Board appoints Shirley Metcalf as interim president

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As the search for a permanent president begins anew, dean of extended learning will fill Middleton’s absence

Shirley Metcalf (1)

In the wake of Dr. Patrick Lanning’s removal from the candidate pool, someone has stepped in as interim president: Shirley Metcalf, dean of extended learning. On April 14, The Central Oregon Community College Board of Directors made a unanimous decision to hire Metcalf, current COCC extended learning dean, as an interim president for the 2014-15 academic year. Metcalf will begin on Sept. 15 and will receive training from the current president, Dr. Jim Middleton. Middleton, who was supposed to retire in July, will stay on longer to train Metcalf.

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“[Metcalf] will provide great leadership in the short term, and create a really great bridge,” Middleton said.

If contract negotiations are successful, Metcalf will be filling the gap opened by the board’s recent decision not to hire any of the three presidential finalists.

The decision was made following the discovery that the top pick for the COCC president position, Dr. Patrick Lanning, was on administrative leave from his current employer. On April 9, the board of directors made the decision to not hire Lanning or the other two candidate finalists.

Shirley Metcalf

Metcalf had been contacted by the board of directors about her interest in the role prior to the April 14 announcement.

“I love the college and the community,” Metcalf said. “I’ll make sure to give my heart and soul to this job.”

Metcalf already has experience working at a number of colleges. Starting at Hawaii Community College under the University of Hawaii system, Metcalf has been working in the college sector since 1975. Metcalf was first an instructor, and then received her tenure as a professor in business. In 1994, Metcalf became the dean of outreach for the college, gathering state and legislative support on funding issues.

After living in Hawaii for 30 years, Metcalf moved to Kirkland, Washington to assume the role of executive vice president for instruction.

Metcalf became the vice president for advancement prior to her switch to COCC, and was a finalist in 2010 when South Seattle Community College was looking for a president.

In 2011, Metcalf came to COCC, where she took over her current role as the extended learning dean.

“I understand instruction at this college,” Metcalf said. “I also understand the non-credit area, because I’m very entrepreneurial, and like to find ways to apply for grants, find different sources of money.”

As Metcalf prepares to step into the role of interim president, her goal is to “stabilize,” because of the failed search.

“I wouldn’t apply for the [presidency] position,” Metcalf said. “The college needs someone who has the experience, credentials and the background … to move it forward until the permanent president can come.”

Preparing for the future

Meanwhile, COCC’s next hurdle is deciding who to appoint as president after Metcalf’s year comes to an end. COCC will be continuing the process of looking for a president replacement at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.

“You’re never done until you’re done,” Middleton said. “It was certainly a disappointment that we weren’t able to get things completed in the first round.”

Middleton’s presidency has been extended from July to September to meet with the change in arrangements.

“The finish line moved a little farther down the road, but that’s fine,” Middleton said. “[It’s been] a great professional and person opportunity to provide leadership and be a part of this institution. It’s been a real highlight of my professional career.”

Junnelle Hogen | The Broadside
(Contact: jhogen@cocc.edu)

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