Contreras becomes new Dean of Student Services

New+Dean+of+Student+Services+Gilbert+Contreras+as+a+guest+on+the+Falcon+Spotlight%2C+a+WMPD+radio+show.+He+stresses+the+importance+of+leadership.+Photo+credit%3A+Denny+Cristales

New Dean of Student Services Gilbert Contreras as a guest on the Falcon Spotlight, a WMPD radio show. He stresses the importance of leadership. Photo credit: Denny Cristales

There’s a new Dean of Student Services, and he advocates student success through the development of leadership; additionally, putting student issues at the “forefront.”

Gilbert Contreras officially entered his position on March 31. Prior to that, he attended the Hall of Fame dinner where he got an idea about the people surrounding the Cerritos College community.

“I’ve received a tremendous welcome from the Cerritos College family … and then when I started, I started at a great time. There was a lot of activity going on; the Spring Festival, the elections, the clubs being active; just a tremendous amount of activity and people have been very warm. Getting to go around to the different shared governance committees and talking to students and getting out there and meeting people. It’s been a very warm reception here at Cerritos College.”

He follows in the footsteps of his sister, who was the first in his family to attend college. Although he never personally attended Cerritos College, a lot of his family members did.

Contreras said, “For me, personally, it’s been the gateway for higher education for my family. My sister was the first to go on to college, and she started at Cerritos College. And she kind of opened the doors for all of us … so it’s really nice to be at Cerritos College. I’m really excited, I’ve met a lot of people and I’m looking forward to helping out and helping more students walk that stage at commencement.”

Contreras has been active, as he has been present in the Associated Students of Cerritos College senate meetings and the ASCC debate before that. It’s about getting an idea as to how the student population goes about their business.

He said, “At first I really wanted to get a pulse of what’s going on. I want to focus on students, particularly in leadership. I think leadership is very key among students and it would help transform the college in a lot of ways to focus on the seven circles, what the college is trying to accomplish, and help students hone in on the message as to how we all work collectively to insure that students are successful.”

One way he intends to do that is shortening the amount of time it takes to get a degree.

“A lot of students are struggling right now to get classes or struggling in developmental ed classes. We all have to work together to make sure students walk across that stage in a timely manner. Otherwise it would take six, seven, eight years to get that bachelor’s, you know. And we need to get out there to start working.”

However, student engagement would be necessary in order to reach that step.

“As a dean of student services, contributing what I can to help students feel comfortable here, feel safe here and feel that we’re advocating for their needs to be successful,” said Contreras.

The Falcon Spotlight, a WPMD broadcast hosted by Cerritos College student Rob Flores, had Contreras as a guest Monday, and Flores thought the new dean was a benefit for the school.

He said, “He’s awesome. A way better improvement than our previous dean.” Contreras strives for the academic success of college students through the appliance of his personal principles.

“Working with faculty, working with the students, working with the administration, working with everybody who’s doing that everybody is the key. What I can contribute is leadership in the areas of student development and leadership development.