By Kailey Fisicaro
Shirley Metcalf will stay on as Central Oregon Community College president for at least two more years, and with a small raise as well, following a vote by the board.
Board members amended Metcalf’s contract to extend her tenure at the college to June 2019 and give her a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment.
“In our conversations with President Metcalf, she enjoys what’s she doing and is looking forward to staying on for two years,” said Joe Krenowicz, board chairman.
The 3 percent increase will apply to Metcalf’s base salary, which is $190,000. The extension will be finalized when Krenowicz and Metcalf sign the amendment to the contract, sometime in the next few weeks.
When former president Jim Middleton announced he’d retire in 2014, the college conducted a national search for his replacement.
Metcalf was not the board’s first choice for the job, but the board discovered the person it had chosen had been accused of raping a colleague and placed on administrative leave, which he had not disclosed to COCC.
Metcalf, Extended Learning Dean at the time, was then appointed interim president of the college in fall 2014. During her time as interim president, the college conducted a second national search, but the candidate it selected backed out after his father-in-law died unexpectedly.
The board voted to remove “interim” from Metcalf’s president title in March 2015.
During her time as president, the college has grown in many ways and has faced challenges, chief among them the alleged involvement of one of its security guards in the murder of Kaylee Sawyer, 23, in the early hours of July 24, 2016.
In July Sawyer’s family filed a lawsuit against the college, alleging a culture there condoned or encouraged reckless behavior by campus security staff, including the officer charged with killing her. Beginning before Sawyer’s murder, the college and city had conversations for more than 18 months before reaching an agreement on the authority of the school’s security force.
In 2014, the college finished building the Technology Education Center at its Redmond campus. In fall 2015, the college opened its brand-new residence hall, and in fall 2016, crews completed the installation of solar panels at the college’s Redmond campus, which provide about 90 percent of the power there.
The community college received a $2.25 million federal grant in 2016 to help students who need remedial math and writing courses and to build an extensive program for first-year students to help encourage them to return for a second year.
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