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Sat, April 20

Forums first step in finding new college president

PRESCOTT – This week, people involved with Yavapai College will have an opportunity to talk during open forums – which will begin the process of finding a new president come February.

Interim President Michael T. Murphy, Ed.D., said Friday that he hopes to begin searching for a new president in February. This will give the college enough time to decide on what kind of person to look for, and will be soon enough to snatch up worthy candidates from this year's candidate pool.

"We are a community college," said Murphy, "and we need to function as a community."

Representatives from the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) will visit Prescott this week to conduct open forums for Yavapai College employees and for community members.

Murphy said college faculty and staff and community members can attend the open forums to move forward toward shared interests and common goals, while modeling community behavior for Yavapai College students.

The information the ACCT gathers from the open forums will dictate which four to six main characteristics the college should look for in a new president, Murphy said.

The ACCT team that will visit includes Narcisa Polonio, ACCT vice president for board leadership services, Ruth Burgos-Sasscer, chancellor emeritus at Houston Community College and Wayne Newton, trustee emeritus at Kirkwood Community College, Iowa.

The team also will host confidential interviews with members of the administrative team and college leadership, including faculty, students and staff. The interviews will take place either during the ACCT visit or afterward through e-mail or telephone.

The team will talk with local and state government and with local community members.

"I'm convinced that this college will attract first-class people," Murphy said. "If the forums work, as I think they will, we'll come out knowing more about the direction we need to take."

The open forums will take place at the following times and locations:

• 3 to 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Green Room in the Prescott campus' performance hall.

• 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Green Room.

• 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday in the Green Room.

• 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Verde Campus in room H-100.

• 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday at the Verde Campus in room H-100.

The team has provided some framework to help lead the discussion, including governance, trust, integrity, respect, challenges and opportunities, priorities, leadership and characteristics for the next Yavapai College president.

While Murphy said the college personnel "have some significant work to do between now and (February)," he said he's confident they can move forward to the successful recruitment of a new president.

Contact the reporter at heller@prescottaz.com

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