Faculty given opportunity to voice concerns, desired qualities in search for new president

The Winn Center Community Room was filled with students and faculty on Feb. 6 as a town hall meeting was held to discuss the process of finding Cosumnes River College’s new campus president.

The meeting, lasting just over an hour, provided the campus community a chance to express what qualities they were looking for in their next leader.

“There are a lot of important leadership positions in our district and at CRC,” said Los Rios Community College District Chancellor Brian King in his opening remarks. “One of the most important leadership positions is the president. This is the first time that we are in the position to be searching for a president here in over five years.”

Former President Deborah Travis retired at the end of the fall 2014 semester after a five year term, and former Vice President of Instruction and Student Learning Whitney Yamamura is serving as interim president this semester.

The forum had three main speaking points: interests, issues and constraints. Those in attendance had strong views of what they were looking for.

Communications Professor Georgine Hodgkinson said that she wanted someone “who invites respectful debate and models integrity.”

As members of the audience spoke, their contributions were transcribed onto large pieces of paper that were later placed upon the room’s walls. By the end of the meeting, the walls were nearly full.

The purpose of this exercise was to record the campus’ values so they can be relayed to whomever the next president is.

Comment cards were also passed around for audience members to write things they did not get the chance to say or reinforce what they had.

Music Professor Steven Coughran, as well as many other staff members, said that sustainability and being green were important values that the campus should continue to support.

Richard Schubert, a philosophy professor, said that supporting academic excellence, honors programs and inter institute partnerships outside of Los Rios were important to him.

Other common speaking points were that the next president should be transparent, work to bring the college together and support all of its students and work to better the variety and quality of student services offered.

“I think it went well.” said David Weinshilboum, an English professor. “I always like having forums where the faculty are able to provide their opinions, their concerns, and it doesn’t happen all the time so it’s nice that our chancellor actually held this.”

One of the most important things discussed during the meeting was the ability of the next president to stand up to the state and advocate for CRC.

“A lot of my concerns were echoed, that the state wants to push us in one direction and we need to try and make sure that we consider our mission and all students as we go forward,” Weinshilboum said.

Chancellor King as well as other members of the hiring board assured the audience that their opinions had been heard and that they would be taken into consideration as much as possible.

Presidential candidates must have a doctorate or master’s degree, senior administrative experience, have held a teaching or student services position in higher education as well as having recent leadership experience in a related area and an understanding of the diverse population of the campus, according to the posting for the position.

The hiring process includes filing a paper application, being interviewed by the hiring committee and going through impression groups.

A new president will likely be chosen before the fall 2015 semester begins instruction.