Rowena M. Tomaneng, Ed.D.

Rowena M. Tomaneng headshot

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Dr. Rowena M. Tomaneng has over 27 years of administrative and teaching experience in higher education and currently serves as the President of San José City College (SJCC) in the San José Evergreen Community College District (SJECCD). She has worked to develop innovative partnerships that provide academic and career education pathways for the diverse student populations of SJCC and SJCC’s Milpitas Extension. With Dr. Tomaneng’s leadership, SJCC secured several Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) federal grants to increase Latinx student success and establish a Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program.

Dr. Tomaneng has also expanded several student success pathway programs including The San José Promise, The Milpitas Promise and Middle College Program, and Dual Enrollment across several unified school districts. To support students facing the basic needs crisis, Dr. Tomaneng launched a free tuiton and zero student fees campaign in spring 2022 for all SJCC students taking six or more units. This campaign is joined with emergency grants, technology and equipment loans, food resources through the Jaguar Market and Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, mental health counseling, and housing resources.            

At SJCC, Dr. Tomaneng has advanced facilities improvements across the college under SJECCD’s Measure X General Obligation Bond, including a new 85,000 square foot state-of-the-art Career Education Complex (opening in 2024) to support student success, innovation and career education and impact the regional economy. Through the California Community Colleges (CCC) Strong Workforce Program, Apprenticeship Program, Rising Scholars Program, and partnerships with Google and the Santa Clara County Corrections and Education Divisions, SJCC is providing workforce development opportunities in Silicon Valley with the Google-IT apprenticeship for traditional, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students.

Prior to SJCC, Dr. Tomaneng served as President of Berkeley City College (BCC) in the Peralta Community College District (PCCD), where with her leadership and collaboration with civic, community, educational,  and industry partners, the college implemented The Berkeley Promise, The Oakland Promise, and The Richmond Promise, academic pathways designed to increase access to higher education for low-income, first-generation to college African American/Black, Latinx, and Southeast Asian students by providing free tuition and scholarships. Dr. Tomaneng also expanded BCC’s Undocumented Community Resource Center (UCRC). Dr. Tomaneng’s leadership also supported PCCD’s successful 2018 campaign for Measure G ($800 million General Obligation Bond) and Measure E ($8 million annual Parcel Tax Renewal), which enabled the District and Colleges to upgrade classrooms, expand STEM laboratories and Career Education facilities, and increase instructional and student services. In 2019, Dr. Tomaneng was honored as California Assembly District 15 Woman of the Year by Assembly Member Buffy Wicks in recognition for her service to the Berkeley-Oakland community.

Previously, Dr. Tomaneng served in multiple administrative roles at De Anza College in the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, including Associate Vice President of Instruction and Dean of Language Arts. She also served as a faculty director and for 12 years as a faculty member in English, Intercultural studies, and Women’s Studies. Dr. Tomaneng taught and oversaw a variety of Learning Community programs, including Umoja, Puente, First Year Experience, and De Anza’s nationally recognized Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) federally-funded program, IMPACT AAPI. Dr. Tomaneng also co-founded the then-Institute of Community and Civic Engagement (ICCE), now the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action (VIDA).

Dr. Tomaneng serves on numerous boards, councils, and commissions, including Bay Area K-16 Collaborative CEO Roundtable; Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education; The Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion-American Association of Community Colleges; APIA Scholars, D.C. Board of Directors; National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship Board of Directors; and The Higher Education Equity Committee of The California Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs, whose efforts secured a $16 million ongoing legislative investment for Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Higher Education Achievement Programs in the California State University and California Community Colleges systems. She also serves as Vice President-Northern Region of The Chief Executive Officers of the CCC Board for the Community College League for California.

Dr. Tomaneng's teaching, research and publications explore human rights, social movements, transnational feminism, and racial equity in education. She has written and contributed to a variety of publications including Transformations: Leadership Roles in Higher Ed for Humanities Professionals, Journal of Multicultural Perspectives and Transformative Practices for Minority Student Success: Accomplishments of Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. Dr. Tomaneng also teaches Leadership Studies and Gender & Globalization in the School of Education, University of San Francisco, and Leadership Studies at San José State University’s Connie L. Lurie College of Education.

Dr. Tomaneng is frequently invited to speak statewide and nationally due to her expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion, and high impact practices that lead to student equity, student success and civic engagement. She has been featured by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO), The White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI), The U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid, American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at Rutgers University.         

A first generation immigrant from the Philippines and community college transfer student,  Dr. Tomaneng earned her Ed.D. in International and Multicultural Education, Human Rights Concentration from the University of San Francisco, M.A. in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and B.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine.

With her family, Dr. Tomaneng has lived in the San Mateo Community College District for 20 years, first in San Mateo and now in San Bruno.