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Search for College President Down to Final Three

By Lookout Staff

November 4 -- The search for a new Santa Monica College president has been narrowed down to three candidates -- two current presidents of community colleges on the east and west coasts and a State accreditation official.

The candidates, announced Wednesday by the collegeís Presidential Search Committee and forwarded to the Board of Trustees, will visit the campus and appear at public forums later this month.

The finalists for the position are:

  • Dr. Deborah Blue, vice president of policy and research for the Accrediting Commission for Community & Junior Colleges (ACCJC) in Novato. The commission evaluates public and private institutions of higher education seeking accreditation in the Western Region, which encompasses California and the Pacific rim.
  • Dr. G. Jeremiah Ryan, president of Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey, which serves Somerset and Hunterdon County. The 30-year-old college offers more than 70 associate degrees and certificates, as well as customized training programs and non-credit courses.
  • Dr. Chui Tsang, president of San Jose City College. The 84-year-old college serves more than 700,000 residents within its 303-square-mile boundaries.

The recommendations to the Board of Trustees mark a major step in the college's exhaustive national search, which began early this year after Dr. Piedad F. Robertson left the chief executive position in January to take the presidency of Denver-based Education Commission of the States.

Dr. Thomas J. Donner, former SMC executive vice president, has served as interim president since Jan. 1.

The search for Dr. Robertsonís replacement has included mailings, use of email lists and advertising in a variety of publications.

The Presidential Search Committee -- made up of SMC employees, students and Santa Monica community members -- then screened applications and interviewed semi-finalists for the position.

Each of the finalists will spend a full day on campus for interviews with the Board and to appear at public forums to speak and answer questions. The forums will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, November 14 to 16.

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