COCC invites four presidential candidates to Central Oregon

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Photo by Vera Holiday | The Broadside

Four finalists have accepted invitations to be interviewed for the position of president at Central Oregon Community College. The COCC Board of Directors met today (Tuesday, Dec. 16) and announced the names of three of the finalists; the name and biography of the fourth finalist will be announced in early January.

The finalists include Dr. Leah Bornstein, president of Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, Ariz.; Dr. Jimmie Bruce, vice president of academic success at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas; Dr. Tony Miksa, vice president of academic and student affairs at McHenry County College in Illinois; and the fourth candidate whose name will be released in the first week of January.

“The Board of Directors is very pleased with the four candidates who have been selected for interviews, and we are honored they have accepted our invitation,” said COCC Board Chair Laura Craska Cooper.

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“We have had a very good process thus far, with terrific work from the Presidential Search Advisory Committee,” Cooper said. “Committee members did a great job of carefully considering all 50 applicants to choose semi-finalists, conducting extensive and meaningful Skype interviews with those semi-finalists and then thoughtfully selecting candidates to recommend to the Board. COCC and our community were well served by the Committee, and I thank the members not just for the many, many hours they put in, but also for the care with which they did their work.”

The candidate visits will take place during the last two weeks in January. Specific schedules will be released later this week and will include campus and community meetings in Bend, Redmond, Madras and Prineville.

Dr. Bornstein has been president at Coconino Community College since 2007. The college has campuses in Flagstaff and Page, and outreach centers in four other communities.  Prior to joining Coconino, she served as campus executive officer for Colorado Mountain College’s Summit County Campus. She has been chief academic officer at Lamar Community College in Colorado; vice president of instruction at the Higher Colleges of Technology-Center for Education Research and Training at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; and vice president for academic affairs at University College at the University of Denver.

Dr. Bruce has been at Northwest Vista College for 12 years. Northwest Vista, one of five Alamo Colleges in the San Antonio area, has an enrollment of 16,000 students. As vice president of academic success, Bruce oversees all credit and continuing education instructional programs and supervises the library, academic tutoring, distance education, high school dual credit and he is the accreditation liaison for the college. Previously, he was dean of student success and chief student affairs officer at Northwest Vista. He came to Texas from Elizabethtown Community and Technical College in Kentucky where he was a tenured faculty member, division chair and administrator for 13 years.

Dr. Miksa, in his role as vice president of academic and student affairs, oversees both the academic and student affairs divisions, as well as human resources, at McHenry Community College. He has led the college through two contract negotiations and the development of an educational master plan. He began his career as an admissions counselor at Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and then was a mathematics instructor and basketball coach at Kishwaukee Community College in Illinois. He then became dean of math, education, science and health at Kishwaukee, and following that, dean of math, science, engineering and health professions at Elgin Community College, also in Illinois.

The final candidate has asked for more time to inform colleagues and others prior to having the name released, but has scheduled a visit to COCC.

“The Board is looking forward to meeting the candidates on campus,” Cooper said, “and we encourage the COCC community, including members of the public, students, faculty and staff, to take advantage of the public forum opportunities to meet the candidates and provide feedback to the Board.”

Following the visits, the Board of Directors plans to hire the next president for COCC. Currently, Dr. Shirley Metcalf is serving as interim president, following the retirement of Dr. Jim Middleton who was president from 2004 to 2014.

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