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New Instructional Dean enjoys challenges of administration

Irene Cooper
The Broadside

New Instructional Dean Mike Holtzclaw has been a faculty member at Central Oregon Community College since 1997.

A national search for a new Instructional Dean for Central Oregon Community College ended right here at Modoc, upstairs in Room 205, in the office of Social Sciences Chair Mike Holtzclaw. The bright room, lined with textbooks and papers, reflected the cheery business of mid-term, but come July, Holtzclaw will have packed up to join two other Instructional Deans to steer the vision of an expanding campus.

Holtzclaw has been a faculty member of COCC since 1997, and department chair for the last couple of years. He was dean of admissions for another institute prior to teaching at COCC.

“I love to teach,” said Holtzclaw, “[but] I enjoy the broader influence you have in administration. You can affect students in a broader sense, make changes in the system, and touch more students.”

The position of Instructional Dean requires a layered skill-set: deans facilitate the budgeting of resources; represent the administration in college governance; are involved in decision making regarding hiring, tenure and promotions; and develop curriculum along COCC and state requirements. Deans will also have input on design elements of new campus facilities on and beyond the Bend campus.

“The challenges [in administration] are never the same, you can never get bored,” said Holtzclaw. “It is a pipeline for student complaints and problem-solving. I really enjoy that.”

Holtzclaw has ridden the storm of the recent admissions explosion and its challenges. As department chair of Social Sciences, he worked to make classes available to non-traditional and returning students, creating Friday and Saturday-only classes. In this vein, COCC is moving its summer term to a five and ten-week model, creating 3,000 more student seats.

“[We are] trying to be creative to serve students. We have to respond to community,” said Holtzclaw. “I like to be innovative.”

“We’re in a crisis,” said Holtzclaw regarding the rise in admissions. It is no less of a crisis for being a problem of overabundance.

“We want to be mindful of not just reacting. Let’s also make sure this is working. Not everyone was unequivocally delighted with Holtzclaw’s promotion.

“I’m very torn—I didn’t want him to leave,” said Administrative Assistant Sallie Wetherbee.

“It does feel like the end of an era,” said Holtzclaw about not teaching in a classroom anymore.

“Geography is a rapidly changing discipline,” he offered, and it would be difficult to jump back in after a long stretch. However, Holtzclaw’s abundant enthusiasm for education and its challenges extends to both the new position and his future co-workers.

“Change is always unknown,” said Holtzclaw, “[but] I think they share the vision.”

Come July, Michael Holtzclaw will trade in the view from Modoc 205 for the broadening horizon of COCC.

You may contact Irene Cooper at icooper@cocc.edu

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