El Camino Federation of Teachers
Ben Rust Award 2006
Since becoming a faculty member at El Camino College in 1971, Lance Widman has been an outspoken advocate of faculty interests and student concerns.
Lance’s education and public affairs experiences had a profound impact on his beliefs of individual responsibility, accountability, collective action, social justice and community involvement.
Lance’s actions over a 34-year career at El Camino have mirrored those beliefs through his union activities on behalf of his colleagues, his involvement in campus governance, and participation in community affairs. “Service above self” remains his guiding principle.
Early in his academic career Lance became a role model for his students, showing them that the art and science of politics can coexist through community service. On the Hermosa Beach City Council from 1974 until 1982, he served as mayor from 1976 to 1977 and again from 1981 to 1982. Elected to the Hermosa Beach City School Board in 2001, he currently serves as board president.
After leaving the city council, Lance took on an ever-increasing role in the El Camino College Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1388. President of the Federation from 1988 to 1995, Lance also served as a member of the negotiations team for six years, and reorganized the Federation’s political action arm (COPE) to include representatives of all of El Camino’s bargaining units.
Lance served as the Dispute Resolution Officer from 1995 to 2004. He reached out to local K-12 organizations affiliated with the California Teachers Association to better coordinate a K-14 political agenda in the South Bay. He represented the Federation on the Community College Council, and was recruited by the CCC president to serve on the governing board of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges as an at-large delegate.
Lance later played a leading role in the Federation’s successful organizational agency fee election. It carried by four votes out of about 250 ballots cast, a margin of victory referred to afterward by Marty Hittelman as a “Lance-slide.”
In 1989 Lance was hired by the Los Angeles County Bar Association to serve as Program Coordinator for its community-based mediation program. Over the next 12 years he was involved in over 600 referrals successfully negotiating satisfactory resolutions in 85 percent of these cases. Since leaving the Bar Association in 2001, Lance has been serving as Executive Director of the South Bay Center for Dispute Resolution.
Of all of his activities noted above, Lance’s marriage of 18 years to his wife Christine remains the key to his sanity. Along with his family, married daughter Danielle and teenage son Brian, her understanding and support have ultimately been responsible for making Lance’s guiding principle, “Service above self” a reality for him and those he seeks to serve, support, represent and defend.