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President's Biography

​​Dr​. Dennis Harkins is Orange Coast College’s 10th permanent president and has served since his appointment in 2009.  OCC has an enrollment of over 25,000 students and offers more than 150 academic programs.​

Under his tenure, OCC facilitated Vision 2020, a comprehensive strategic and facilities plan that guides the institution’s academic, infrastructure, and student success efforts.

This plan builds upon the college’s strength as a leader in transfer and student achievement. OCC currently holds the distinction of being the top transfer community college in Orange County.  Over the past four years, OCC has increased its focus on student success, maintained its focus on recruiting knowledgeable fulltime faculty, and strategically managed class section offerings.

Dennis was also instrumental in the passage of the Coast Community College District’s $698 million Measure M construction bond whose funds have allowed for student resources including the construction of OCC’s Business, Math, and Computing building, as well as other campus upgrades scheduled to take place over the next 10 years.

Dennis is a champion of social enterprise and actively supports the college’s entrepreneurial activities. The OCC Foundation fundraises over $3 million dollars annually for student scholarships and resources, program and pathway creation, and staff and faculty innovation.

A proponent of internationalization, Dennis serves on the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Global Education Commission. In 2013, he was a guest lecturer of the Shanghai Normal, Nanjing Institute school of Visual Arts and the Beijing Film Academy. He holds the titles of honorary president at the Nanjing Institute of Visual Arts and Guest Professor of Photography at the Shandong University of Art.

Dennis previously served as Director of Government Relations at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta, the third largest college in Georgia with a degree enrollment of 24,500 students. He also served for ten years as Provost of the GPC Clarkston campus and as a member of the GPC Executive Team.

He started his teaching career as a photography instructor at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he became Director of Photography. Prior to his position of Provost of the Clarkston Campus of Georgia Perimeter College, he was Vice President and Dean of Education at the Art Institute of Atlanta, where he was instrumental in the college’s initial regional accreditation efforts at the associate and baccalaureate levels.  

Dennis earned a BFA in Photography from Ohio University. He continued his studies at Ohio University and completed a Master’s degree in International Affairs. He holds a Ph.D. in Education with a major in Human Resource Development with a cognate in Management from Georgia State University.  ​

He and his wife, Kim, have two children.