MCC names new vice chancellor for academic affairs

Metropolitan Community College has named Carlos G. Peñaloza, Ph.D., its new vice chancellor for academic affairs. Peñaloza’s appointment was approved by the college’s Board of Trustees June 23.

Carlos G. Peñaloza
Carlos G. Peñaloza

Peñaloza, who is expected to start at MCC on Aug. 1, comes to Kansas City from Schenectady County Community College, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. He currently serves as assistant vice president of academic affairs and acting dean of mathematics, science, technology and health.

Peñaloza, a former biology instructor, earned his doctorate in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from the City University of New York. He came to New York at the age of 17 after being born and raised in Venezuela.

Peñaloza, whose first degree was from a community college, calls himself a “true believer” in the community college experience.

“I understand their importance in providing access to education and support to our communities,” he says. “I look forward to supporting the mission and vision of MCC, but most importantly collaborating with and serving the needs of the students, faculty, staff and communities the college serves.”

Peñaloza will replace Michel Hillman, Ph.D., who has served as MCC’s interim vice chancellor for academic affairs since January 2015.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Dr. Peñaloza, with his strong academic background, to assume the role of MCC’s chief academic officer,” said MCC Chancellor Mark James. “He will work closely with our faculty to ensure we remain a highly regarded higher education institution with a strong academic reputation.

“I am appreciative of the work of our search committee and the input of our faculty in helping bring Dr. Peñaloza to MCC and our community.”

Peñaloza joined Schenectady County Community College in June 2014. His responsibilities there include oversight of academic assessment, academic offerings, program revisions, new program submissions and accreditation-related matters. As an acting dean he has supervised math, science, technology and health faculty and staff and overseen planning and budgets for the division.

From November 2011 to June 2014, Peñaloza served as dean of health sciences and chair of health-care administration for Briarcliffe College on Long Island, N.Y., overseeing three campuses and an online division. He also held various academic and administrative positions for the City University of New York, in instruction and administration.

Peñaloza’s teaching experience spans Queens College, LaGuardia Community College and York College, all in New York City, in the areas of general biology and developmental biology.

His dissertation at the City University of New York focused on deciphering molecular mechanisms responsible for sex differences in stress response.

In addition to his Ph.D., he holds an associate degree in liberal arts sciences with concentrations in chemistry, biology and math from Queensborough Community College; a B.A. in biology with minors in chemistry and biochemistry from Queens College; and an M.Phil. (master of philosophy) in biology from the City University of New York.

Administratively, he has worked with the Queens College Minority Access to Research Careers program (MARC); the Queensborough Community College Research Initiative for Minority Students (RIMS); the LaGuardia Community College Bridge to the Baccalaureate program; and the City College Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program (LSAMP).

Peñaloza served for two consecutive years as a City University of New York Writing Fellow. In that role he assessed writing across disciplines and writing across curriculum; developed curriculum; implemented various initiatives; and evaluated writing-intensive programs and trained students, administrators and faculty on effective writing processes.

Peñaloza has more than 10 years of biomedical research experience, resulting in many professional conference invitations, including the Gordon, Cold Spring Harbor and International Cell Death Society conferences. His research has appeared in multiple peer-reviewed scientific journals, such as the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and Current Pharmaceutical Design. He wrote a chapter on apoptosis methods in a book published by Humana Press. (Apoptosis is a process of programmed cell death that occurs in multicellular organisms.)

His scientific contributions have resulted in awards from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, including the Human Genome Scholar award from the National Human Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health. He has also established collaborations with the National Research Council of Ottawa, Canada; Institute Pasteur, France; and the National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Italy.

Peñaloza is member of several academic organizations, including Phi Theta Kappa, Sigma Xi, the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences, and the International Cell Death Society. He serves on the steering committees of various grant-funded programs, and is a board member of various health-care organizations.