Third DMC dean completes renowned leadership program for Hispanic college administrators
Article by: Michael Bratten
Kristina Ramirez Wilson, EdD, recently became the third dean in as many years at Del Mar College (DMC) to complete a prestigious leadership development program for community college administrators offered by the National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC).
“It was inspiring to be a part of a group of leaders who are so focused on student success,” Ramirez Wilson, DMC dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, said of the NCCHC Leadership Fellows Program. “To us, this work is more than just a job. It is the opportunity to pave the way for others to be successful.”
The year-long program, hosted by the University of San Diego’s School of Leadership & Education Sciences, features intensive studies and mentorship by experts in the field of community college leadership. More than 200 Fellows have completed the program from colleges nationwide, including vice presidents, deans and directors.
According to Ted Martinez, Jr., PhD, adjunct professor and NCCHC executive director at the University of San Diego, the program includes instruction in American Association of Community College leadership principles delivered through the lens of the Hispanic experience, as well as curriculum that provides a safe zone for discussion about background and culture.
“The program creates a sense of ‘familia’ that energizes and empowers future leaders and provides a network of Hispanic Fellows from across the country,” Martinez said.
Mentorship with like-minded individuals enables program graduates to discover new ideas, systems and strategies that contribute to their effectiveness as leaders, said Patricia Benavidez-Dominguez, DMC dean of Student Outreach and Enrollment Services, who completed the program in 2018.
“We are all leaders, but leaders need to continue to develop their skills. This program helps us do that.”
Insights shared by participants regarding the challenges and pathways to becoming a Latino community college leader resonated with Leonard Rivera, PhD, DMC dean of Continuing Education and Off-Campus Programs.
“My class of Fellows and I shared many commonalities,” said Rivera, who completed the program in 2017. “Many of us are first-generation college graduates who were raised in a household where education was an expectation and not simply a possibility, with the qualities of resilience, a strong work ethic and the spirit of being an educational advocate for all people.”
Nurturing leaders from within is a priority for DMC’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Escamilla, PhD.
“We have a great talent pool at Del Mar College,” said Escamilla, who nominated DMC’s three deans for the NCCHC Leadership Fellows Program. “This program is positioning talented leaders not only to be successful in their career paths, but also to enrich the higher education experience for our students. It’s an investment that will benefit future generations in many ways.”
With more Latinos attending college than ever before, Ramirez Wilson said community college leaders must ensure that all their students are equally supported as they seek economic mobility and better lives for themselves and their families.
Representation matters. Del Mar College’s student body is 68 percent Hispanic. It’s important for our students to see Hispanics teaching their classes and leading within their communities so that they see themselves in similar roles.
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.