McNamee-Cole, Carol: Respiratory Therapist Faculty Member and Program Director

Carol McNamee-Cole was hired as a full-time faculty member for the Respiratory Therapist program in September 1980 and retired in December 2011, after 31 years of dedicated and accomplished service to the program and the college.  She continues in the program as an adjunct faculty member to this day.

Carol began her teaching career at the Eden Area Regional Occupational Program (R.O.P) operated by the San Lorenzo, San Leandro, and Castro Valley Unified School Districts.  She worked there from 1976 – 1979 in the Respiratory Therapy program.  When Proposition 13 threatened the programs at the R.O.P, she began an effort to develop a community college Respiratory Therapist program in the East Bay Area.  She conducted a needs assessment amongst the hospitals and garnered support from numerous respiratory care managers.

Eventually Ohlone College agreed to add the program to its curriculum.  Carol was hired half-time as a consultant to prepare the Chancellor’s Office application for a new program, recruit potential students, set up a lab, write course outlines etc. – a lot of very satisfying work.  Ohlone opened the doors in Fall, Semester, 1980, after Carol was hired as Program Director and enrolled the first 20 students!  The program continued from there and thrives today as a premier health science program with local, regional, state and national acclaim.

Carol became a very successful grant writer.  She received a variety of grants from the State of California Community College Chancellor’s Office: A Model Program for Inter-Institutional Cooperation in Health Care Education (1988); Development of Statewide Program Manual and Resource Directory for Respiratory Care Education (1985); Statewide Curriculum Development in Respiratory Care Education (1982); Respiratory Care Mobility Planning and Resource Manual (1995); Asthma Education in the Alameda and Contra Costa Schools Grant (1998); and over $100,000 in Vocational Education Act Grant Funds (1986-89).  One of the Chancellor’s Office grants allowed for funding to work with Diablo Valley College to offer a number of respiratory therapy lecture courses on their campuses.

Carol was a faculty leader beyond her program.  She had curriculum development knowledge and experience and was active on the Curriculum Committee.  In those days, the committee was run exclusively by administrators—faculty would come and present their new courses / course changes and administrators would vote.  Carol advocated that curriculum was the primary responsibility of faculty and led the effort to move curriculum authority from administration to faculty.  She was elected as the first faculty chair of the committee.