Meet the 2022-23 EPIC Community College Leadership Fellows
Dean of Intercultural and International Studies, De Anza College
Debbie began teaching math at Foothill College in 2007. She was chair of the math and computer science departments and a co-director of the Honors Institute at the college before becoming Dean of the Fine Arts/Comm and Kinesiology/Athletics Division in 2019. She joined De Anza College as Dean of Intercultural and International Studies, which oversees Global Studies, in January of 2022.
Debbie was born and raised in San Francisco’s Chinatown. She received her A.A. from CCSF before transferring to SFSU where she received her B.A. in Liberal Studies, M.A. in Mathematics, and M.A. in Asian American Studies. Prior to her tenure at Foothill and De Anza, she taught K-8 in San Francisco. She enjoys reading, watching k-dramas, hiking and being outdoors during her free time.
With the help of EPIC, the goal is to come up with ideas on enhancing and enriching the Global Studies program at De Anza College to attract more students. Another aspect of this goal is to implement these ideas in such a way that community college students can easily access these opportunities and build meaningful relationships with people from a variety of different cultures. We want students to be able to have relevant experiences and be inspired with issues in Global Studies and why they should be involved.
Vice President of Instruction, San Diego Miramar College
Dr. Michael Odu is a product of the community college system. He has served the system in various capacities in the past 30 years, and he is currently the Vice President of Instruction at San Diego Miramar College. Michael holds the strong conviction that community colleges should embrace the changing global economy and develop better informed citizens of the world. As such, he has led the efforts to change institutional structures and cultures by reimagining the student experience and journey to support the success of student groups historically excluded from higher education and for whom higher education was not designed.
My goal is to create a robust international education program at San Diego Miramar College. To do so, I plan to establish an ideal setting for increasing students’ cultural awareness and fostering their understanding and appreciation of those who come from a different background to their own by creating a teaching and learning center to enhance and expand global teaching and learning opportunities, offering curricula that empowers a workforce with the capacity, skills, and talents to compete globally, and building partnerships with international organizations and entities.
Dean, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Rio Hondo College
Dr. Adam Wetsman is the Dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Rio Hondo College, a position he has held since early 2021. Prior to that, he was a full-time professor of anthropology at Rio for over 20 years. He held many leadership positions, including President of the Academic Senate and President of the Faculty Association. Dr. Wetsman served on the board of the Community College Association as was president of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges. He is married with twin girls who are currently attending four-year universities. He enjoys going to movies and rooting for Michigan football.
One strategic goal would be to explore the possibility of implementing short-term study abroad opportunities in conjunction with my college’s short-term winter or summer terms. This would entail offering classes that meet in the traditional manner for most of the term and then have a week-long trip abroad. A second goal involves incorporating more international education into our curricula. I could help facilitate discussions with faculty in the various disciplines in the division. The purpose would be to develop a list of resources that each discipline could use to integrate information about the international community into their classes.
Director of International Student Program, Saddleback College
Angela was born in Shanghai, China. She came to the United States to pursue her master’s degree in Journalism and then her doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration as an international student. She understands the struggles that international students encounter on and off campus and is excited to get to know students at Saddleback and help them achieve their educational goals in the U.S. Angela has traveled to many countries throughout Asia. She has been in the field of international education for 15 years and loves working with students from around the world.
I plan to address the need for campus internationalization through student services and extracurricular planning at my institution throughout the fellowship year. My goal is to create a global learning environment, which requires collaborating with different departments in student services to develop international thematic events. These events include speeches, film festivals, international holiday celebrations, and cultural conversations, which become the doorway to introducing global education to students, whose socioeconomic status prevents them from studying abroad.