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MiraCosta College Hires Three New Deans

Oceanside CA— MiraCosta College has hired three new administrators:

Dr. Nikki Schaper, Dean of Behavioral Sciences, History and Adult Education

Dr. Nikki Schaper is the college’s new Dean of Behavioral Sciences, History and Adult Education. She began her permanent position on December 9, 2015, though had served as interim dean since July 2014.

Previously, Dr. Schaper served as the Associate Dean of Student Services at the San Elijo Campus since 2009, where she had site responsibility for student activities, outreach and student government, and student discipline and grievances.

“Dr. Schaper has a rich leadership background in both instructional and student services, credit and noncredit programs, community partnership development, and campus site administration,” said Vice President of Instruction Mary Benard. “She is known as a strong collaborative leader and has extensive community experience working with K-12.”

Dr. Schaper holds a bachelor’s degree in urban studies and planning from UC San Diego, a master’s degree in education, and a doctorate in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University.

“I am looking forward to working collaboratively with our faculty and staff to support student success and equity,” said Dr. Schaper. “It is an exciting time for community colleges to make a significant impact on workforce development and it is a privilege to participate in these endeavors.”

Dr. Chris Hill, Dean of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness

MiraCosta College also named Dr. Chris Hill its new Dean of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, and serves as the accreditation liaison officer and facilitator of public grants. She started on January 4, 2016.

 Prior to Dr. Hill’s appointment, she served as the senior dean of College Planning and Institutional Effectiveness at Grossmont College. During her thirteen years at Grossmont, she also served as interim vice president of both student services and academic affairs. Dr. Hill is also a longtime faculty member in California community colleges having taught full-time at Fullerton and Grossmont Colleges.

“She is an artful communicator and collaborator,” said MiraCosta College Superintendent/President Sunny Cooke. “Her administrative experience, teaching experience and education will be extraordinarily helpful as we begin the work leading to our accreditation visit. She has proven expertise in leading this process both as a faculty member and as an accreditation liaison officer.”

Dr. Hill earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology from San Diego State University, a master of education from Azusa Pacific, and a doctorate in geology from University of Southern California.

“I am excited to be part of the team at MiraCosta because of the great work that the college is doing in support of its students and their success,” said Dr. Hill. “I look forward to contributing to that effort and appreciate the warm welcome from everyone whom I’ve met.”

Mike Fino, Interim Dean of Math and Science

On January 19, 2016, longtime faculty member Mike Fino was selected as the new Interim Dean of Math and Science. He follows Carlos Lopez, who accepted the position of Vice President of Instructional Services at Santa Ana College.

Throughout his career, Fino has held academic and leadership positions at MiraCosta College with increasing responsibilities, including department chair and lead faculty for bioprocess technology, Academic Senate president, co-chair of the Institutional Program Review Committee, co-chair of the Steering Council, Accreditation Core Team writer, and member of numerous governance committees. Fino was also responsible for authoring the successful application to offer a baccalaureate degree in biomanufacturing at MiraCosta College.

“I have tremendous respect for the vote of my colleagues to place me in this position and I feel very fortunate to take on the new role,” said Fino. “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity and look forward to new challenges.”


Fino earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in bioengineering from UC San Diego. Prior to entering the field of higher education as a faculty member, Fino served as a senior product development engineer at Smith and Nephew Wound Management, and a bioprocess engineer and group lead at Advanced Tissue Sciences.


“We are thrilled to have a faculty leader with such a strong background fostering innovations in the sciences and higher education step up and assume administrative responsibility at the campus,” said Benard. “The School of Math and Sciences can look forward to great things during his tenure as interim dean.”

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