After gathering input from campus group representatives, Central Oregon Community College’s board of directors voted unanimously Friday to begin the process of removing “interim” from Shirley Metcalf’s title and appointing her as president.
“I’m very honored,” Metcalf said after the board meeting. “I feel that I have a lot of support. There were many people here. I understand who talked to the board, so I feel in the time that I’ve had to be interim president, I’ve proven myself. I think the board felt that I could continue to be the permanent president.”
The decision to appoint Metcalf comes after the board lost its second presidential candidate in two years. Tony Miksa, an administrator at McHenry County College in Illinois, was in contract negotiations with COCC when he suddenly withdrew his presidential candidacy last weekend after the death of his father-in-law. The news was announced on campus Wednesday.
Options for replacing Miksa included conducting another search with Metcalf remaining interim, reconsidering other candidates or making another interim appointment, as reported in The Bulletin on Wednesday.
The board consulted with student and faculty groups on campus to gauge how the college community would react to each option. Feedback overwhelmingly supported appointing Metcalf as president, board chairwoman Laura Craska Cooper said during the meeting.
Board member Tony Dorsch said he had a tear in his eye as he motioned to make Metcalf the college’s fifth president. The board room was full of COCC faculty who applauded her once the meeting was over.
“I think it’s an excellent choice and I think she’s going to be a terrific president,” Cooper said after the meeting. “She has already been (interim president) for the last six months. … I think we’re incredibly fortunate that we had someone right here who could fill that role so easily, without any question. We’re not going to be wondering for the next six months, ‘Is this going to be successful? Is this a probationary period?’ We know we’ve got a proven quantity.”
This is the second consecutive year the board had to search for a replacement for previous college president James Middleton. Last spring the board learned its top candidate had been accused of raping a colleague and placed on administrative leave, a fact he withheld from COCC. Middleton stayed on until September and Metcalf stepped in as interim president.
Metcalf joined COCC in 2011, serving as the college’s interim vice president for instruction and dean of extended learning prior to her role as interim president.
Once appointed, Metcalf will be responsible for appointing a new vice president for instruction. Charles Abasa-Nyarko resigned from the position in February, after less than two years on the job. Diana Glenn, who retired as dean of instruction in 2011, took his place on a interim basis and will serve through June.
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