NWACC board outlines search plans for new president

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 96 views 

BENTONVILLE— Officials at NorthWest Arkansas Community College hope to select a new college president by as early as November.

The college's board of trustees began their work to select a replacement for Dr. Becky Paneitz during a special meeting Wednesday (April 25). Earlier this month, Paneitz announced her plans to retire in June 2013. She has been the school's president for nearly 10 years.

Board members began outlining the process by which they hope to find a new college president in what vice-chairman Joe Spivey called the board's "moment of truth."

"This is the most important decision we, as a board, will make. This is why we were elected," Spivey said. "This is going to determine the future of our community and our students for many, many years to come."

The college will begin taking proposals from national search consultants as early as today in order to find the best applicants for the position, chairman Alex Vasquez said.

Using a search consultant will cost the college around $60,000, Vasquez said, noting he plans to ask for funding from the school's foundation. Doing so will mean expenses associated with hiring a new college president will be paid for from private donations rather than from tax dollars. 

Board members voted unanimously to allow Vasquez to request funding from the NWACC Foundation.

Board members said they hoped to have a search consultant hired by the end of May.

To ensure the college picks the best job candidates, the board will also use a search committee to whittle down the applicants to the best of the best.

The search committee will review all applications before sending their top choices to the board of trustees for a final decision. The committee will be comprised of several of the college's faculty and staff, a member of the NWACC Foundation board, a member of the board of trustees and several representatives from the community.

The board did not discuss the specifics of individuals who will sit on the search committee during its Wednesday meeting.

Using a national search consultant as well as the search committee, Vasquez said, will help ensure the integrity of the hiring process.

Board member Randy Lawson said the committee and the search consultant are merely facilitators to help board members make the best decision for the next college president.