Finalists and Community Forums for Superintendent/President

October 16, 2019 - Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) announces the selection of two finalists for the position of Superintendent/President. The finalists for the position are Utpal K. Goswami, Ph.D., current President of Metropolitan Community College - Kansas City in Missouri and Kenneth Lawson, Ph.D., current Vice President of Instruction at Skagit Valley College in Washington State. 
Community Forums are planned for the afternoon of Thursday, October 24, 2019 with each finalist. The Forums will take place at the SBCC Garvin Theatre. SBCC employees, students and interested community members are invited to attend the forum. Parking will be available via the West Campus Entrance off Cliff Drive (Campus Map). 

About the Community Forums

Finalists being considered for the Superintendent/President position will be in attendance at the forums. Each finalist will have the opportunity to give an opening statement and respond to questions from attendees. Dr. Goswami will have his Forum at 1:00 PM and Dr. Lawson will have his forum at 2:00 PM. 
The Forum will be live streamed for anyone unable to attend. A link to the live streamed event will be available on the College website and Social Media pages. A video recording of the Forum will also be available on the College website following the event. 
Anyone wishing to submit a comment to the Board on the finalists will have the opportunity to do so through an electronic comment form. The public is encouraged to submit their comments as soon as possible so that the Board of Trustees can consider this important feedback in their interviews the day following the Forum. 
Please check back here or our Facebook page for up-to-date information on the Forum and how to submit comments. 
SBCC has been on a search for a successor to Dr. Anthony E. Beebe who retired earlier in 2019. SBCC has been led by Interim Superintendent/President, Dr. Helen Benjamin since Spring 2019. Dr. Benjamin came out of retirement to serve in this temporary capacity. The SBCC Board of Trustees established a screening committee with representatives of internal and external constituency groups. This committee was tasked with screening applications and recommending finalists to the Board for consideration. An extensive nationwide search was conducted by national executive search and management consulting firm, ACCT, to recruit candidates.
The SBCC Board of Trustees will hold final interviews in a Closed Session on October 25, 2019

For more information about the Superintendent/President Search, please visit the Search Committee website

About the Finalists 

Dr. Utpal K. Goswami
Dr. Utpal K. Goswami

Dr. Utpal K. Goswami brings more than three decades of higher education experience almost equally divided between classroom and administration at colleges and universities in Texas, California, Arizona and Missouri. Throughout his career Dr. Goswami has been focused on student success and good governance. His leadership philosophy is to create environments where others can be successful. He takes pride in the fact that by empowering people he has been able to create exceptional teams to drive positive outcomes for students. He considers being able to personalize the learning experience as the ultimate institutional challenge and opportunity.

Dr. Goswami has been serving as a President of Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City since 2013. Under Dr. Goswami’s leadership MCC-Maple Woods campus grew to be the largest MCC campus, improved student completion, established an honors program, established Neeland fund for student emergencies, established summer institutes for professional development, enhanced diversity initiatives and expanded community education programming. Currently as President of MCC-Longview campus Dr. Goswami helped establish early college academies, expanded the automotive program and implemented data driven institutional practices and diversity initiatives.  Under Dr. Goswami’s leadership student satisfaction relating to diversity and inclusion has been over 90% in both the Maple Woods and Longview campus. In addition to his Presidential duties Dr. Goswami also provides district-wide leadership in strategic initiatives such as faculty prioritization among the 5 campuses, the expansion of district footprint through sites/centers and positioning the district for expanding the tax base through annexation.

Dr. Goswami has been actively involved in statewide advocacy and initiatives during his tenure at MCC. He has served as a board member of Missouri Community College Association and has served in statewide task forces dealing with establishing and revising performance funding measures.  Dr. Goswami has proven success in advocating for community college funding, fostering shared governance, launching and completing capital projects, revamping technology platforms and in ensuring institutional compliance with accreditation. Units under his leadership have been able to obtain over $17 million in grants and donations.

Dr. Goswami is familiar with the California community college landscape having served as Vice President of Instruction and as interim President/Superintendent at College of the Redwoods, during which time he led the district in responding to accreditation challenges, development of a new mission/vision statement and the 2012-17 strategic plan, and new construction totaling over $90 million. He also led the district in establishing formal participatory governance structures, developing and implementing a student equity plan and in implementing meaningful assessment and program review practices. Prior to his leadership at Redwoods, he served as vice president and provost at Yavapai College where he provided transformational leadership that resulted in the institution being selected as one of HLC’s ‘pioneer’ institutions in Pathways accreditation project. Dr. Goswami was instrumental in helping Yavapai fulfill its mission of being a comprehensive community college by establishing many CTE programs and establishing a division of lifelong learning with $2 million in endowment grants. He also served in the steering committee that successfully passed a ballot measure to establish a Joint Technical Education District, served as President of Arizona Association of Academic Administrators and as Board President of Yavapai Educational Technology Consortium. He has always been extensively involved in community organizations and continues to serve on multiple boards.

Dr. Goswami holds a master’s degree in development economics from Boston University and both a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in economics from Southern Methodist University. Being a proponent of work life balance he pursues numerous hobbies and activities in his spare time. Dr Goswami and his wife are proud parents of two adult children and enjoys playtime with two young grandchildren.


Dr. Kenneth Lawson
Dr. Kenneth Lawson

Dr. Kenneth Lawson has 20 years of experience working in community colleges. He joined Shoreline Community College in Washington State as a full-time faculty in political science in 2001. In 2006, he was elected by his peers to serve as the dean of the social sciences/equity and social justice division. In that role, he helped create a Global Affairs Center, an inclusive honor’s program, and a Center for Service-Learning. Dr. Lawson also served as dean of humanities and social sciences at Seattle Central College before moving to Skagit Valley College as the Vice President for Instruction in 2013.

Dr. Lawson’s community college career began as an adjunct faculty in basic education at Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington. From that experience, he gained an appreciation for the power of community colleges to make a meaningful difference in the lives of students. Dr. Lawson’s career has focused on ensuring equitable aspiration, access, achievement, and outcomes for all students, and he is deeply committed to the role higher education plays as an agent of positive social change.

He currently works with faculty and staff at Skagit Valley College to create equitable learning environments, programs responsive to local economic and social needs, and educational pathways designed to increase student success, economic mobility, and civic engagement. Dr. Lawson has helped lead Skagit Valley College’s strategy to improve student learning and success through the implementation of a comprehensive guided pathways approach, placing equity at the center of the effort. He was recently named as an Aspen Presidential Fellow.

Born in Southern California, Dr. Lawson has family connections to the Santa Barbara area. He enjoys spending time with his family, being in the outdoors, listening to an eclectic mix of music, and playing sports (at least he did before his knees and ankles begged him not to).

Dr. Lawson has a doctorate in political science from the University of Washington, and a Master of Arts degree in political science from the University of Utah, where he also earned his baccalaureate.