BARSTOW — With a heart for the city and a wealth of experience in higher education, Barstow Community College’s new Superintendent/President has received a warm welcome since taking up the role at the start of the month.

Dr. Eva Bagg’s appointment in May came after a months-long, nationwide search for a successor to Dr. Deborah DiThomas, whose term ended in June. Bagg was welcomed by the college with a special reception on July 18.

Leaving an administrative role at Long Beach City College, Bagg brings 30-plus years of experience in the California Community College system to Barstow, including previous experience at BCC.

Beginning as a research intern and adjunct instructor at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, Bagg went on to join BCC as the director of institutional research and, later, a full-time instructor of anthropology — the subject of both her undergraduate studies at Pomona College and graduate research at the University of California, San Diego.

When Bagg was hired at BCC last, she performed “a combined job” teaching anthropology and serving as a part-time researcher, using her background in anthropology to meet the college’s “need for more data” given new accreditation standards.

She was later appointed to serve as BCC’s Accreditation Liaison Officer and worked with the various campus departments collaboratively to write the college’s self-evaluation report.

She left to take the role of Dean of Instructional Effectiveness and Student Success at Long Beach City College, where she worked for the last 10 years.

“I left (BCC) with a very heavy heart actually because I had established such close working relationships with classified staff and faculty,” Bagg said. “It wasn’t an easy decision (to leave), but it was a great opportunity going to a large college.”

Bagg said she still credits her previous position at Barstow for preparing her with accreditation knowledge and college research experience.

One of Bagg’s main focuses coming into Barstow’s president position is “establishing relationships.”

“It’s really important to me for the people to understand that I have a love for this college, and that never went away,” Bagg said. “I feel like I’ve been able to learn more and have been so humbled and honored that the board had the confidence to have me in this role because I’ve watched the college progress over the last several years, and I’m really impressed.”

Even though she hadn’t been looking to advance to a president when she happened upon the position, Bagg said there’s no place she’d rather serve as leader than BCC.

“There’s no community I know the people of like this one,” Bagg said. “It’s a community that I just love ... I know the culture. That’s why I feel I can be such a strong advocate, because Barstow really does have a lot to be proud of.”

Having served as an accreditation liaison officer for 11 combined years at two institutions and on four accreditation evaluation teams, Bagg said she looks forward to working with the board and college staff in preparing for its next accreditation review — something she said is “important for everyone to be aware of the stakes of.”

“I look forward to working with the board and the staff. It’s such an honor,” Bagg said. “I take this very seriously, and I will be dedicated to the college and to the community.

“Seriously, I want the faculty and staff to realize the potential they have at Barstow, and to just keep taking it further,” Bagg said. “I’m getting teary-eyed just telling you because, really, that’s how I feel. It’s a great community, and I just want people to grow economically — there’s great potential. The community college is a part of that total equation.”

Charity Lindsey may be contacted at clindsey@vvdailypress.com or 760-951-6245. Follow her on Twitter @DP_Charity.