“We help professionals transition to each new stage of their career.”
SANTA CLARA—July 13, 2018— Professional development programs like UCSC Silicon Valley Extension will play an increasing role in preparing people for the rapid changes in future workforce needs, says Therese Ammiro, newly appointed interim dean.
In her first weeks at the helm of the organization that offers more than 35 diverse professional certificate programs and awards, credentialing and professional licensing preparation courses, Ammiro said she plans to build upon the recent successes of the organization with a renewed focus on aligning course content with student demand and regional needs.
“There’s still a gap between a college degree and work.” Ammiro says. “We help fill that gap and we help professionals transition to each new stage of their career.”
These days, more professionals are “cross-training” rather than sticking to one specialty. Biologists are learning the latest computer languages and best practices for business and procurement specialists are focusing on sustainability and AI. Everyone needs both technology and soft skills, Ammiro says.
Dean Rogers Retires
Ammiro takes over from Dean Lynda M. Rogers who retired June 30, after 11 years as the face of UCSC’s professional development program in Silicon Valley.
“She’s got a keen business mind and understands how the business of school works—especially here at Extension where we have to run on a balanced budget,” Rogers says of her successor.
During her tenure Rogers focused on regional workforce development ushering in an expanded Silicon Valley identity. She grew the international program, elevated the need for innovations in online learning and K-12 AI-assisted assessment technology programs, and embraced both Smarter Balanced and UC Scout under the Extension umbrella.
“Lynda is leaving us prepared to move forward as the best version of ourselves,” Ammiro says. A newly created leadership team plans to grow student enrollment and business partnerships in the community. “It’s my goal to make us even better.”
While the typical University of California dean comes from a scholarly background with teaching and publishing experience, Ammiro brings the practical experience of school administration and business acumen. She’s been with Extension for 15 years, working in roles across the organization. Most recently she’s served as assistant dean and director of the Information Communications Technologies Division overseeing marketing, outreach, information technology, facilities, and online learning.
“Therese understands business administration and she understands the product,” Rogers says. “She’s ideal for this role.”
As interim dean she also oversees two other entities: UC Scout, an innovative online college preparation program serving thousands of students who might not otherwise have access to courses they need for college; and Smarter Balanced, which provides standardized assessments to more than 6 million K–12 students nationally using computer adaptive technology. A 30-person video production and instructional design team provides services to all three entities.
Ammiro earned a professional certificate in Project and Program Management and completed leadership excellence programs at UCSC Silicon Valley Extension. Through this she has a deep understanding of what it means to return to school for professional development and the impact it can have on one’s future.
Before serving as Information Communications Technologies Division and assistant dean, she worked as academic programs specialist, systems analyst, and senior project manager. Ammiro earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising from San Jose State University and a master’s in business systems management from Notre Dame de Namur University. Ammiro grew up in Capitola and lives in Silicon Valley.
Extension’s Growing Role in Silicon Valley
Extension has thrived for more than 50 years because of its focus on hands-on, practical learning and long-standing partnerships within Silicon Valley.
The student population is largely Silicon Valley-based plus a large contingent of international professionals with advanced degrees, providing a rich collaborative network for learning in five key areas: technology, business, design, biosciences and education. Full-time and part-time students fill about 11,000 seats each year. About 350 local professionals teach evening and weekend courses, shepherding students into the next step of their careers.
A national search for a permanent dean of Extension is expected to take more than a year.
In many ways the job of the interim is to stay the course and make sure the organization is in great shape for a permanent dean, Ammiro says.
“We’ve got a great staff and wonderful teachers who care deeply about the success of their students. We are always evaluating our programs to make sure they are current and preparing our students for better jobs.”