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Tech Center Announces New Executive Director

November 18, 2021

Jennifer Coleman, executive director of the California Community Colleges Technology CenterThe California Community Colleges Technology Center at Butte College is pleased to announce that Dr. Jennifer Coleman is its new executive director, effective November 1.

As the Tech Center’s first new executive director since 2007, Coleman assumes her leadership role as the organization enters its historic 25th year of partnership serving the nation’s largest system of higher education. She replaces Tim Calhoon, who retired.

Coleman (pictured), who competed with other applicants as part of the standard hiring process, has served as interim director since July while performing double-duty as Statewide Director for the Core Applications Program (CAP) Grant. CAP encompasses the Tech Center’s Student Success Suite of products including CCCApply, CCC MyPath, Chancellor’s Office Curriculum Inventory (COCI), C-ID, eTranscript California, NOVA, and SuperGlue.

In an interview with Tech Central, she emphasized the value of the Tech Center now being recognized by the Chancellor’s Office as an important partner, and the opportunity to bring a continuum of products, services, and support to colleges for the long haul. Call it “Tech Center 2.0.”

Reaching Maturity

Coming off a period of economic contraction and recovery, the Tech Center in 2014 underwent a sort of startup phase, during which the organization grew from around 10 employees to a staff of more than 100 in a short period of time, Coleman recalls.

“Tim led us through turbulent times,” she said. “We’re now stabilized and can talk about this modern, mature approach to serving the system. Where it used to be silos, separated by grants, we can now talk about the full spectrum of what we offer, and our ability to provide colleges with everything from the point of adoption through long-term support.”

Among her priorities is developing a way to quantify and summarize to the field how Tech Center products are being adopted across the system and helping colleges meet the needs of their students. “We have to start by developing baseline metrics and then drill down in search of continuous improvement — and make sure we are communicating all the good work we are doing,” she said.

Another priority is reestablishing lost connections with the field following the elimination — by mandate or circumstance — of important communication channels such as the Tech EDge statewide newsletter and Tech Center Day at CISOA.

“Some colleges lost sight of who we were,” she said. “We need to recreate or rebuild those relationships, and make sure we are leveraging them for how we want to move forward.”

Communication and Collaboration

Coleman says she will manage the organization with open communication and team-driven expectations: “Being clear about where we’re headed and expecting everyone to help us best get there, but in a way that is collaborative and clear,” she explained.

Dr. Coleman brings 25 years of experience in higher education to her new role, including 20 years of service to California’s community colleges. From 2014 to 2021, Coleman served as a Statewide Programs Director for the Tech Center, providing an important leadership role for a variety of software projects that serve students and staff statewide, including OpenCCC, CCCApply, CCC MyPath, Multiple Measures Placement Service, and CCC Assess. Prior to that, she was a program manager for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Sierra College from 2002-2010.

In addition to her depth of experience in higher education leadership, she has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to participatory governance and community involvement, including membership and committee roles for philanthropic, fraternal, and student-serving organizations.

She now looks forward to guiding the Tech Center into its next phase — and perhaps another 25 years of partnership with the system.

“We do a lot of great things,” Coleman said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity we have in how we go forward, and working with everyone to define what that looks like. I’m excited about it.”

The Tech Center and the Butte-Glenn Community College District welcome Dr. Coleman to her new role with every confidence that her experience, education, and long term commitment to community involvement and participatory governance will continue to positively impact the staff and students of the California Community Colleges, statewide.