University Relations and Communications

MSU Billings welcomes Dr. Florence Garcia as City College Associate Dean

January 31, 2014



Carmen Price, University Relations, 657-2243


Dr. Garcia officially assumes her position on February 24, 2014 


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — An educator who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastern Montana College has returned to Billings to become the new associate dean of City College at Montana State University Billings.


Florence Garcia

Following a national search and a series of candidate interviews and presentations on campus, City College Dean Marsha Riley and Mark Pagano, provost at MSU Billings, has named Dr. Florence Garcia as associate dean of the university’s two-year program on its West End Billings campus. She will begin her new appointment Feb. 24.


“We are fortunate to welcome Dr. Garcia back to MSUB in this new capacity,” Riley said. “She brings with her extraordinary experience in two-year education and innovative leadership in higher education.”


“All of my past experiences have helped me prepare for this job,” Garcia, member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, said. “And, it’s really, really great to come back to where it all started.”


Garcia comes to City College from Fort Peck Community College where she served as its president for a year, subsequent to serving as the vice president for academic and vocational programs for the college.


She has also worked for Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn., as its dean of Student Services; Montana State University in both Billings and Bozeman as adjunct faculty and TRiO Student Support Services director; and Dawson Community College where she was an adjunct faculty member and director of Student Support Services/TRiO. Garcia was awarded National TRiO Achiever in 1984.


Garcia presently serves on the American Council on Education’s Committee for Inclusion. She has also served on the Montana Tribal College President’s Association, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and the American Indian College Fund board.

Riley said Garcia’s extensive experience in two-year education makes her the ideal fit for City College.


“She shares the same passion for two-year higher education that we do and she recognizes the valuable education it can provide to a community,” Riley said. “Florence is an outstanding communicator and clearly understands the diverse and dynamic faculty that teach here.”


Garcia received her bachelor’s degree in 1974 in secondary education and her master’s in 1980 in special education, both degrees from what was then EMC and is now MSU Billings. She earned her doctorate in adult and higher education from Montana State University in 1999.


As associate dean, Garcia replaces Tammi Watson, who is now the director of New Student and Retention Services on the university’s four-year campus.


In her new role, Garcia will serve as a liaison with Student Services Division working to develop and implement innovative approaches to enhance academic excellence and student success. She is responsible for expanding program delivery to minority, nontraditional, transfer and international students. 


“I will help provide the major communication vehicle for faculty in delivering the educational and workforce development opportunities that are available at City College to the community,” she said.


Garcia said that probably the most important thing she brings to her new job is “the ability to connect and relate with people who are traditionally under-represented in post-secondary and higher education.”


“Education has always been my passion, and I so appreciate being given this tremendous opportunity to build upon the outstanding foundation that has been built at City College,” Garcia said.


Over the past decade, the college has expanded from a technical school into a comprehensive two-year college that offers medical, fire science and business degrees along with computer, process-plant technology, vehicle mechanics and drafting and design programs.


It also has a two-year general-studies degree for students wanting to transfer to a four-year school, classes geared for nontraditional students working full-time and customized training programs for employees of local companies.


PHOTO ABOVE: Dr. Florence Garcia