Dallas College News Update

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Dr. Catherine Olivarez
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Contact: Debra Dennis; ddennis@dcccd.edu​

For immediate release — June 22, 2021

(DALLAS) — The National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC) has announced that two Dallas College administrators have been named fellows in the prestigious NCCHC Leadership Development Program.

Dr. Catherine Olivarez, managing director of Guided Pathways to Success, and Dr. Dina Sosa-Hegarty, dean of Thriving Learning Communities, were both selected as fellows for the NCCHC 2021 Leadership Development Program.

“I am honored to represent Dallas College and our students,” said Dr. Sosa-Hegarty. “As a fellow for NCCHC, I seek to learn how to further hone my leadership experiences in serving students within a community college; I believe community colleges represent endless opportunities for those who have the drive to further their education.” The leadership program, she said, allows leaders to discuss best practices and leadership theories, and align values with student success so that they can gain marketable skills.

Dr. Olivarez said first-time college students have some of the biggest difficulties navigating college. Among those obstacles, she said, is financing.

“They want to know how they will pay for college,” Olivarez said. “Money is always an issue. Students choose a community college because it’s cheaper, but there are other concerns. There’s so much more than tuition. We can help them understand how they can complete their degree, transfer and become productive citizens because that’s what we all want for our students.”

The program is hosted by the San Diego State University College of Education and is designed to develop a pool of highly qualified Latin(as)os whose career interest focuses on assuming increasingly responsible administrative positions, with the ultimate goal of becoming a community college president. The NCCHC Leadership Fellows Program was selected as a finalist in the 2019 “Examples of Excelencia” national showcase.

Dr. Dina Sosa-Hegarty

“A demographic shift is occurring in the United States, and we are preparing new leaders who can model the way for the growing Hispanic population our community colleges serve,” said NCCHC President Robert Vela. “Through this program, fellows gain the necessary knowledge and skills to lead higher education into the future and positively impact the economic and civic success of their respective communities.”

Dr. Greg Morris, Dallas College’s senior vice provost for academic services, said, “Having two of our remarkable leaders selected for this fellowship is an honor for Dallas College. Both Dr. Sosa-Hegarty and Dr. Olivarez have made substantive contributions to the college and, more importantly, to the lives of our students. Seeing them recognized through NCCHC further solidifies their roles as leaders within community college education.”

Components of the Leadership Fellows Program include two training seminars. Each fellow prepares an individualized professional development plan and engages in a mentoring relationship with a Hispanic community college leader, as well as attending the NCCHC Leadership Symposium in the fall for the second seminar session and carrying out online activities in between sessions.

NCCHC is an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges, a national organization that has provided leadership to the community college movement for the past half-century. The council, which was established 30 years ago, works to promote the educational interests and success of the Hispanic community and emphasizes access, equity and excellence for students and staff in community colleges. Of the original 72 fellows, more than 15 became community college presidents. For more information about NCCHC, contact Executive Director Ted Martinez Jr. at 562-665-8053 or tmartinezjr@sdsu.edu.

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