When Don Miller came to the Las Positas College campus he was not sure what to expect. Before him lay a wide assortment of the campus community. Pop-up canopies lined the quad, and as he walked through the spring club day of 2014 he was able to get a nice slice of campus life. That is when he knew this was the place for him.
“I came on campus before I ever interviewed, and as I walked around, people were nice, they were friendly, “ Don said. “I said I think this is somewhere were I could make a difference: somewhere were I could see myself working for many years to come.”
With the addition of Don as the Dean of Arts, Letters and Social Sciences, the academic dean slots are officially filled. Don joins Dyan Miller, Dean of Behavioral Sciences, Business and Athletics, and Lisa Everett, Dean of Science, Technology,
Engineering, Math and Public Safety, in leading the college back to its community roots.
Everett, her husband David and her predecessor Dr. Neal Ely had been involving the surrounding community in the curriculum as a way to get everyone involved. Ely, known as “the wine dean,” was instrumental along with David Everett in bringing the Viticulture and Winery Technology (VWT) program to campus.
Everett is hoping to keep LPC in the mind of the community with the programs like viticulture and fire science. She has already been instrumental in involving the community to help keep her curricula up to date.
“We work with local industry partners to identify the knowledge and skills that our students need to be successful in the workplace,” Everett said in an email.
Her colleague up the hill, Dyan, stressed the importance of community involvement.
The recent hiring Paul Sapsford, who coached Pleasanton Rage soccer, is a key member of the community outreach.
“One of the things we are trying to implement with our teams this year is community outreach,” Dyan said. “Business does their business entrepreneur leadership speaker series where they bring in local businesses to talk about their successes, whether it is women in business or minorities in business or even Safeway.”
As for Don, he plans on getting settled in before tackling the challenge of getting more community involvement. He is familiar with the problem and feels like this college is up to the task.
“I find that at places I’ve worked, universities I’ve been at where everything is taken more in a business like sense the students are less attracted to being there,” Don said. “If we build that sense of a positive learning experience for people and really look out for the best interest of the students who are coming to see us, I think they will really notice that.”