Vahe Peroomian

Age: 46

Occupation: physics professor, researcher, UCLA

I was first appointed to the board in 2005, and then was elected in 2007. I’m a physics professor and senior researcher at UCLA. I have lived in Glendale for 32 years, and am a member of the Glendale College Foundation President’s Circle. Since joining the board, I’ve played a key role in establishing the college’s first 5% reserve policy, and helped oversee the construction of a new building at the Garfield Campus.

Why are you seeking re-election?

I have served on the board of trustees for six years, and as board president during 2009-10. During this time, I have helped guide the college through two changes of superintendent/president, and through a very intensive accreditation process.

At the same time, the board has guided the college through declining enrollment, where innovative programs were created to attract students to the college, and through two years of budget cuts during which students were not turned away by working with our faculty and staff to accommodate larger class sizes. I feel that my experience in post-secondary education and expertise in online education can help guide the college through the current economic downturn and through the future challenges of a “landlocked” campus surrounded by other districts that can and may attract our potential students.

What could Glendale Community College be doing better?

The college has begun to have a better understanding of the career tech (vocational) education needs of the community, but this needs to improve. The college has also been slow to roll out an online AA-degree program, but this is also in the works, and the board needs to insure that the college does not fall behind in this aspect of education, as some neighboring districts are already offering full programs. The college also needs to continue to diversify its faculty and staff to better reflect the ethnic makeup of the community it serves.

How will you serve as an advocate for community colleges during a time when funding is being slashed?

I will continue to lobby lawmakers on the state and federal level for funding of specific programs and projects at the college. Just in the past two years, we have received stimulus funds for the Verdugo Power Academy ($1 million), have been earmarked to receive funding for the multi-modal parking and transportation facility for Garfield Campus (more than $2 million), and may also receive $600,000 for updating our police facilities. We have also received a private donation of $1 million for our health sciences building.

The college needs to look to new sources of funding for programs, including NASA and the National Science Foundation. Last year, I identified a NASA planetarium fund program that can be used to pay for and update our state-of-the-art planetarium. As a trustee, I will continue to strengthen my ties to the community to solicit donations for college programs and our foundation, lobby Congress for funding, and advocate for identifying short- and long-term grants from non-traditional sources that can pay for specific programs at the College.

If not elected, how will you continue to be involved with the college?

In the event that I am not elected, I will continue to be involved with the Glendale College Foundation and help raise funds for the college. I will also offer my expertise to the Academic Senate for the online education program that is in the works.

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