Search for new BC president heating up
Joel R. Paramo
February 7, 2008
Filed under News
The search for Bakersfield College’s new president has finally begun.
The chair of the screening committee, Dean of Instruction Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, will be working with the group to develop questions tied to the job description to learn as much as possible about the potential candidates.
The selection committee is made up of 11 people that include administrators, faculty, classified employees, a member from the BC foundation and a student representative.
Though, according to an article in the Community College Times, BC isn’t the only school that is going to be receiving a new president. There is a wave of new and young presidents quickly taking the positions of the generation of presidents now nearing the age of 60.
“What we’re seeing is that people hired in the ’70s are these people who have retired or will be retiring,” said Gomez-Heitzeberg. “We just have to ask ourselves what kind of succession planning are we doing? I don’t think currently are we doing? I don’t think currently it’s a trend, it’s just where we are.”
According to the presidential profile, the future president has to be a dynamic leader who will be student-centered and guided by student and community needs. One that Gomez-Heitzeberg mentioned, the future president will have to demonstrate proficiency in institutional finance and fundraising among many others.
“What we really need at BC is someone who will stick around for a while,” said John Gerhold, president of the Academic Senate. According to Gerhold it’s been over 15 years since the school has retained a president for over a six-year period. But President William Andrews feels that it’s not only the president that makes the school but the college faculty and staff that have been at BC for 40-plus years.
“These people are committed to the college,” said Andrews. “College leadership will continue to change. Currently, most 10-year CEO’s don’t last for more than five.”
Though it’s not that these leaders are retiring from the work force, but “because there are open opportunities for better positions.”
BC serves over 24,000 students a semester and it’s continuing to grow, something that in Gomez-Heitzeberg’s opinion would attract a future president.
“BC has a long history, we’ve been around for over 90 years. We have a tradition of being a very well rounded school, and we have dedicated employees on a growing campus,” she said. “This is the kind of college someone would look to want to come to.”
Gerhold feels it would be important to find someone who knows the California Community College System. According to the president search brochure, the president has major responsibilities that include maintaining the policies, procedures, and regulations set forth by the Chancellor, The Board of Trustees, the California Education Code, the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, and the general laws of California and of the United States.
“The laws are different here in California than they are in other states,” said Gerhold. Gomez-Heitzeberg agreed but said that even though California is a “prescribed system, an applicant who shows the qualities and skills we’re looking for, from anywhere, would be OK, too.”
According to Gerhold there are two really important components to look for while searching for a president. You need someone that can develop trust with faculty and staff, and continuity. Gomez-Heitzberg feels the committee can get a good idea of what an applicant is pretty much about after an interview, checking references to confirm, and allowing them to participate in public forums so the school can ask them questions to establish a “fit.”
“Colleges need different things at different times,” said Andrews.
According to him if someone from out of state does receive the position it shouldn’t be hard to transition. “Someone will bring different skill sets, and they will develop with the help of the chancellor and the selection committee,” said Andrews. “A good leader, regardless of where they come from, can pick up the understanding. No CEO knows everything.”