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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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Katrina VanderWoude brings a new perspective at public forum

Yarrow Hogan
Superintendent-president candidate Katrina VanderWoude speaks at the last public forum that City College hosted for the remaining steps of the hiring process on Thursday, March 16 at the Garvin Theatre. “This college has greatness,” VanderWoude said at the end of her time on stage. “You should select the best candidate…I want you to have that next president that’s going to be longevity, that wants to be here, that wants to be a part of this community, that wants to grow and innovate…And I would love to be that president.”

The last public forum was held for the superintendent-president hiring process where candidate Katrina VanderWoude spoke at 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 16 at the Garvin Theatre.

Last semester, City College began the search to fill the position of current Interim Superintendent-President Kindred Murillo. The remaining three candidates, Katrina VanderWoude, Richard Storti and Erika Endrijonas, had the opportunity to speak in front of the City College community.

Deneatrice Lewis was the moderator of the forums and presented each candidate the same 12 questions brought by the community.

VanderWoude has worked in higher education at various schools in both California and Michigan. She has worked in many positions such as adjunct faculty, vice president, dean president and vice chancellor.

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When discussing the future she sees at City College, VanderWoude felt as if everything has led its way to spending the rest of her career at City College.

“Your values are aligned with mine,” the candidate said. “This is that next step, but it is also that endgame for me.”

When asked about the values that she uses when guiding decision making, VanderWoude uses data to guide her processes. Using both formal and informal data techniques, she believes that this is the best way to harness the answers to all major questions.

When elaborating on her answer, VanderWoude explained that not only does she collect data for decisions that affect technicals, but also gain an informal perspective by walking around campus and making connections with the students. The other values the candidate utilizes are transparency, honesty and active listening.

Beginning the discussion of diverse learners, the emphasis was not only on students but also the faculty and staff. VanderWoude’s focus for equity and inclusion is to make sure that every demographic is represented, thriving and supported. She believes that in order to make City College the best it can be, that everybody must feel at home and safe on campus.

“When we have a curriculum that infuses cultural sensitivity and values and the work and contributions of all people, we all benefit from that,” said the contestant, with a sense of passion in her voice.

VanderWoude recommends “meeting the students where they are and asking the students what they need” to create a sense of belonging.

The following question highlighted the School of Extended Learning (SEL).

“My vision is to support it,” she said. “To make sure that we are really understanding the significant rule of adults continuing education, professional developments and extended learning in our future.”

Supplying enough resources, enhancing program development, and promoting community engagement are all ways in which VanderWoude aspires to lead the future of SEL.

The question of facing trials when striving for diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and antiracism culture, was posed to VanderWoude on the podium. She examined this idea with a thorough analysis of her beliefs. The candidate explained that the issues of diversity and equity begin at the hiring process. Working with inherent biases and guaranteeing that a diaspora of people are all involved in one decision is central to a diverse campus, she explained. 

VanderWoude has a central goal of eradicating intergenerational poverty. As a college that prides itself on student equity, VanderWoude illustrates the importance of knowing all of the barriers faced by minority students.

“When they show up, there is a lot more in their backpacks that they carry on their backs than a pencil and pad of paper,” she said to the crowd. “They are bringing trauma, they’re bringing lived experiences.”

Within historically underrepresented populations, if the light shines on minority populations, the rest of the community will thrive, VanderWoude believes.

The Board of Trustees will be completing the final stages of the hiring process and will announce the new superintendent-president in following weeks.

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