By ELIUD RIVERA
Interview provided by CCC Board of Trustee Chair, Ginger Chase.
On September 16 CCC staff members met at a forum in the conference center to discuss the most pressing issue that the college faces, finding a new president. Several issues are currently being handled by the board of trustees and the interim president.
A committee was put into motion after President Isekenegbe’s resignation last June. The 20 members of the committee were chosen through nomination by association. A representative from each department at CCC was chosen as well as three representatives from the community and one from the student body. At the first forum, a committee representative met with staff and anyone else willing to attend. The objective was to use information gathered from the staff and any students to form a profile that would specifically define who the next president would be.
The forum brought the issues on everyone’s mind to the forefront. First of all, the college is facing a daunting budget deficit. Just recently, the staff in its entirety was offered a 2 percent raise across the board. Every member of the staff declined the raise. Up to 1 positions were saved because of this. The staff expressed a need for a solution to the budget problem that would retain their positions and eliminate the need to raise tuition.
Cumberland County College sits between three major cities, yet only 30 percent of local high school graduates enroll here. For many this college is seen as a way to better the community and as a beacon of hope among the local people. Enrollment in the college needs to reflect the need of the community. Keeping tuition low allows for anyone to see the college as an opportunity to better themselves.
Not only is enrollment down but retention is also falling. This hurts the budget of the college as well as the image of the community.
After this forum, they will go to two others and again discuss the issues that the college faces as well as what kind of leader can help the college thrive. Using the information they gathered from staff and students, the search committee will produce a profile. This profile will serve as a means of reference for recruitment.
On September 17 the board will meet with the committee to make any adjustments necessary and then the profile will be publicly posted.
Recruitment will take place from January until February. Then, semifinalists will be chosen from the pool of applicants and each will be reviewed and compared to the profile.
In mid February all finalists will be chosen and scheduled to participate in open forums much like the one in September. In Mid March the college will openly announce the new President. Starting in June the new president will begin his or her term.
Throughout the forum the same ideas were echoed from the staff as well as the students. The president needs to be down to earth and open. Decisions regarding the college and the students should be made open and reviewable by the public.They should be aware of the makeup of the student body and community. This college is the meeting place of many different kinds of people. Both students and staff need a sensible president. With a leader that can speak openly and comfortably with the student body as well as the faculty and staff, the college will be well on its way to further success.