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From the President

News About the Associate Vice President of Instruction Position 

Jan. 17, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to let you know that we have selected Sam Bliss as the permanent associate vice president of Instruction.

Sam has served for the past eight years as dean of Community Education, overseeing the De Anza Child Development Center (CDC), Euphrat Museum of Art, Planetarium, and De Anza College Academy, all programs located on campus and deeply affiliated with divisions and departments across Instruction. Sam has shown tremendous leadership in facilitating and expanding Community Education relationships within the divisions of Social Sciences and Humanities; Creative Arts; Physical Sciences, Math and Engineering; and Academic Services and Learning Resources. Sam's leadership skills were also key in 2018 and 2019 when he served as interim dean of the Physical Education and Athletics Division, and he is currently co-interim dean of the Creative Arts Division.

Prior to coming to De Anza, Sam was an English instructor and department chair at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, where he developed curriculum articulating with the University of California and served as director of the school's Summer and Independent Programs. Sam earned a master's degree in education from Santa Clara University and a bachelor's degree in English, with a focus on medieval literature, from Princeton University.

Sam's administrative abilities have been especially critical in the highly regulated areas of Community Ed, and he has shown exceptional financial acumen in expanding its programs, which are all self-sustaining. Beyond these skills, I am even more impressed with Sam's demonstrable commitment to equity. He has had the vision to reopen the Title I fund for the Planetarium, enabling more underserved schools and students to participate; initiate the provision of fee waivers for the De Anza College Academy, as well as establish the college as the primary provider for the Extended Learning Opportunities Program (ELOP) for low-income students in Cupertino schools; collaborate with the new CDC director on plans to increase slots for low-income and student parents; and, previously, expand Bellarmine's summer programs to include significantly more students from targeted populations in underserved high schools.

Sam will begin his new role as AVPI on Feb. 1, pending board approval. Please join me in congratulating him, and in thanking Thomas Ray for his service in the interim role. I also want to thank the hiring committee for its dedicated and thoughtful work during the process.

With appreciation, 

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