The California Community Colleges recently elected a new chancellor. Dr. Brice W. Harris, former chancellor of the Los Rios Community College, was unanimously selected by the board of directors on Sept. 27.
Harris will receive a salary of $198,500 and will begin his duties on Nov. 6.
Harris will succeed Jack Scott, who served the position for about three and a half years. Scott personally encouraged Harris to submit his name for the job.
“I enthusiastically endorse the appointment of Dr. Brice Harris as the chancellor of the California Community Colleges. He is an outstanding educational leader, as evidenced by his superb leadership of the Los Rios Community College District,” said former Chancellor Jack Scott in a press release.
Prior to this, Harris was the chancellor of the Los Rios Community College district for 16 years, which includes American River, Cosumnes River, Folsom Lake and Sacramento City Colleges.
He worked to improve education and student success at the various campuses under his jurisdiction. Additionally, he oversaw the building of Folsom Lake College and the Sacramento City College Davis Center.
“I’ve known and worked with Brice for almost 20 years, going back to my days on the Sacramento City Council. He was an exemplary chancellor at the Los Rios Community College District, broadening higher education opportunities for tens of thousands of students through unprecedented renovation and expansion of the district’s four colleges,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg in a statement.
Harris has also served as the president of Fresno City College and was a faculty member and vice chancellor for the Kansas City community college system in Missouri. His experience working with various community colleges made him an ideal choice for this position. He also has many connections within the community college system, the city of Sacramento and the legislature.
He was also named “Sacramentarian of the Year” in 2010 by the Sacramento Metro Chamber.
“It is humbling to be asked to lead such a tremendous system of colleges serving the educational needs of California. The California Community Colleges have helped educate generations of citizens, and these colleges are even more important to the future of our great state,” Harris said in a press release. “Serving as the system chancellor at this time is very exciting. The efforts that retiring Chancellor Jack Scott and the board of governors have begun related to improving student success provide us all a clear road map to a better future for our colleges and for California.”
His plans include continuing to increase student access to education, which will be a challenge due to budget cuts.
Scott said he predicts “great progress for California community colleges under [Harris’s] leadership.”
PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.