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Merritt College Interim President Selected

26 July 2016

Marie-Elaine_BurnsThe Chancellor of the Peralta Community College District, Jowel C. Laguerre, Ph.D., has announced that Marie-Elaine Burns has been selected as the Interim President of Merritt College. Dr. Burns, who most recently was Vice-President for Special Services at San Jose City College, begins her tenure at Merritt on August 2.

Marie-Elaine Burns is an educational leader who is visionary, energetic, and passionate. While adaptable to change, she is a risk taker/entrepreneur; not afraid to explore an idea different from her own or to encourage others to try their ideas. She encourages and supports innovation and creativity.

Dr. Burns’ leadership style is characterized by respect, inclusiveness, transparency, collaboration, effective listening skills, and participatory governance. She is committed to equity and student success. Contributing to a positive impact on students has always been integral to the decisions she makes as a college leader.

Having worked in higher education for many years, Dr. Burns has been responsible for college access, student retention, support services, transfer and graduation success which are major components of student success. She worked at universities and colleges throughout the state which include but are not limited to the following: San Francisco State University which provided her first opportunity to teach; California State University at Long Beach where she assisted the Director in training college and university learning assistance professionals (faculty, coordinators and practitioners) from countries around the world; at Skyline College in San Bruno she was the Director of The Learning Center and the Student Support Services TRIO program and lead the establishment of the Jump Start Program for high school students that continued long after she left the college; and Foothill College in Los Altos Hills where Dr. Burns was Dean of the Middlefield Campus and established the successful Dare to EXCEL program for high school students with a grade point average of 2.0 and below.

As Vice-President of Student Affairs at San Jose City College (SJCC), Marie-Elaine Burns developed a vision and championed core values for student affairs and cultivated an effective Student Affairs management team. Under her leadership the College opened a Veterans Resource Center; the Annual African American/Latino/Pacific Islander/Native American Male Summit was established and led by her for six years; the Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHSAC) was established and is running effectively; she developed the first online student support services which assisted the College in being released from an accreditation sanction; and she co-chaired the Student Success & Equity committee as well as led the development of both the initial SSSP and Equity plans.  

Dr. Burns’ postsecondary educational accomplishments include a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Broadcast Communication Arts from San Francisco State University, cum laude; a Master’s of Science Degree in School Management & Administration, summa cum laude and a Doctorate in Institutional Management, magna cum laude, both from Pepperdine University.

Filed under: Announcements, Merritt College, Peralta News, Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , , ,

Peralta Trustees Approve $933,000 Grant For Laney College To Lead Clean Energy Workforce Program

25 March 2015

OAKLAND, Calif., March 25, 2015 The Board of Trustees of the Peralta Community College District voted unanimously last night to accept a grant of $933,000 to Laney College from the State Chancellor’s Office as part of the Proposition 39 Clean Energy Workforce Program Grant. Laney is one of four colleges that make up the Peralta Community College District that includes Berkeley City College, College of Alameda and Merritt College in Oakland.

Laney College has been designated by the Bay Area Community College Consortium to lead the Bay Area regional collaborative for the Proposition 39 Clean Energy Workforce Program Grant. This $933,000 grant is for the period from April 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, and will be used to hire a director and to collect data for Laney and participating colleges in the region on completion of degrees, certificates and certifications, provide professional development for faculty throughout the region, and provide formula-driven program improvement funds through sub-awards to partner community colleges.

The Proposition 39 Clean Energy Workforce Program grant will be used to build and sustain a regional network of colleges to prepare the workforce for the energy sector, to elevate the quality of instruction at colleges that have investments in education, provide training in energy efficiency and renewable energy and build career pathways for students seeking employment in this growing area.

Laney College will work collaboratively in a Bay Region network of colleges conducting workforce development and program improvement in the commercial energy efficiency sector and related construction trades. Consortium colleges include Cabrillo College, City College of San Francisco, College of Marin, College of San Mateo, Diablo Valley College, Foothill College, Gavilan College, Las Positas College, Ohlone College, San Jose City College, Santa Rosa Junior College and Skyline College.

Led by a director, Laney will support colleges in the region to track and document completers of certificates, degrees and industry recognized credentials, improve tracking systems, improve connections with employers, align curriculum with industry needs and align curriculum across the region.

The project will also support completion of recognized apprenticeship programs in the building trades that receive college certificates. The project will also support the efforts of the Energy Efficiency and Utilities Sector Navigator and Deputy Navigator for the California Community Colleges to improve energy efficiency in the built environment and work to meet State of California AB 32 carbon reduction goals.

For 50 years, the Peralta Community College District has served the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Piedmont by providing 30,000 students each semester with a range of educational programs and life-long learning opportunities. To learn more, visit

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Peralta Colleges Chancellor Announces Finalists for President of Merritt College: Public Forum To Be Held Nov. 26

19 November 2012

OAKLAND, CA, Nov. 19, 2012 — The Chancellor of the Peralta Community College District, Dr. José M. Ortiz, has announced that the Presidential Search Committee has selected three finalists for President of Merritt College in Oakland, California.

The finalists are Norma Ambriz-Galaviz, Ed.D., currently Vice President of Instruction for Mission College of the West Valley Mission Community College District; Edward Bush, Ph.D., currently Vice President of Student Services for Riverside City College; and Marie-Elaine Burns, Ed.D., currently Vice President of Student Affairs at San Jose City College.

Each of the three candidates will participate in a public forum on November 26, 2012, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the Newton/Seale Student Lounge, Merritt College, 12500 Campus Drive, Oakland. The forum schedule is as follows: Dr. Ambriz-Galaviz, 12:30 p.m.–1:15 p.m.; Dr. Bush, 1:20 p.m.–2:05 p.m.; and Dr. Burns, 2:15 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Members of the college community and the public are invited and encouraged to attend the public forum.

The forum will be moderated by Dr. Siri Brown, a Merritt College Ethnic Studies Department faculty, and will consist of a brief introduction of each candidate, followed by a short presentation and a question and answer session.  Comment forms will be given to all who attend and the completed forms will be given to the Chancellor for his review.

The Chancellor will interview each of the candidates and make a final decision as to which will become the next President of Merritt College.

Finalist biographies follow and photographs of the candidates can be found on the Peralta Colleges Website.

Dr. Norma Ambriz-Galaviz has served since 2008 as Vice President of Instruction for Mission College of the West Valley Mission Community College District. Dr. Ambriz-Galaviz was employed for 17 years at Chabot College, Hayward, California, and she also worked at Cabrillo and Hartnell Community Colleges holding various academic and student services positions from psychology instructor, counselor, Special Student Services Dean and Social Sciences Division Dean. Coupled with numerous college committees, task forces and/or selection committees, Dr. Ambriz-Galaviz has earned a reputation of being well versed on the day-to-day operations of both student services and instruction.  She is known for her advocacy and collaborative approach that promotes academic excellence, student success and the college.

Dr. Ambriz-Galaviz holds a Doctorate Degree in Education-Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne, a Master of Science Degree in Counseling, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from San Diego State University, and an Associates of Arts Degree in Administration of Justice from Hartnell College.  Her doctoral degree explored “The Use of Strategies Used among California Community College Chief Administrative Officers to Produce Change.”

In addition to her career in higher education, Dr. Ambriz-Galaviz is active in a variety of national, state and local organizations.  A member of National Hispana Leadership Institute, Association of California Community College Administrators, Silicon Valley Education Committee, California Community College Chief Instructional Administrators, Alameda County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.   She recently completed her elected two-year term to California Community College Instructional Chief Officers Council representing the South Bay region.  She has served as an evaluator on four accreditation teams for ACCJC.  Dr. Ambriz-Galaviz was recently recognized by State Senator, Ellen Corbett for her outstanding service to the Latino community.

Dr. Edward Bush currently serves as the Vice President of Student Services for Riverside City College.  He has over 18 years of experience in higher education with 15 of those years with the Riverside Community College District. He has served as an associate faculty member in student activities, Director of the Educational Talent Search federal TRIO grant, and Dean of Student Services.  In addition, he has served on numerous college and district-wide committees and has been active with several community organizations including serving on the board for two non-profit foundations.  Dr. Bush has also worked as an adjunct instructor for the Graduate School of Education at the University of Redlands and is currently an adjunct instructor at Brandman University. Dr. Bush has taught courses in student development, organizational theory, and research.

Dr. Bush received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science from University of California, Riverside, Master’s Degree in Public Administration from California State University, San Bernardino, and his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Edward Bush is a published author with 8 peer reviewed publications appearing in journals including: Black Issues in Higher Education, Community College Week, Diverse Educational Horizons, Journal of African American Males in Education, and the Community College Journal. Dr. Bush is the co-author of the soon to be released book “The Plan: A Guide for Women Raising African American Boys from Conception to College.”   He has been a presenter at four national conferences, including the National Association of Black School Educators, the National Association of African American Studies, the Institute for Race Relations, and the National Convening of Postsecondary Education Support Programs for Former Foster Youth.

Dr. Bush is the co-founder of the newly launched national “I Have a Plan” campaign to register and equip one million African American boys and young men (from conception to 24 years of age) with a written plan that outlines a clear path for success by the Year 2015.  Dr. Bush is a founding member and President of the African American Male Education Network and Development (A2.M.E.N.D).  In 2009 Dr. Bush was recognized by the Riverside Chapter of the NAACP with the Drum Major Award in Education at their annual freedom fund dinner.

Dr. Marie-Elaine Burns has served as the Vice President of Student Affairs at San Jose City College for the last seven years.   She is a native Californian, born in San Mateo and raised in the San Francisco.

Her postsecondary educational accomplishments include a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Broadcast Communication Arts from San Francisco State University, a Masters of Science Degree in School Management & Administration, and a Doctorate Degree in Institutional Management both from Pepperdine University.

Dr. Burns has worked in higher education for more than 30 years  primarily responsible for college access, student retention, support services, transfer and graduation success. She has worked at universities and colleges throughout the state including  San Francisco State University, University of Southern California (USC), California State University at Long Beach, California State University – Dominguez Hills, Los Angeles Harbor College, Hartnell College (Salinas), Skyline College (San Bruno), and Foothill College (Los Altos Hills).

Dr. Burns is the President, Owner, and Chief Executive Consultant of Mammoth Concepts, Educational Consulting for a Changing World.

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