Process of finding a new campus president begins

President Deborah Travis at the Platinum Celebration Dec. 3.

Ceejay Willis

President Deborah Travis at the Platinum Celebration Dec. 3.

Heather Kemp, Staff Writer

The fall semester is winding down at Cosumnes River College and while most students and faculty are expecting to come back to more of the same in the spring there will be one major difference in campus leadership.

Ending her more than five year run, CRC President Deborah Travis is set to retire in December.

Current Vice President of Instruction, Whitney Yamamura, will serve as interim president in the spring semester while a permanent replacement for Travis is being found.

“He was appointed for spring semester, which is what it will take us to find a new president,” said Ryan Cox, associate vice chancellor of human resources.

The responsibilities of being a college president are endless, as Communications and Public Information Officer Kristie West explained

“Being a college president takes a lot of people skills and time. The job is all-consuming from my perspective,” West said. “You have to know everything that is happening not only at CRC, but with community colleges in California and around the country, and higher education in general.”

The process for finding a new president is pretty standard in the Los Rios Community College District, the method they are using for CRC is the same as administration has used at Folsom Lake and American River College.

“Basically we’ll use our full search process, an executive search process,” Cox said. “We’ll do probably two months where we will conduct a nationwide search, advertising and recruiting.”

Cox said that they will use a myriad of tools to find a new president, including online methods and the Chronicle of Higher Education, the publication that provides news and information for college and university educators.

“A search committee will be appointed, that search committee includes faculty leaders, a student will be appointed to the committee, some classified staff members and some managers and a chair who is typically a high-level manager like another president or a vice president,” Cox said.

He said that the job of the committee is to set screening criteria for candidates, review all applicants and write the interview questions.

Travis shared traits that she said a good candidate should have to be able to lead the school effectively.

“I believe a president needs to be adaptable and receptive to new ideas and innovation,” Travis said in an email interview. “In essence, he or she needs to be a continuous learner and view learning as a multidimensional process with many diverse inputs.”

Cox explained what committees typically look for in candidates.

“In general, you look for very strong academic leadership, success in leading academic instruction and/or student services areas, understanding our principles of shared governance where everyone has a role and understanding our culture of interest based philosophy where we try to honor and value input from all constituents,” Cox said.

West is hoping for someone who is as good at representing the school as Travis was.

“For me, I’m hoping the next president is as savvy with public relations and marketing as Dr. Travis is,” West said.

Although Travis said she is in no way involved in finding her replacement, she did share some advice for the next president.

“At CRC, we all learn from our students, from one another, and from our interactions with the community,” Travis said. “To be shared and effective, presidential leadership must be seen as a constancy of learning about oneself and others.”

Cox said that impressions groups will weigh in on deciding on a final replacement for Travis.

He said that once the committee has narrowed the pool down to about three candidates, impressions groups will be held on campus where finalists will be interviewed in a more casual setting by student leaders, faculty and others.

“At the end of that when they’ve met with the three finalists then they spend some time afterwards and summarize their thoughts on each of these candidates strengths and maybe some areas where they would like the Chancellor to follow up,” Cox said.

The last steps in finding CRC’s new president is having a final meeting with the Chancellor and being approved by the Board of Trustees.

The campus hopes to make their final selection by July 1, 2015.