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Orange County

Coastline President Will Retire in June

Education: Under Leslie Purdy, the Fountain Valley college became a U.S. 'telecourse' leader.

January 24, 2002|PHIL WILLON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Coastline Community College President Leslie Purdy, who won three Emmys for instructional programming produced at the college, announced she will retire in June after leading the Fountain Valley-based institution for eight years.

During Purdy's tenure, Coastline emerged as one of the nation's top producers of "telecourses"--classes taught via television, videotape or CD-ROM. She also presided over the building of a major instructional center in Garden Grove and the opening of the Orange County Regional One-Stop Center in Costa Mesa, which offers job assistance.

The 12,000-student college, which calls itself the "college without walls," is part of the Coast Community College District, along with Golden West College, Orange Coast College and KOCE-TV.

Purdy joined the college district in 1975 as an instructional designer and, when Coastline opened in 1976, she moved to the department that produced and marketed the college's educational programming. The Emmy-winning instructional programs she helped produce were on astronomy, child development and art.

"We have a quality product," Purdy said Wednesday. "I think we have shown that students who take distance learning get a very high quality education--an adult education."

A typical Coastline "telecourse," which includes textbooks, study guide and computer components, can easily reach 10,000 for-credit students nationwide, with tens of thousands others watching for personal enrichment.

Purdy, 58, said she decided to retire so she can spend more time with her family and travel but didn't rule out returning to teaching or even college administration.

"I haven't made any commitments yet, but I will be looking at other opportunities," Purdy said.

The search for her successor has begun, and the district board is expected to pick a new president by the end of the school year.

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