Faculty Honored, Chancellor Delivers State of District Address at Annual Professional Development Day

West Hills Community College District Chancellor Dr. Stuart Van Horn welcomed the new Spring 2020 semester—which begins January 10—with his annual State of the District address.

The address was delivered as part of the semester’s Professional Development Day, which also featured a focus on the importance of faculty and their roles in student lives.

During his address, Van Horn gave a recap of the many accomplishments the West Hills Community College District has achieved so far this academic year including building projects and fiscal responsibility.

WHCCD is continuing to move ahead with the construction of a new North District Center in Firebaugh. The state-of-the-art building will replace an older building currently housing the center and Van Horn said he hopes the center will serve as a focal point for change and community growth in Firebaugh. A contract has been issued to a Kings County construction firm to begin underground work on the site in early January.

“The modernized NDC is expected to call renewed attention to and expand the role and importance of education for the region and its future,” said Van Horn. “Along the way the center is expected to contribute to regional pride, serve as a catalyst for enhanced optimism, and contribute as a wellspring for creative, entrepreneurial thinking about the region’s future economic and social prosperity.”

WHCCD staff also recently moved into a new District Office in Coalinga. The first purpose built, permanent home of district staff opened in December. An open house is scheduled for later this spring.

Van Horn discussed the need for new instructional space at both West Hills College Coalinga and West Hills College Lemoore. He also touched on the importance of continuing advocacy at the state level for student funding changes.

In addition to Van Horn’s address, the day also featured lectures from several West Hills College Lemoore and West Hills College Coalinga faculty members, including two long-time professors who are retiring soon. Bob Hall, retiring soon after decades of service at West Hills College Lemoore, gave a lecture of the Geography of California. Al Graves, a long-time instructor at West Hills College Coalinga, covered his long career in education and his busy life. Rene Paredes, History faculty at West Hills College Lemoore, covered racism in America and privilege. Rodolfo Rodriguez, West Hills College Coalinga Sociology faculty, lectured on farm worker activism on the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley.