ICCI looks outside the family for new boss

| 04/07/2012

(CNS): Dr Tasha Ebanks Garcia who will be taking up the post as president of the International College of the Cayman Islands this month will be the first person outside of the founding Cummings family to take on the job since ICCI opened its doors more than 40 years ago. Garcia will also be the youngest president to serve at ICCI, at only 38 when she succeeds Dr. John Cummings, who will retire this summer. Garcia who is also a part time TV host takes up the post during tough times when many students are struggling to pay for tuition and when the college needs to ensure the academic programme is in step with the needs of a sophisticated and ever-changing job market.

“I welcome this opportunity to be part of ICCI, as it has played such a strong role in providing higher education in this country,” said Garcia. “I have always been passionate about higher education and the impact that is can have in transforming lives and the fortunes of families into success stories. I am looking forward to becoming part of ICCI’s story.”

One of Dr Ebanks Garcia’s initial goals will be establishing a mentoring programme that would match new students with alumni and students in their senior year.
“It is not unusual, when engaging in tertiary education, to feel a bit lost at sea. But matching students with alumni, who have been through it and can provide guidance, can help students get on track and stay on track. So instead of feeling lost, they will feel anchored in support,” Garcia added.

The Board of Trustees unanimously supported Dr. Ebanks Garcia appointment along with the Cummings family who founded the college in 1970, says ICCI deputy chair Cathy Frazier.

“Dr. Ebanks Garcia personifies the inspiring, motivated, community-driven leadership that will be needed to lead ICCI to its next exciting chapter,” said Frazier. “She recognises the need for expanding the scope of education to students who may need extra attention, empowering them to be leaders and examples to others. Her academic qualifications, personal sensitivities, experience and professionalism will bring a new vitality and dynamic leadership to ICCI. We are all excited to have her join the college.”

For nearly 35 years, co-founders Dr. Hugh Cummings and then Dr. Elsa Cummings have held the president’s job.  A few years after Hurricane Ivan, Hugh Cummings’ eldest son, John, took on the job in 2008 to help rebuild the college and get it back on solid financial footing.

"I am extremely pleased that the Board has found such a wonderful and able replacement,” said Dr. Cummings. “She is exactly what the college needs at this point in time in its life cycle. All future, current and past students of ICCI, should now give Dr. Ebanks Garcia all of their support as she takes on this demanding job."

Over the course of four decades, ICCI is still the only institution which offers associates, bachelors and masters degrees in the country and is internationally accredited.

Before earning her PsyD, Dr. Ebanks Garcia worked in TV broadcasting and print media for several years, holding various roles in sales, human resource management and product management. Spending much of her spare time doing community service work with organizations such as Junior Achievement, Hope Centre and through the church she decided to return to school to eventually completing here PsyD in psychology at Alliant International University in California.

Last year, she joined the clinical team at The Wellness Center where she engaged in family therapy work that focused on working with families in divorce and included child custody evaluations for the courts. In addition to her clinical practice, Dr. Ebanks Garcia is a programme facilitator for Passport2Success, an initiative that has been instrumental in helping at risk young people develop work place readiness skills and address barriers to success from a therapeutic perspective. She also teaches at ICCI part-time and hosts and produces Cayman27’s “Let’s Talk to the Experts”.

Dr. Ebanks Garcia plans to scale back her clinical practice to take on the president’s job full-time, she feels strongly that there are not enough psychologists willing and able to do child custody evaluations so she will be continuing that work as well as family therapy on a part-time basis at The Wellness Centre. With the start of the talk show season approaching Dr. Ebanks Garcia will continue to put the spotlight on Cayman’s social issues through her work on “Let’s Talk to the Experts”.


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