A national and international educator, adjunct professor at San Diego State University, CEO and parent, believes he has what it takes to help lead the Palomar College District Governing Board into the future.
David Vincent hopes to fill one of the five open seats on the Palomar College District Governing Board. He is representing District #3 and will be new to the Board if elected for the upcoming four- year-term. The election is to be held on Nov. 3.
He recently corresponded with The Telescope to share more about himself and the ideas he wants to bring to the school board.
The Telescope: What is your educational and career background?
Vincent: I have over 33 years in the life sciences industry. I have degrees in industrial microbiology and a master’s and PhD in public health, [I’m an] adjunct professor at San Diego State University and a master’s [in the] Regulatory Affairs program.
I have been living in Escondido for over 21 years now. I have three daughters. I’ve actually been a volunteer in various charities within the community. I educate around the world in biological vaccines and immunology requirements.
The Telescope: Why are you running and why should students vote for you?
Vincent: My daughter goes to Palomar College and she brought the current financial situation to my attention. I started doing some research and the more I dug into it, I was kind of concerned, being [someone who is] involved in the community, the direction that the college is going due to the current financial crisis. I started researching online, and then I [asked myself], as an institution, why is the community college in its current situation? What can I do? That’s when I decided to run for this position.
And why you should vote for me, I have both educational teaching credentials as well as business [credentials]. I have successfully ran my business for 25 years. I know how budgets work, I understand the financial situation, as well as a public health official, I do have experience and training for COVID-19. So, I do have a strong background both academically as well as in business.
The Telescope: What is your ultimate campaign promise and goal?
Vincent: My ultimate campaign promise and goals are three elements. From a financial perspective, I do feel that my background and experience in business will help. But my biggest concern is ensuring that we are able to continuously have an affordable educational system for the students and that we don’t see the cost of education going up. And that there is a quality associated with the education that is offered. I’ve also weathered through–in 25 years of being in business–some deep financial ups and downs, so I know how to manage things accordingly and establish strategies and budgets for finances.
My next one is COVID-19. My experience is that we have to currently listen to what the scientists have to say, the CDC has guidance, and we have to wait till this COVID-19 takes its course. So I do have experience on the public health side. I teach and educate companies that are currently starting to open up on COVID-19, how to manage it, how to deal with it, how to put protocols in place to ensure that there is no potential contamination, infection or transmission between patients or infected people, asymptomatic or whatnot. We [also] have to understand–which is really important– if we open the schools too soon, you guys have family members and you don’t want those family members to be exposed. So it’s important to have systems in place.
My third goal, I feel very strongly about, is opportunity for all. You’re going to graduate eventually and you’re going to need a job. I think there is a lot of stress for students trying to find a job after they graduate. I’m not sure if Palomar College has systems in place to be able to help that transition between getting a degree and then being able to get into the workforce. And I believe with my experience and expertise in interviewing and supporting students, that I would be actually able to help them in that transition. There has to be a relationship between the industry and the college itself, as well as the students. So I think that’s really important to me.
The Telescope: What is your history with Palomar and why is the college important to you?
Vincent: All my daughters, and myself at an early age, went to Palomar College for art courses and music lessons. It was a great experience for them. So I do have a background and experience and a long history with Palomar College in that context.
The Telescope: How much time do you spend talking to students and trying to understand their needs and concerns through conversation with them?
Vincent: I would like to think I have a lot to be quite honest. From hiring students, I get to interface, even at my level I do engage with our students. We do have a very strong internal training program for new hires, I believe that it’s really important that you understand what their needs are when you’re hiring them from that perspective.
As an adjunct professor and educator, I converse with students all the time. I go into companies and train their new hires on a specific skill set, so I’m able to talk to them during that time and get a relationship and understanding of exactly what their needs are from an educational perspective. I think to me [based on] my conversations with them, is the fear of debt after they’ve graduated, to pay for their bills, and find a good job that’s in their field. I think that’s what is important to them.
The Telescope: How do you plan to maintain a strong connection with the student body after the election?
Vincent: If I get elected–even if I don’t get elected–I think I will still be involved because my daughter attends Palomar College. I think attending different events and engaging with The Telescope is a good way of engaging with them. I think to me the important thing is being there, not just for Board meetings, but for other events where I can engage and talk to the students and see what their needs are. Because at the end of the day this is your college, you own this college. So it’s really important for us [parents, faculty, staff] to be engaged and understand what the needs are of the students. I believe communication is really important and being able to engage on a regular basis with the students at events is critical.
The Telescope: What do you believe students’ biggest problem is, and how would you help fix it?
Vincent: Counseling and getting the right information is really important. I think the big issue is giving the right instructions on courses, on what their needs are associated with, how to advance to the next level and being able to engage with the professors and talk to them. Graduation especially, after they graduate, what job prospects do they have? What are the systems that are in place to be able to help them get a job for their future? Potentially some students are going to come out with debt and they have to pay for that. Also, [I think it is important] to have systems in place to allow students to practice or be able to understand how to manage a job interview. Also how to manage finances is really important. You have to understand how to manage budgets and after you graduate, you’re going to have potential debt, you’re still going to have to [pay for] accommodations, your living expenses and those things. So I think that’s critical.
The Telescope: What do you believe the role of The Telescope is on campus, and how is it important to the school and the community?
Vincent: I think it is very important. I think all newspapers are, especially when it comes to college and university newspapers. It is a way for students to get information on what’s going on at their campus. It’s also very important to understand, for example, what the board members are doing and how they are interacting with faculty. It’s extremely important to understand what’s going on currently with COVID-19, current events that are happening. You guys should be very proud of what you’re doing, because it is a very important part of the campus, to be a life able to communicate current events that are happening on campus.
The Telescope: How will you help improve Board relations with faculty?
Vincent: I think the important thing is understanding the relationship between the two groups, the transparency between the two groups and the communication. I’ve sat in on a lot of boards during my career, and I think the lack of communication and understanding the other side has always been an issue with different levels of the board and the faculty themselves.
I do have to say one thing: it’s kind of perplexing to me that it’s been 10 years that you’ve had the same type of system in place where you’ve gotten the support by one group for another group and now we’re in this situation. There’s obviously something that is not working well, so I have to understand the complexities of what’s going on currently between the two groups and the best way to do that is understanding all sides. Figuring out why there is this complexity between the two groups. I am very good at communication. I am very good at expressing my ideas, and I love working with people as an educator [and in] business. It’s very important to me to have a strong relationship with all groups, for the benefit of the students and also for the benefit of the community. Because in the end we are working for the students and the community. We have to make sure that their well-being is understood and we have to have a strong relationship in order to show that. If we are at arms with each other at times, what type of example are we setting for the students? I feel very strong working and moderating and making sure there’s transparency in communication between the Board and the faculty.
The Telescope: How do you plan to help resolve the school’s current financial situation?
Vincent: First, I have to evaluate, assess and understand what the current situation is. I always believe data is really important to make financial decisions. I’ve actually sat on boards, I’ve developed mission statements, I’ve developed business plans, I’ve developed strategies and I’ve executed them very successfully. For 25 years I’ve seen substantial ups and downs in my company and I was able to weather those storms and navigate accordingly to build a very successful business. I would definitely love the challenge to be able to make a financial difference by developing the appropriate strategies and put those in place from a budgetary point of view. Another thing is, sometimes it’s uncomfortable when you’re developing budgets, but what’s really critical is that at the end of the day, we have to support the current situation at the community college level and the community level. Nobody wants to pay higher taxes to cover deficiencies in something that we didn’t properly manage. I think it’s important to develop a business strategy and operational plan that will help in the long run financially.
The Telescope: Is there anything you would like to add?
Vincent: I want to thank you guys very much for your time. I truly want to make a positive impact and I truly believe that there’s opportunity for improvement and I would love to be a part of that opportunity to help the community college. To end it, as board members, we are working for the community, we are working with the faculty, and we are more importantly working for the students. I really sincerely appreciate the time you’ve given me today.
Visit Vincent’s website for more information.
- David Vincent, 2020 election.: Photo courtesy of David Vincent | Used With Permission