Walters’ legacy: bridging gaps


DVC President Judy Walters (The Inquirer, 2010)

Jonathan Roisman

DVC will be having a changing of the guard later this month when school president Judy Walters retires.

Walters, who has served as the school’s president since 2007, will retire Sept. 30.

Walters took over the college in the midst of a cash-for-grades scandal that has rocked the campus since it became public that year and other accreditation issues that hurt the school’s reputation and morale. She said that she was hired to help change the culture of DVC and heal its wounds.

“The culture of the college really needed to come together and work with each other in ways they hadn’t been able to do in the recent past,” Walters said.

Bill Oye, dean of student life, said Walters’ leadership helped the college make important steps towards resolving its accreditation issues. He also said she helped bring the different departments of the school together.

“I think many would point to bridging gaps between many faculty members and administration as part of her success during a very difficult economic climate in the state,” Oye said in an email interview.

Walters, who had heart problems in March causing her to miss a number of weeks, said she is retiring for health reasons.

Peter Garcia, currently Los Medanos College’s president, will replace Walters on an interim basis until July 1, 2011, when a new full-time president will be hired after a nation-wide applicant search, said vice president of instruction Susan Lamb.

Glenn Appell, vice president of the Contra Costa Community College District faculty union, said Walters helped the school’s constituent groups trust one another and work together in a positive [manner].

“Faculty was very frustrated with the whole tone and tenor of the college,” Appell said. “I think Judy [Walters] has done a great job of rebuilding a democratic and shared-governance model.”

“From my standpoint, I think that I’ve made a solid impact in terms of establishing collaborations and ways for people to work together,” Walters said.

Jeffrey Michels, president of the CCCD faculty union, rated Walters’ tenure at DVC a success.

“She met challenges, from the grade-change scandal to the accreditation demands, with a genuinely collaborative, inclusive leadership style that not only worked, but also brought the DVC community together,” Michels said.

“She has left a legacy at DVC of improved structures and revitalized shared-governance that will continue to serve faculty, staff and students well in years to come.”

Walters said she was confident that the school was in good shape to move forward without her, and she and Lamb agree that Garcia would be a good leader for DVC.

“Peter is very knowledgeable of the district,” Walters said. “He’s familiar with DVC.”

Garcia said he was ready to take over DVC, although he said he’s “a little nervous like a kid at the first day of school.”

“Personally, my goals are really to learn some new approaches to student services and instruction,” Garcia said. “[I want] to follow up and build some new professional relationships with colleagues in the district.”

“For the institution my hope is that we continue the good work that Dr. Walters and the campus has been engaged in terms of accreditation.”

“Dr. Walters has been a great colleague,” Garcia said.

Walters said she enjoyed her time at the school and loved working with the administration, faculty and students.

“It’s been a wonderful experience to work with the people here,” Walters said. “It’s been an exciting time.”


Contact Jonathan Roisman at [email protected]