President Vela Elected to National Association Board
For Immediate Release: April 8, 2008
Media Contact:Aya Abelon, Public Affairs; (562) 860-2451, ext. 2287
NORWALK, Calif. – April 8, 2008 – Dr. Noelia Vela, president/superintendent of Cerritos College has been elected to the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). She was elected by the 1,200 member institutions to serve a three-year term on the board.
“I have served on a number of different AACC commissions since 1993 and I consider it an honor to be nominated, elected and to serve on the AACC Board,” said Vela.
The AACC, with its national office in Washington, D.C., is the primary advocacy organization for community colleges at the national level and works closely with directors of state offices to inform and affect state policy. The association has ongoing interaction with key federal departments and agencies including the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, Energy, Homeland Security, Commerce, the National Science Foundation and members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives. The 32-member board governs the activities of the association that represents over 11 million students.
Dr. Vela currently serves on the Boards of the National Institute of Leadership Development and the National Community College Hispanic Council, Dr. Vela serves as a member of the AACC Global Education Committee and has served as a member of the AACC Research Commission for two three-year terms and has served three years as a member of the President’s Academy Executive Board responsible professional development and training of community college presidents. She is currently a member of the Community College League of California Legislative Committee.
At Cerritos College Dr. Vela has led the college a comprehensive review of its board policies and procedures, the development of the college’s 2005-08 strategic plan, the development of the campus transformation plan that is replacing aging facilities in almost every area of campus with new, state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, and technical facilities.
Credited to Dr. Vela’s leadership is a nearly 80% success rate of funded state, federal, and private industry grants pursued by faculty and the expansion of a number of programs in support of student support services and learning. In 2006-07 the college was awarded over $1.9 million. Additionally, numerous partnerships with local unified school districts have strengthened occupational education programs, provided tutoring and college prep programs, supported new cultural partnerships, and expanded the partnerships the college has with business and industry.
This expanded activity level in career and technical education (CTE) at Cerritos College got the attention of Lt. Governor John Garamendi. At his request, he visited campus in January 2008 to tour CTE programs at the college and then he held a “meet the experts” forum where college faculty and staff, and business and industry partners answered questions about the future needs for CTE education. This meeting led to an additional meeting in the Lt. Governor’s Sacramento office that included Dr. Vela and Cerritos College trustees discussing in detail the community college role in the state economy and career and technical education.
Dr. Vela’s election was confirmed at the annual convention of the AACC in Philadelphia last week.
Cerritos College serves as a comprehensive community college for southeastern Los Angeles County. Communities within the college’s district include Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, La Mirada, Norwalk, and portions of Bell Gardens, Lakewood, Long Beach, Santa Fe Springs and South Gate. Cerritos College offers degrees and certificates in more than 200 areas of study in nine divisions. Annually, more than 1,200 students successfully complete their course of studies, and enrollment currently nears 20,000 students. Visit Cerritos College online at www.cerritos.edu.