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McQuarters comes from Portland Community College and aims to keep things student-centered

COURTESY PHOTO: MT. HOOD COMMUNITY COLLEGE - Alfred Al McQuarters is the new vice president of instruction at Mt. Hood Community College and a cyclist. Alfred "Al" McQuarters is an explorer. The new vice president of instruction at Mt. Hood Community College loves to ride his bike through different neighborhoods, exploring bridges, trails and other features. Now, he's exploring Mt. Hood Community College.

"So far, I'm really listening," he said of his new job at MHCC.

The vice president of instruction is essentially the chief academic officer of the college. This person is in charge of leading, planning and assessment of all the programs at a community college.

"My direct reports are the deans and directors of all the programs" at MHCC, McQuarters said.

The key to success, is making sure "I have a strong team," he said and he is happy to report that he does.

McQuarters comes to MHCC from Portland Community College's southeast campus, where he was dean of math, science, health, physical education and career technical education for five years. He also was interim dean of instruction.

Prior to that he spent 10 years in two positions with the City Colleges of Chicago, a huge 13 campus-community college. The last four years, he was a department chair and an instructor at Malcolm X College, one of the City Colleges.

He's worked in cancer research and held other academic positions.

The new Saint has an doctorate of education and community college leadership from Oregon State University. His dissertation focused on racial battle fatigue among Latinx and Black community college students in STEM fields.

He has a master's of science degree in cellular and molecular biology from Howard University and a bachelor's of science degree in biology from Penn State University.

As part of his responsibilities, McQuarters will serve on the statewide community college Chief Academic Officers group, which has been without MHCC representation for some time.

McQuarters said it is one of his goals to keep things at MHCC student centered.

"It's amazing how many great things are occurring here," he said.

MHCC funeral services program, the only one in Oregon, is fascinating to him, especially with this background in science. He also singles out the innovation and tremendous growth in MHCC's cyber security program and the strength of MHCC's nursing program.

After he's finished with his explorations of MHCC, one of his first jobs will be to develop a new academic plan for the college.

That's a big job, involving many stakeholders including faculty, the facilities departments, the community, businesses, students and more.

"It's a massive process, including bringing all the stakeholders together," he said.

McQuarters is also exploring how best to connect with the people and organizations in the 950-square-mile MHCC district.

"It's important for me to be plugged into the community," he said.

He always has been. McQuarters is on the board of Portland's North by Northeast Community Health Center and has been a member of the Clackamas County Economic Development Commission and other groups.

"I've really just begun participating in Gresham community events," he said.

He plans to identify gaps in community involvement by the MHCC administrators and staff and see if there is a good fit for him among the college's territory in the Sandy and Gresham areas.

Besides his bicycle explorations, McQuarters said he doesn't have much time for hobbies or avocations.

The Happy Valley resident has four children and acknowledges that getting them to soccer games and viola lessons essentially serves as his hobbies for now.

He also has that big, new job at MHCC. He doesn't have any immediate plans for any changes at MHCC.

"It's too soon for that. I'm not making any assumptions. I'm really listening now."

And exploring.


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