Foothill-De Anza Community College District Chancellor Judy Miner announced her intention to retire in September 2023 in an email to FHDA employees earlier this month. Her retirement comes after eight years as chancellor and 35 years with the district overall.
Miner’s decision to retire is part of a plan she introduced last summer to “reimagine” FHDA. The project aims to make FHDA more student-centered and keep equity at the forefront of decisions.
“I was thinking about reinvention,” Miner said of her plan, in an interview with the Town Crier last week. “It’s not about hoping students will come back to campus – infrastructure needs to change. We need reaffirmation of values like success and student equity and inclusion.”
Following months of contemplation on how to achieve the changes, Miner opted to retire as chancellor and allow a new generation to take over and implement them.
“I arrived at the conclusion that if I’m really serious about how much I love this district and want to see it move forward, I needed to invite someone else to take the district to the next level,” she said.
Despite her decision to step down, Miner will still be plenty busy following the transition next year, committing herself to staying involved in local community college leadership. She will continue to serve on the Silicon Valley Community Foundation board and as faculty for the Executive Leadership Academy of the Center for Studies in Higher Education at UC Berkeley, in addition to maintaining relationships with organizations such as Year Up and the Leading Change Institute.
Over the next year, Miner plans to work closely with the FHDA board to facilitate the process of hiring a new chancellor.
“I wanted to get the word out sooner rather than later because there is so much competition for this role,” she said of her decision to make the announcement more than a year in advance. “We really want to encourage wonderful candidates to apply for this position.”
While the board has yet to establish an official timeline for the hiring process, Miner has a pretty good idea of what she wants to accomplish in the next year and a half to ensure the success of the next chancellor, including developing affordable housing for students and staff, securing federal grants and strengthening FHDA workforce training.
She is currently honing her skills as a mentor as she advises the recently hired chancellor of City College of San Francisco. She also will serve as mentor for the incoming chancellor at FHDA.
According to Miner, the most pressing issue the new FHDA chancellor faces is funding.
“It’s always budget and staffing,” she said. “We are so underfunded in comparison to neighboring districts. We always need to look at whether we have the right people in the right places to best serve our students.”
And though financial management will remain a top responsibility, Miner added that the new chancellor will need to recognize the changing needs of students, especially in a critical era in which equity and inclusion receive higher priority.
A key goal for the district – one that Miner said FHDA is making great progress on – is expanding enrollment after the pandemic prompted a major dip. She also mentioned the strides the district is making in increasing transfer rates, while emphasizing the important role community colleges play beyond just providing a stepping stone toward a four-year degree.
“We teach our students resilience, and they leave us with a moral compass,” she said. “I want them to feel a responsibility as educated members of the community.”
While Miner’s post-chancellor calendar may appear full for someone headed toward retirement, she does have plans to enjoy herself. A lifelong lover of the opera, Miner will dedicate time to travel around the world to enjoy her favorite opera companies as they re-emerge from the pandemic. She is more than an opera buff, however – she plans to sing a piece for the De Anza College music department faculty recital this spring.
In future issues, the Town Crier will cover the hiring process for a new chancellor and review Miner’s 35-year career with FHDA.
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