Steve White, vice president of instructional services is retiring at the end of the year. Four candidates looking to fill the vacancy have been named.
Kathleen Burke-Kelly, Dawn Lindsay, Tim McGrath and Gary Thomas Scott are the applicants who have been chosen as finalists for the position after an extensive interview process. The selected candidate will step into the job beginning January 1, 2007.
The office of the Vice President of Instructional Services is a contract, full-time, 12-month administrative position, which requires one to report directly to the superintendent/president.
As vice president, he or she will be in charge for all of GCC’s instructional programs. The vice president will also take on a role as a member of the senior management team that advises the superintendent/president and the Board of Trustees.
According to White, one of the biggest challenges the incoming vice president will face is not getting enough resources from the state to carry out programs at the college.
“That’s [lack of resources is] always the hardest thing,” said White. “It’s not having enough resources and telling people with great ideas and a lot of creativity that we wouldn’t be able to support them financially.”
All four candidates have met the minimum requirements needed for consideration, which are having a master’s degree, five years of successful managerial experience, and five years of teaching experience at a post-secondary institution.
White said that the ideal candidate would have to be able to effectively provide leadership in order to encourage people to try new things in the classroom and curriculum.
“You have to be visible and accessible to faculty, students and administration,” he said.
Burke-Kelly, the current acting Vice President of Academic Affairs at Los Angeles Mission College, is a familiar face on campus. Burke-Kelly is the former Board of Trustees president who unexpectedly resigned on Sept. 9.
“I was looking at any openings for vice presidencies in the Southern California area,” she said. “I have been for a couple of years now.”
She added that “it was just a set of circumstances” that led her to apply for the soon-to-be-vacant position, indicating that this opening was not the reason why she resigned from the board.
Burke-Kelly’s goal, if selected, will be to strengthen the college’s commitment to seek out new opportunities and to develop and strengthen curriculum. She credits GCC as the place where she acquired her strong skill in curriculum development.
She believes that being a familiar entity on the campus can have its pluses and minuses when it comes to the selection process due to the fact that, as she said, “people know you and people ‘know’ you.”
Lindsay, Dean of Instruction at Riverside Community College, does not believe that Burke-Kelly’s previous role at GCC should have any weight in the selection process.
“I would hope that the campus and the people who have interviewed me have done their work to have a good understanding of what I can bring to the campus,” said Lindsay. “You have to trust in the hiring process.”
Lindsay has familiarized herself with the college and became attracted to the opportunity of working here because of the educational master plan and the accreditation reports. She said that the things that shine through in those reports are that the campus is very collegial, strong in shared governance and very student centered.
“Obviously, when you have an opportunity to look at a district that’s got such a great reputation with a great faculty and a great student body, it’s an attractive opportunity,” said Lindsay.
On Nov. 7, the candidates were presented to the college at an open forum which gave them the opportunity to introduce themselves to students, faculty and staff.
At the forum, candidates were asked to present a closing statement of why they would be the ideal applicant to fill the position of vice president.
Scott, Dean of Creative Arts and Applied Sciences at Long Beach City College, feels that the public forum “was really wonderful.”
“I found [there was] a lot of genuine attention from people who were really engaged in that whole process and who were really interested, at least in my session anyway, in what I had to say,” said Scott.
Scott has been in education for 30 years and he particularly loves the community college system because of its accessibility and commitment to the community.
“If you trust us [community colleges], we’ll find a way to help you be successful,” said Scott.
McGrath not only believes in the principle of commitment of the college to the students, he finds GCC in particular to be the epitome of this community college ethic.
“This is really a community college,” said McGrath. “It isn’t a college that happens to be in Glendale; this is a college for the community of Glendale.”
Dean of Student Learning at Moorpark College, McGrath has acquired a broad background in diverse educational programs. He honed his skills at Rio Hondo College where he was appointed dean of all educational programs. He served in that position from 1999 to 2002.
McGrath believes that he will be a good match for the college due to his concern for community college students.
“[Working at a community college] is what I have selected as my career,” he said. “[I want] to make a difference in their [students] lives and in the [college] system.”
The selected candidate will be named at the next Board of Trustees meeting Monday at 5 p.m. in Kreider Hall.
Once the new vice president steps into office, White would like to see the new person take some initiative and try some new things.
“I would like to see the new person who becomes vice president, take the time to learn the campus culture,” he said. “Even though you make changes in personnel, high up in administration, who we are and what we do day to day is going to stay, basically, the same-We are not a Compton college that didn’t get accredited, we’re a college that has a record of achievement and success, and what you want to do is build on that.”