NORTHEAST GLENDALE — The Glendale Community College Board of Trustees named a popular administrator as the interim replacement for President/Supt. Audre Levy, who will resign in June, a decision that gained support from faculty and staff Tuesday.
Dawn Lindsay, who has served as the college’s vice president of instructional services for two years, will take the post July 1.
The board made its decision during a closed session late Monday after a tense public meeting with faculty members who said they had been left out of the process.
Although instructors had frequently mentioned Lindsay’s name as a logical selection, they felt a committee should have been created to discuss the choice of an interim.
Trustees argued that an interim appointment should happen quickly and that an extended selection process involving committees and community involvement would be reserved for the selection of a permanent replacement. With the board’s selection and Monday’s tense public hearing in the past, instructors and trustees were optimistic about having Lindsay at the helm.
Lindsay taught at two community colleges in Maryland before moving to California in 1994. She began her administrative career at Riverside College, where she was responsible for instruction and student services. She was hired at Glendale Community College in January 2007 and has since gained the respect and support of multiple stakeholder groups.
The board’s selection of Lindsay was an easy one to make, especially after trustees had heard faculty recommendations for an interim who had worked at the college, board President Vahe Peroomian said.
“We had done our homework,” Peroomian said, adding that trustees had considered hiring executives from other colleges to fill the void.
“We also looked internally and we realized, given the challenges that the college is facing, Dr. Lindsay was our best and only choice,” Peroomian said.
Although the process of making the selection was not inclusive, faculty members were supportive of the new acting executive, said Gordon Alexandre, president of the Glendale College Guild, the college’s faculty union.
“I think most faculty like Dawn,” Alexandre said. “I think most faculty see her as much more collaborative and much more respectful of shared governance than Dr. Levy.”
Faculty had developed a strained relationship with Levy in recent years, complaining that she did not involve them in major college decisions, breaking with a long history of active shared governance at the college. Levy’s supporters have argued that she was more focused on conducting college business than on building personal relationships.
Lindsay had established herself as a uniter, Peroomian said, and had emerged as someone who could help bring all college stakeholders together to overcome upcoming challenges that include meeting accreditation requirements and navigating through a continuing budget crisis.
The college is projected to lose as much as $9 million over the next two years because of state budget reductions, a significant cut from its $88-million annual budget and one that could result in serious program reductions, Patrick McCallum, the college’s Sacramento lobbyist, told the board Monday.
That obstacle, as well as others, will be Lindsay’s main focus as she attempts to bring faculty, staff, students and administrators together to solve common problems, she said in a statement.
“Part of the dilemma we face is not knowing the extent of the cuts, yet we are only six weeks away from the fiscal year that will be impacted,” Lindsay said. “I will be working with all of our constituent groups to address this challenge.”
Another of Lindsay’s goals will be revisiting “the ‘we’ of GCC,” she said.
“I am dedicated to this campus and our community,” Lindsay said. “Much of the conflict we have experienced stems from not fully involving all constituent groups in decision making. Several years ago this college was deemed as a state model of shared governance, valuing input from all constituents and stakeholders. I hope to bring that model back by continuing to build on current relationships with board, faculty and staff so that we can pull together during this time of crisis.”