Siwabessy, who most recently served as dean of student success and support programs for Cuesta College, was one of four finalists for the position before the Hancock board of trustees officially hired her on June 14.
“I am excited to welcome Dr. Siwabessy to our Hancock family,” said Kevin Walthers, superintendent and president. “She brings a wealth of experience in higher education and has a true passion for student-focused inclusion, equity and success.”
Including her role at Cuesta, Siwabessy has more than 18 years of experience in higher education throughout California.
Some of her other recent positions include dean of student services at Woodland Community College and multiple roles at the Los Rios Community College District, which services the greater Sacramento area. She holds a history degree from UC Davis, a master’s in higher education leadership from CSU Sacramento and a doctorate in education from UC Davis and Sonoma State University.
“I am thrilled to have been selected to join the Bulldog nation as the next associate superintendent and vice president of student services,” she said. “I look forward to building on Hancock’s reputation for providing students with a high-quality student experience alongside committed colleagues who actively support the college’s mission and the transformative nature of education.”
In her role as vice president of student services, Siwabessy will focus on student success by providing leadership, management and supervision for the college’s student services division, which includes admissions and records, financial aid, counseling and other important services.
According to Hancock staff, Siwabessy will use her experience and proven track record of collaboration, innovation and forging positive relationships to develop student-centered and equity-focused programs.
Under her purview will be spaces like the recently expanded Veteran Success Center, which was designed and built with grant funding after it outgrew its original campus space. Besides offering a workspace, the center provides access to campus resources like tutoring, health services and registration help.
“A lot of veterans come from a very structured, tight unit lifestyle to being individuals as students and it can be challenging. It’s one of our goals to help model that cohort for them,” said Stephanie Crosby, director of the Learning Assistance Program, Student Health Services and Veteran Success Center, during its ribbon-cutting ceremony in May.
The newest program under student services banner will be the Californians for All College Corps. Hancock will be one of only 48 of California's 400 higher education institutions to offer students $10,000 in exchange for 450 hours of community service throughout the academic year. The first-of-its-kind program was created as an initiative by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
"For our students, debt becomes a huge barrier for them, so our students are not able to take as many classes as they normally would or not able to graduate on time and sometimes have to work," Walthers said at a College Corps recruiting event in May. "The College Corps is going to help students graduate on time without having to take on a lot of debt and continue their education."
Siwabessy will begin her role overseeing such programs and more on July 5.