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Our Opinion: IVC: Opportunity awaits

January 21, 2002

No one ever said being a college president was easy.

Gilbert Dominguez found out it is not easy at all.

Dominguez, who told the Imperial Valley College board last week that he would leave his job as College president in June, surprised almost everyone on campus with his announcement, including the college's Board of Trustees.

Dominguez has had a rough ride during his six-year tenure, but he is not to blame for all of that.

There are things he has done well. The college has an all-time high in enrollment and many talented faculty members have been added during his reign. He helped design a master plan for the college, something it sorely lacked, and even his detractors conceded he worked well with state officials. He also appeared to work extensively and well with San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus officials, something that has to be done as the two campus grow in size and inevitably grow more connected.

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Dominguez had his rough sledding, too. Measures to improve existing buildings and build new campus facilities were soundly defeated by voters during his watch. Dominguez's decorum was not always up to the standards a college president should meet, and he had a contentious relationship with many on the faculty, who insisted Dominguez had surrounded himself by "yes men" and was increasingly hard to approach.

The faculty cast a no-confidence vote against Dominguez. Then again, there may be no harder group to please than college faculties, and we can think of few folks leading our local higher education campuses who have escaped such no-confidence votes.

And the truth is Dominguez will not leave IVC in bad shape. Yes, the college needs new and upgraded buildings, but we hear innovative things are in the works in that area. The college also has a talented, energetic faculty and its student body continues to grow. It also now has a master plan and a direction mapped out.

What the campus needs is a leader who, yes, will concentrate on getting the campus fixed and expanded, but one who also will focus on improving the academics at the college.

IVC needs a dynamic new leader for the new millennium. It needs to "start afresh," as one professor said after hearing of Dominguez's imminent departure.

For IVC and its Board of Trustees, and IVC as a whole, opportunity awaits.

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