By Robert Tomlinson
CENTREVILLE — As the search for a new president of Glen Oaks Community College begins, the college’s Board of Trustees recently took an important step toward finding one.
On Thursday, Nov. 9, the board approved the establishment of a presidential search committee for the college, one that will be tasked with selecting a candidate to be the college’s new president, who will start in the 2024-25 academic year.
The new president would succeed current president Dr. David Devier, who previously announced he would be retiring effective June 30, 2024 after 10 years as college president.
The committee consists of 17 people from different backgrounds surrounding the college, including students, faculty, administrators, members of the Board of Trustees, a representative from the GOCC Foundation, support staff employees, and members of the community.
Committee members are:
- Board members: Joe Haas (committee chair), Carol Higgins, Elizabeth Datkovic
- Administrators: Christina Steele, director of Allied Health; Tonya Howden, vice president of student services; Evan Dembskey, director of information technology
- Faculty: Chad Worthington, psychology faculty; Michael Northrop, art/religion faculty
- Glen Oaks Support Staff Employees (GOSSE): Dan Scott, executive assistant to the athletic director; Melanie Golden, Learning Commons clerk
- GOCC Foundation: Vonda Marrow
- Students: Marcus Broom, Jodi Hollingsworth
- Community: Jeff Brazo, Ayres Insurance Agency vice president/agent; Ken Jones, president emeritus of Jones, Petrie & Rafinski and St. Joseph County EDGE chair; Andrew Kuk, Sturgis city manager; Teresa Belote, St. Joseph County ISD superintendent
The committee members were selected by the college’s Presidential Search Steering Committee, which consisted of board members Haas, Kim Bontrager and chair Bruce Gosling.
Gosling, who chaired the steering committee, said in an interview after the meeting that the steering committee took some unique approaches in selecting members of the search committee, saying that for GOSSE, administrative and faculty representatives, they asked for volunteers who were willing to be on the committee.
“For faculty, GOSSE and administrative, we asked for volunteers, and had a list of several from each, and then the search firm recommended the amounts of each category, and we brought in a mix of people,” Gosling said. “From the community, we brainstormed a list of potential candidates and Dr. Devier called them and explained the meetings that needed to be attended and they said yes or no.”
Gosling added that the committee also considered certain qualities when selecting committee members, including history with the college, knowledge of the community, and knowledge of what the college is doing and hoping to do
“Just a broad community as far as business, government, etc.,” Gosling said.
Students selected for the committee, Gosling said, were also volunteers identified by the Student Services department. He said the steering committee looked for one traditional student and one non-traditional student to serve on the search committee.
Devier said during the meeting that he will have no involvement in the process of finding a new president.
“This is a great group of people,” Devier said.
Along with the search committee, the board will also be utilizing the services of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) as the presidential search firm for the college, which was approved at the board’s October meeting. College funds from board accounts are expected to be used to conduct the search with the ACCT, as well as any associated travel costs and search committee expenses.
In other business…
- Devier told board members there have been “tremendous problems” with installed lighting on the north side of campus, saying the “controllers don’t control,” and that, for example, lights have had to be on 24/7 in the Learning Commons “for quite some time.” He said they are having “serious conversations” with Miller Davis, TowerPinkster and Western Michigan Lighting about the situation. Lighting, along with some HVAC issues, have prevented the college from having permanent occupancy in the space; they have been on temporary occupancy for some time.
- Devier told board members he thinks they’re “close” to getting funding for the upcoming renovation of the south side of campus.
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or firstname.lastname@example.org.