A president of a college moving on to greener pastures for professional or personal reasons usually elicits little more than a nod of recognition from the faculty of the college. This is because faculty and administrators have different priorities, as well they should. For us, the faculty, nothing is more important than the immediate needs of our students and we are willing to fight to ensure that we can fulfill those needs.
As soldiers in the frontline of the continual war between those seeking truth, justice and wisdom and those wishing to use education to further their own interests whatever they might be, we do not worry about costs, expenditures and public opinion. We simply cannot afford to. Our focus has to be fixed solely on delivering the best possible education to our students so that they can achieve their goals and will be able to make the right decisions to become productive citizens.
Administrators, on the other hand, must look at the bigger picture and deal with cost, expenditures, and public opinion. While faculty and administrators are forced to work together to achieve the goals of a college and there is mutual respect for each other, there is rarely true appreciation and genuine affection for each other.
However, when faculty at Mission College in Santa Clara learned of our current president, Daniel Peck’s decision to move on, many of us were saddened beyond belief. Not only is president Peck that rare administrator who can empathize with faculty, he is also capable of lifting all of us – staff, faculty, and administrators – to perform at a level that even we didn’t know we were capable of.
President Peck didn’t become a president via the usual route. He was a researcher before taking on the helm at Mission College. While a researcher, he worked with both faculty and administrators and thus saw the need to make data-driven decisions as well as the need for taking the cost to humans – in this case students – into account. A humanitarian first and a president second approach has worked wonders for president Peck at Mission College.
Under his leadership, we have grown from a college that was struggling to meet its goals and to be noticed into a college that is serving the needs of a diverse population and is now recognized as a real option for those students who either do not wish to attend UCs and CSUs as freshmen and are looking to transfer after two years or those students who are simply looking to learn skills that they can use to better themselves. President Peck can take pride in the fact that he leaves behind a college that not only has a bright future but is poised to take advantage of the post-pandemic boom that is sure to come to produce graduates who will ensure the continued success of Silicon Valley and the Santa Clara County.
One has only to look at the picture of the Mission College campus before Daniel become president and after to see the difference. What a difference a good president can make! We wish you all the best in your future, Daniel, and we thank you for all your hard work to make the college a better college for staff, faculty, administrators, and most of all the students.
Myo Kyaw Myint