Erica had been active in ACCE events long before she joined the board in 2005. Once on the board, she served as the Journal editor (twice), Second Vice-President, First-Vice President, President, and Past-President. Each of the leadership roles carries specific duties including membership, conference planning, leadership of the organization as a whole, and the nomination/election process. Additionally, each member of the board chips in to help the others do whatever needs doing. Erica has embraced each role as well as the spirit of "all for one and one for all."
In addition to the board roles, Erica has served as an ACCE representative in committees and task groups at the state level. Two of the most significant in recent years have been the System Advisory Committee on Curriculum (SACC) and the original AB86 Work Group for the planning grant to restructure adult education in California.
As a member of SACC, Erica brings a deep understanding of both credit and noncredit curriculum to the table. She gets us because she is us. She sees implications of potential decisions that may harm or help our students. She speaks up, time and again. She builds bridges to decision makers who may not understand noncredit.
The original AB86 work group consisted of about a dozen members, six drawn from community college noncredit programs and six from K-12 adult education. The work schedule, particularly in the earlier months, was daunting, with twice-monthly trips to Sacramento, all-day meetings with homework in the evenings, and further assignments between trips. In addition to the tangible work, there was a great need to build trust and relationships. Erica, with her worker-bee spirit and her strong people skills, truly excelled in the work group, volunteering for assignments (including a lot of hands-on writing) while building sincere good will among members.
Erica is fun. If you want a fast walk around Sacramento in the early morning, she's your gal. If you want creative, possibly crazy ideas for a conference or a presentation, she's your gal. If you want someone who will not only help develop a Frankenstein-themed PowerPoint on AB86 for a conference scheduled over Halloween, but will also show up for that presentation wearing a full Bride of Frankenstein costume, she's your gal.
As Dean of Academic Affairs at Santa Monica College, Erica has carried a range of responsibilities including, but not limited to, the noncredit program. For example, she has been the Accreditation Liaison Officer for the college, has led curriculum processes for both credit and noncredit, and was assigned at least one major musical presentation fraught with political connections and artistic drama. Yet she has always kept noncredit as a priority in her work. It speaks well for her work ethic and accomplishments that the college has now established a full-time noncredit dean position while asking Erica to continue fulfilling other significant full-time responsibilities for the college as a whole.
This award does not signal an ending. We know ACCE is deeply rooted in Erica's heart, and we plan to be in her schedule! But the time is right, and the time is now, to recognize her for her ongoing, incredibly awesome contributions to ACCE and our students.