Academic Service

Student Learning and Program Effectiveness Committee

Academic Senate


B.S., UC Riverside

M.S., UC Santa Cruz


Mel Vaughn is an accomplished academic leader with extensive experience in the field of education, specializing in teaching Physics and Mathematics. Currently serving as the Dean of the School of Science and Math at West Valley College, Mel has excelled in managing the day-to-day operations and academic affairs within the School. His dedication to fostering a collaborative environment between faculty and administration has been instrumental in maintaining his School’s leadership in student success.

Mel is a first-generation college student, the youngest of four children, and the first one in his family to graduate from college. Mel grew up in a rural area in Southern California, where he would wander for hours in the grass fields and orange groves near his home, exploring the pond and creeks that curiously existed amid an otherwise arid landscape.

Growing up as an African American male with a speech impediment, Mel was determined to prove his 7th grade math teacher wrong when she told him “You will never amount to anything.” After 41 years Mel continues to prove her wrong as he is currently serving West Valley College as the Dean of the School of Science and Math.

For his first 17 years at West Valley College Mel served as a Physics and Math instructor. Mel’s desire to be of service to the College led him to pursue several different leadership roles. Prior to his current position as dean, Mel served as Department Chair of Physical Sciences, Vice President of the Academic Senate, and Chair of the Student Learning and Program Effectiveness Committee (SLAPEC). He also served as a valued member of the Integrated Planning Committee and the Accreditation Steering Committee, where he played a vital role in integrating student learning outcome assessments into program reviews and resource allocation decisions across the College.

In his free time, Mel enjoys scenic hikes with his wife and long bike rides from his home in the Santa Cruz mountains. He is an avid chess player who competes regularly in chess tournaments. Mel’s curiosity for all things has led him to pursue the practice of Aikido, obtain a SCUBA diving certification, and earn his private pilot’s license. Mel’s favorite thing to do is to spend long hours with his wife talking about the philosophical implications of quantum physics and the nature of reality.

Mel holds a Master of Science in Physics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of California at Riverside. Mel’s unwavering commitment to academic excellence, exceptional leadership skills, and creative pursuits makes him a highly respected and valued member of West Valley College.

Last Updated 12/6/23