The dynamic of two roles here at Las Positas College, president and vice-president, is difficult to manage, but this fusion of two different professional specialties brings something new to the table.
Roanna Bennie, recently vice president of LPC, has now stepped into President Barry Russell’s shoes as president interim, due to Russell’s upcoming retirement.
Now that Bennie no longer carries the load of both president and VP, she is able to start focusing on her professional goals and acclimate to her new role.
When Russell was diagnosed with cancer he had to step away from his position in the fall of 2017. Bennie was filling both positions ever since but can now settle in as president. Currently filling her shoes as VP/Dean of Academics is David Johnson.
Being that is has only been three weeks since Russell officially announced his retirement Bennie is in transition. Up until this decisions were made based on Russell returning.
Bennie said that becoming president was not in her career plans initially. She loved teaching and was interested in administration but didn’t really think towards the presidency, or she would have been more inclined to pursue a doctorate.
Fulfilling her career choice for over 20 years, Bennie said, “I was very content in my job position as dean and VP. I like academic work, faculty and working with programs.”
Bennie has been with LPC for three years since late spring of 2015. As VP she has enjoyed representing LPC to the community and other community colleges, bragging of its high performance. As president, Bennie enjoys promoting and advocating for LPC at a district level.
The position for president and VP are very different, which creates a unique space for Bennie with her experiences. She has worked for presidents who come from the finance area, and not necessarily the academic arena, such as she has.
Bennie can speak to the specificity of academic work, understanding how programs compare across colleges. “I can speak to how well LPC does in the sea of community colleges,” she said.
Having a new VP has allowed Bennie more time and freedom to participate in school related events. She has recently been able to attend both a sports event for the Hawks and a book signing with two of LPC’s professors, Marti Nash, and Stephen Albaiave, who published a book together called False Bloom.
Bennie is bringing her experience, influence and relationships that she formed as VP with her into her new position as president allowing academic and administration to infuse together in a new way.