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New Hires Bring Fresh Perspective to College of Marin

Fall Classes Begin August 18

KENTFIELD, CA—July 31, 2014—College of Marin students can expect a slate of new full-time instructors, streamlined transfer programs and reinvigorated vocational programs when they begin fall semester classes in August.

Since coming on board in December 2010, College Superintendent/President David Wain Coon has presided over a changing academic landscape. Not only has the College completed several state-of-the-art facility projects, 46 new full-time instructors have been hired, bringing a fresh perspective and contemporary skills to multiple disciplines.

“You actually feel the change that’s happening around you,” says Marco Gonzalez who was hired as a full-time sociology instructor in spring 2013. “It’s palpable. There’s a new vibe that things are changing and a new culture and attitudes are emerging.”

Sociology students will study traditional concepts with emerging social media tools. Gonzalez has created a new Research Methods class and is working on creating a new Race and Ethnicity course with colleague Susan Rahman.

Gonzalez earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in sociology from Harvard University. He is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Harvard University where he earned a certificate of distinction in teaching. He also taught at Santa Rosa Junior College, Napa Valley College and Diablo Valley College. He has won numerous professional accolades, fellowships and research grants including a National Science Foundation research grant studying college student social networks and online spaces.

“I try to bring that new excitement to the discipline,” Gonzalez says. “Part of my mission is to update the department and emphasize more styles of looking at sociology and apply these to course offerings.”

Business and Information Systems
The Business and Information Systems Department, which enjoys one of the highest degree, certificate and transfer rates on campus, is building on that success with more effective course sequences to meet student needs and provide them with skills that are in high demand by local employers.

“We have recently solidified our course offerings for a transfer degree in business administration and we anticipate we will be able to send more students to transfer paths,” says Christine Li, who spent many years working in private industry before she was called to teach.

Li earned a bachelor’s degree from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, was an exchange student in Tokyo at the Waseda University Graduate School of Commerce and earned a master’s degree from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She worked at several major financial institutions, technology companies and educational institutions, and worked as an independent consultant before she began teaching at Mills College, San Mateo Community College District and College of Marin. She was hired as a full-time instructor in 2012 and teaches economics and accounting.

“We are helping students to complete the program faster and guiding them to reach their academic goals,” Li said.

Business students will also benefit from a new real estate course and an expanded QuickBooks course.

Performing Arts/Drama Department
The acclaimed Drama Department, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is now under the leadership of Dr. Lisa Morse, who was hired in 2012 to coordinate the wildly successful program. In the spring, she relaunched a monthly professional speakers series to increase networking opportunities and strengthen the theater community on campus and its ties to the greater community.

“We want to provide a bridge so students can have more insight into the profession,” Morse says.

Morse earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island, a master’s degree in acting from the University of Alabama and a doctorate in theatre from the University of Colorado. She also has certificates in sword and shield, marionettes and graduate teaching. She has taught at Morehead State University, the University of Colorado and numerous community theater organizations. Morse was artistic director and co-founder of Artz 4 Kidz Youth Performance Group in Lafayette and has studied the work of Sicilian puppeteers Vincenzo Argento and Enzo Mancuso. She is currently working on a contribution to a collection of essays on puppetry to be published by Routledge titled Material Performances: New Perspectives on Puppets and Performing Objects.

Automotive Technology
Exciting changes at the Automotive Technology program on the Indian Valley Campus are also underway with updated curriculum, new computers, software and auto repair equipment as the College completes its alignment with National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation accreditation requirements. The curriculum serves students who are seeking professional certifications as well as novice technicians learning about automotive basics.

“We are building up the program,” said Nick Fara, a master technician who ran his own successful business for many years before taking a full-time position at the College in 2013.

Fara earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts with a concentration in automotive technology and a minor in electronics. He earned a master’s degree in industrial arts vocational education from CSU Los Angeles where he later earned his teaching credential. He owned an auto repair shop for 12 years and taught numerous classes throughout the year before beginning to teach at College of Marin in 2011. He holds numerous licenses and certificates in the industry.

“A large portion of my success came from the education that I have,” Fara says.

The College also offers a comprehensive Automotive Collision Repair program as well as courses on alternative fuel cars and computer technology.

“The program is definitely growing,” Fara says. “Things keep changing and we are keeping up with a number of certificates.”

New full-time science instructors are excited about the beautiful new Science, Math, Nursing Building that has shepherded in a new age of interdisciplinary studies on campus.

“It has brought the faculty closer together,” says Scott Serafin, who became a full-time chemistry instructor in 2012 and will begin as chair of the department in July. “The addition of full-time instructors has helped strengthen our focus and solidified our offerings for students.”

Serafin earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Bucknell University and a master’s degree and doctorate in organic chemistry from UC Riverside. He began teaching at College of Marin in 2011. Prior to that he was a private tutor, an assistant professor at University of Redlands, and an instructor at CSU San Bernardino and UC Riverside. The College of Marin Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society presented him with the Teacher Appreciation Award in 2011.

Serafin, Fara, Morse, Li, Rahman and 41 other recently hired faculty members will help kick off an exciting fall semester, which starts August 18. Prospective students are encouraged to apply now. More information about fall classes is available online

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