By Christina Rocha
A person becomes a teacher because they care about students as human beings who crave to learn. Jeffrey Hernandez is the vice chair for the Political Science Department. His duty as vice chair is to be a facilitator for the political science instructors and to also supervise part-time political science teachers.
Hernandez taught at East Los Angeles College part-time before he heard about an open full-time position through a department announcement. “Since I was a student I always wanted to come back and teach, and this is my dream job,” said Hernandez.
While he is teaching, he is also involved in a few different committees. The committees that he is involved with are vice president of the Academic Senate and co-chair for the Shared Governance Council, Budget Committee and Program Review and Viability Committee. “I think it is important for every person to be an activist in some form. Right now, my main form of activism is as faculty leader,” said Hernandez.”
Hernandez tries to be a part of committees that are involved to push for greater transparency on decisions affecting the budget and other resources. The budget decisions are based on college and department goals (not personal favoritism), and he wants to advocate that. “I feel strongly that the faculty is the experts in running an educational institution and that a well-run college is guided by its faculty,” said Hernandez
Hernandez wants to help students learn at highest levels of complexity. He views each student as a person who seeks to learn and depend on him to guide and direct them through that learning process. However, Hernandez also cared about ELAC students in particular because of his community. ”I’ve gone through what many ELAC students have gone through when I was a student at ELAC, “ said Hernandez.
Hernandez started at ELAC as a student and got his Associates degree. After ELAC he went to University of California, Los Angeles for his Bachelors of Arts in Political Science. Then he got his Masters Degree in Public Administration. He went for schooling to get his Doctorate degree, but he never finished due to personal reasons.
When Hernandez was at ELAC he enjoyed getting to know professors like Consuelo Rey Castro, Bob Holcomb and Joel Busch. He would touch base with them from time to time. It was by maintaining a relationship with my ELAC professors that he learned about the opportunity to teach at ELAC.
Hernandez was influenced by what he learned in junior high and high school about his community and social movements. For example, he remembers when watching the Requiem 69 when he was in the eighth grade at Stevenson Junior High School. He was truly inspired by the idea that people put their lives on the line to create the change that he was benefiting from 10 years later. Slowly but surely he learned how people of color, women and young people actually changed American politics and culture by demanding freedom, equality and justice.
Before he left high school, he could hardly wait to go to college and be a student activist pushing for democratic change. He also hoped to be an intellectual who helped educate others so that they may pursue personal advancement and contribute to the community empowerment. He was born in South Carolina. He moved to California, and has lived in Boyle Heights ever since. He went to Roosevelt high. “Being a teacher is one of things I’ve always want to do,” said Hernandez.