GRANDVIEW - Lower Valley students attending summer courses at the Yakima Valley Community College Grandview campus were probably surprised to see this past Monday a new dean.
Claude Dotson began his duties as the new interim dean of the Grandview YVCC campus this past Monday afternoon.
Dotson, 57, comes to Grandview from Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles, Ore., where he was interim associate dean of instruction.
YVCC Vice President of Instruction and Student Services Anthony Beebe said he is excited about the arrival of Dotson. Beebe said Dotson has a diverse background that will help make YVCC's Grandview campus an institution of better learning. Beebe said Dotson brings strong technical and vocational experience to his position in Grandview.
"I really do believe he will be a good fit," said Beebe.
Dotson is no stranger to the Yakima Valley. His family is from the Tri-Cities, where his father still lives. Dotson worked for Battelle-Northwest in Richland as a technical editor/writer for Pacific Northwest Laboratories from 1979-80.
Dotson spent a majority of his career in education at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, working at the institute from 1982-99. Some of his other career highlights included being awarded a sabbatical to teach and study management and marketing at Boise State University in Idaho in 1992-93. While in Wyoming, Dotson gained experience as the faculty organization president, an associate professor and a division chair.
Dotson has also worked at Clark College in Vancouver, Wa., where he was dean of business and technology from 2000-03.
He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1971 from the University of Washington. In 1975, Dotson earned a Master's in English from Central Washington University. He is currently doing Ph.D course work in American literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dotson said he is excited about being able to come to Grandview. Dotson said he was attracted to the position because it was an opportunity to work in a diverse area while serving a large number of students.
"I love rural campuses," said Dotson. "It seemed a really good fit for me."
Dotson said he enjoys being involved with students of diverse backgrounds. He said for him it is fun to watch students evolve and grow while obtaining their education.
While the position is on an interim basis, Dotson said he does have some goals for the college. One of initial goals is to look at the instructional programs being offered at the Grandview campus and see what can be added or how the programs can be bettered.
"I want to make this place as student-centered as possible," said Dotson. "That is already being done, but we want to make it better."
Dotson also wants to take a look at the vocational classes being offered at Grandview and stay involved with the technology side to make sure the campus is kept as up-to-date as possible.
"They (YVCC) seem to be doing an excellent job (on the technology side)," said Dotson. "This is as good as you will see."
At the Grandview campus, Dotson will oversee a staff of 18 full-time employees and 17 part-time staff members. Dotson said he has been very impressed with how obvious it is that the staff wants to do what is best for the students at the college. Dotson said that was one of the first things he saw upon taking the position. Dotson said the college staff, from President Dr. Linda Kaminski on down have a deep dedication to making YVCC a better learning institution.
"You can always tell a good college because people are fired up about their jobs," said Dotson. "This is the kind of college you want to be at where they want the students to succeed."
Dotson said he plans to keep an open door to his employees at the college. Dotson said he is a big believer in delegating, empowering and recognizing the accomplishments of employees.
"I tend to judge people on their results," said Dotson. "But I always want them to know there is help if they need it."
Dotson has also been very impressed with how the college is involved with the City of Grandview. Dotson said he enjoyed his meetings with Mayor Mike Bren and City Administrator Jim Sewell and is looking forward to becoming part of the community. Dotson plans to become involved with the downtown revitalization efforts of the Grandview Chamber of Commerce.