By Gustavo Buenrostro
Ruben Arenas was named the new Vice President of academic affairs of liberal arts and sciences over the summer.
Arenas was the interim VP of Academic Affairs for Liberal Arts since 2017. Although he had the position, he still had to apply for the job.
The announcement came from the interim president of East Los Angeles College, Raul Rodriguez. Rodriguez sent out an email to faculty and staffof cially announcing Arenas as thepermanent VP.
Arenas said that his job as ChiefInstructional Of cer is to indirectlysupervise about 70 percent of the faculty. He also looks after programs that help students and said he feels responsible for the quality and outcomes of the programs he oversees.
He has the responsibility tonalize the evaluation of instructorsand recommends hires to the president, who has final say on whether someone gets hired.
Arenas started working at ELAC in 2008, when he was 24 years old. He worked as an instructor for the math department.
Arenas said that he looks back at being a professor with nostalgia. In his six to seven years as a professor, he said that he was still heavily involved with programs to help students out.
“I overhauled the computer science program here. I redid the curriculum on the computer science courses offered through the math department and that was very cool. That gave me an opportunity to try out new stuff,” Arenas said.
He said that his students made a “support group” because the computer class was hard.
“There was a (supplemental instructor) for the class, every Saturday and sometimes Sunday, students from each class would invite him to eat, but really we just wanted help with the projects and we would compensate him with food,” Claudia Hernandez, a former student of Arenas.
He recently found out that one of the days he was out sick, his students stayed in the classroom used class time to study more.
After he graduated from the University of California San Diego, he took a position as an adjunct professor at San Diego Mesa College.
He said he took it as a way
to make money. What he really wanted to do was be a professor at a university to do research, but because he liked teaching he stuck around doing that.
As a professor, Arenas said that he had more of a direct impact on students and he could see the outcome of those students if he kept up with them, which he said feels gratifying.
However, as part of the administration he said he doesn’t necessarily get that same feeling, but feels that he has a greater impact as VP.
“I still talk to students. I go around the campus sometimes andnd out about students. I think it’svery important that we don’t lose perspective. It’s easy to lose it if you are not engaging with the students,” Arenas said.
Arenas was accepted into multiple colleges for undergrad, including the University of Chicago, which Arenas said looked like Hogwarts from the “Harry Potter” franchise, and Stanford University.
However, he ultimately choose to go to Harvey Mudd College because he didn’t want to be too far from his family.
Arenas has a small family with two younger brothers along with his parents. He said that he was fortunate enough that his parents were able to provide for him and his brothers. Although he learned that his parents would have to work more to make ends meet, he said he neverfelt that nancial pressure. He saidthat his family believes in saving for the future.
Arenas said that when he can, he travels with his parents and adopted son, having been to places like Japan, Taiwan and all over the United States.