Mendocino College Faculty in Focus: Doug Boswell
Automotive technology instructor, Doug Boswell, finished his first year teaching at Mendocino College (MC) in May 2011. He previously spent twenty years at Mazda North American Operations in various capacities, including national technical training manager, parts operations manager, and the first director of service and parts for Mazda de Mexico. When he retired from Mazda, he taught automotive classes at Golden West College (GWC) in Huntington Beach, California. While at GWC, he wrote a successful workforce training grant (part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) which puts students into internships to get them employed in the automotive industry. His positive teaching experience at GWC inspired him to seek a tenure track position at a community college. He had not been to Mendocino College—or to Ukiah—before his interview, but he liked what he saw, and accepted a full-time position, replacing retired automotive instructor, Steve Fowler, in August 2010.
Boswell's education includes a BA degree in industrial studies from Cal State Los Angeles (CSULA), and ten years as a master technician at Toyota, before his career at Mazda. It was a former supervisor at Mazda who initially interested Boswell in teaching at the community college. "I had a great boss at Mazda who was a former college professor" explains Boswell. "In 2008, he and I went to a college job fair, and the people there were so positive, it was refreshing! Within a year of that job fair, we were both working at colleges," he says.
While teaching full-time at MC, Boswell maintains his ties to the automotive industry. He teaches several Bureau of Automotive Repair community service classes for professional technicians. He also teaches classes to certify technicians to do smog checks. He notes that he taught two weekend trainings during the past academic year, and technicians came from as far away as Eureka to participate.
Boswell says his favorite class to teach is Introduction to Auto Technology, because he "loves to see students' confidence level build from 0-10 in a fairly short period of time. By the end of the semester," he smiles, "students are using a lift to raise cars, and using air tools and diagnostic equipment with some proficiency." He enjoys the diversity of working with students of all ages, and he especially likes working with "transition age" students, around age 20 or so.
Boswell says he appreciates the fact that his job is so creative. He finds the "paperwork" challenging, as well as "motivating some students to stick with it until the end of the semester."
He says his dream is to be able to get his students into local jobs. He notes that he has had some success already, and constantly works on building the relationships necessary to place even more students.
Boswell is grateful to the local community for their "incredible generosity" in donating cars and equipment. He says he would like to receive even more vehicles for his students to work on. He says a small vehicle such as a Toyota or Honda, 1996 or newer, is ideal for his classes, but certainly any donation would be appreciated.
Boswell is the father of two grown children. His son, Brandon, recently graduated in physics from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is completing graduate work at Columbia University. His daughter, Lauren, has a degree in art from U.C. Santa Barbara. In his free time, Boswell enjoys playing guitar and hiking.