Dr. Veronica Gerace
Dr. Gerace is a faculty member in the Communication Studies Department at San Diego Mesa College (SDMC). She has a passion for guiding students to success by developing and implementing innovative and creative teaching strategies which often challenge the status quo. Dr. Gerace is a visionary leader who often challenges systems to ensure that traditionally marginalized and underserved students have rich opportunities to thrive as scholars. As one example, despite being “out-voted” by her department peers, Dr. Gerace persisted in challenging her colleagues for over two years to “allow” her to offer special communication courses for student athletes. She has also developed numerous programs to empower students to advocate for themselves and build self- efficacy. Her most recent initiative is the Propelled by Protests initiative at San Diego Mesa College where black students currently lead monthly sessions for other students to build unity and to discuss a variety of important topics such as Knowing Your Rights When Approached by the Police. In the classroom, Dr. Gerace enjoys teaching with an emphasis on Intercultural Communication, Small Group communication, and Health Communication. Some of the other popular classes that she teaches include Social Media and Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Oral Interpretation, Advanced Public Speaking, and Facilitation.
Dr. Gerace is also a leader among her peers, recently developing a campus-wide initiative for colleagues to collaborate to develop equity-minded curriculum and communication practices.
Additionally, Dr. Gerace founded and is currently serving as the chapter president of the San Diego Chapter of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges which hosts professional development and enrichment events for women and also hosts a special very active Affinity Group for Black Women called the Sistah Circle. She also serves on the National College Honors Council Diversity Committee and recently completed a term serving as the first Honors Equity Coordinator at San Diego Mesa College. Additionally, Dr. Gerace serves as the Community College Advisor for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE).
In addition to teaching, Dr. Gerace advances the mission of the college as Parliamentarian and an SDMC Academic Senator and through service on several different current committees/initiatives including the San Diego Community College District Equity Committee, the Student Success and Equity Committee, the Committee for Diversity, Action, Inclusion, & Equity (CDAIE), and the Campus Employee Development Committee. She founded the Common Grounds Initiative and the Mesa Messages initiative to foster student sense-of-belonging and to encourage campus members to come together each semester to engage in dialogue. As the Student Success Specialist for the SDMC Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI)/Title V Proyecto Éxito Grant, Dr. Gerace collaborated to develop, promote, and implement a new student success initiative at SDMC called Summer CRUISE. She also developed and executed the Peer Navigator Program to train, coach, and motivate student Peer Navigators to mentor new students. Additionally, she regularly develops and conducts flex workshops attended by faculty members from each campus in the district to foster more effective andragogical practices, including effective practices in higher education for military veterans and family members. During the campus- wide Cultural Awareness Week at SDMC, Dr. Gerace represents the Communication Studies department by developing and hosting an Intercultural Communication booth where campus members are encouraged to take a self-awareness test. This allows individuals to examine their cultural understanding and provides an opportunity to demonstrate how much can be learned from the Intercultural Communication course.
As a city Commissioner and member of local non-profit organizations, Dr. Gerace works with community and civic partners to create opportunities for college students in the form of internships and mentorships and she strives to develop sponsorships for communication programs. Additionally, as a military spouse, she started an outreach program for college students who are military spouses.
Dr. Gerace has received numerous awards that highlight her commitment to teaching and leadership, including the Dr. Bill Piland Award from San Diego State University, the San Diego Imperial County College Association Outstanding Faculty Award, the NISOD Faculty Excellence in Leadership Award, along with the School of Arts and Communication Outstanding Service Award.