Welcome to the Office of Student Services

Programs and Services

The Office of Student Services is responsible for a variety of programs and services across the Taft College campus, including:

  • Academic Advisory Services
  • Admissions and Records
  • Associated Student Organization (ASO)
  • Athletics
  • CalWorks Work Study
  • Campus Clubs
  • Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE)
  • Cougar Support Center
  • Counseling
  • Career Technical Education (CTE) Counseling
  • Disables Student Programs and Services (DSPS)
  • Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS)
  • Financial Aid
  • Outreach Coordination
  • Residence Halls
  • Student Life and Basic Needs
  • Student Services
  • Transition to Independent Living (TIL) Program

The Vice President of Student Services


Dr. Damon A. Bell is Vice President of Student Services at Taft College. He has nearly 30 years of higher education experience in the community college and California State University systems. Prior to working for Taft College, he served as Interim President for Contra Costa and Ventura Colleges. Dr. Bell also worked at Olympic, San Bernardino Valley, and San Diego Mesa colleges as the Vice President of Student Services.  

A staunch advocate for student success, Dr. Bell continues to serve in various capacities within higher education, developing new programs and services, and has served on numerous committees addressing the areas of financial and institutional planning, accreditation, educational policy, enrollment management, equity, and access at the local and statewide levels.

Dr. Bell’s experience as a first-generation community college graduate informs his current work as a community college executive leader. His dissertation research focused on low socioeconomic status community college students and how best to empower them to succeed. He understands that equity is the global issue of our time and that community colleges provide pathways to success and to the middle class for many of our underserved and underrepresented student populations. He has experience working closely with folks from different races, sexual orientations, national and ethnic backgrounds, and active duty and veteran students. He is committed to ensuring and supporting equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, staff, and faculty.

Dr. Bell earned his associate degree from Los Angeles Harbor College and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from UC San Diego, a master’s degree in student personnel in higher education from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Community College Leadership from California State University, Fullerton. 

Contact Information

Damon A. Bell, Ed.D., Vice President, Student Services
E-mail: dbell@taftcollege.edu
Phone: 661-763-7810
Location: Administration/Student Services Building

Melissa Blanco, Administrative Assistant to the Vice President, Student Services
E-mail: mblanco@taftcollege.edu 
Phone: 661-763-7854
Location: Administration/Student Services Building