Q & A

* Orange Coast College President Margaret Gratton

Margaret Gratton, new president of Orange Coast College, got her first glimpse of student life at the Costa Mesa community college when classes began at OCC earlier this month. Gratton, formerly acting dean of instruction at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Ore., shared her first impressions and discussed her goals with Times correspondent Hope Hamashige.

Q: What impressed you about the college during your first week on the job?

A: I am impressed by so many things, [including] the enthusiasm and dedication of every single staff member on this campus. There is very high energy and wonderful commitment to the college. If you have an environment like that, you can handle almost anything. I went over and met a number of the student officers. These students are so upbeat. They are so excited about their roles and responsibilities.


Q: What is your mission?

A: To help every person to fulfill the Orange Coast mission, which is to do what we can for our students to provide a really high-quality environment. I don’t want to come in and impose my ideas. I want to hear what people’s hopes and dreams are. In many respects I am still learning about the college.

Q: Are there any changes you would like to make? Any improvements?

A: We are continuing to upgrade and enhance our environment. We have been on a methodical deferred maintenance program. We need to continue that to make every corner of the campus as inviting and physically appealing as possible.


Q: Beyond that, is there anything else you see as urgent? Any changes or additions to existing programs, for example?

A: I am interested in finding out what the staff at Orange Coast wants. This loops back to being in listening mode. We always have budget challenges, and making sure we are adequately staffed is always a challenge. Another item that has come up is maybe Orange Coast could enhance its visibility.

Q: How?

A: From my point of view, that might mean looking at some new target audiences. Don’t ask me which ones right now because I don’t know.


Q: How does Orange Coast compare to Mt. Hood?

A: The one thing that has hit me is that it is strikingly familiar. The demographic makeup of the college and the community is similar to the district I come from in the Portland area. I think community college issues are shared across the nation. I am referring to the obvious challenges: finances, adequate staffing and the technological explosion, particularly in relation to having access to information that will drive significant changes in teaching and learning.