New VP, Mary Gutierrez makes her start at Diablo Valley College


Mary Gutierrez is opening her door to assist students as she takes on her new role as vice president of instruction. (Emma Hall/The Inquirer)

Emma Hall, Assistant Editor

This Fall, Diablo Valley College was introduced to Mary Gutierrez, the new vice president of instruction, who has been described as a visionary, friendly, approachable, and always student centered. With 34 years of experience in teaching, and the determination to help students, Gutierrez hopes to support students with their journey at DVC.

Gutierrez’s primary role is to integrate instruction in student services and to provide units for each instruction at DVC. Overall, Gutierrez’s role, along with the other vice presidents at DVC, is to work together and support students effectively.

“She came with a wealth of experience,” said DVC President Susan Lamb. “(She was) really engaged with student and student success. She came in with engaging conversations of how do we help students be more successful.”

Throughout Gutierrez’s life, she has been surrounded by education. Growing up, both of Gutierrez’s parents were educators. Her mother was a kindergarten teacher and her father was a college professor. Because of this, Gutierrez was at the forefront of seeing the life of an educator.

“I grew up watching and appreciating aspects of education as a kid,’ “It seemed that every night my mother would come home and tell either a funny story or a sweet story about her students, her students’ parents and working. My dad always had graduate students at our house all the time too. I saw that my parents were important to their students and their families.”

While she saw many of the virtues of teaching, she was also exposed to the profession’s vices. Gutierrez did not go into college as an education major. Growing up with educators was a double edged sword for Gutierrez. While she saw many of the virtues of teaching, she was also exposed to the profession’s vices. Originally she was primarily an English major and was discouraged into going into teaching because while both of her parents were important in their students’ lives, both of their careers bled into her childhood.

“The phone always rang during dinner (from student calls),” said Gutierrez. “It seems like either one of those two were pulled away by those calls.”

Despite this, Gutierrez decided to try a career in education after she struggled to find employment with her English degree. After Gutierrez went through student teaching, she truly feels in love with education and being a teacher.

With the role of vice president, Gutierrez plans to support students alongside the college by supporting Assembly Bill 705 which will reduce the number of courses and time that a student would take or spend time in a pre-level college course. According to Gutierrez, this means that a first-time student will take and be required to complete a college leveled English and math class in their first year.

Gutierrez also supports guiding pathways, a system made for students who have difficulty identifying what they want their major to be. Students choose a cluster of disciplines that interest them and from there, they are supported to pick a major through feeling out different aspects of the pathway. Gutierrez hopes to reach and support student success through her approval of these two systems.

“Sometimes when you get a vice president of instruction, they’re only thinking about instruction,” said Lamb. “What I love about how she approaches things, approaches it with ‘how do we truly support students in their classes?’ Whether it with supplemental instruction or counseling.”

Before coming to DVC, Gutierrez worked as the dean of liberal arts at Skyline College in San Bruno. While working at Skyline, Gutierrez was a strong supporter of guiding pathways and meta-majors. 

She was a dedicated Dean who supported the faculty and staff in her division fully,”  wrote Cherie Colin, the director of community relations & marketing in an email, on behalf of Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud, the president of Skyline.She demonstrated her commitment to social justice and equity for our students through her leadership.”

Overall, Gutierrez is excited to be working at DVC and hopes to make a positive impact not only on students but to the campus community.

“There’s a unique sense of what it means to be a DVC student and take a class at DVC. The faculty has a very clear vision of what that means, and I see that being articulated in many different ways and in very different disciplines,”  said Gutierrez. ”DVC really matters to the community.”