Pasadena City College President Erika Endrijonas on Leveling the Playing Field
From the ArtCenter College of Design’s Bi-Weekly Podcast
ArtCenter College of Design’s bi-weekly podcast features intimate interviews with leading artists examining the ideas fueling their work and how the creative process can be a catalyst for change—personally, professionally and globally. Hosted by ArtCenter President Lorne M. Buchman, these conversations examine the many ways in which artists and designers are enriching our lives. ArtCenter College of Design is a global leader in art and design education; and our mission statement—Learn to create. Influence change—lies at the center of all we do.
Erika Endrijonas isn’t just an advocate for the pivotal role community colleges play in providing equal access to the American Dream. She is also an alum of Cal State Northridge and direct beneficiary of California’s longstanding commitment to affordable higher education for all. As such, she has an intrinsic understanding of the system’s value to society. And in her current position as the Superintendent and President of Pasadena City College, which is consistently ranked among the best in the state, she is fiercely determined to make sure the system remains a vital engine driving social mobility for generations to come.
Her guiding principle in leading a large public institution is to ensure that PCC levels the playing field for students from all walks of life. In her view, Pasadena City College and others like it are providing singular opportunities to transcend barriers—financial, cultural and social—that might be standing between them and a college degree.
Erika’s combination of passion, tenacity, and acuity has fueled her remarkable self-made success story. She cleared a set of financial obstacles only to go on and earn a PhD in history, culminating in a fascinating dissertation on the ways in which mid-century cookbooks prescribed gender roles to a limited set of separate but unequal stereotypes. Though the segue to college leader isn’t an obvious one, the throughline connecting those dots is Erika’s unmistakable commitment to creating a more egalitarian world and her pragmatic approach to getting there.
This episode dives deep into the heart of educational equity and makes for a fitting conclusion to this season’s multifaceted journey through the ecosystem of post-secondary education at this unique moment in time.
Next season, which launches this coming September, Change Lab will examine the process underlying creative transformation. Lorne has spent the past several years working on a book entitled Make to Know (expected to be published this fall) about how the creative process can be a catalyst for discovery. Our new Change Lab lineup will feature an array of prominent creatives exploring the ways in which ideas announce themselves through the very act of making.
This research has become Lorne’s driving passion (along with this podcast and the broader community of creatives that comprise our audience). With that in mind, we’d like to encourage you to share your own stories of creative discovery. If you’re interested, think about the moments of inspiration or revelation that have struck once you’d started writing, sculpting, painting, designing, dancing, cooking or whatever you do to express your creativity. And then tell us about it.
Your experiences would contribute to this research and maybe even a future episode of Change Lab. If you’re open to joining this conversation, record your thoughts on your phone and email the file to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your name and some contact information. From there we’ll get in touch with you about how we might interact with your story.
We can’t wait to share this work with you in the fall. In the meantime, please don’t forget to review and rate Change Lab wherever you subscribe to help ensure it’s discoverable to as many creative souls as possible.
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