By Isaiah Willis
Following the retirement of Mission Campus’ Jorge Bell, Dr. Gregoria Nova Cahill assumed the center’s interim dean position in early July 2019.
When asked about her aspirations for the Mission campus, Cahill said that her goal is to, “work hard within the current administration, under the leadership of Chancellor Mark Rocha, to advocate and support our students.”
Cahill, born and raised in the Andes mountains of Bolivia, left home at the age of 12 to pursue her education goals. By the time she graduated from high school, she had lived with five different families and earned a scholarship to attend a local Bolivian University while also taking English classes at a nearby American International School.
With the help of a former faculty member from California State University, East Bay, Cahill was able to earn an undergraduate degree in Modern Languages and Linguistics in addition to a Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Certificate from Beloit College in 2001. She eventually went on to obtain a master’s degree in Counseling from California State University, East Bay, in 2004.
In May 2019, Cahill graduated with a doctorate in education and educational leadership for social justice from California State University, East Bay, making her the first in her Afro-Bolivian family to earn a doctoral degree.
Her dissertation entitled “Breaking the Barriers” focused on the experience of Latinx students in community colleges and how to support their transfers to 4-year colleges and universities.
Cahill has been working at City College since 2004. Her role at city college has ranged from an academic counselor and instructor in the interdisciplinary studies and learning assistance departments, to co-coordinator of the Puente program, which exists to increase the number Latinx students enrolled in four-year universities.
As the Interim Dean of the Mission Center, Cahill said she “hopes to continue the former Dean Jorge Bell’s legacy of making education accessible to students in the Bay Area and most importantly to the Hispanic/Latinx community.” Specifically, Cahill is hoping to assist students in obtaining certificates (credit and non-credit) or associate degrees, transferring to a university, or taking classes for their personal enrichment.
She has an open-door policy and welcomes positive and constructive feedback. “As I hone my skills and move forward supporting our students thrive in the pursuit of education to better their lives, I am committed to advocating for equity and social justice, and I count on you to make that happen,” Cahill said.
Cahill believes that she has “a lot to learn in [her] new role, but is eager to continue [in] Dean Bell’s footsteps to be able to advocate for our students, empower, be a role model, spark curiosity and bring out the best in our students and help them navigate higher education.”