The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday night to appoint Dr. Chui L. Tsang, President of San Jose City College, Superintendent/President of SMC, effective February 27, 2006.
Tsang, a first-generation Californian who started his higher education at a community college and went on to earn a doctorate in linguistics from Stanford University, has had a long career in education, workforce training, economic development and nonprofits.
The 54-year-old Cupertino resident, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong, was selected from three finalists for the $175,000-a-year post. He succeeds Dr. Piedad F. Robertson, who left the college in January to become president of the Denver-based Education Commission of the States.
“We believe that Dr. Tsang will be an outstanding president and will help us move ahead in exciting and challenging times for Santa Monica College,” said SMC Board of Trustees Chair Carole Currey. “We were particularly impressed with Dr. Tsang’s perspicacity and sense of humor.”
The naming of Tsang came after nearly a year-long nationwide search which culminated with interviews with three finalists recommended by a presidential search committee, which was composed of students, faculty members, classified (non-teaching) employees, managers and community members.
The other finalists were Dr. Deborah Blue, vice president of policy and research for the Accrediting Commission for Community & Junior Colleges (ACCJC) in Novato, and Dr. G. Jeremiah Ryan, president of Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey.
Dr. Thomas J. Donner, former SMC executive vice president, has served as interim president since January 1, 2005.
Tsang has been president of San Jose City College, which has an enrollment of over 10,000, for nearly nine years. While at San Jose, Tsang led the college’s $200 million-plus construction boom, funded primarily by voter-approved bonds in 1998 and 2004, that includes a new parking structure, library, tech center, student center and science complex.
He led the development of a strategic planning model that allows the faculty to continuously update college priorities and academic disciplines to reflect the changing needs of students and shifting economic trends. In addition, the college’s transfer mission was reinforced with the “Light House Majors and Transfer Express program.”
Prior to going to San Jose, Tsang was Dean of the School of Applied Science and Technology at the City College of San Francisco for five years. One of his most significant achievements there was establishing the Evans campus in southeast San Francisco that consolidated the trade and technology programs in one facility.
From 1982 to 1992, Tsang served as Executive Director of Career Resources Development Center, a vocational training and employment agency approved by the California State Department of Education.
He has taught at Stanford University, De Anza College in Cupertino and San Francisco State University.
Tsang has been involved in many professional and community organizations at the local, state, national and international levels. He was one of the founders of the Stanford Students for Boat People to help Vietnamese refugees and has been active with such organizations as the Bay View Hunter’s Point Foundation (the largest provider of social services to San Francisco’s African-American community), East Bay Regional Park Foundation and the San Francisco Private Industry Council.
He has also served as a senior technical advisor in human resources to a United Nations-funded international project, conducted staff training for the U.S. Forest Service, and he was one of 16 Californians appointed to the California Constitution Revision Commission.
Other affiliatiobs include Asian Americans for Community Development and the Goodwill Industry of Santa Clara County.
Tsang attended Contra Costa College, a two-year campus in the East San Francisco Bay Area, transferred to UC Berkeley to earn his B.A. degree in linguistics (with honors) in 1975. He received his Ph.D. in linguistics from Stanford in 1981 and has been published in the fields of linguistics, education and workforce training.His awards include Union Bank of California’s Local Hero Award and U.S. Department of Labor honors for his work in workforce and economic development.