OCC names vice president of instruction as interim president

Kevin Ballinger, vice president of instruction at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, has been named its interim president while the search continues for a permanent replacement for retiring President Dennis Harkins.
(Courtesy of Orange Coast College)

While a nationwide search continues for a new permanent president for Orange Coast College, its vice president of instruction, Kevin Ballinger, has been named interim president.

The search began immediately after President Dennis Harkins’ announcement in September that he is retiring after nine years leading the Costa Mesa campus.

“I want to thank Dr. Harkins for everything he has done for OCC and congratulate him on his retirement,” said Ballinger, who takes the interim post next week. “He is leaving us with a good master plan and direction for our campus.”

Ballinger’s ties to Orange Coast College run deep, starting as a student in 1975. After earning an associate degree in neurodiagnostic technology, he began working in the health field and didn’t expect to return to OCC. But when one of his former professors recommended a part-time faculty position a few years after he graduated, he took the opportunity and hasn’t left the college since.

After teaching neuroanatomy and physiology, Ballinger became an administrator in 1985, was named dean of the consumer and health sciences division in 1996 and vice president of instruction in 2015.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in vocational education from Cal State Long Beach and a master’s of science in educational administration from National University.

As vice president of instruction, he oversees the college’s academic deans, heads the Accreditation Coordination Committee and co-chairs several other committees.

While interim president, he will steer the college through its accreditation process and implementation of a new statewide math and English placement model. He will also oversee the campus as it continues a physical transformation that includes a new planetarium, aquatic center and student housing complex.

“I’m honored to serve Orange Coast College as interim president during this period of change,” Ballinger said. “My job is to … make sure everything goes smoothly and to have that hand off to the next president.”

Ballinger will be in the interim role until the Coast Community College District completes the search for a permanent president. The new leader is expected to start next summer.

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