Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

(Illustration: Eliot Faine/The Citizen)
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Some laughs and some big questions at CoA president search listening session

CoA community members think carefully about issues facing the college they hope to see the next college leader address. (Photo: Marcus Creel/PCCD)

The College of Alameda (CoA) kicked off its search for a permanent president at a listening session March 11. Faculty, classified employees, administrators, and students alike came together to speak up about issues facing the college and strengths they hope to see in a new leader.

“We want someone who wants to stay and build a legacy,” Khalilah Beal-Uribe, a faculty member in the CoA Mathematics Department, said at the session. “Someone who has vision. Someone who has the backbone to carry out their vision.”

Attendees in-person and online were instructed to break off into small groups and come up with a list of two issues facing the college they hoped the next president would address.

Most groups ended up with three or four items each. Helen Benjamin, a consultant who moderated the session, poked fun at the crowd for breaking the two-issue quota.

“I don’t think you guys know how to count,” she quipped.

The jokes added some levity to a session that was otherwise ripe with honest feedback on issues facing the college. Attendees brought up high turnover, low enrollment, degrading facilities, technological setbacks, and leadership transparency.

Overall, the groups expressed they wanted the next college leader to be an active listener, with a passion for staff and students and a knack for fundraising. Attendees also valued lived experience over academic background and candidates from local areas over transplants.

Positive attributes of CoA that groups encouraged Benjamin to use as “selling points” for possible candidates included campus diversity, collaborative team environments, and an attractive campus.

CoA has been without a permanent president since September 2022, after a vacancy in district offices led to the departure of Nathaniel Jones III from the seat. Shortly after, Diana Bajrami, who has since stepped down, was appointed Acting CoA President.

Bajrami’s resignation, along with the resignation of Acting Vice President of Instruction Maurice Jones, was approved at a March 12 meeting of the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees.

The start date for the incoming CoA president is set for July 1, 2024, leaving just three and a half months to fill the position.

In the meantime, Pamela Luster, the current President of the California Community College Baccalaureate Association and former Mesa College president, has been tapped as the Acting President of CoA, through June 30, 2024.

Photo courtesy: Peralta Colleges SmugMug

About the Contributor
Romi Bales
Romi Bales, Staff Writer.
Romi Bales (they/them) is a Bay Area transplant, originally from San Diego. They are a first-year staff writer with The Citizen and have worked as an editor and Editor in Chief for several academic publications including Humble Pie Literary Magazine, The Production Online Newspaper, and Inscribe Writing and Visual Anthology. They received a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Writing and Literature from the California College of the Arts in 2020. In their free time, Romi enjoys reading and writing queer fiction novels, researching Irish culture, and memorizing information about sustainable farming practices.
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