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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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Dr. Kim Monda elected president of City College Academic Senate

Dani Novoa
City College English Professor Dr. Kim Monda, takes a small break between her classes in Santa Barbara, Calif. on May 1.

Fueled by a passion for teaching and serving the community, Dr. Kim Monda is gearing up for her position as President of the City College Academic Senate for the 2015-17 term.

Monda will serve as President-Elect for the 2014-2015 year, followed by a two-year term as President from 2015-2017.

“I love this college, I love being a teacher, and I love working with other people to figure out better ways to do things,” she said to faculty members, while delivering her election speech. “I promise to do my very best to serve you and the college as a whole.”

Monda has been working in the City College English Department since 1995, primarily teaching English composition. She has also served on the board of several college groups, including the College Planning Council and the Program Evaluation Committee; she also chaired the Planning and Resources Committee.

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“I am running for Senate President because it seems the natural evolution of the work I have been doing over the last six years,” Monda said.

She was nominated by two colleagues and was the only candidate for the Presidency.

The Academic Senate President keeps the College President, the Administrative Staff, and the Board of Trustees on the same page; they also represent the elected leader who coordinates the faculty on academic and professional matters.

The President is an emblem of leadership and has the opportunity to get engaged at all the levels of the institutions.

The Senate President also has the duty to engage with the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. Monda will be attending her first conference to learn more about the statewide Senate this June in San Diego.

“I am intrigued by what can happen when all 112 colleges try to do something together,” she said. “But I am more interested to see what’s going on in our college.”

Monda values teamwork, spirit and effort. She said she would start her presidential career by “religiously listening” to her colleagues to figure out what can be changed or improved on campus. She experiences real joy in working with other people, and one of her main inspirations is drawn by how worthwhile it is to work with faculty from other divisions.

“Monda is fantastic,” said the current Academic Senate President Kenley Neufeld. “She is inclusive and she always makes sure every voice gets heard.”

She will be spending her first year shadowing and assisting Neufeld to fully learn what the job entails before the two-year term in 2015.

The new President-Elect emphasized her love of City College’s culture in collaboration and constant striving towards improvement. From the very beginning of her career, the college has constantly kept up with this positive attitude, she mentioned.

The only change she has noticed over the years concerns students’ awareness of what being a good student requires: it is not merely an academic matter, and students’ personal growth goes down to their personal motivation and the developing of personal skills, also dealing with the current pressure in the job market. Monda said that 2014 is indeed different from when she graduated, and warmly advises students to stay open and trust themselves, because we never know where life can lead us.

Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she went to school on the East Coast and moved to California for her PhD in American and English literature at UCLA. She never doubted her English literature path, except for one year as a Comparative Religious major at Harvard, while she had a little crisis about life and death, as she put it.

Teaching will certainly remain one of her biggest passions, and, despite her new role as President, it’s really important for her not to be completely outside the classroom environment.

“I still find the classroom the most thrilling place to be,” she said. “I love the fact that every August and January we get to start again, trying to do an even better job the next time around.”

Her colleagues pointed out Monda’s positive and enthusiastic-oriented attitude and have confirmed her busy schedule doesn’t leave her much free time outside of school. However, whenever she gets the opportunity she looks forward to reading, hiking, taking walks on the beach, and spending time playing tennis with her two children.

She also volunteers at her son’s school, supporting the teachers and their language and art program.

“It’s hilarious working with younger grades on writing and see what kids have in common with College students and what’s different,” she said.

This summer she will be attending the aforementioned State Senate meeting in San Diego, she will be serving at several workgroups at City College, and, above all, she will finally dedicate time to summer trips with the family.

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