College of the Desert Selects New President

Nico Payne

College of The Desert has selected their new president to lead the campus as they gear up for return this fall semester. The new president has close ties to our valley as she has spent the majority of her career helping lead neighboring valley colleges.

“He told me congratulations, you are the future superintendent/president of College Of The Desert and I stayed quiet and I asked him, are you serious,” explained Dr. Martha Garcia, incoming Superintendent and President of College Of The Desert.

Dr. Martha Garcia will begin her new role at college of the desert in late August and is deeply rooted here in the Coachella Valley, she is no stranger to the needs of Coachella Valley students. 

When asked about plans to expand College of the Desert she explained the main goal is to provide access to students across the valley.

“We’re really demonstrating access, access is the initial step to a journey of success,” said Garcia.

Having visited many of the cod’ campuses, Garcia shared plans for possible expansions and what we can expect on the new C-O-D Palm Springs campus come 2025.

“I really want to share with the Palm Springs city council and the community what will occur there, and I can tell you it’s very innovative. It’s the first community college in California that will have a learning hotel,” revealed Garcia.

The learning hotel came from a similar idea where campuses featured learning restaurants giving students a hands-on opportunity to learn the in and outs of the hotel industry.

Garcia also led an initiative to create a tiny home village in El Centro for students facing housing insecurity at Imperial Valley College, an initiative she says if supported could be replicated at College of the Desert.

“During the most difficult time that I’ve experienced in my entire higher education. We were able to develop a community that I am very proud of, that the community is proud of, in partnership with the city of El Centro, in partnership with the IVC Foundation, and it’s truly a testament of commitment to do the best that we can for the most vulnerable students,” said Garcia.

And as far as getting a C-O-D campus in the city of Coachella, Dr. Garcia says she is following those conversations closely.

“If it comes to fruition, it’s another example of the commitment to serve students in their community,” explained Garcia.

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