New VCCS chancellor set to start April 1
Doré comes from Pima Community College in Arizona
The Virginia State Board for Community Colleges on Wednesday announced that it hired David Doré to lead the state’s 23 community colleges.
Doré currently serves as president of campuses and executive vice chancellor for student experience and workforce development at Tucson, Arizona-based Pima Community College, where more than 30,000 students are enrolled. He replaces Sharon Morrissey, who has served as interim chancellor of the Virginia Community College System since July 2022. The system, founded in 1966, includes 40 campuses and 146,330 credit students enrolled in fall 2022.
Doré will be the 10th person to lead the Virginia system and is set to start his new job in Richmond on April 1. His selection follows a national search that became tinged with politics and controversy in summer 2022 after state Democrats accused Gov. Glenn Youngkin of trying to insert himself into the hiring process after the previous chancellor, Glenn DuBois, stepped down after 21 years, The Washington Post reported. The state community college board in March 2022 announced it had hired Russell A. Kavalhuna, president of Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan, to lead the VCCS, but Kavalhuna changed course last June and remained in Michigan, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. That led to Morrissey’s temporary appointment.
“The race for talent is on,” Youngkin said in a statement Wednesday. “The Virginia Community College System must be the linchpin of the commonwealth’s skills development system by bringing together employers, K-12 [students] and higher education to prepare every Virginian for success in our changing economy. I look forward to working with Chancellor Doré to advance our mission of every high school graduate in Virginia being equipped with a credential in an in-demand industry and to ensure that the Virginia Community College System becomes a best-in-class national leader.”
In a video call Wednesday, Doré told reporters that he talked with Youngkin for the first time Tuesday, also over video, and plans to attend an upcoming reception for the General Assembly’s legislative session, which convenes Jan. 11. Youngkin has said he wants every high school student in the state to graduate with a credential or an associate’s degree, a priority that Doré and the governor talked briefly about.
“We didn’t get into details … but I do know that the governor is interested in scale, and doing that at scale,” Doré said. “And I want to say that I believe the governor is spot on.”
Doré said he was attracted to the position by innovation he’s noticed in the Virginia system, including partnerships allowing students more seamless transfers from community colleges to four-year institutions. He was also enticed by FastForward, a short-term job training program for in-demand industries, including IT, transportation and engineering, among several other fields. There were 6,483 people enrolled in that program from July 1 through Dec. 19, 2022.
“The investment that the system and the leadership has put into the FastForward program, and then looking at the outcomes of that program, that really excited me,” Doré said. “And that’s one of the indicators that this is really a forward-thinking system that really understands where community colleges need to go in the future.”
Among Doré’s first priorities will be addressing a skills gap that is pervasive throughout the country, including in cybersecurity. To help address those gaps in Arizona, Doré led planning and implementation for centers of excellence at Pima Community College, focused on the needs of Arizona’s workforce in partnership with business, industry and the community. Pima partnered with Arizona Cyber Warfare Range LLC, which provides hands-on skill development, for a cyber-focused excellence center, received funding from the state to double the capacity of a center focused on aerospace and has partnered with the health care sector to address shortages in nursing and skilled workers, Doré said.
Doré spent two years teaching at a private Catholic high school outside of Pittsburgh before moving on to community colleges, which he called “the most transformative organizations in this country.” He’s spent more than two decades working within the field, including as an instructor, department chair, dean, as well as in executive leadership. He joined Pima Community College in 2014 as its president before starting his most recent position there in January 2020, according to his LinkedIn page. He has also worked at Maricopa Community College, also in Arizona, and spent 17 years at City College of San Francisco.
Doré is a first-generation college student and has multiple degrees. He earned his Ph.D. in education from Pepperdine University in California, an MBA from Georgetown University, a master’s in education from Boston College and master’s of theological studies from Santa Clara University in California. He received a bachelor’s of arts in philosophy from Gannon University in Pennsylvania. He was also a presidential fellow in the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program from 2017 to 2018.