When Rajen Vurdien became president of
California’s Pasadena City College (PCC) on July
1, he knew one of his first tasks was to bring
together his team.
“Even though I had the experience of being a
president elsewhere, this was a completely different environment,” says Vurdien. He needed to
create an atmosphere of trust to ensure a strong
work environment. That was something that
couldn’t necessarily happen on campus, with a
multitude of distractions and interruptions.
CHANGING THE ENVIRONMENT
In September, Vurdien took 10 staff members off
campus—way off campus, to Houston, Texas, for
the American Association of Community Colleges’
High Performance Team Training (HPTT). The
four-day program included sessions on working
as a team to improve student success, meetings
with coaches, and developing goals for the team.
Spending four days together, working as a
unit, created a bond and “allowed us to understand
one another very well and create an atmosphere
on campus to get things done,” says Vurdien.
And they are getting things done. Projects at PCC
are accelerating. The college recently opened a new
resource center for underserved populations, the Dr.
Jeanette Mann Student Support Resource Center. It
began with a focus on foster youth, but its charge has
By Tabitha Whissemore
Jenny Acree, director of marketing, Cloud County Community College