COC names new chief instructional officer

College of the Canyons

News release

Omar Torres has been named as chief instructional officer at College of the Canyons.

Vacated by Jerry Buckley, who is currently president of Reedley College, the position was recently served in an interim role by Joe Gerda, who retired in June.

“I congratulate Dr. Omar Torres for his new position as chief instructional officer,” said COC Chancellor Dianne G. Van Hook. “His innovative spirit and passion for student success combined with his ability to make the most of these ever-changing and unprecedented times is what will help College of the Canyons continue to excel in these dynamic and pivotal times in our college’s history.”

Previously the college’s associate vice president of Academic Affairs and Services, Torres has more than 18 years of faculty and administrative experiences working for the California Community College System.  

“It is both an honor and a privilege to serve beside our persevering students and exceptional faculty, staff, administrators, and board of trustees as the next chief instructional officer for College of the Canyons,” said Torres. “The college has an outstanding reputation meeting — and exceeding — the evolving instructional and workforce needs of our community, and I look forward to partnering with our campus professionals in our collective efforts to best support the present and future successes of our students.”

Torres first came to COC in 2010 as an instructional dean for the Division of Mathematics, Sciences, & Engineering. In 2014, Torres accepted the position of vice president of Academic Affairs at Santa Ana College.

Omar Torres

He returned to COC to head the School of Mathematics, Sciences & Health Professions as instructional dean in 2015.

In 2017, Torres became the interim associate vice president of academic affairs, a position that became permanent in 2019.

At COC, Torres has handled a breadth of academic programs and instructional support services in the academic affairs service area. He oversaw the development of annual class schedules using a Guided Pathways framework, enhanced opportunities for students through concurrent and dual enrollment, and supported college initiatives such as Cooperative Work Experience, noncredit instruction, inmate education and public safety training.

In addition, he served as the college’s accreditation liaison officer and is an active member of the college’s Educational Alliance, which resulted in the significant expansion of concurrent and dual enrollment courses offered at all William S. Hart Union High School District schools.  

Prior to joining COC, Torres taught chemistry at Moorpark College and Los Angeles City College.

Torres earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Texas A&M University, College Station and a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2001. He holds a doctorate degree in organizational leadership from the University of La Verne.

Torres began his new position on July 1, 2020.

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