Saechao promoted to associate dean
By Mary Gasper - Staff Reporter
Ay Saechao is climbing up the career ladder
The director of Highline's TRiO, student support and retention services and founding co-chair of the Southeast Asian Education Coalition is now taking on an administrative role as associate dean for student development, retention and conduct at Highline College.
"The promotion to associate dean was unexpected," Saechao said.
His attention had been focused on supporting our TRiO population and other underrepresented students.
"As the student conduct officer I will be working with the judicial process at Highline, which includes students who may have used poor judgement and violated a conduct code," Saechao said.
"I am here to help ensure that students are supported and they have a safe learning environment," he said.
"My goal is to be of service for the staff and administrators, to help coach and guide them if they encounter any incident or concern in their classroom with students or any others on campus," Saechao said.
"I will work very closely to connect with staff and administrators and inform them of what options they have, if an incident were to arise," he said.
"When I was offered the position, I was very honored and very humbled," he said. "The reason I accepted was so we can impact more students than the ones who can just join TRiO."
Saechao says he is staying with TriO and the Southeast Asian Coalition and will be juggling all three positions.
"It's a wonderful challenge to have," he said "My students are juggling their work, family, and home life and what I do is just a small blurb of that. They're struggling and this is the least I could do. I'm up for the challenge," Saechao said.
Saechao plans on using his promotion to provide additional opportunities to empower the community.
"I will make sure our students and our community's voices are heard and factored in the decision making process," he said.
One of the main goals of the TRiO program is to help students from traditionally underrepresented groups in postsecondary education improve their chances of graduating from college.
He directed the grant team in earning a renewal of Highline's $1.1 million federal grant for TRiO through 2020.
This grant means Highline students will benefit from TRiO services, including a mentor and TRiO instructor available for tutoring.
"Our students will get the guidance and resources they need to succeed," Saechao said.
Saechao also is the founding co-chair of Southeast Asian Coalition, a nonprofit community organization that addresses legislative policy, achievement gaps and other educational concerns of the Southeast Asian American community.
In the summer of 2015, Saechao was invited to the White House to showcase the work of the Southeast Asian Coalition in Washington D.C.
"We were able to champion the work done here in Washington State regarding segregation of our Southeast Asian population and how we were able to mobilize our community to influence policy and legislation," Saechao said.
"As the new student conduct officer, I plan to continue the great work from my predecessor and collaborate with campus staff, faculty, students and administrators to ensure we foster a supportive and safe learning environment," Saechao said.