Presidential Search Committee gets started

The committee searching for MCCC’s next president made a first-time appearance.

At a special meeting on April 8, The Board of Trustees and Search Committee members hosted a Skype video conference call from ACCT.

The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) is a search consulting firm that has been chosen to help in selecting the college’s fifth president. Members of the Search committee also were selected by the board to assist in the search.

“Tonight we are talking about process,” Chairman William Braunlich said about the meetings’ objective.

For a few minutes, technical difficulties hampered efforts to communicate with ACCT. Braunlich improvised by seizing the opportunity to discuss available committee dates for interviews, and ACCT’s position on the application process.

Joe Verkennes, Director of Marketing for the college, said the position has been posted in various college publications.

“The marketing of this position is in full gear,” he said.

There was a tight time frame for posting ads and getting responses, Verkennes said.

 “It was a pretty compressed ad campaign,” he said.

Advertisements have been placed in eight publications – three in print and five online. The total cost has amounted to $ 5,237.94.

“What we’re trying to do is accomplish as much as possible before the semester is over,” Verkennes said after the meeting.

Chairman Braunlich reminded everyone of the importance of the process.

“We are all here making a decision for MCCC,” Braunlich said.

All members of the search committee were present except for MCCC Student Government President  Christopher Holmes and Foundation at MCCC Chairman Michael R. Meyer.

Braunlich reviewed the functions of the Search Committee, which included the timetable and the need to maintain confidentiality. The committee will recommend 3-5 candidates, he said.

When the sound was restored, Laurie Savona, operations officer of recruitment for ACCT and John Steinecke, board services specialist, were waiting on the line.

They began the meeting with committee members introducing themselves and  answering the question: Why is MCCC important to you?

“We have great students. We have an exceptional faculty and staff. It’s just been a joy to see that kind of progress,” said Chemistry professor David Waggoner, the faculty union representative on the committee.

Board member James DeVries quoted from the author, Russell Conwell.

“There’s acres of diamonds here,” DeVries said about students at the college.

He added that MCCC offers students the opportunity to rise above in college.

“There are outstanding minds in the working and middle classes,” he said.

“The community college is our livelihood,” said Tom Scheer, the MCCC staff representative on the committee. 

After the introductions, the two ACCT representatives presented an important message to the Search Committee.

“Your role as a Search Committee is critical. Your role is to bring your perspective to applicants you review,” Steinecke said.

“Your search will succeed if it’s perceived to be fair.”

Steinecke emphasized that confidentiality was crucial when relating with applicants.

One of the conditions, he said, was that the identity of candidates is not to be divulged to the press and to the community.

A confidentiality agreement was proposed by Braunlich to be signed by everyone. All agreed to the measure.

In addition, consensus among everyone in the interview process is a key to success, Steinecke said.

“Everyone is an ally. Everyone participates. Everyone has equal time and everyone is an equal,” he said.

 He noted the possibility that some board and search committee members may know some of the candidates they are interviewing. Thus, open communication about that candidate is important.

“If you know something, be fair, be helpful to your committee,” he said. 

Not only does the search committee have a designated role, but ACCT does as well.

“Think of us as staff. We are here to serve you and your community college board. Our role is to do the work behind the scenes,” he said.

The target date for applications is April 12. Steinecke said most candidates will have applied by that date. There is a possibility that information may still be submitted after the deadline, he said, and there may be a possibility of extending the application date.

“Right now, it looks like we won’t have to,” Steinecke said about the target date. “Right now, everything appears to be on good track.”

Candidates have been asked to submit a cover letter, a resume, and a candidate summary sheet.

“Different people from different walks of life will approach these documents differently,” he said.

Steinecke prepared the board and committee for what they may expect.

“You are going to see great cover letters and you are going to see abysmal cover letters,” he said.

At the end of the video call, Braunlich made a special announcement.

“We’re capable of making a transition tonight,” he said.

To a round of laughter, Braunlich then put on a University of Michigan sweatshirt for the NCAA championship basketball game that night.

Also, board member Mary Kay Thayer expressed her gratitude to the Search Committee members.

“Our board is so proud that you all stepped up to the plate,” she said.