Monday, 24 June 2024

Yuba College welcomes Adkins as new president

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From left, Clear Lake campus Dean Bryon Bell, new Yuba College President Patricia Adkins and Kevin Trutna, Yuba College's vice president of academic and student services. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.
 

 

 

 

CLEARLAKE – Yuba College's new president paid a visit to the Clear Lake campus for a reception on Tuesday.


Dr. Patricia “Kay” Adkins spent her first day on the job Monday in the college's Marysville headquarters, and was in Clearlake Tuesday to visit the campus, its staff and administrators.


Adkins succeeded President Paul Mendoza, who retired. She was selected after a nationwide search that began in January, led by the Association of Community College Trustees, in collaboration with the Yuba College Community District Governing Board and chancellor.


The process included public forums to gather input on constructing a presidential profile, acceptance of applications through April and then, in mid-May, public forums in Marysville and Clearlake where finalists spoke to the community, according to a college statement.


“The excellent work of the search committee should be commended,” said Yuba College Community District Board Chair Alan Flory in a statement. “They orchestrated an elaborate five-month process and chose four exceptionally well-qualified finalists, of which Dr. Adkins was the best fit for our district. We are excited to have Dr. Adkins on board and look forward to her leadership in stewarding Yuba College into the future.”


In her new job Adkins will oversee 120 faculty and an estimated 10,000 students – 6,000 of them full-time – across eight counties and nearly 4,200 square miles of rural Northern California, from Marysville and Woodland to Clearlake, according to college officials.


She arrives in California with husband, Barry Gowin – a retired educator – from Ohio, where she was provost of Columbus State Community College.


Adkins herself is a community college graduate. She earned an associate of science degree from Shawnee Community College in Illinois before going on to receive both her bachelor's degree in elementary education and master's degree in education from Southern Illinois University.


At Illinois State University she earned her doctorate in higher education administration.


During her career she's held various leadership positions in community colleges in Illinois, where she worked for 14 years, as well as eight years in Florida's community colleges.


Working in both rural and urban settings, Adkins has experience working with business and industry, plus a strong background in strategic planning and regional accreditation processes.


Adkins said she was attracted to Yuba College because of the school's quality, reputation and student-centered philosophy. She also was “extremely impressed” with the college's history of community involvement.


California's budget crisis means colleges all over California don't yet know what budget they'll have in the coming fiscal year. There are a lot of agencies in the same boat, said Adkins.


But Adkins is pragmatic about the fact that she's arriving at a time when California is having so many financial struggles.


“Every state's budget is imploding now for education,” she explained.


When the going gets tough, it's time for administrators like Adkins to look at core programs and services and make sure they're responding to the needs of their particular communities.


“The community college has two missions,” said Adkins.


The first is helping young people get their transfer units to go on to universities or four-year colleges. Adkins said the second mission focuses on offering occupational, vocational and credential programs for adults.


“We've always served both,” Adkins said of the college's missions. “There's not one that's more important than the other.”


Right now, Adkins is busy getting to know her faculty, staff and students as a prelude to assessing where the college needs to go next.


 

Adkins plans to take a collaborative approach in working with the community college system's chancellor, her faculty and the school's strategic plan to build on Yuba College's goals and existing programs.

 

She also will have the opportunity to oversee the district's building and facilities improvements which are funded through its $190 million Measure J bond, approved by voters in November of 2006.


“It's coming at a very good time,” said Adkins.


The Clear Lake campus has 11 full-time faculty and about 700 full-time students, said campus Dean Bryon Bell.


Bell estimated that the campus has around 11 acres. Measure J includes $9 million to build the campus a new 30,000-square-foot multi-use building that will include a student center, science lab and culinary space, in addition to other facilities.


At one point the college was looking at possibly moving its campus to another location, said Bell.


However, now college officials are in discussions with the Konocti Unified School District to explore the possibility of purchasing three acres of the Oak Hill Middle School campus next door, Bell said. Konocti Unified closed that school earlier this year but has moved some alternative programs there.


“We're just looking at our options right now,” said Adkins.


Classes start for the fall semester at the Clear Lake campus on Aug. 17, Bell said.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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