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Columbia College Has A New President

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Columbia, CA – Tech company connections gave the edge to Columbia College’s newly named president.

In a unanimous vote Wednesday, the Yosemite Community College District Board of Trustees hired Dr. Lena Tran over the four other candidates vying for the job through public forums in December, as detailed here, and meeting with staff and students.

“I am honored and humbled to accept this wonderful appointment, and I’m excited to begin working together with Columbia College and the Sonora community,” said Tran.

Tran most recently served as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Workforce Innovation at San Jose City College for 4½ years. Before that, she was the Dean of Business and Workforce Development, as well as Interim Dean of Social Science, Humanities, Arts and Physical Education at Evergreen College in San Jose. She was also employed by the University of California’s Silicon Valley Extension and has experience working with companies such as Microsoft, LinkedIn, Google, Honda, IDT, Facebook, and Samsung.

Margie Bulkin, YCCD Trustee Area 1 shared that “Dr. Tran is uniquely qualified to support Columbia College’s interest in collaborating with local businesses and employers in supporting workforce development strategies that meet the economic needs of our region and to leverage college resources in order to create an educational pathway to living-wage job-opportunities which allow all students to thrive.”

Trans believes those relationships are critical for students competing in today’s job market.

“I see my role as helping to design fresh, responsive programs, educational pathways, and student services that will open unprecedented resources, services and employment opportunities for our students,” she said.

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to impact community colleges, she noted, “To help our students, we will continue to provide high-touch support services, and connect with students who’ve dropped out and haven’t re-registered for classes since the pandemic to find out how we can assist them with the basic necessities of life, including food insecurities, employment, mental wellness, and housing. We will also vigorously support our faculty with the resources and training for online teaching.”

Tran’s will replace Interim President Dr. G.H. Javaheripour, who took that job in January of last year after former President Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay was named to the same position at Modesto Junior College in June 2021.

Tran has a Doctorate in Education in Organizational and Leadership Development from the University of San Francisco, a Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Seton Hall University, and a Bachelor of Science in International Business and Marketing, from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Her first day will be March 7.