2021 District 4 Pacesetter
Colorado Community College System
Since his appointment as chancellor of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), Joe Garcia has demonstrated leadership and a commitment to advancing higher education initiatives and access through various roles in both the public sector and in higher education. CCCS is a system with 13 different colleges with more than 35 locations across the state, and the system has benefitted greatly from Garcia’s dedication.
More than half of CCCS colleges are designated Hispanic Serving Institutions. Equity is a priority for Garcia, and under his leadership, the Foundation for Colorado Community Colleges recently received a $1 million investment from Kaiser Permanente to create an equity scholarship fund. At the outset of the May 2020 protests spurred by the murder of George Floyd, Garcia penned a message to underline the importance of the protests. He reaffirmed the college’s commitment to students and the communities served across Colorado.
“We know we can do better and, as educators, we have an obligation to lead the change,” he wrote in the message. “As the state’s largest provider of higher education, serving nearly half of all students of color in Colorado, we commit to doing our part to disrupt and eradicate injustice, racism, and systems of oppression in our institutions and in our communities.”
Garcia prioritizes external messaging and public relations, offering his voice to various CCCS campaigns or projects. For example, before his first official day as chancellor, Garcia introduced himself to the system’s 20,000+ staff, faculty and instructors across the state.
“This short video was a perfect introduction for employees and college communities to see, hear, and get a sense of who Joe Garcia is prior to more official messaging,” writes Fiona Lytle, chief communications officer and legislative liaison for CCCS, in Garcia’s nomination letter. “The video also served to establish trust and show that he is an approachable leader who cares deeply about the role of community colleges.”