New dean Christina Hinkle. Courtesy of Sharareh Dadsetan
Christina Hinkle began her new role as interim dean of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Division at Saddleback College on May 1. Prior to becoming the new dean, she was the director of learning assistance in the Library Resource Center where she contributed as a student tutor.
“We’ve been able to accomplish a lot together as a team and we’ve increased our enrollments by almost 50 percent,” Hinkle said. “We had about 1,600 students per semester in the center and now were up to around 3200, maybe even 3,500 at this point.”
She has helped to contribute to various new programs at the school including Program-Assisting-Student-Athlete-Success, as well as embedded tutors that go into classrooms and come back to the center to work specifically with those students that need help.
Hinkle has also worked on creating the academic intervention team that focuses on populations of students who do not do as well in community college, which includes Hispanic and African American males. They offer book vouchers and extra academic support, as well as any other support needed to these students so they can get past the non-academic barriers that hinder them from succeeding in school.
“Some of them are homeless, some of them are hungry on a daily basis so we try to do our best in order to connect them with the kind of support they need,” Hinkle said. “If we can make it so someone isn’t going hungry every day anymore they can actually focus on stats for example.”
Hinkle applied to the interim dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences Division position when the previous dean switched to the fine arts department.
“I just look to where I can contribute in a positive way,” Hinkle said. “Being in the dean position is a great honor and I feel very blessed. As a dean I get to advocate for students and faculty while reducing road blocks so they can continue to teach the fantastic classes.”
Hinkle may apply for the permanent position when it opens up or return to helping with the learning assistance center.
“I feel very lucky to have had my position here,” Hinkle said. “Saddleback is full of wonderful challenges and opportunities. I get to lead here by serving my community, the faculty, and the students.”
Hinkle has had a long journey with Saddleback College, as she was a student here in community college. She then transferred to UCLA and received two bachelor’s degrees, one in political science and the other in history. She then worked with an organization called Students for International Change and spent time in the Siwandti village in Tanzania teaching middle school students about anatomy, and HIV/AIDS awareness. She has also worked in the Boston public school system where 90 percent of students are minorities, helping them build resiliency and stronger math skills.
“Those two things will help you be successful in college,” she said.
Hinkle still teaches a history class called peace studies at Saddleback. She believes it is important to be in the classroom and continue interacting with the students.