Teachers versus Ph.Ds for college president

The minimum qualifications needed in a new president were put under the microscope at a special Board of Trustees meeting on March 5.

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 had drafted a search announcement and presidential profile.

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.

“I think April is going to be a heavy duty month,” Bacharella said.

The search committee was finalized after the March 25 meeting. The trustees named to the committee are William H Braunlich, board vice chair and Search Committee chair, Linda Lauer and Mary Kay Thayer.

A complete listing is at: http://www.monroeccc.edu/presidentialsearch/committee.htm

MCCC has put together a website dedicated to the search.

Braunlich recommended going on the presidential search site for more information: http://www.monroeccc.edu/presidentialsearch/.

“Go to the website. That’s where the mother lode of information is,” he said.

Advertising for the vacancy has been in full swing with online ads and print publications.

The college set April 12 as the target date for collecting applications.

In the event that there is not a suitable pool of candidates by April, hiring efforts will have to be ramped up, Braunlich said.

He mentioned, however, that ACCT has a busy schedule ahead of them.

“We’re not the only community college on the list,” he said