TRAVERSE CITY — Innovative. Visionary. Having integrity. Being an inspiration to others.
Those are just a few of the qualities community members would like to see in Northwestern Michigan College’s new president.
About 25 people showed up for a community forum held Tuesday at the Hagerty Center. They included a couple members of the Board of Trustees — Kennard Weaver and K. Ross Childs — as well as a few members of the newly-appointed Presidential Search Committee.
The forum was led by Marsi Liddell, a consultant with the Pauly Group, the firm that was hired to lead the search for NMC’s new president. President Timothy Nelson is stepping down in December after 18 years with the college.
Liddell asked the group four questions: What qualities are they looking for in the next president; what would they like to see the college look like in five years under a new president; what challenges will the new president face; and what skills, credentials and experience would they like him or her to have?
Traverse City resident Clifton Murie said he’d like to see more transparency and open communication from the new president. Ann Rogers, also of Traverse City, wants someone who is trustworthy and promotes diversity. And Dan Wolf, a Traverse City management consultant, wants someone with financial acumen who is both collaborative and politically savvy.
Skills and credentials should include an advanced professional degree, involvement in the community through boards and commissions, and analytical and data-driven decision-making skills.
The person selected should also be someone who has worked with students.
In five years Patty Pelizzari, of Traverse City, wants to see a greater curricular emphasis on communication skills such as reading and writing as opposed to texting. Pelizzari would also like to see a greater collaboration between work- and technology-oriented classes and local businesses.
Several people want somebody with extensive leadership experience.
“There are 5,000 colleges out there and 5,000 college presidents,” Wolf said. “Everybody wants a leader that can take them into the future.”
Chris Dennos is on another committee that is looking for a new president for the Dennos Museum. She said she wasn’t quite sure what to expect at the forum or how many people would be there. But she has a vision for NMC’s new president.
“I would like to see her hold so many forums that people would be clamoring to get in the door,” Dennos said.
The forum lasted about an hour. Liddell met earlier in the day separately with several other groups, including students, faculty, staff and the Foundation board.
The information gathered at the sessions will be used by the Pauly Group to create the profile, as well as an “opportunities overview” that the candidates can use to present their qualities and skills.
The profile will be done near the end of May or early June, Liddell said, which is when the college wants to post the job opening. The search committee is hoping to have a new president in place by September.
The search committee now has 20 members after Elaine Wood, the former CEO of Networks Northwest, was appointed to represent service organizations.
Of the 19 members who were tentatively named last week, only one could not serve because of time constraints. Nicole Fewins, a business instructor at NMC, was replaced with Lisa Balbach, who also teaches in the business department.