The college board has selected a president. The Central Oregon Community College Board of Directors voted to begin negotiations to appoint Dr. Shirley I. Metcalf as the college’s fifth president. Metcalf has been serving as interim president since September 2014. She began that role after Dr. James Middleton retired with 10 years of service at COCC.
COCC recently concluded a national search for president after the identified leading candidate, Dr. Tony Miksa from McHenry County College in Illinois, withdrew following the unexpected death of his father-in-law on Feb. 28.
Miksa’s father-in-law passed away unexpectedly on Saturday.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Miksa, his family and especially his wife,” said COCC Board Chair Laura Craska Cooper. “We understand and respect their decision to remain close to her mother and, therefore, not make the move to Central Oregon. For COCC and for Central Oregon, we are very disappointed as we felt Dr. Miksa would be an outstanding president for our college.”
Following Miksa’s resignation, Cooper stated, “Having seen the tremendous talent and dedication of faculty, staff and the board during the search process, I’m confident that COCC is in a position of strength and will continue to provide a quality, supportive educational experience for students and members of the community.”
The board reached out to another of the presidential finalist candidates who said they did not want to be considered at that time, according to Ron Paradis director of community relations at COCC.
The COCC Board met in executive session on March 6, at which point they voted to begin negotiations to appoint Metcalf as president.
“In her six months as interim, Metcalf has shown great leadership and a passion for students at the college,” Paradis said.
Prior to serving as interim president, Metcalf was COCC’s Dean of Extended Learning, overseeing the college’s non-credit instruction and the COCC campuses in Redmond, Madras and Prineville. She has been at COCC for four years. In 2013, from February through June, she served as interim vice president for instruction.
Prior to coming to COCC, Metcalf held the positions of executive vice president for instruction and vice president for advancement at Lake Washington Technical College. At Hawaii Community College she served as dean of instruction (chief academic officer) and dean of outreach. Metcalf attained the rank of full professor in business and held a tenured position with the University of Hawaii System for 26 years. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Hawaii and her doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University.
Laura Craska Cooper, COCC’s board chair, describes Metcalfs leadership skills as including “listening, being responsive, following through and empowering those she leads. She also builds consensus, is open-minded and she has an infectious enthusiasm and energy that makes everyone want to jump on board and follow her on a journey leading to student success.”
Metcalf will be the first female president at COCC since the college opened.
“It feels great,” Metcalf said. “I’ve always wanted to be a role model for women in [leadership] and this role allows me to be that.”
Metcalf said when she accepted the interim position last year, she stepped in because she “wanted to keep the college going for the next president.”
One of the factors in Metcalf’s decision to accept the offer was in the support of the faculty and staff.
“I love this college, the students here, and this community and would like to continue to serve them,” Metcalf said.
Metcalf said that the first tasks in her job will be to look at projects that were postponed until the new president was hired. One of those tasks will the completion of the college’s master plan.
“We have a great campus and community here and I am proud to be able to lead the college,” Metcalf said.
Molly Svendsen | The Broadside