COC board to hold closed session to review Van Hook’s performance

College of the Canyons chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook in her office. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

College of the Canyons’ governing board is expected to evaluate Chancellor Dianne Van Hook’s performance during a special closed session meeting Wednesday afternoon. 

The virtual board of trustees meeting is scheduled to take place from 2 to 4 p.m. for a “public employee performance evaluation” of the chancellor, according to a college agenda report. 

Van Hook’s performance review would come after the institution’s governing board expanded her authority to address the COVID-19 pandemic back in March, granting her control over actions necessary to ensure the continuation of public education and the health and safety of students and staff. She also called for the immediate closure of district sites in an effort to help mitigate the spread of the virus, amid everchanging government safety restrictions. 

“Granting Chancellor Dr. Van Hook emergency authority is imperative to effectively addressing this rapidly changing situation, which requires timely and decisive action in order to reflect the district’s commitment to protect the safety and well-being of students, faculty and staff,” board President Michele Jenkins said in a previous statement released by the college. 

Her evaluation follows the college’s Trustee Area 2-4 elections, in which two incumbents secured their reelection and a newcomer is set to join the board, according to certified Los Angeles County election results. 

In Trustee Area No. 2 Edel Alonso and Jenkins of No. 4 are set to return. COC alum Sebastian Cazares won Area No. 3 and will join the governing board as the youngest elected official in the county and among the youngest college trustees in California over the past recent years, he said. The board’s annual organizational meeting, where Cazares would be sworn in, is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 16, according to COC spokesman Eric Harnish. 

Van Hook took the helm in 1988. Since then, the college has established the Canyon Country campus, expanded its budget by $231.1 million, hired more than 270 full-time faculty and staff and brought forth the University Center, which hosts the SCV Economic Development Corp. and the Small Business Development Center. 

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