Board looks at minimum qualifications for next president

The minimum qualifications needed in a new president were put under the microscope at Tuesday’s special Board of Trustees meeting.

Two issues – whether the president should have a terminal degree and classroom teaching experience – were the focus of the debate during the 30-minute meeting.

At issue was whether the two qualifications for the job should be “highly preferred” or “preferred” as part of the minimum requirements.

 The president’s terminal degree was the first specimen to be analyzed.  A terminal degree is the highest degree in a field, usually a PhD.

 “We should try to shrink the pool,” Joe Bellino said, in response to a comment about widening the pool of applicants with doctorate degrees.

The board unanimously decided that a terminal degree would be “preferred” instead of “highly preferred.”

 The question of whether the president should have classroom teaching under his/her belt  also was debated.

“I want teachers. This is an educational institution,” said board member the former history professor, James DeVries.

“There are a lot of community college presidents who have worked their way up the ranks,” Vice-chairman Bill Braunlich said, also advocating classroom experience.

“I can’t see someone not understanding being an educator. I really feel that’s a piece of the puzzle,” said board member Mary Kay Thayer.

DeVries added that he would not only like to see a president with a teaching background, but also someone who understands teachers.

The vote on whether teaching experience should be only “preferred” tied on a 3-3 vote. The stalemate was broken by Chairman Bill Bacarella, who voted for “preferred” teaching experience, rather than “highly preferred.”

 Bacarella presented an update on the consulting firm the board chose to hire to help with the search – the Association of Community College Trustees.

 “Narcisa (Polonio of ACCT) has put together a profile of our college,” he said.

 After the meeting, Joe Verkennes, Director of Marketing at the college, said that ACCT has drafted a search announcement and presidential profile.

“The board is going to have an opportunity to make revisions and comments,” Verkennes said.

The documents will be sent to the campus community.

During the course of the meeting,  the Search Committee began to take shape.

“We’ve identified the first five, and seven alternate, stakeholders,” Bacarella said about finding external members of the committee.

DeVries suggested adding at least two other stakeholders to the list, which the board approved.

 “The problem is, is that the committee isn’t complete yet,” Bacarella said at the end of the meeting. “I think April is going to be a heavy duty month.”