Ferguson assumes interim position
Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 19:03
Driven by immense dedication and a passion to help students in need, as she once was one, Vicki Ferguson has continuously moved up the ranks in student services during her eight years at Contra Costa College.
On Tuesday, Ferguson left her position as manager of EOPS and became the interim senior dean of students, a position that takes the place of senior dean of students until June 30.
"She's going to do a good job," former senior dean of students Frank Hernandez said. "She's been in a manager position in student services for five years and understands the needs of students as a counselor."
Hernandez said he believes Ferguson's experience counseling students and managing the EOPS budget has prepared her to take on the dean position.
President McKinley Williams said Ferguson has helped build up the EOPS program and that students who have been through the program have experienced success in transferring to four-year colleges.
"She has done an excellent job in her position. Her leadership in EOPS has really been exemplary," Williams said.
EOPS Coordinator Kenneth Reynolds said Ferguson can handle stress well and motivates those around her to do things they thought they were not capable of doing.
"Vicki is very caring and supportive to students," Reynolds said. "She's a born leader; her dynamic ability to be creative is exceptional."
Hernandez said, "She'll keep (the position) alive and running. She is better at technology than I am. She can use that to twist the position in her own way."
Ferguson began working at CCC in 2003 as a part-time counselor and adjunct professor, teaching Counseling 120 and Psychology 102. Three years later, she moved up to a full-time EOPS counselor position, and only a year after that she became manager of EOPS.
"My career goal was to become a manager and to become a voice for students," Ferguson said. "The opportunities presented themselves."
During her time as EOPS manager Ferguson oversaw the program, worked with the budget and wrote plans for the year to send to Sacramento to be approved.
The manager lobbies for EOPS at the state level and monitors the program to make sure it runs within the regulations of the state, Reynolds said.
Originally from Gadsden, Ala., Ferguson attended Jacksonville State University and later worked there as a counselor. After her time there, she moved to Louisiana to work with low-income first generation college students through a federal grant.
Working with educationally disadvantaged students developed into a passion of hers.
"I see myself in them," Ferguson said. "I was the youngest of seven children and the first to go to college. Having to navigate filling out all the applications, you know what you want to do, then you have all those obstacles and gates in the way."
Prompted by a job offer for her husband, she moved to California in 2002. Nine years and two kids later, Ferguson had made California her home.
As Ferguson takes on the position of acting dean of students, EOPS counselor Ollie Baylis-Payne will be the manager of EOPS for the remainder of the spring semester.
"It was a smooth transition. She's done it in the past, and is familiar with the coordinator position," Ferguson said. "Everyone was cooperative. It's important for student services to work as a unit, a team (of people) who support each other. Our mission is to help students."
Reynolds said the disciplinary scale of a dean is larger than an EOPS manager's because the dean must handle any issue regarding student services, but he has no doubt that Ferguson can handle it.