Saludos and greetings to each of you.
As we round out three years since the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, we have witnessed much change in the California Community College system. In particular, we have moved through overlapping cycles of disruption, healing, rebuilding, and revisioning. Student Services has been front and center through all of these dynamic shifts.
During this time, our colleges have (re)imagined how we engage our communities. We explored and refreshed strategies for enrollment management. We also continue to experience an incredible amount of transition in leadership – locally, Statewide, and in higher education broadly. Student Services has been a lighthouse in these times.
As an association, we have been careful and thoughtful with your important feedback. We set goals to find more and new ways to build community within our broad network of leaders. Our plan is to build more opportunities to practice skillsets and acquire new experiences to support your respective journeys. It’s about building and strengthening together, in community.
We aim to deepen our values of racial equity, social justice, community, and leadership as we anticipate more local, statewide, and federally-legislated mandates. As a CSSO Association, we will continue our advocacy for broader access and resources for our campuses. In particular, we remain unapologetic in our pursuit of stronger support and leadership development opportunities that are rooted in equity, justice, and the pursuit of liberation.
I am humbled and honored to serve as your CSSO Board President for 2023-2024. In particular, I am excited to sharpen and bring focus to our goals of setting clear expectations, taking space, and making space in coalition with our system leaders. This includes our instructional and administrative services leaders throughout our 116 California Community Colleges, as well as our partners in the UC and CSU systems.
The work ahead is urgent and necessary, and I feel grateful to co-author a chapter of this journey alongside each of you. I am humbled to co-conspire with you for student success with critical care, consciousness, and joy. Let’s go!
En comunidad and with deep appreciation.
Dr. Manuel Alejandro Pérez
Vice President of Student Services, College
President, California Community College Chief Student Services Officers Association (CSSO)