Four candidates vie for NWACC President

by The City Wire staff ( 14 views 

BENTONVILLE — The field of candidates for NorthWest Arkansas Community College’s third president was narrowed to four finalists during a special NWACC Board meeting Friday afternoon (Oct. 19).

The four candidates include three women and one man; two higher education presidents, one chancellor and one executive director. All four have doctorates. They were chosen from a pool of 30 applications that were reviewed with the help of the Association of Community College Trustees, which has served as a presidential search consultant during the process.

The four candidates are:
• Jo Alice Blondin, chancellor at Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus
• Evelyn Jorgenson, president at Moberly Area Community College in Missouri
• Anthony Kinkel, president at Wichita Area Technical College
• Carol Spencer, executive director of the Academic Program Articulation Steering Committee in Arizona.

The meeting lasted less than 30 minutes with the board members approving all four that the Presidential Search Committee recommended with no additions or changes.

“We applaud the commitment of the Presidential Search Committee for their unwavering dedication to this process,” said Alex Vazquez, board chairman. “Interacting with ACCT, these individuals worked diligently to review the credentials of a highly-qualified applicant pool. This is a significant time in our college’s history and we feel confident the process will yield the ideal candidate to build upon Dr. Paneitz’s legacy.”

The board members briefly asked questions about the committee’s process, including what would happen if none of the four finalists are determined to be a good fit. It was determined that if that were the case, the matter would be addressed at the time that it was determined that different candidates needed to be found.

NWACC President Becky Paneitz announced in April that she will retire in June 2013 after 10 years of serving as the college’s second president and helping the grow dramatically both in number of students and programs, as well as in the number of buildings.

The committee met Oct. 5 to narrow the field to a list of semifinalists to six candidates. Those candidates were interviewed Oct. 17 and Oct. 18 and from those interviews the committee chose the final four. The tentative interview dates for the four finalists are Nov. 2, 5, 6 and 7. The candidates will visit the NWACC campus for the final interviews. These visits will include forums with college stakeholders including faculty, staff, students, donors and the media.

Jo Alice Blondin
“I am a student-focused leader whose commitment to the mission and vision of NWACC would be unwavering,” she wrote in her cover letter. “My leadership style is characterized by integrity, fairness, transparency, collaboration, high standards of excellence, and an entrepreneurial spirit.”

Top four accomplishments listed:
Successful first-ever Capital Campaign for the Ozark Campus;
Creation of teamwork and mission-driven atmosphere as well as trust-building and strong faculty/staff/student morale;
Investment in and development of physical plant to enhance and reflect student-centered focus through campus master plan; and
Establishment of ongoing strategic planning cycles (2 complete and one underway).

Evelyn Jorgenson
“Most educators agree that access is very important, but I also believe successful completion is very important,” she wrote in her cover letter. “We must be student-centered, meeting our students at their current academic levels, but giving them the tools to succeed and the benefit of knowing that their success is real, that their programs of study was rigorous, and their hard work helped them meet the high expectations that will allow them to be successful, whether entering the university or embarking on a career.”

Top four accomplishments listed:
Development and expansion of off-campus sites in five area communities;
Introduction of rigorous dualcredit and duaI­enrollment programs in 30+ area high schools;
Expansion of technology to include ITV, on-line courses, synchronous and asynchronous formats and hybrid courses; and
Two successful Higher Learning Commission 10-year PEAQ visits, both with no required reports or follow-up.

Anthony Kinkel
“This is an exciting part time to be a part of furthering the pre-eminence of Northwest Arkansas Community College in Arkansas and in the nation,” he said in his cover letter.

Top four accomplishments listed:
Brought the college back from the brink of insolvency, able to eliminated employee furloughs;
Selected by the National Association of Manufacturing as the national leader in aviation curriculum ;
94% placement rate of our graduates; and
2012 Noel-Levitz student satisfaction rates now higher than Kansas averages and national averages for the first time in history.


Carol Spencer
“I am a seasoned administrator. I have 20 years divided across two presidencies and I current lead a state-wide effort to support academic transfer between community colleges and universities,” she wrote in her cover letter.

Top accomplishments listed:
Improved web tools serving transfer students;
Centralized staff into one single office; and
lnstituted communication process with Board members.