Sierra College Names James Todd to Serve as Vice President of Student Services

July 14, 2020
Headshot of Dr. James Todd, Vice President of Student Services

The Sierra College Board of Trustees at its June board meeting appointed Dr. James Todd as the new Vice President of Student Services. Driven by a dedication to equity, inclusion, and transformational change leading to student success, he recently served as Assistant Superintendent and Vice President of Instruction and Planning at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton and was previously the Vice President of Student Services at Modesto Junior College.

“We are in extraordinary times that continue to have real impacts for our students and the communities we serve. The time for an equity-centered, innovative student success agenda is now,” said James Todd. “I am very excited to join the Sierra College family, and to collaborate with such an incredibly talented group of faculty, administrators, classified professionals, and students. The work of Student Services, especially in offering differentiated support systems to meet the needs of diverse students, is key to addressing equity across the California Community College system. Sierra College has long had a student-centered agenda, and I look forward to championing diversity and equity with my colleagues in Student Services and across the campus as we move forward in closing achievement gaps, increasing persistence, and improving post-graduation success.”

James is a cultural anthropologist, and his early research included several years of ethnographic work with contemporary Yucatec Maya communities in Mexico. He later focused on racial inequalities, American capitalism, and the  culture of automobility in the United States. For nearly 10 years, he served as a Professor of Anthropology at Modesto Junior College. “My research and teaching have taught me some important college leadership lessons. First, we must focus on our commonalities to build relationships; second, we must value and utilize our diverse thought to solve complex problems; and third, collaboration and communication matter in engendering meaningful institutional change.”

The Vice President of Student Services serves as a member of the college Executive Council and reports directly to the Superintendent/President. This position significantly affects a wide range of District educational activities and operations, overseeing student services deans, educational administrators, classified supervisors, and classified support staff. In effect, this position is instrumental in positively impacting how students experience the college.

“James is a great addition to Sierra College and we look forward to working with him to serve our students,” said Sierra College Superintendent/President Willy Duncan. “His experience as a strong voice for student success and eliminating equity gaps will be welcomed at Sierra.”

James is a community college graduate with an Associate of Arts degree from Brevard Community College in Florida, and went on to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and International Relations from New College of Florida, a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology at The George Washington University, and Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Cultural Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

He is a lifetime learner and recently completed the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management, the California Education Policy Fellowship Program at the Education Insights Center (CSU Sacramento), and the Aspen Institute College Excellence Presidential Fellowship Program.

About Sierra College

Sierra College District is rising to the needs of our community. Sierra College serves 3200 square miles of Northern Calif. with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four-year universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills.  Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information at