SMC Vice President Wins Leadership Award

SMC is lucky to have a great leader amongst its administration.

Within the last year and a half, Randal Lawson has racked up two awards for leadership; the most recent is the "2009 Leadership Award for Administrative Excellence." For those who are unaware of the fantastic SMC Executive Administration staff, Lawson is second in command in the senior administration, just below Executive President Dr. Chui Tsang.

Lawson has steadily climbed the ranks since becoming a part of the SMC faculty in 1979. Lawson has served as Dean of Arts, Associate Vice President of Administrative Affairs,
Administrative Dean of Instruction and Administrative Dean of Academic Personnel.

Born in San Diego and raised in Oklahoma, Lawson attended Oklahoma City University
from which he holds a Bachelors' degree in Music. Afterwards he completed his Masters degree at the University of Southern California and has performed on piano with the USC Symphony Orchestra, the Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra and SMC Symphony Orchestra and has appeared in numerous other orchestras as a soloist.

As a Music Major, Lawson had to take advantage of his opportunities to get to the position he's in now; "There's no way at the time I was hired as a faculty member that I ever envisioned myself doing this, I was more interested in performing at that time," said Lawson. In 1988 Lawson became Dean of Arts at SMC, which started his journey to become Executive Vice President.

The Association of California Community College Administration, a non-profit organization aimed at advancing the rights of administrators, awarded the Leadership Award to Lawson for Administration Excellence; The association is "the foremost member supported professional organization for administrators and managers of California's 109 community college campuses"
and they "provide insurance benefits, professional development opportunities, counseling and assistance for over 1,000 full time administrators" according to the ACCCA.

Lawson's most recent award honors one who "stands out among peers, demonstrating creativity, innovation and commitment,"
said the ACCCA. "It is great to be acknowledged by your peers for work that you have done because you care so deeply for that college," said Lawson.

Not only within Los Angeles or Southern California but also throughout all of California, "Lawson works tirelessly to improve California community colleges and is well respected for his contributions both at his college and at the state level," according to the ACCCA.

Lawson was also the recipient of the 2007-08 Carter Doran Leadership Award given by the
California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers, "Randy is one of the CIO's that others took to for sagely advice, history, problem solving and general common sense. Randy leads with intelligence, humility, kindness and excellence," said the CCCCIO.

As for Lawson's contributions to SMC, he headed the development of the curriculum for the Academy of Entertainment and Technology,
which he is very happy with. "One project that was really rewarding to me because it was unique was when we developed the AET," said Lawson. Lawson has also led in the creation of the High School Dual Enrollment Program and has created large growth in SMC's General Instructional Program; in addition Lawson also serves as Accreditation Liaison Officer and has co-chaired the 1998 and 2004 accreditation self-study program.

As for the future Lawson is currently preparing for reaccreditations that will happen next year. Reaccreditations are when the Crediting commission of California Community Colleges grant or dismiss federal financial aid based on how that college is doing in reference to their different programs. "It's a very labor intensive progress involving a whole lot of people, and then we write a very long report.

Then there's a team that comes in and basically sees if the report we filed is accurate and makes recommendations for your report," said Lawson.

There are no plans for retirement any time soon for Lawson, as he said,: "There's something really nice about staying with an institution for so long and being able to be invest in so many things here." Executive Vice President Lawson started his tenure at SMC as a faculty member in 1979 and has taken himself to new heights growing away from strictly a music professor to now the Executive Vice President of Administration, not to mention the numerous clubs and organizations he is a part of, and to lead not only SMC but all California community colleges into a bright future.