Under public fire off and on for much of the past 18 months, Santa Barbara City College President Dr. Andreea Serban took a few days off this week to interview for a new job. Specifically, according to a community listing Web site in Rowland Heights, California, Serban was one of five finalists interviewed in a public forum on Tuesday afternoon for the president’s job at nearby Mt. San Antonio College.
Explaining that he was recently made aware of the interview but that he “had not heard of it from her,” SBCC Board of Trustees President Peter Haslund said on Wednesday that he wasn’t surprised by the news. Describing Serban as an “ambitious and capable” leader currently facing a “rough period” here in Santa Barbara, Haslund added, “If the job is offered I expect she will take it.”
Serban, who became SBCC’s first female president when she started her tenure in June 2008, has found herself at the wrong end of public crankiness and occasional outcry in recent months as City College — despite being widely considered one of the more impressive community colleges in the state — has struggled with ongoing state budget woes and the various associated trials and tribulations.
The unrest, much of it hinging on cuts to the school’s popular Continuing Education program and, more accurately, the handling of said cuts by chief administrators, culminated in last November’s election as four new members, including Haslund, ousted a quartet of long-serving trustees on the seven-member board.