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ACC trustees begin whittling more than five dozen applicants to six finalists for president’s job

Alamance Community College trustees will soon hear more details about the dozens of applications that the community college has received from prospective candidates hoping to succeed ACC president Dr. Algie Gatewood, who retired in June.

The chairman of ACC’s board of trustees, retired Gen. Blake Williams, told The Alamance News this week that the community college has received between 60 and 70 applications for the president’s post.

ACC board of trustees president Retired General Blake Williams

Friday, October 27, was the deadline to apply.

By comparison, ACC had received 53 applications for the president’s job in the spring of 2013, after then-president Dr. Martin Nadelman announced his intention to retire later that year. Gatewood was ultimately chosen from a finalist pool that also included three N.C. community college executives and one candidate from Arkansas, following approval by the State Board of Community Colleges in July 2013.

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An Anson County native, Gatewood, then president of the Cascade Campus for Portland Community College in Oregon, was among six finalists who met and spoke with the community in the spring of 2013 about their vision for ACC.

Kennon Briggs, who retired as executive vice president and chief of staff for the N.C. Community Colleges System in 2012 and now serves as a consultant for the national Association of Community College Trustees, is assisting ACC’s trustees with their search for a new president.

“It was a very good pool in terms of quantity and quality,” Briggs said Tuesday in an interview with The Alamance News. “It’s a gender- and ethnically-diverse pool; it involves some exceptionally well-qualified people.” Twenty-six U.S. states are represented in the applicant pool, he said.


Trustees’ chairman: More than 40 applicants from North Carolina
For his part, Williams said this week that a couple of the applicants are from outside the U.S. and more than 40 are from North Carolina.

“There were a high number from the contiguous states around North Carolina,” the trustees’ chairman told the newspaper Tuesday. “We’re not just looking at doctorate degrees. We’re looking at people who can fulfill the job [duties] and meet the current needs of our community.”

ACC’s presidential search committee members are currently reviewing and ranking their top choices for semifinalists, based on the search process and timeline that ACC’s trustees have established for hiring a new president.

ACC’s presidential search committee consists of the following ACC trustees: Williams; Steve Carter; Dr. Roslyn Crisp; Julie Scott Emmons; Bill Gomory; and Dr. Charles Scott.

“They will have reviewed all of the materials that I did,” Briggs said “I did my evaluation of each candidate based on the profile. I don’t rank candidates; I don’t play favorites; I don’t advocate for any individual – that is the job of the board.”

ACC’s presidential search committee is scheduled to meet on November 13 to try to identify between five and seven semifinalist candidates to interview.

“I will work with the committee on [November 13] to whittle the pool down,” Briggs said. “Then they will do virtual interviews. That is good for the candidate, the college, and [it] saves a little bit of money.”


Semifinalists’ names to be submitted to system president by November 21
The search committee will then recommend three to four finalists to ACC’s full board of trustees for consideration. ACC’s trustees are currently on track to submit the name of three to four finalists to the N.C. Community Colleges System president later this month, based on their previously-established search timeline.

“The finalists will all go public,” Briggs said in the interview. “Once finalists are selected, they are brought to the campus for one day each.” The college will assemble a one-page profile, with each finalist’s photo and background, and invite each of the finalists to visit ACC for a full day in December so that the staff, students, and community members can get to know a little about each of them, he explained.

ACC’s trustees have set December 8 as the target deadline to submit the name of their top choice for the president’s job to the state board for approval, as required under state law.
Briggs said he had been impressed with the quality of the candidate pool, which he added is a reflection of ACC and Alamance County as a whole.

“Word travels,” said Briggs. “If you’re not a great institution – that gets around. Alamance is an amazing place, the leadership and how it serves the community. I can talk openly and freely without embellishing.”

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