Orange Coast College has hired Dr. Pamela D. Walker as interim vice president of instruction. Walker was hired after Kevin Ballinger retired and no permanent replacement was found.
Walker had plans to relocate to Orange County so she could work on campus, before the Covid-19 pandemic. Now she works from an office in her Sacramento home with her dog at her feet.
Walker was retired, working as a consultant and had previously served as the Executive Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Vice Chancellor of Academic Programs at the California Community College Chancellor's Office in Sacramento.
“Any of us who work in community colleges are going to be a part of an incredibly wonderful and significant and diverse environment. People come to the community college system from every possible living situation. I have seen, in my career, incredible opportunities to help students of color, LGBTQ students and our veteran students,” said Walker. “We have the opportunity in community colleges to change lives every day.”
Walker spent her entire career in education, first teaching high-school in Oregon for three years. She then went on to work and teach at four-year universities, spending 10 years at the University of Redlands before moving to community colleges.
Walker's first job in community colleges was as a dean. During her career, she was a dean of kinesiology and athletics, a dean of science and allied health, and a dean of enrollment services. She later became an associate vice president, a vice president, and an interim president.
Even though all of Walker’s jobs at community colleges were administrative, teaching was always important to her.
“I tried to teach a class every year someplace. Sometimes I team teach a class with faculty at my current institution,” she said. “I always made sure I could get into class and at least lecture in a class at some point.”
When President Angelica Suarez asked Walker to take the position of interim president, she was very willing to help.
“I have believed, in most situations, education can really transform people, no matter who you are,” Walker said. “I've always believed education was the great equalizer. So if you get an education, more opportunity could potentially come your way."