October 22, 2019 – The Pauly Group, an academic executive search firm, has been chosen to find the next president for Kellogg Community College (KCC) in Battle Creek, MI.
Mark O’Connell, who has held the role since 2015, announced this spring that he would retire at the end of the year, after 29 years with the school.
Mr. O’Connell said he is confident the college will continue key initiatives and transformational work that the administrative leadership team has begun in recent years, including improving processes for student learning, building institutional capacity for equity and inclusion, expanding opportunities for dual enrolled and early college students, shortening pathways to degree and credential attainment, and developing stronger career and technical education pathways.
The Pauly Group, which has worked with KCC on administrative searches in the past, has been helping the board recruit, advertise and screen candidates for the top role.
The board is expected to announce later this month which finalists will be invited for public interviews. In recent weeks, a screening committee comprised by trustees, community members and KCC personnel has been reviewing the applicant pool and preparing a recommendation of finalists for the board to consider.
The Pauly Group received a total of 54 applications from interested candidates, said KCC. “We are very optimistic about the diversity and apparent strengths of the applicant pool, and we are eager to move forward with our selection process,” said Steve Claywell, chair of the KCC board of trustees.
Once the Board determines which applicants it wishes to interview, the finalists’ names and interview schedule will be announced, said KCC. Members of the campus community and general public will have opportunities to observe the selection process, including interviews and board deliberations.
The board plans to make its final selection in November. The new president is expected to formally begin at KCC on Jan. 1.
A Positive Culture
The college is looking for a leader with a strong sense of integrity and the ability to make and honor commitments honestly, said the Pauly Group. An enthusiastic and transparent communication style is necessary to continue the positive culture at the college, the firm said. In addition, a strong academic sense and understanding of business operations is essential. The board also wants a passionate leader with a deep commitment to serve the students, staff, faculty and the external community.
Recruitment of Academia Presidents Rising
Reduced state funding, rising tuition costs, soaring student debt and decreased federal research funding have all contributed to a dramatic rise in the role search firms are playing in the recruitment of university presidents and chancellors.
Significant administrative experience in higher education is required, preferably at a community college, said the search firm. Classroom teaching is preferred.
“The next president will have the ability to relate to people of all levels within the organization, including the 8,400 students,” said the Pauly Group. “It is important to the college the president walk the halls and interact with students, faculty and staff. Kellogg Community College has made great strides in their stated mission of equity and inclusion. The president must further lead the charge with sincere appreciation of the necessity for diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the College and external community.”
Kellogg Community College, founded in 1956 by the Battle Creek Board of Education, serves about 8,400 students annually via five campuses, customized training and online coursework. KCC, which has sites in Battle Creek, Albion, Coldwater, Hastings and in the Fort Custer Industrial Park, offers 59 pre-professional transfer curricula; 35 associate degree programs; 28 certificate programs; six categories of professional certifications; and a variety of short-term, non-credit courses. The college was fully reaccredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools most recently in 2012.
Established in 1990, the Pauly Group is an academic search consulting firm that works with community and technical colleges to recruit, reference and hire executive to mid-level administrators. Each of its team members is a former professional at a community and/or technical college or other higher education institution with a master’s degree from an accredited university. The firm is led by president Angela Provart, with Les Pauly serving as the company’s board chair. Ms. Provart is personally involved with every search and works closely with her team of nine consultants. The Pauly Group is based in Springfield, IL.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media