A new president will take the reins of Santa Barbara City College in January.
Utpal K. Goswami, currently president of MCC-Longview in the Metropolitan Community College District in Kansas City, will replace Helen Benjamin, who came out of retirement six months ago fill in for Anthony E. Beebe, who retired earlier this year.
The Santa Barbara City College board of trustees chose Dr. Goswami over the other finalist for the job, Kenneth Lawson, who has two decades of experience working in community colleges.
Ultimately, it was Dr. Goswami and his more than 30 years of higher education experience that the selection committee chose.
“Dr. Goswami brings a depth of experience, and we are certain that he will move Santa Barbara City College forward,” said City College board of trustees President Robert K. Miller. “He is a proven leader with a commitment to students and their success. We are confident that he will build collaborative relationships on campus and in the community.”
Dr. Goswami holds a master’s degree in development economics from Boston University and both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in economics from Southern Methodist University.
Dr. Goswami, who grew up in India in a town with no electricity, carried a slate and piece of chalk to school. He has said that for him to be a finalist for the City College president position shows how powerful education can be.
Dr. Goswami hopes to create change on campus by building trust and earning respect.
“One of the things that I’ll suggest, we have a robust governance structure, but it should also give us the luxury of having think-tank type of conversations. A college setting is where you try and solve and anticipate future issues and have those conversations — not knowing if they will lead us anywhere but that it helps develop a sense of partnership,” Dr. Goswami said Thursday during a forum for the finalists.
“Even though there are lots of different ideas, you have more in common than you think.”
Dr. Goswami’s employment is subject to contract negotiations. His contract will come before the City College board at their regular meeting on Nov. 14.