Dr. Derek Brandes seeks to make a difference for students and communities through innovative student-centered programs and practices. While at Columbia Basin College, he led a college-wide collaborative effort to improve new degree and certificate seeking students transition to college by designing a 12-hour mandatory workshop called First Year Introduction which lead to a 13% increase in student retention and 3% increase in completions.
In 2008, during the economic downturn, Derek as the Dean of Career and Technical Education, worked with the CBC President, the CBC Foundation, and the Director of Grants to raise the financial support and scholarships needed to launch a new self-support Nuclear Technology program.
Currently the Vice President of Instruction at Green River College, Dr. Brandes has fostered a climate of innovation around the development of five applied baccalaureate degrees by faculty. Derek is the co-author of a Gates grant to improve advising and student transitions at Green River which allowed 23 faculty and staff to attend the First Year Experience Conference last year. He has allocated resources to support the work of faculty to narrow achievement gaps in developmental and college level English through learning communities, an accelerated learning program, and the development of an endowment for a digital humanities center.
He was the first admissions counselor at WSU Tri-Cities and worked to develop its early enrollment management efforts that transitioned the campus from a majority graduate population to a majority undergraduate population.
Derek earned his doctorate in educational leadership from Washington State University. His dissertation research was on Latina/o student success. Dr. Brandes has a Master’s degree in organizational and interpersonal communication and his bachelor’s in public relations at Washington State University.
Derek grew up in the Tri-Cities. He is a proud father to a nine year old master lego builder, Dawson, and husband to Cate, a former Kennewick High School health and sports medicine teacher.