Acting chancellor shares SDCCD priorities in new role

Transition, budget, student housing and enrollment among topics to be discussed at district board meeting on May 11


Acting Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of People, Culture and Technology Services Greg Smith, second from the left, celebrates the retirement of former Executive Vice Chancellor of Business and Technology services Bonnie Ann Dowd with district administrators, including City College President Ricky Shabazz, far left, on December 13, 2022. SDCCD on Flickr

Kathryn Gray, Editor-In-Chief

Greg Smith, vice chancellor of people, culture and technology services since October 2020, will lead the district as acting chancellor, filling the role of Carlos Cortez until a new chancellor is hired.

After taking a period of emergency family leave to care for his parents, Cortez resigned effective May 1, according to a press release from the district.

Intimately involved in the district strategic planning process, which started in July 2021 under Cortez, Smith said the transition to the new role has been fairly seamless.

“Over the last 18 months, we had input from thousands of students, employees, community members, on what our district’s priorities should be,” Smith said. “Chancellor Cortez did a great job of leading us through a collaborative and inclusive process. So we have a roadmap in place for where we want to be over the course of 2023-2030, in alignment with our district strategic plan.” 

The cornerstone of Smith’s leadership style is collaboration and he said he relies heavily on the chancellor’s cabinet and partnerships with the leadership teams of each college to keep things running smoothly.

Among Smith’s priorities in the acting chancellor role, in line with the District strategic plan, are student housing, budget reserves, re-engaging students after Covid-19 and reaching adult learners who are looking to start their education or transition careers.

Smith will also retain his permanent role as vice chancellor, overseeing “everything that employees interact with in terms of their employment and benefits of employment, as well as everything relating to information technology.”

Smith, who began his academic career at Cerro Coso Community College in the high desert city of Tehachapi, knows firsthand that community college is life-changing. 

“Without that entry point, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it,” Smith said. “So for any of our students who are wondering, ‘does our acting chancellor understand what I’m going through?’ A lot has changed since the mid-90s when I was doing it, and I definitely get that. But I do know what it is to be a struggling college student wondering, ‘do I belong here?’”

City College is a place where everyone belongs, Smith added, where student success and well-being are paramount.

Smith and the Board of Directors meet on Thursday, May 11 at 4 p.m. to discuss the district’s priorities in detail. The meeting is open to the public and is being held at the Charles W. Patrick Building District Office located 3375 Camino del Rio South, San Diego, CA, 92108 in rooms 235-255.

To reach Smith, you can email him at [email protected].

The agenda can be viewed here.