals and the role they play in keeping our workforce globally competitive. She brings to her work energy, enthusiasm, vision, humor and an ability to engage others.


Introducing Dr. Robert Silverman, President, Mt. Hood Community College, Oregon

Dr. Robert M. Silverman became the fifth president of Mt. Hood Community College in the spring of 2001. His leadership has led to the expansion of MHCC during challenging economic times. Under his guidance the college doubled the size of its nursing program with the construction of the Bruning Center for Allied Health Education. Dr. Silverman's leadership has also been recognized statewide as he served as chairman of the Oregon Community College President's Council, which is comprised of all 17 Oregon community college presidents. He is also actively involved in a variety of civic organizations including membership with the Gresham Rotary; member of the executive board for the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce; a member of the Portland Leader's Round Table; and Oregon Sciences and Technology Project board member.

Prior to coming to MHCC, Dr. Silverman served as the interim president for the Community College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas . While at CCSN he also served as senior vice president in charge of academics, student services and daily college operations. Silverman also spent 20 years working in the California educational system. His positions there included: president and consultant for Technology Development Strategies-2000; library director and information technology consultant, Rio Hondo Community College; executive director of the National Center for the Development of Education; vice president of instructional services and assistant superintendent, Cerritos College; dean for instructional services and sciences professor, Santa Monica College; and president of the Statewide Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.

A native of Lynnwood , California , Dr. Silverman received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Louisville, Kentucky; his Master of Science and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from UCLA.

WILLARD CLARK LEWALLEN, Ph.D. Named President of West Hills College in Coalinga
  photo of Dr. Willard Lewallen, V.P., Student Services at Victor Valley College

Dr. Willard Lewallen received word last week that he has been selected to serve as President of West Hills Community College in Coalinga. His tenure is scheduled to begin July 1, 2007.

Dr. Lewallen began his career at VVC in 1999 as Vice President, Student Services and is the current longest serving administrator at the college. Since 1992 he has also served as an adjunct professor in graduate studies at two universities ( Chapman University and University of La Verne ) where he teaches psychological assessment and research/evaluation methods.

In the last few years, Dr. Lewallen has served as president of the California Community College Counselors Association (CCCCA), a professional organization that serves approximately 1,600 counselors statewide. He has served as President of the Board of Directors for EUREKA - the California Career Information System, a company that specializes in career development software applications. He currently represents the California Community College Chief Student Services Administrators Association (CCCCSSAA) as the statewide representative to the Chancellor's Office, Technology and Telecommunications Advisory Council. He is currently active in the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA) where he serves on its Management Development Commission and Membership Advisory Council. He was recently named ACCCA's 2006-07 Volunteer of the Year. He was a member of the state-wide task force that revised the accreditation standards for student services and learning support. He is an evaluator for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Additionally, Dr. Lewallen has been active in charitable efforts as well as local civic organizations and agencies.

Wireless Network Installed at VVC  
icon of networked computers

Network Access Control (NAC) was approved by the board in February and installed on the campus wireless network in April. Network Access Control allows the college to safely allow guest access on the campus wireless network and verify systems with internal system rights. Wireless signals are available near most campus buildings. Students are being notified that this tool is available to them as a learning resource.

Grants Approved for VVC

money falling

The California Community Chancellor's Office Economic and Workforce Development Division announced that a grant the college wrote focusing on career development for 7th and 8th grade students at partner middle schools has been funded. The approval of the Career Development Grant will be formalized soon through an award letter from the Chancellor's office. The scope of work includes providing career advising, guidance and information. It also includes a summer "camp" program focusing on hands-on career exploration and experiential activities. The college also received the CAHSEE grant approved by the California Community College 's Board of Governors.

Students Receive Honorable Mention in U.S. Today Magazine

student walking

�Make a Difference Day" is an annual nationwide event sponsored by USA WEEKEND Magazine that encourages people to give back to their community. This event draws millions of participants yearly. Students from VVC were given recognition for their efforts and earned mention in U.S. Today Magazine. They were selected among the 500 honored out of the 3 million entries. Participants included students from the SSPIRE Program, the Ready Rams, and Aware clubs. Some of the projects in which they participated included completing a low income home for Habitat for Humanity, coordinating activities for autistic children with High Desert Magic 4-H/PJ'S Pals, tutoring students at the Newton T. Bass Library in Apple Valley , and coordinating activities for seniors at Merrill Gardens Senior Center .

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Last Updated: 8/1/11