Office of the President

Ashanti T. Hands

President, San Diego Mesa College

Ashanti Hands - President of San Diego Mesa College

Dr. Ashanti Hands is the 7th president of San Diego Mesa College. She is a student-centered practitioner and disruptor of the status quo with a deep commitment to equity, excellence, inclusion and belonging. Her Why is rooted in love, joy, and creating conditions that matter for students to succeed. Prior to her presidency, Dr. Hands served as the Dean of Student Affairs and Vice President of Student Services at San Diego Mesa College, following a tenure as the Dean of Student Affairs at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Hands holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership with a specialization in community colleges, as well as a Master of Arts in Education/Multicultural Counseling from San Diego State University. She also earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a Minor in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Hands has an unwavering commitment to fostering inclusive and supportive learning environments that empower students from diverse backgrounds to thrive. Central to her leadership philosophy is the belief that every student possesses inherent worthiness and potential, deserving of opportunities to excel academically and personally. Dr. Hands is guided by a genuine sense of empathy, compassion, and a profound dedication to serving the needs of the student community.

About Mesa

President Ashanti T. Hands, Ed.D., leads San Diego Mesa College, a fully accredited, comprenhensive college committed to equity and excellence. Among the largest community colleges in California, Mesa serves 29,000 students per year; 25% of whom are full-time. Mesa offers nearly 200 associate degree and certificate programs and was one of the first 15 California community colleges to offer a four-year baccalaureate degree. Mesa ranks as San Diego's top transfer institution, is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), an Asian American and Native America Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), and a Military Gold Status Friendly School, serving nearly 2,500 veterans, active duty and their families.


President's Cabinet

The President's Cabinet, comprised of representatives from participatory governance committees, advises on college resource planning and effectiveness. The Cabinet convenes regularly to assist the President make data-driven decisions; meeting outcomes and decisions are communicated back to the other campus authorities.

Weekly Updates

The Weekly Updates from Prez Hands newsletters give a snapshot of the latest and exciting activities in our community. They also narrate our shared journey of achievements and document our progress towards becoming a foremost institution in equity and excellence.

President's Goals

The President’s 2023-2024 goals include courageous leadership, enrollment management, beyond completion, and operational efficiency.

Executive Leadership Team

San Diego Mesa College executive leadership organization chart.

Follow Prez Hands on Social Media

President Ashanti Hands in cap and gown

College Reports & Planning Documents