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Accreditation Visiting Team

Robert Dees

Team Chair

Robert Dees recently retired from serving since 2005 as the president of Orange Coast College (OCC). He first came to OCC in 1978 as a full-time teacher of English. From 1984-1998 he was Dean of the college’s Literature and Languages Division, and then served as Vice President of Instruction from 1998-2005 until assuming his position as president.

During his career in California community college education, Dees was president of the statewide English Council of Two-Year California Colleges, served on or chaired a number of community college accreditation teams, and participated as a member of several statewide committees.

Dees is the author of several textbooks on composition, critical thinking, vocabulary building, and writing college research papers. He resides in Laguna Niguel with his wife Van, who teaches English as a Second Language at Golden West College.

Whitney Sparks

Team Assistant

Ms. Sparks is the administrative assistant for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Certification of Special Study in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Remote Sensing from Humboldt State University. Ms. Sparks is a Microsoft Certified Office Specialist (Word 2003 expert) and Desktop Support Technician (Microsoft Windows XP). Whitney joined the Commission staff in January, 2009.


Doni Bird

Doni Bird is the Director of Allied Dental Education at Santa Rosa Junior College in Santa Rosa, California. She received her dental hygiene degree from the University of New Mexico, and a Masters Degree in Education from San Francisco State University. Prior to joining the faculty at SRJC, she held teaching positions at the University of New Mexico, the University of Minnesota, and the University of California San Francisco, School of Dentistry. She has served on five previous ACCJC site visits, and currently serves as a consultant to the American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation.

R. David Chapel, Ed.D.

Dr. Chapel was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Rancho Santiago Community College District in 2004. He is currently serving as president of the Trustees and represents the Board on the Orange County Community Colleges Legislative Task Force and Orange County School Boards Association.

Dr. Chapel possesses a wealth of teaching and administrative experience. He is currently a professor of education and supervisor of student teachers at Argosy University in Orange County. He started his career in education as a substitute teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Later, he taught high school in Bellflower and Huntington Beach. During his teaching tenure in Huntington Beach, Dr. Chapel was elected president of the teachers association and served as a California Teachers Association State council representative, a National Education Association delegate, a mentor teacher and department chair. In 1990, he became an administrator in the Garden Grove Unified School District and taught part-time at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Dr. Chapel earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Long Beach; received a master’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles; and completed his doctoral studies at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Chapel is also the founder of an educational consulting business for major corporations and the California Department of Education.

Dr. Jack Daniels, III

Dr. Jack E. Daniels, III, assumed his position as president of Los Angeles Southwest College (LASC) in July 2006. LASC serves over 16,000 credit and non-credit students annually. After serving for three years as president of Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield Illinois, a college that served over 20,000 students annually, he relocated to Los Angeles to accept the position. Prior to that, he served for five years as president of Central College, one of five community colleges within the Houston Community College System. In addition to serving as a Psychology faculty member at Laney College, Dr. Daniels also served in several administrative capacities in California Community Colleges including Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Grossmont College, Associate Dean of Math, Science and Physical Education at College of Alameda, and Director of Educational Development for the Peralta Community College District.

Dr. Daniels is an accomplished leader at urban colleges in strategic and facilities master planning, implementing a "learner-centered" college initiative, articulating programs with local universities and providing leadership to developing programs that meet economic development and community needs.

He currently oversees the largest building project at Los Angeles Southwest College. One of California’s pilot community colleges for design build projects, under Dr. Daniels’ leadership four buildings have been built, one new stadium and fieldhouse and a new multi-level parking lot—all by virtue of bonds supported by the public. In 2008, the Los Angeles Community College District passed a $3.5 billion bond that provided approximately $250 million for the campus. These dollars will be used to build a fine arts and humanities center, a career technical education building, a regional health training center at a new satellite site, a new bookstore, a multi-level parking lot and many infrastructure upgrades. A leader in sustainable buildings, the college is moving forward with environmental projects that reduce energy costs and take advantage of our natural resources.

Dr. Daniels has mentioned on several occasions that building buildings is great, but the programs and services that help students meet their goals is the most important mission LASC has. Subsequently, the intense focus and vision on student success that he has is found in every corner of the campus and evidenced by the many students who transfer or go directly to work with new and refined skills.

Amy DiBello

Amy DiBello, earned her M.F.A. from University of California, Irvine, and her B.A. from the University of Redlands, Johnston Center. She is in her twelfth year of teaching English at College of the Desert. In 2009 Amy was awarded Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year. She has served on the Academic Senate at COD as Chair of Professional Standards and Ethics. Currently, she is the Chair of the Curriculum Committee. Amy is also the Outcomes and Assessment Coordinator at College of the Desert. She has served on several tenure committees. She is faculty advisor for the creative writing club on campus and coordinates the Student Creative Writing Reading every semester, as a part of The Forum Series. She is a published writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Additionally, Amy is a mountain climber, an award winning tri-athlete and mother of two.

Dr. Mildred Lovato

Dr. Lovato has twelve years experience in higher education and joined the team of administrators at Bakersfield College (BC) in 2005 after previously having served as the Assistant Vice President of Academic Support and Student Retention at Santa Fe Community College, the Director of Advisement and Counseling at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), and the Achievement Coach for the Technologies Department at CNM. In her role at BC she oversees Enrollment Services, Assessment, Financial Aid, Counseling, Transfer and Career Center, Matriculation, Student Health Center, Disabled Students Programs and Services, 504/ADA Compliance, EOPS, Title V grants, Foundations of Excellence, Athletic Department, Physical Education and Health, Work Experience, Job Placement, CalWorks, Public Safety and Security, Student Government Association, Student Activities, and Outreach. She earned a doctorate in Educational Administration, Community College Leadership Development, from New Mexico State University and a Masters in Counseling Education from the University of New Mexico. In 2000, she received a National Student Retention Award from Noel Levitz for the development of a student retention model: Relationship based Retention/Dimensional Development (R2D2). Dr. Lovato currently co-chairs the Enrollment Management Committee, the Educational Administrators Council, and the Faculty Chairs and Directors Council. She also chairs the Steering Committee of the Foundations of Excellence First Year Experience program, a partnership with Cal State Bakersfield, which is committed to advancing the college going rate in the community and in meeting the needs of first year students so that they will attain their educational goals. This is her third ACCJC accreditation site team visit.

Gary Nitta

Gary Nitta is the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services at Kauai Community College where he manages the college’s budget, fiscal services, human resources, and campus maintenance and development. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries, Wildlife Resource Management and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Chabot College will be Gary’s sixth visit with an accreditation team.

Dr. Barry Russell

Barry Russell currently serves as the Vice President of Instruction at College of the Siskiyous (COS) in far northern California. A graduate of the Community College Leadership Program (1991) from the University of Texas at Austin, he also holds degrees in music from Texas A&M University–Commerce.

Prior to becoming Vice President at COS, he was the Dean of Fine Art and Communication at Cerritos College and held the same position at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California, before moving to Cerritos.

Dr. Russell has served as Director of the Central Texas Tech Prep Consortium, was a faculty member at Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas, is active in both state and national community college organizations, and currently serves as a board member representing northern California for the organization of California Community College Chief Instruction Officers.

Dr. Russell serves on the statewide Education Technology Advisory Committee at the California Chancellor’s Office and is active in the National Instruction Administrators organization—an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges—where he received the Instructional Leadership Award in 2009.

Currently, Dr. Russell’s interests focus on the issues of student retention and success, as well as rural health issues, and the completion of the Rural Health Sciences Institute in Yreka, California built with funds from local Measure A bond funds, a measure which he helped to pass.

Jeanette Stirdivant

Jeanette has worked at Glendale Community College since 1978. Prior to becoming Division Chair of Student Services in 2000 she was a counselor in the Center for Students with Disabilities. She is active on campus serving on the Curriculum Committee, Master Planning Committee and Academic Affairs. She has been involved at both the local and state level of the Academic Senate serving as Vice President of the Academic Senate at Glendale Community College and a member of the Statewide Academic Senate Curriculum Standing Committee. She feels she brings to the accreditation team strengths in the area of Student Services, Faculty Service Areas, Minimum Qualifications, and Governance.

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