E. Bing Inocencio, the new president of Pierce College, told a group of Rotarians on Wednesday that he plans to do everything possible to make his students more marketable to employers and give them a strong footing to transfer to a four-year university.
But, he said, change will be difficult until students and society value education and give it the respect other cultures do, especially his own, Asian.
"Academic and scholastic achievement is underemphasized, while the achievements of semi-intellectual jocks are overemphasized," he said in his address to the Rotary Club of Woodland Hills. "We've got to stop that kind of tendency."
Inocencio, a native of the Philippines, said a large part of the problem starts with parents who are more interested in their children getting the grade rather than making sure they learn.
His primary goals, he said, were to ensure that when students go through a program at Pierce they are "transfer-ready or appointment-ready," and he will work to give students what they want as well as what they need.
"Students vote with their feet," he said of a decline in enrollment that Pierce has seen in recent years. "The students left because the college was not providing services they needed."
One way he hopes to accomplish these goals is to learn from businesses what they need in an employee, which was one reason he accepted the invitation to speak to the Rotary Club, a business and professional service organization. "I want to meet with every resource that I can use to advance my students," he said. "That has been the point that has been neglected."
Rotary Club President Jerry Lash said he was pleased to hear of Inocencio's plans for the college. "We have always had an interest in the direction of Pierce because it affects our environment," said Lash. "And from what I heard today, I'm encouraged, very much so, by the direction under him."