After a month of serving as the Acting President of Modesto Junior College, Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay, the President of Columbia College, has been asked to continue his service to MJC as the Interim President, the Yosemite Community College District announced on Feb. 2.
Bandyopadhyay replaces Jim Houpis, who has resigned after 22 months as MJC’s leader. Houpis had been out on medical leave since Dec. 8.
Bandyopadhyay has been President of Columbia College in Tuolumne County since July 2018 and was named Acting President at MJC on Jan. 4, 2021. YCCD Chancellor Henry Yong said Bandyopadhyay will lead both campuses during the search for a full-time MJC president.
Together, MJC and Columbia serve more than 29,000 students in Central California.
“Santanu has shown exceptional leadership skills at Columbia College and during the past month here in Modesto,” Yong said. “I am confident his experience and vision will allow him to continue to balance the responsibilities at multiple campuses. He is aware of both the challenges and opportunities facing MJC. We appreciate all the contributions he has made to the district and thank him for his dedication.”
Yong said the district will soon begin the search for a full-time MJC president.
Bandyopadhyay has more than 23 years of experience in higher education. He came to Columbia from Cypress College in Orange County, where he spent nearly a decade as first the director of institutional research and planning and then as executive vice president.
Before moving to Southern California, he was the director of institutional research at Zane State College in Ohio and budget and policy analyst at Ohio University. He also spent four years teaching computer science at the National Institute of Information Technology.
“I am thankful for the opportunity to serve at MJC,” he said. “Higher education is going through a period of rapid transition. While COVID-19 has exposed the technology divide among our students, it has also opened up new opportunities. At Columbia College, the video-transmit classes helped us take the college to the students to expand our reach and increase access. I look forward to bringing similar opportunities to MJC to remove barriers for our students.”
Bandyopadhyay also has been involved in national initiatives such as Achieving the Dream, Foundations of Excellence and Survey of Entering Student Engagement.
Bandyopadhyay earned a doctorate in higher education from Ohio University, an M.B.A. from Ohio University and a bachelor of science in physics from Kolkata University in India.