May 27, 2021 – Gold Hill Associates, which specializes in executive searches for community colleges, has been chosen to find a new president for Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) in Pendleton, OR. Leading the assignment is the search firm’s president and chief executive officer, Preston Pulliams. The Blue Mountain Community College Board of Education wants a proven leader with a commitment to the community college mission and vision, collaborative decision-making, strong partnership building and strong communication skills, said Gold Hill Associates.
BMCC’s new president will be a leader committed to continuing to lead the college’s commitment to a “students first” mission that promotes student success, retention, and the completion of their academic and career goals, said the search firm. He or she must continue to position the college as the premier provider of workforce training by recognizing industry needs and developing vibrant workforce partnerships. It is also critical that the new leader maintain the expansion of BMCC’s relationship with K‐12 partners throughout the region and continue to establish the college as the place of academic excellence.
Promoting the value of a community college education to policymakers, legislators and the public will be a key part of the role. The president must also address the lack of adequate funding from the state. The individual must assist the college in assessing and establishing the proper and effective level of service for each of its regional centers, recognizing the unique community aspects of each location.
The ideal candidate will be a strong advocate for a “students first” learning environment, said Gold Hill Associates. He or she will also have the ability to establish and share a vision for the college while inspiring and leading a diverse organization in developing and implementing strategic initiatives. The ability to establish and share a vision for the college while inspiring and leading a diverse organization in developing and implementing strategic initiatives will also be critical.
The right candidate must be an energizing and engaged leader who is a strategic thinker, innovator, planner, communicator and organizer with strong analytical and public speaking skills. The individual should have conscientious financial management skills including the ability to develop long‐term fiscal stability. He or she must further have an aptitude for data and analytics and be able to evolve with changing technological systems, including learning management systems. The ability to engage with communities throughout the BMCC district to develop effective partnerships and bring a new perspective to help grow and enhance the college community is also essential. Candidates should have a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion as fundamental qualities of the educational process.
Founded in 1962, Blue Mountain Community College is a comprehensive community college committed to providing a premier learning environment and support for student success. Program areas include professional technical certificates and degrees, college transfer degrees, college preparatory and adult basic skills training, workforce development programs, continuing education and community education. BMCC offers students quality instruction, affordable tuition, small class sizes, and student support services like tutoring, computer labs, academic advising, and disability accommodations. BMCC serves four counties in northeastern Oregon—Baker, Grant, Morrow, and Umatilla—through its locations in Pendleton, Hermiston, Baker City, Milton-Freewater, Boardman, and John Day. In addition, BMCC provides selected on-site services to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. BMCC uses distance education learning modalities to serve residents of the region as well as a small number of students from around the world.
Gold Hill Associates, founded in 1990, is dedicated solely to community college executive searches. The firm has assisted over 100 community colleges in searches for new presidents and executives. Gold Hill Associates works in colleges throughout the country, from small rural institutions to large urban multi-college districts. Gold Hill’s search professionals have all been community college presidents, bringing specific first-hand knowledge and support. Their prior work as presidents helps them adapt to meet individual board and state requirements, with an awareness of budget costs to the board and institution.
Dr. Pulliams has served a number of institutions as college president. Most recently he was district president at Portland Community College (PCC) in Oregon, from 2004 to 2013. Prior to that, he served as vice-chancellor for community colleges for the State University of New York (SUNY), where he coordinated and directed the activities of the 30 community colleges in the SUNY system. Dr. Pulliams is a community college graduate, earning his associate’s degree in science from Muskegon Community College. He received a bachelor’s degree in social science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree from Western Michigan University and a doctor of education degree from the University of Michigan. Dr. Preston Pulliams has been a recognized leader in community college administration for more than 25 years.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media