Former Miramar College administrator will head counseling, enrollment services
November 10, 2010 (El Cajon)-- Outside of her professional career in higher education, Wendy Stewart is a self-taught songwriter and musician who dreams of turning on the radio one day to hear one of her pieces being performed by a famous recording artist.
When not composing music, Grossmont College’s newest dean is singing the praises of California community colleges and the ways they embrace a diverse student population. The former transfer center director for San Diego Miramar College began her new post last week as dean of counseling and enrollment services at Grossmont College.
As dean, Stewart serves as liaison to instructional faculty and works collaboratively with them to ensure that student needs remain a top priority. She is in charge of admissions and records, counseling, academic and personal counseling, registration, student records, veterans, enrollment verification and more. Stewart said she sought the position at Grossmont College because of the greater opportunity to introduce higher education to a student population as varied as it is sizable.
A former counselor in the University of California system, Stewart said she found advising community college transfer students to be rewarding because of the challenge of helping a wide mix of students identify and meet their academic goals.
“Having worked in community colleges for over five years now and beginning this new position, I know this is the ideal place for me to work and know that my heart lies in continuing to work in community college environments,” she said.
“My vision for future growth in student services technology includes the use of online assessment tools and updated programs that are both efficient and easy to utilize for storing program and student data.”
As transfer center director at Miramar College, Stewart piloted the office‘s use of web-based surveys to collect assessment data.
Grossmont College President Sunita “Sunny” Cooke said the college is thrilled to welcome Stewart to her new role.
“Her focus on providing students the best assistance possible by utilizing technological resources is an excellent fit for Grossmont College,” she said. “Her collaborative approach and her commitment to serving students reflect a solid administrative strategy. I am confident Wendy will be a strong addition to the Grossmont College team.”
Stewart, who worked as an academic adviser at UCSD for seven years prior to her 2005 hiring at Miramar College as transfer center director, has maintained a presence in the classroom as a part-time instructor of counseling education at National University. At Miramar College, she also taught personal growth classes called “College Success and Lifelong Learning” and “Life Skills and Personal Adjustment.”
“What I love most about teaching is seeing a student develop as the semester progresses,” she said. “There is nothing more amazing than feeling like you are making a difference in a student’s life, particularly with personal growth, since you have the opportunity to give the student the skills to be more successful in other areas of their life, both inside and outside of the classroom.”
In her own area of personal growth, Stewart has written a compilation of songs she hopes to see published one day and is also working on a novel she aspires to see in print next year. She is also active with the Urban League of San Diego County and performs community service on behalf of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. A native of Altadena in Los Angeles County, she makes no secret of being a huge Lakers fan, obvious to anyone visiting her office.
She smiles broadly as a campus photographer takes a shot of her standing next to a plush replica of a Lakers basketball so large that it nearly covers the top of her desk.
A classically trained violinist from childhood, Stewart taught herself to play guitar and to write music, but stagefright has kept her off the stage.
“I hope to publish my songs as I wouldn't be very good at performing, myself,” she said.
Stewart holds a doctorate in education/higher education administration from the University of Southern California, a master’s in counseling/marriage and family therapy from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s in literature with an emphasis in writing from UCSD.
For more information about Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, go to www.gcccd.edu.