San Diego Community News Group
Chancellor Carlos O. Turner Cortez ushers in a new era for the San Diego Community College District
Chancellor Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D., took office on July 1 as executive director of the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD), the first new district chancellor in 17 years.
Having recently served as president of the San Diego College of Continuing Education (SDCCE), the largest uncredited adult education institution in the country, Dr. Cortez brings both continuity and fresh perspectives to a well-established district in the region as than motor. economic opportunities and social change.
The SDCCD board announced Cortez’s selection in March, following a nationwide search. He succeeds former SDCCD Chancellor Constance M. Carroll, Ph.D., who retired on June 30. Including continuing education, the SDCCD annually serves 100,000 students at San Diego City College, Mesa College and Miramar College, making it San Diego’s largest institution of higher education.
“Chancellor Carroll has made the SDCCD a national leader in equity and student outcomes. I am committed to working with our student leaders, faculty, ranked professionals and administrators to take the district to the next level of achievement, ”Cortez said.
Cortez will now oversee the region’s largest workforce training and higher education provider, with an annual economic impact of $ 4.1 billion across eight campuses and one district office. He will draw heavily on his experience as a faculty member and administrator as the SDCCD turns to normal – or what passes for normal – following the COVID-19 pandemic. After operating remotely for nearly 18 months, the SDCCD is expanding its in-person course offerings this fall in anticipation of a full reopening in January 2022. Other immediate priorities include increasing student enrollment, affordability of colleges and expanding equity and access in a district where growing numbers of students struggle with hunger and housing insecurity.
During his six years as head of the SDCCE, Cortez established an ongoing partnership with the San Diego Rescue Mission, making the transition of homeless adults into the workforce and out of poverty, and paving the way for the implementation of the San Diego Gateway to College and Career program which offers paid internships, accelerated education and a clear path to well-paying jobs for teens and young adults who are neither in school nor on the job. It also launched the Interactive Online Competency-Based Micro-Accreditation Academy (ICOM), an online program that provides adult learners with vocational training in 11 vocational training options that can take as little as five to 10 months.
Prior to joining the SDCCE in 2015, Cortez served as Acting Vice President of Education and Dean of Academic Pathways, Workforce Development and Student Success at Berkeley City College; director of educational extension at UCLA; and as a teacher and administrator in public schools in New York and Los Angeles. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University, New York University, and the University of California, Berkeley.
Cortez holds a bachelor’s degree in history and sociology from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in racial and gender politics from New York University, and a doctorate. in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Southern California.
“Chancellor Cortez is an innovative, enterprising, energetic and proven leader who is committed to participatory governance,” said Maria Nieto Senour, SDCCD Board Chair. “He clearly understands the dynamics of a large multi-college district as well as the community dynamics that SDCCD serves.”
As one of the largest of California’s 73 community college districts, the San Diego Community College District receives approximately 100,000 students per year at three two-year colleges and the San Diego College of Continuing Education. San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College offer associate’s degrees and certificates in professional programs that prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and entry-level jobs. Mesa College also offers a bachelor’s degree in health information management. The San Diego College of Continuing Education offers non-credit adult education at seven campuses across San Diego.