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Daisy Gonzales, PhD Named Interim Chancellor of 116-college system

Daisy Gonzales, PhD  Named Interim Chancellor of 116-college system

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors has unanimously selected Deputy Chancellor Daisy Gonzales, PhD, to serve as interim chancellor of the 116-college system as it conducts a national search to fill the position that Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley vacated July 31.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors has unanimously selected Deputy Chancellor Daisy Gonzales, PhD, to serve as interim chancellor of the 116-college system as it conducts a national search to fill the position that Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley vacated July 31.

“With her institutional knowledge of the system’s progress toward the Vision for Success and fiscal and policy expertise, Dr. Gonzales is the perfect person to lead the California Community Colleges during this time,” said Pamela Haynes, president of the Board of Governors for California Community Colleges. “With her support, the system has achieved all-time highs for completion and transfer outcomes, but there is still much work to be completed. We appreciate Dr. Gonzales’ collaborative and innovative leadership, and her passion to continue to serve our students.”

Gonzales has overseen operational and strategic policy planning for the Chancellor’s Office since 2018 and chairs the system’s statewide participatory governance body, Consultation Council. A fearless advocate for students, Gonzales has been an Aspen Institute presidential fellow, serves on the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges and was recognized as a 2021 woman of the year by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis.

“California’s 116 colleges are the entryway to higher education for the majority of Californians. I am grateful and humbled by the Board of Governors’ support and confidence to continue to serve our students. The work ahead is clear, we will continue to fully implement the Board of Governors Vision for Success, and during this time period we will make significant progress toward Governor Newsom’s Roadmap for the Future of California,” said Gonzales. “I look forward to continuing to support our campus leaders through this transformational time, and I am optimistic that our collective work will yield progress because of the leadership of our students and the dedicated faculty and staff who share in our vision to ensure that every student realizes their goals and dreams in California.”

During Gonzales’ time as deputy chancellor, students across all groups and regions of California have seen improved outcomes. The number of students earning a college credential increased by 27 percent and the number of students earning transfer preparation associate degrees more than doubled.

Gonzales affirmed the California Community Colleges will remain focused on the system’s Vision for Success in tandem with advancing the Roadmap for the Future, a framework established by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature that sets multi-year goals and resources, to drive equitable improvements in credential attainment and transfer outcomes across all state higher education segments.

A key focus for Gonzales has been leading the system’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility work, which has produced concrete policy changes to better serve a diverse student population by improving hiring practices and campus climate throughout the college system. Action taken this year by the Board of Governors incorporates Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility competencies and criteria into performance evaluations and tenure review for all employees.

Gonzales previously served the 116-college system as acting chancellor during a five-month period in 2021 while Oakley served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. Her swift student-centered and safety-forward actions supported colleges through rampant wildfires, an ongoing pandemic. During this time, Gonzales led the system with clear and consistent communication with district leaders, collaborative approaches to coordinate state and federal resources for colleges and remained focused on updating policies that prevented colleges and districts from responding with urgency.

Prior to joining the chancellor’s office, Gonzales was the principal consultant for the California Assembly Appropriations Committee, associate director of Policy Analysis for California Education at Stanford University, Assembly Budget Committee Consultant, and a third-grade teacher. Gonzales received her PhD in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Gonzales assumed the role of Interim Chancellor on August 1, 2022, and her appointment is expected to last for up to 12 months while the Board of Governors undertakes a search for a permanent chancellor.

The Board of Governors has formed a subcommittee to lead a national search for a permanent chancellor and produce a slate of candidates to the full Board of Governors. The subcommittee is comprised of Pamela Haynes, President; Amy M. Costa, Vice President; Joshua N. Elizondo; Tom Epstein; Jolena M. Grande; Bill Rawlings, and Hildegarde B. Aguinaldo. An additional student member and a faculty member will be appointed.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 116 colleges serving 1.8 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; and degree and certificate pathways. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps.

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