Over 50 applicants vie for NE State president position

Published 11:28 pm Friday, August 17, 2018

A new chapter is on the horizon for Northeast State Community College.

The Tennessee Board of Regents held a public forum on Thursday, Aug. 16, inside the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts in Blountville to hear feedback from NeSCC stakeholders for the pending search of a new president for the college.

Over 100 individuals, the majority NeSCC staff and faculty, attended the meeting and roughly one-fourth of the crowd weighed in on what they want to see from the next leader of the school.

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Tennessee Board of Regents is working alongside the consulting firm of Greenwood/Asher & Associates in the hopes of having a new president in place at the college by Jan. 1. James Kings, TBR executive vice chancellor, has served in the interim as the college’s leader since June 30 following the retirement of embattled college president Janice Gilliam.

Tom Griscom, TBR representative, and Betty Asher — with the consulting firm — served as the moderators for Thursday’s event and were able to point out that they know in excess of 50 candidates placed an application for the position.

Griscom added that according to state law, the names of applicants will be made confidential among the 17-person presidential search committee. Interested applicants can still apply until the position is filled, but the first round of interviews gets underway in September. Once the committee narrows the search down to a select number of finalists, the individuals’ names will be released. The final decision will be made by TBR Chancellor Flora Tydings.

But as the committee sought out the opinions of attendees, NeSCC employees were quick to make their opinions and thoughts heard about what the new president should bring to the table.

David Haga, NeSCC instructor, was quick to point out to committee members and potential presidential candidates that positive things are going on within the region and the staff is committed to keeping the college on the right path.

During the impassioned speech, Haga said “We’re not just transforming lives, we transform this region,” in regards to the impact the school has made over the years.

Lisa Poole, professor and Faculty Senate representative, also spoke before the committee to outline various aspects that staff is looking for in the new president.

Qualities include:

• An individual that understands the Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia region

• Support of the NeSCC arts programs

• Co-governance with staff

• Accessibility with staff, faculty and staff

• An individual who has risen through the ranks of academia

• Understands the concerns of teachers, including pay rate and general support

• Fiscal responsibility

Cheers also echoed throughout the center during references of King’s time as interim president, with serving staff members praising him for his leadership during the transition.

With the qualities and ideas from the public, the committee is expected to hold a prospect review meeting on Aug. 29. Following September’s interviews, the anticipated time for the search will lead the committee into holding a feedback meeting on Oct. 9 with round two interviews to follow Oct. 17-19.