Members of the Sampson Community College Board of Trustees have been searching for a new president for the last six months, and they are now asking for the community’s input in selecting a candidate.
During a public forum Wednesday afternoon, trustees heard from several members of the community about the qualities they would like to see in the college’s next leader. Current president Dr. Paul Hutchins has announced his plans to retire, effective May 2018.
“This is an important time in the life of the college,” local business woman Anne Faircloth noted during the forum. “Right now, the college is missing something. We are missing a president who is a real part of our community.”
Throughout the conversations held at the open forum, local business leaders, educational leaders, physicians, and representatives from various organizations and boards, talked about the college’s need to have a president who is part of the community.
“It’s important to have someone who knows this community,” Faircloth stressed. “Just think of the value it would bring to the college if we brought someone in that is an internal candidate.”
According to trustees chairwoman Erika Starling, the college has received approximately 40 resumes. After careful consideration, the selection committee has narrowed the choice down to four applicants, one that came from within the college staff.
As a business leader and county commissioner, Sue Lee spoke about the importance in the evidence of good leadership in the next president.
“You don’t necessarily have to hire someone that knows a lot about every aspect of the college system, but you do need someone who can recognize the right people to put in place and does know about the different areas,” Lee said.
The committee, Lee explained, needed to look at a candidate that is familiar with the culture of Sampson County, and not out trying to do “mission work.”
“I would hate to see you trip over the perfect candidate who is sitting right here,” Lee added.
Representing Sampson County Schools, Ginger Stone explained that she would like to see the next president continue to grow the current relationship between the college and the local school systems.
“We need to have someone who has a vision to take the students where they need to go,” Stone shared.
Sampson Community College has plans to undergo major changes in the coming months. There are currently millions of dollars of projects approved and funded waiting to begin. Part of those funds includes a $1.7 million grant from the Economic Development Agency.
“We definitely don’t want someone from outside that would have to be brought up to speed,” Stone added.
Dr. Paul Viser reiterated Stone’s words, saying that not only would the community like to see a new president that is “up to speed” on college projects, but approachable and easy to talk to.
“You simply can’t dance around the fact that you have an internal candidate,” Viser said. “Why take a chance on someone we don’t know?”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.